Digital Governance by Lisa Welchman
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[APPLAUSE] Hello, how are you all today? I hope well.
I'm going to put this here so I don't over talk, because-- that looks dangerous doesn't it? Let's hope the bad doesn't happen.
So I'm going to just spend a teeny bit of time introducing my selves- maybe there's more than one of me-- because you don't really know me.
I know more about you than you think I would.
So my job is to go inside usually a pretty big organization who has a pretty sophisticated website, maybe a global multinational, thousands of sites, lots of microsites spinning around, and figure out why they can't do a good job.
Right, why are all the sites crap? Why do they all look differently? How come they can't do multichannel delivery? Why is everything so disintegrated? So I talked to a lot of different people from people all the way up to the C-suite, CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, all the way down to people who make things like you all, trying to figure out what's happening.
I call that a digital governance consultancy.
So I'm really trying to get people to work well and collaborate well together.
And that's really the focus of what I want to talk about today.
But before I do that, because I'm a little intimidated, whenever I give a talk-- because nobody really wants to talk about digital governance-- I'm always somewhere else other than my homeland.
I think it's because I don't have a homeland.
There is no digital governance homeland.
So I'm usually at somebody else's event like this one.
And so let me talk a little bit about my background so that you can appreciate where I'm coming from.
So when I was in university I studied music.
And you're going to hear a lot of music today because digital governance, I don't want you to fall asleep so we're going to listen to some tunes.
And that'll be a good thing.
I started out a music major.
But somewhere in the middle of it, I had to take a philosophy 101 class.
And I was forced to take this class and I did so and I fell in love with philosophy.
So I switched my major and I switched my university and started to study philosophy.
And as a philosophy major, I had to study symbolic logic.
Now, I'd always thought I was horrible at math and those sorts of things, but I had to take this course.
And then I fell in love with symbolic logic, because I thought it was really cool.
It was very precise.
So that's really good, because now I can talk to developers, because I know how they think.
At the same time, my sister got married and she married a guy who had a PhD In computer science.
And he said oh you know symbolic logic, and he gave me a book on Prolog.
I don't think anyone knows Prolog anymore, even knows what it is.
Anybody cool on Prolog? Right.
So he's like you know formal logic, do Prolog.
And so I learned Prolog.
So then I went off to grad school to study philosophy and I had another boyfriend.
My sister married a computer science guy.
I had a boyfriend who was getting his master's degree in computer science and I had to communicate with him.
I was in New York and he was somewhere else-- I can't remember-- via Pine.
So I had to go to the library and I had to login.
I had to use this weird email client Pine to actually communicate with him.
And this was in the late '80s.
I'm showing my age.
This was in the late '80s.
So I decided no, I don't want to be a philosophy professor.
I quit grad school and started doing work.
And since I knew a little bit about stuff and I had a very early Mac at the time, and I was confused.
I didn't know.
Do I want to go back to singing? Do I even work? What do I want to do? So I was doing some temp work, word processing in a word processing pool, something like that.
And I had found this thing on my Mac called HyperCard.
I was like oh, this is cool.
So just to show you how confused I was, I made a database of all the Arias that I could sing.
And if you pressed the Up button, it played the upscale in HyperCard.
If you pressed the Down button, it played the down scale in HyperCard.
So that was HyperCard.
Then I got married, had a child.
I was home on maternity leave and completely board.
And my good friend Dave McClure-- who's an angel investor now for 500 Startups-- sent me a 14.4 modem
and an HTML book.
He said if you're bored, do this.
I was like, OK.
I had one of those babies.
I put them in a little baby Bjorn thing and walked around.
And I taught myself HTML and I was hooked.
It was just the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life.
So I packed my bags moved to New York, went to Silicon Valley and started coding pages for Netscape.
They needed people to make pages.
It was the first Netscape website in the early browsers-- Mosaic and all of that.
And then subsequent to that, I got a job at Cisco Systems managing their product pages.
And my job is to convert the product page that came out in HTML for the intranet into the look and feel of the external web and post it.
So after about a week of that, I wrote a macro to do that and then I started doing other things.
And fast forward to today, in '99, I quit Cisco, started my own consultancy primarily because I noticed it wasn't really that it was difficult to code pages.
That wasn't really the heart thing.
The hard thing was actually getting the people to work together, to do the same thing.
It was a collaboration challenge.
And I really want to focus on that.
