Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Social media masteclass @ NEDS

On 29 November, 2010, we facilitated a one-day masterclass on social media for the NEDS network. The session was organised with our colleagues at EADI and was hosted by the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

The Network of Swiss Development Documentation Centres (NEDS) comprises the 20 most important Swiss development cooperation libraries and documentation centres. It's an informal network. Its members meet twice a year to exchange professional and technical information and look for ways to improve development cooperation documentation. They also organise group trainings and awareness sessions on issues realated to information, knowledge sharing and communication.

All the participants already had a basic knowledge of social media and collaborative tools: what they felt they were missing was a wider perspective and knowledge of what others are doing. They wanted to compare notes and get some guidance in thinking about social media from a more strategic perspective.

A pre-workshop survey helped us in profiling the group, so we could tailor the session as well as try to match objectives and expectations in the limited time available.

In terms of session design, we divided the time available in 2 parts:
  • The morning session provided users with background information on what social media means for an organisation, explored how you define a social media strategy and shared examples of success stories and case-studies. We then moved onto the tools, and had a conversation about how different tools have been introduced and are used in different organizational contexts, including small non profit organisations, research institutes, academia and international organisations. While we were providing examples of different business process and activities where social media can add value, participants presented their cases and experiences. Together we started surfacing challenges and opportunities that social media brings, in different organisational contexts.
  • For the second part of the session, we identified different cases, or 'organisational problem examples': participants formed groups around the issue most relevant to them and together defined a social media strategy to tackle these issue. Taking this further, they looked at how to work with social media to reach a specific, defined outcome. The result of the 'think-labs' was then shared back in plenary, for a final round of feedback and discussion.

Even if the time available was limited for such an exercise, having different tables working on pre-defined, fictional but yet realistic scenarios, proved to be very engaging for participants. For us, the design and facilitation of the session was very different from workshops that we have been running for several years as introduction to web2.0 and social media. We'll probably be expanding the programme and developing two day master-classes, to be held in 2011.