A guide to launching your knowledge sharing platform

Organisations often make the mistake of thinking that choosing and purchasing a tool is enough to make knowledge sharing happen in their organisation. But launching a knowledge sharing platform to your employees can be a big project, and needs good preparation.

Our customer success team has observed and supported many different ways to launch a platform over the years. Some teams like to have big launch campaigns, while others prefer to not make too much noise. Perhaps you’re in the early stages of your knowledge sharing project and are starting to think about your launch. We’d like to share with you some of our customers’ innovative ideas and insights, which we hope will help you find your own launch style.

Individuals are the driving force behind company transformations

The preparation of a collaborative platform is often a key factor for success, but the communication before, during and after the launch is even more important, because this will be the lever for change. The momentum gathered by the launch will be the first sign that a new dynamic is underway and change is happening. Whatever you do, you need to get the word out about your project and be creative. The more you make an impact, the more the project will attract your employees.

Communicating change

Communicating your platform’s launch must take place in several stages, and the communication objectives will differ depending on which stage you’re in.

  • Before take-off
    • At first, it’s best to create messages which are intended to change attitudes and get employees ready for change. Think about discussing the importance of changing company behaviour, or knowledge sharing more generally.
    • It’s not necessary at this stage to talk about a tool, but when you’re ready to, it can be fun to involve employees in certain decisions, such as choosing the platform’s name or colours. This creates a sense of ownership and transparency.
  • Launch day
    • This is the stage where you’ll need to inspire your employees to come online and see what’s happening, so they can get involved with the platform. Your launch event should be memorable and make a lasting impression.
  • After the launch
    • At this point, communication should focus on teaching the tool and helping to develop new uses in the organisation and added value.

A word of warning

Make sure to keep these messages separate, and broadcast them at appropriate times. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for users to know how to post content several months before they will use the tool. Also, bear in mind that these messages will differ depending on their audience. The committee will not necessarily be receptive to the same arguments as the end users.

Also, be careful to be clear about the project objective and vision. Is it a network, a platform, a tool, a new approach? Is the objective to share good practices, or to gather knowledge from the field, or to disseminate group standards? Communication during the various stages must be clear and unambiguous.

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Getting ready for lift off

The launch of your project is an exciting time, and needs to create real momentum, with everyone inspired to connect. You may like the launch to coincide with another event, meeting or conference so that all users can receive the invitation at the same time.

It can also be interesting to opt for a delayed launch strategy. The idea would be to identify several target audiences (depending on the department, team, region of the world, hierarchical level etc.) and to plan a specific launch for each target audience.

Before the launch

Organise working sessions with your future users to better understand their needs and give direction to the project. For example, you could:

  • Prepare small round tables where collaborators can meet to give their opinions on the content found on the platform, the vision statement, the main rules of use, the new processes to be created and the success indicators.
  • Organise interviews to better understand the uses of target populations. It’s beneficial to meet people representing a sufficiently varied audience (business experts, employees in the field, HR managers, legal managers, people in charge of the databases that we will import etc.) and include them in the process to get their feedback, so you can create a platform that meets their needs.
  • Organise workshops, or competitions, to name the platform. An online form or survey can collect concepts, such as ideas related to sharing, monitoring or collaboration, and a brainstorming session can provide the opportunity to imagine names related to these ideas.
  • Plan meetings with strategic sponsors and the management team in order to present the approach, the progress of the project and get their approval for the official launch.
  • Distribute a survey that evaluates the time and effort spent researching or sharing information to benchmark. This will make it possible, for example, to illustrate several months after the launch that the platform has reduced the time spent searching for information, or the number of email exchanges.

Launch day

Remember, your launch needs to be memorable, and get the project off to a good start. Here’s a few ideas:

  • For the perfect moment, take advantage of a pre-existing company event, such as a strategic seminar, team-building day, annual conference, Christmas dinner, etc, and make the most of having everyone together. Enthusiastically present the approach and the project for around half an hour, and if possible, you could even offer some time for each user to log on, or see the platform if the location allows it.
  • Alternatively, create an event dedicated to the process. For example, it could be a morning of learning and reflection on the issues of knowledge capitalisation, strategic intelligence and collaboration, followed by an afternoon demonstrating the arrival of the tool, new work processes and inspiring the users to want to connect.
  • Another idea could be to organise a plenary conference with a word from the management to announce the arrival of a new sharing dynamic. Some external guests could also be there to present a more strategic and global vision of the approach. Our customers tend to follow the conference with more informal moments, in the form of small discussion tables, or a drink to provide initial feedback on the launch of the initiative.

What’s next?

Ah. Perhaps you don’t have the budget for these big launch events, or you want to keep the momentum going after the big reveal. Here’s some simple things you can do to share your platform and get your whole team involved.

  • Share the project on screens in your offices, or on the homepage of every computer. You could even display a video presentation of the tool with an invitation to the new platform.
  • Share a short, fun video on the arrival of the platform, perhaps with a challenge or a game, with riddles to solve using the tool when it launches. Or, more simply, show which simple assets will now be on the platform, and choose those that are relevant to all users.
  • Put posters up throughout the company during launch week to give everyone the opportunity to connect quickly via mobile with the use of a QR code.
  • Organise an informal photo session for the whole organisation and invite employees to have an updated, more relaxed profile photo for the platform (often the photos are taken from the directory and are several years old).
  • Create excitement by leaving small gifts on each employee’s desk, such as a platform branded mug, or themed cupcakes. Make sure to also include the QR code for accessing the platform and perhaps think of a fun slogan to encourage them to log on.

So, now it’s your turn!

We hope this guide has helped you think a little more about how you will launch your project, let us know if you have any fun launch stories you’d like to share over on Twitter.

And if you’re a bit earlier in the process – why not come and see us at one of our Café Connect events to learn more about how knowledge sharing can help your organisation.