And so that was in 1999.
And it's really taken until now for people to realize that the way that you actually fix a bad online experience at its core is to actually fix the people who are creating it so they can work more collaboratively.
That's where my heart is.
That's where I come from when I talk about digital governance.
And that's what I want to talk about today.
So I hope that gives you a little bit of background about me.
And so now let's think collaboration and music-- two things I'm really interested in, still really interested in music.
I play the jazz piano so I want to listen to some things.
And when you listen to them, I want you to think about what's happening in the collaboration.
OK? [MUSIC PLAYING - "I GOT RHYTHM"] OK, enough.
So that's me singing with a bass player-- two people.
Think about that collaboration.
How did that happen? So what happened in that is that I sat down with the bass player.
We were recording some other things.
And we had the mic on and we started doing stuff, one take.
Two people looking at each other, eye to eye, communicating-- sound good enough right? Sounds sort of like fun.
I'm sorry my earring is-- how's that? I'll be the one earring woman, so we don't have to do that.
So there is a-- that's stylish in its own way, the one earring.
I think I might be too old for that.
So that's a two-person collaboration on the spot, real thing.
You don't have to plan too much for that, do you? You kind of look at each other.
You kind of groove with it back and forth.
And so let's think about that collaboration.
What's the difference between these two sorts of collaborations? I love these two sorts of music-- a big jazz nut, also subscriber to the symphony orchestra.
In that context, I'm one of the youngest people because the symphony crowd's pretty old.
So if you want to feel kind of feeling really young and you're 50, go to the symphony.
And you'll feel super young in that case.
So what's the difference between these two groups? So yeah, they're both playing music.
They're both doing a lot of different things.
But let's think about it.
[MUSIC PLAYING - KENNY BARRON] Kenny Barron, one of my favorites-- he's playing by himself now.
It is "Autumn."
He's kind of doing what he wants, isn't he? Making it up as he goes along? Listen to the differences in tempo, but then what happens when his buddies join him.
He sort of slides into a groove doesn't he.
He's in the pocket.
Everybody knows where they are, right? OK, I could listen to Kenny Barron all day, but we will not.
The other side of the camp, slightly bigger group, different kind of music, still collaborating.
Can you tell me who's in charge here? [SYMPHONY MUSIC PLAYING] Can you tell who's in charge? It must be him.
Certainly not him.
OK, so two different types of collaboration, all around music, two different sized groups, different styles, slightly bigger group, slightly smaller group-- what's the difference between these two sorts of things? And there's a lot of different things that we could point to.
One of them might be the tools.
But when you think about it, no that's not really the case.
We all know, especially now-- it used to be really that certain instruments, particularly in the West were associated with certain types of music.
But that's completely broken up now.
There's classical violin playing and there's jazz violin playing.
So it's not necessarily the tools that are making the difference.
Now, is it the language? You could say that classical music is highly scripted right and jazz is free-form.
But that's not really true either.
So this sort of language that they're using is sort of the same.
Anyone here a jazz musician? Wow, are you serious? Like absolutely zero? Is there anybody up there saying they're a jazz musician? Thank you.
There's somebody over here.
I love you.
So the way jazz works is generally speaking-- there's a lot of different ways, but let's just go kind of generally speaking-- you've got a chord progression that's written down in a melody.
That's what Kenny Barron was playing.
He was playing chords and melody.
You play that through one time so everybody kind of gets the footprint established.
And then, you play it over and over and over again and you do improvisations based on that chord progression and melody.
So there is a language and a structure to it.
So that's not really what's going on that's different either.
So is it the intent of these two different styles of music? Is that possibly, could it be the case? One of them is let's get going, let's get started on something and see if it goes somewhere.
Whereas on the classical side, it might be highly prescribed to begin with and then from that you try to evoke the emotion and the experience.
I would venture to say that both sides of the camp are trying to create great music.
They're trying to have a great collaboration.
Both sides of the camp assume that everyone in the room knows what they're doing and that they're good.
And if you don't have good people in the collaboration who know how to do their job well, then you get kind of a not good result.
So let's assume everybody's good because everyone in here is good at what they do.
And you're collaborating.
That doesn't necessarily lead to a good result.
There are plenty of individual contributors who are trying to do things and it's not working well together.
And so that's really the focus of what I do.
Why is it that I walk into organizations and there's an array of really talented people who know exactly what they ought to do, best practices.
