A group who shares ideas and experiences employing innovative acquisition practices, collaborative methods and use of Web2.0 technologies to transform federal acquisition.
Collaboration – Which is your favorite online tool?
April 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm #98943
Which online tools have you found most helpful to drive group collaboration and public feedback?
Lets say you had a project to get public feedback on new ideas that would change the way business was done within your field on a day-to-day basis. You’ve come up with some ideas that you think are great, but want to make sure that they will be well received by others in your field. Which site would you use to get feedback, manage it, and ultimately make a final decision to modify or solidify your current idea prior to introduction?
- What are your experiences with these sites?
- Do you find any one of them more manageable than others for high volume feedback?
- Was the data easy to sort and relevant to your final goal?
- How long did it take you to drive traffic to your site?
- How did you drive traffic to your site?
- Did it improve the final outcome of your project?
- Do you have any ideas that were not mentioned here?
The goal of this post is to develop a list of tried and true forums for fast public feedback. If this takes off, perhaps I can develop a spreadsheet (if one exists already that I do not know about – do share)!
April 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm #98951
Tina M Borger, CPPOParticipant
Thanks for posting this great topic! After our conversation last week, I set up a blog to test for a public comment project I am working on. I think it might work well as it allows for multiple pages that can be used to share the information and receive comments in a somewhat organized fashion, as well as the blog component to keep people informed as the project progresses.
I ruled out a few of these ideas for my project, and I’ll share my reasons. The discussion board service at my disposal was a bit clunky and seemed better for sharing small bits of information. I have a lot to cover and I think the discussion board would get too unwieldy. Of course, there could be some really great Boards out there that I don’t know about.
I ruled out wikis and GoogleDocs because I want people to comment on the proposed language, not be able to change it. The changes will be made based on a consensus of thoughts.
I tested a survey in SurveyMonkey, but even if I share the results, commenters would have to go between the survey and the results page repeatedly to respond to someone else’s comment.
I am curious about the other solutions you mention, and how I may have missed a benefit to one of the options I ruled out.
Looking forward to hearing about successes others have had.
April 27, 2010 at 11:06 am #98949
I think you made a great choice with the blog in terms of functionality for comment and editing. I also wonder if Idea Scale might have offered an additional simplification through the voting option. This option could make it easier to discern which ideas are being immediately supported and which ones need some adjusting, especially as the volume of commenters grows.
I also noticed that most of the government agencies are using Idea Scale, as the public feedback forum of choice, for the Open Gov initiative.
April 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm #98947
After spending over 10 years with various online projects — both personal and professional — my belief is that the tool is only as good as the audience. A tool that seems absolutely incredible doesn’t do me any good if I can’t get the right people to use it. And when I’m trying to get people to do something online, I’m competing with everything else they could possibly do online. For example, when GovLoop is vying for your attention, it’s not just competing against other government-related social media websites; nor is it only competing against all social media sites. It’s competing against every single thing you could possibly do during the finite time you spend online.
GovLoop has managed to create a critical mass and become a frequent destination for many people, as have other websites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Rather than competing with them, the first thing I’d focus on is how to piggy-back on their success. Where are the people I’m trying to reach? Do they already have favorite “destinations”? If so, then I’ll focus on the tools available at those sites and figure out how they can work for me. The fact that a particular tool can handle high-volume feedback will be a moot point if I can’t find a way to get people to participate.
Unfortunately, getting the more general “public” feedback becomes even more difficult. There is no single online “town square” where I can get everyone’s attention. There’s no way to put up a billboard sign along the information highway and catch people’s interest (and banner ads cost money and are generally ineffective). So figuring out how best to reach people becomes even more of an issue when I’m looking for general feedback.
If your goal is to develop a list of tried and true forums for fast public feedback, then I think we should rework the questions being asked. Who would give you the most helpful feedback? What are their favorite destinations online? Do those destination sites have tools you could use to gather feedback? Are there appropriate communities already established on those sites, or would you need to create your own?
Identify the audience (planning). Find the audience (research). Determine how to meet them where they are (tools) and convince them to provide feedback (marketing/relationship building). The bottom line is that it all starts with people because the tools don’t mean anything without them.
Good luck with this! I’ll keep watching and let you know if I have any further thoughts.
April 28, 2010 at 4:14 am #98945
You make an excellent point. The audience is the most important factor. This is something that has been considered.
I believe your clarification on “planning, research, tools, and marketing” is also relevant. I think this begins to address my question, “[h]ow did you drive traffic to your site[?]”.
I’d like to continue this discussion, hoping to address and expand on the following:
1. What are your specific experiences with your chosen forum and the tools available to you there (ie. twitter, linkedin, govloop, etc.)?
2. If you have tried more than one forum, did you find any one of them more manageable than others for high volume feedback?
3. Was the data and feedback you obtained easy to sort and relevant to your final goal?
4. Did you get enough feedback from your chosen forum?
5. Did the forum, tools, and feedback improve the final outcome of your project?
6. Do you know of any forums or tools that were not mentioned in this discussion already?
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