As sole practitioners, they can do their work really well, but they still have trouble getting things together.
And so when you think about it, it really has to do with a couple of things and their odd things.
It's the group size and their resource proximity.
So it's taken me a long time to realize that it's really just about group size and resource proximity.
It's very spare.
It doesn't sound very elegant.
So I think this is the configuration that you need for "Mahler's Second."
It's like a double chorus, as big an orchestra as you could get and so forth.
Here's different types of smaller types of configuration-- similar size.
One of them's Preservation Jazz Band.
Anyone been to New Orleans? Yep, then yeah.
Preservation Jazz Band.
I just saw a thing on TV.
The guy with the tuba up there, his parents actually started the Preservation Jazz Hall.
I didn't realize that.
It's kind of an interesting story if you want to look into it.
But anyhow, and on the left side here, I don't know who this is.
I thought I had a picture of the Kronos Quartet, but that's not the Kronos Quartet.
But they look like they're doing something really interesting, especially that guy.
I'm not really quite sure what's going on there, but that's kind of an interesting story.
So a smaller group, group size and proximity resource.
So what this group can do easily and well together, this group can't.
And what this group can do easily and well together at the other group can't.
So here's something that's true.
If you want to get work done in a big distributed group, you have to give better guidance then when you're in a smaller co-located group.
It seems like common sense, doesn't it? But the way that we function in the digital space, it seems like this common sense hasn't gotten through.
So if you've got a big distributed group, which is usually a digital team-- oftentimes, maybe across buildings, maybe across a country, maybe across a company, maybe across the world-- that you actually have to give clearer guidance than if you are all sitting in the same room over a scrum team.
It's just a very, very different environment.
And so what I find is that a lot of digital teams inside organizations are trying to run their team, these lots and lots of people, like it was a jazz ensemble, like it was when Lisa was coding pages at Netscape.
When there were just a few people doing things, nobody really cared.
You just kind of sat.
We were all sitting in the same place and we were making up stuff as we were going on, going along like jazz.
Because we didn't know what we were doing in 1995 at Cisco Systems, putting up a website where Lisa knew like this much Unix.
But they let me into the live production server to do all kinds of crazy stuff like accidentally erasing the homepage-- and ha, ha, ha, it was funny-- stuff that would get us fired now.
That wouldn't happen.
We didn't know what we were doing.
It was like jazz.
And that's actually the culture of the digital space.
And that's part of the challenge sort of the beauty and part of the challenge of it is that the culture of digital is freestyle, is spontaneous freestyle.
But here we are, 20 years later, still try do spontaneous freestyle.
And it's not working very well.
It's probably making your job harder because it mean in order for people to give you things like structured content and information to go through and push through so that you can actually support all this responsive design work, the organization can't support you.
They can't give you the information because they're not coordinated.
So one of the things that need to happen is that sort of sense of coordination.
And that's really the focus around digital governance.
So good governance is really just good collaboration.
So digital governance challenges are about group size and proximity.
It's really interesting because I get a lot of pushback from people on the digital governance thing.
One, because it's called digital governance and it sounds really horrible, like a bad medicine.
And even when I'm giving a talk about it, I feel like I've got to prime the pump with some music to make you pay attention to me.
Of course, because if I came out saying digital governance-- and I've tried to call it other things, but I can't.
It really is about governing.
And it really is about doing something really tight and specific.
And I want to talk about what those things are, hopefully in a language that you can just understand and that you will not find off-putting or offensive.
How's that? And I want you to walk away thinking that this is something that you need to do and that it's a good thing and not something that's trying to stifle creativity.
I have another presentation that I give that's on standards and how standards enable collaboration.
And the point of that presentation is that there's probably absolutely nothing in the world that doesn't operate, that scales effectively or in the world at all, that doesn't operate off of a standards-based framework, including human beings and the number of pairs of chromosomes that we have.
When things are not operating in a standards-based framework, they just don't work.
There are standards for chairs.
There are standards for toasters.
There are no standards for the dongles that go into Macs or other connecting devices and it makes you crazy.
Things that scale and scale effectively, scale off of standards.
And governance is really about collaborating around those standards.
So when I go into an org, the thing that I'm helping them do is to make a governance framework.
So it sounds all very strict, but it's really not that complicated.
What we're doing is a few things.
I gave them to you all at once.
I'll back up.
The first one is you want to know who's on your digital team and what they're doing.
So you'd be surprised when I go in and ask someone so tell me about your team.
Who works on your websites, your mobile sites? Who's moderating your social channels? I might ask these questions and they'll kind of look at me and go well, what do you mean? I said well, what do you have? How many websites do you have and who's touching them? How many social channels you have and who's moderating them? Do you have any mobile applications that you're developing for your organization? And you know I'm usually talking to what I'll later describe as the core team, the main people in charge of the website.
They kind of look at each other uncomfortably and they're like well, it depends.
I'm like it depends on what? What do you got and who's touching it? So a lot of times, organizations don't have any idea.
They have a sense of idea of where their corporate website is.
They know there's a lot of microsites popping up all over the place.
Maybe there's some mobile application development.
They're not really sure.
We've had people that we've talked to where they've said no, we've got no mobile apps.
And I pull out my iPhone and I go to the app store and I type in their company name and up come mobile apps.
They had absolutely no idea there is.
So when you're doing a governing framework, the first piece is who's on the team and what are they doing and to just know that.
After that, you have to know who on the team is supposed to be establishing this vision.
So if you're working on a large team, you ought to have an aim.
I sat down with a bass player and he said oh do you know "I Got Rhythm."
I was like everybody knows "I Got Rhythm" He's like let's do it.
What key do want to sing it in? I can't remember what it was.
It was a few years ago.
Or maybe he just started playing, I don't know.
But there was at least some sort of basic vision that we were going to be a bass and a singer doing "I Got Rhythm."
We had an establishment of a tempo.
He counted it down or maybe he just started playing.
And then there's enabling that vision.
So inside your organization for your digital team, it's why in the world do you have an online presence? Why does your organization have that in the first place? And how do you know when you've won the web? Yes, of course, maybe a website seems like telephone right now.
You've got to have one if you're in an organization.
But what are you trying to achieve? And then after that, once you know why you have that presence, what do you need to support it? How do you actually enable that, either through head count, appropriate team structure, making sure that everybody will follow the rules by having a governing framework in place? All of those things actually need to happen in order for you to work together on this large team that does usually not work in close proximity but is all contributing to this unified digital footprint that everyone else gets to see.
So you're one component in that machine, but it needs to work well.
And so you need to have a vision.
That vision needs to be enabled After you've done that, then you have to get to the part that nobody likes.
Well, what are the things that you have to do and what are the things that you should not do as it relates to your organization? And so one of the things that you might have to do is be accessible.
You might have certain accessibility guidelines or policies.
You might have certain privacy policies that you need to put in place.
These are things you should and should not do.
In the US, there's children's online privacy.
There are certain things that you can't do or get from people under a certain age.
So there are things you must do and things you must not do.
If you're in the banking or financial sector you're heavily regulated, or you're in pharma, there are certain things in that that you need to do or not do on your website if you work in the pharmaceutical industry.
And that differs from country, to country, to country.
In the US, you can advertise for drugs, but you can't in most of the EU.
There's all these little things that you must and must not do, basically so that your business doesn't get sued or go into litigation because of something that you're doing online.
We see these violations all the time, obviously in the security space.
But there are other things related to content and information.
Then the last thing that you want to do when you make this governing framework is know who it is who decides the specific nature of things.
And this is where the rubber hits the road and where the arguments ensue.
So who gets to decide what color something is? Who gets to decide the information architecture? who gets to decide whether the CEO has their picture on the home page? Who gets to decide a variety of different things inside the organization? So all of these things really come down to strategy, policy, standards and team.
You have to know that and digital governance problems stem around the fact that you don't really know the answers to those questions.
So what happens is, every time you have a project or every time you want to make something, you have debates about it.
Oh is this the user interface, is that the user interface? That's fine.
It's great to have discussion and consider these things, but what's really happening when the arguments roll over and over and over again is that you don't know whose job it is.
Oops, did I do that? You don't know whose job it is to decide that, to be the final decision maker.
And so the governing framework isn't about filling in all those blanks and detail and answering all these questions, that's your job.
The job is who on a specific digital team is supposed to make that decision.
So when you're in the middle of a project and you're discussing something that you actually know where the buck stops, where the end of the line is and it doesn't go into perpetual debate.
So that's really it.
That's sort of the bones of it.
I want to talk about each aspect of that-- the team policies and standards in a little bit more detail.
So when I go in an org and I ask folks where's your web team-- that's usually what I'll say, where's your web team.
And usually if I asked you that question, where's your web team, someone has a sort of visceral sense of who that might be.
And they're usually then referring to this core team.
And then there's this distributed team.
There are these working groups and committees.
And then there's this extended external team as well.
And I want to talk about each one of those.
Let's talk about the core team first.
There's four things that the core team does.
One-- and people hate this, but I'm all about rules.
And you can tell from my history, I like rules.
It just makes things very easy.
And you guys probably like rules too, don't you? Yeah, let's talk about rules.
So the core team makes the rules.
They set the standards for things.
This is how you build stuff.
They make sure that other people who make things, that are on the digital team but not inside the core, there's those pesky people in other departments who are making rogue things that make you crazy-- Or maybe you're one of the rogue makers-- they make sure that other people that are not rule makers, but make things that they know how to follow the rules and that those things are effectively communicated to them.
Ops, my thumb is clicking.
The third thing is that they make and manage things that the full team must share.
So that's a really interesting attribute of the core team that they make and manage things like web content management systems, templates, overarching information architectures, taxonomies.
What else could they be? Search engines, analytic software, any set of tools that the full team might use together, the core team has to select, implement manage, train people around.
And then this last one is measuring whether or not the team's doing a good job.
And what I took off of this slide, because people get mad at me, it's then remediating when people aren't.
So the most extreme version of that is taking down stuff that doesn't follow the rules.
It makes people crazy.
In a really good governing environment that doesn't happen because people are breaking the rules to begin with.
So I want to be clear about this, I'm not talking about no creativity.
I'm talking about creating a framework in which you can scale with purpose.
And you know that's true.
We would not be sitting here if it weren't for the standards-based internet, if it weren't for the standards-based worldwide web.
I went to an event a few months back or maybe earlier this year, I can't remember what-- and the only reason I went to it was I live in Baltimore, Maryland.
In the States, and that's very close to DC, and there was an event sponsored by Duke Law School with Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee.
I was like, OK inventor of the internet, inventor the worldwide web-- hour on the train, no-brainer.
I get there and not only are they both there, but it's like a small room even.
There's like less than 100 people there.
So everyone else is walking around like Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, that's a normal everyday occurrence-- not for me.
So I like a total fan girl, didn't know what to do.
Never got up enough nerve to get the selfie I wanted because I wanted a Vint Cerf internet governance, world wide web, digital governance selfie.
It didn't happen because I just couldn't do it.
I did get handed a glass of wine by Tim Berners-Lee and told a very bad kind of grandpa joke from Vint Cerf.
And that was it.
But I don't know why I brought that up.
I always bring that up because I'm still tickled about it.
It was a very kind of exciting thing.
But my point is, we are operating within a standards based framework and the only reason why the web took off and scaled so effectively is because of standards .
And the same thing could happen inside an organization.
And the only reason why things aren't taking off and scaling as effectively inside your organization is because you're not using standards.
So you can have creativity within a standards-based framework.
Think about everything all the ways we use the internet and everything that's on the worldwide web.
There's incredible diversity, just like there can be incredible diversity in music operating off of a similar standards-based framework.
You just have to tune your collaboration model appropriately.
So with the core team, there's this little anomaly of the core I call the dispersed core.
And I put this in here because everybody's like I'm special.
Yeah, we need to have standards, but I'm special and I need a special set of rules.
So I invented this thing called the dispersed core and that someone who gets to make rules but is it really in the core.
Now, there are ways to do that and ways not to do that.
A way not to do it is I just want to do it because I'm special.
Dispersed core happens in reality because there's a reason.
In this case, I use the Clorox Company.
They have multiple brands.
There's no reason really for these brands to be operating off of the same brand identity, maybe not the same reason for them to have the same content management systems.
I don't know.
Actually, I do know.
I worked with them years ago.
And I do know at the time, years and years and years ago, probably not now, all these brands were serving off the same web content management system.
They were all supported by the same corporate policy.
But obviously, the look and feel, visual identity if you actually went to websites were completely different.
So sometimes you do need to spread your core out.
It doesn't just need to be central tight team doing that.
The next thing that you have is your distributed team and your distributed team does three things.
They're responsible for a silo.
Silo is a bad word.
I don't mind silos.
Silos are important.
No one can work in a company of 130,000 people, 5,000 people, 50 people, 500 people without there being silos.
No one can work effectively in a group that large.
We need silos.
The problem is the silos aren't connected.
A distributed team member is responsible for making some aspect of digital in a silo.
They also have to make things according to the rules that the core team set.
This generally annoys them and they try to do their own thing.
And they try to act like they're a dispersed core when in reality there's no business reason for them to be different than anyone else, but they'll do it anyway.
But they shouldn't.
And here's really the most important thing is that they tell the core team things that they need to know so that the standards that the core makes make sense.
This often doesn't happen.
Sometimes the core team can get really inflated saying we are the boss.
We know what we're doing.
We make the rules.
But they don't listen to anyone else out in a business unit, or in a different country, or in China where they say we have a totally different set of social softwares that we use.
So they making rules that are restrictive and didn't take into account the whole business case.
So this third one is really important for the distributed team, making sure that they actually are communicating and that the core team is listening to what their needs are externally.
Then, the other part are working groups and committees of your team.
And these are really the bridges that I talk about.
They make sure that all those silos are connected.
You need three different flavors of bridge to make digital work.
You need a top, middle and a bottom.
The top is probably your executive suite.
They're the ones who are telling their staff we have one unified online experience and you better work together and listen to the core team.
That hardly ever happens.
That's why I have a job.
That's exactly why I have a job.
Usually, there's a lack of alignment at the top of the organization.
There's all these silos happening and they're all fighting.
So you need this top bridge.
You need a middle bridge which are the standards makers in the core team talking to all the other makers.
These are the hands on people who are actually building and making things, aligning and communicating about standards, training, educating, collaborating, inventing.
And then you need the bottom, and that's just really organic community practice.
That's anyone inside your organization the cares about your online experience.
They don't really have any authority.
Maybe it's somebody who updates the lunch menu on your intranet and that's all they do, but they're like sort of a pseudo geek.
They just want to talk about digital.
Maybe have some brown bags for them.
So you need these sort of intentional sorts of bridges that make sure that horizontal collaboration happens.
And then you've got your extended team which is on the outside of your digital team.
And these are people who don't work inside your organization, but they impact it very heavily.
For instance, some orgs almost completely outsourced the development of digital.
Maybe you will support an organization like that.
So there's no one actually in the company that actually makes things.
They've hired an interactive agency to do all that.
That's your extended team.
And you can see how in a model like that you have to consider them along with the rest of the team.
Because if you're establishing all these policies and standards and you're communicating them to your team and most of your team is outside, or you've got vendor support all over the globe or all over this place, and they're not communicated to about your standards, they're going to make stuff that doesn't fit the mold.
And then when you try to do all this really sophisticated integrated elegant work, it's not going to happen.
So really understanding that whole aspect of your team is really helpful.
So in the end, you're going to get this team that really works well together.
They have standards.
They have policies.
They're communicating and collaborating with each other.
So that's it.
That's about all there is to digital governance.
I could say a lot more about it.
It wouldn't change anything.
There's some details of implementation.
That wouldn't change anything.
This is all about collaboration, bringing the team more closely together, more aligned to the same set of policies and standards.
So that was the medicine part.
I promised you I wrapped it top and bottom in something nice.
So we got some music at the top, music in the bottom and I want to try and pull these things together a little bit by bringing us back to the real world and really pushing the standards-based development and how really powerful it can be.
So I'm in the Netherlands and I'm always really self-conscious in the Netherlands when I talk about Katrina.
Because I think we had to have some of you all come and help us with our water management.
And you know Katrina was really a tragedy.
I didn't have anything family members down in New Orleans, but a lot of friends.
And so even years and years and years later, it's really a challenge.
But one of the positive things that came out of that was a story about the US Coast Guard and the fact that you can actually they kind of rushed into this environment from all over the country and we're actually able to save lives.
So what's interesting about the Coast Guard and about the military in general is that people think it's this heavily governed top-down environment.
And it is, but one of the things that's also true is that soldiers, workers are enabled to do what they want to do in the field and make their own decisions.
And the same was true here.
But the reason why it worked, when you brought together this team that has never worked together before, many of them from all over the world, the reason why it works was because of standards.
They had standard protocols for things.
Maybe somebody who is from New Hampshire versus somebody who is from California Coast Guard could come together and work together instantly and do something powerful because of standards.
I keep saying that and I know you all are standards-based folks as well, but I want to sort of preach to the choir a little bit on this.
So I want to bring this together at the end, I'm almost out of time.
So internet, world wide web, music, group size, proximity-- has anybody ever heard of Eric Whitacre? No, has anybody raised their hand? I got it.
Oh yeah, she did.
Anna, I remembered your name.
We introduced ourselves to each other and mentioned how we could not remember names.
I feel really good that I remember her name.
She still thinks I'm Linda, but that's OK.
That's really fine.
So Eric Whitaker is a really guy.
He's either one of those people you either love or you hate.
Eric Whitacre one is he's a kind of like really slick and cool looking.
And some people hate that because he's just that way.
But he's done something really powerful.
I wanted to sort of draw out.
He's done this sort of internet choir thing.
I'm a choir singer, aside from the jazz.
I've always sung in choirs.
I love singing in choirs.
It's sort of like team sports for singers, singing in choirs.
And so he decided to do this sort of virtual choir.
But I wanted you to see what he's done.
So he's created this conductor track.
So these are sort of the standards and guidelines and formation things that he did to make this work.
Then he played in this accompaniment part to the conductor track and then made some sheet music.
And then, he distributed.
He allowed anybody who wanted to to download it.
And then, they would actually be able to record something.
So he wanted to create a virtual choir from all around the world so that people could use the web and sort of reinvent the choir.
He was using a standards-based framework in the biggest collaboration chorally that we could think of as far as distribution.
And could they actually do something and work it? He wanted to see if they could actually make music.
So this is what came out of it.
And I'll leave you with this.
Bring your best self to the game.
I think all these people brought their best selves to the game and I thought the product of it was really quite outstanding.
So let me know what you think.
[MUSIC PLAYING - ERIC WHITACRE'S VIRTUAL CHIOR, "LUX AURUMQUE" So isn't that cool? Look what we can do.
What a wonderful collaboration using all the technology that we work with all of the time.
I think it's fabulous.
We're really, really fortunate to be working in this domain.
So I think we should all bring our best selves, try to get the work done, consider the bigger picture.
So thank you.
I hope that opens up your day, opens up your spirit.
Enjoy yourselves and thank you.
[APPLAUSE] That was great.
Come over to the comfy chairs, please Lisa.
I love that talk as a part time muser myself, I always like to listen to music.
But also, your talk really resonated with me.
And I wish I'd met you in 2004 when I started in a big organization wasn't a web organization, but felt it had to have a website but had no idea really what to do.
And you mentioned that the most important things were the size of the group and the proximity of the group.
And maybe this is an ambush question.
Do you find that there's a difference between new media or web organizations and the web teams in more traditional organizations and how they're governed? Yeah, that's an interesting question.
And I actually think about that a lot.
The governance isn't necessarily so different.
What's different is the integration of digital into the organization.
So if you're new media and you're all digital, you're all digital.
So this idea of why do we have websites, why are we online, what are we doing, it's self-explanatory.
And so if you existed prior to the internet and world wide web, there's this sort of integration effort that has to happen where you're pushing digital into the organization.
It's often very difficult to get put in.
I mean depending on who you are, you may not have had a choice about that.
So if you're a newspaper, you had to get on the stick pretty quickly or you either went out of business.
In the US, most of the newspapers are privately held ventures.
They have to be profitable.
They're not in the public space.
And so you had to make that transition.
So if what you are doing was impacted very quickly by digital you had to turn.
The music industry, media-- if it's an easy to digitize product or service, something really disruptive happened.
What's really challenging is if you look at businesses like weired B2Bs these that make whatever this material is that holds this case or the screws that hold the table together, like the things that are holding your seat together, there's all these B2Bs that make billions of dollars and make things we don't even think about-- like the screws in your eyeglasses, stuff like that.
Them trying to figure out what to do with digital and get a vision around it is extremely challenging.
Because not everybody has the sexy call to digital where it's just really obvious what you're going to do.
And so depending on where you are on that continuum, you have to not only just govern differently, but you have to manage how digital gets integrated in because you don't want to break the business.
I mean not everybody needs to go at digital full tilt, which is hard for us to see.
We are in a silo.
I really liked what was said this morning about we're our own little island of digitalness.
We forget that not everybody's on this ride or always needs to be on the ride as fully as we are.
So kind of a broad way to answer the question, but did I? OK.
Do you find that governance and collaboration particular with distributed teams is getting easy now we tools like Slack or even tweeting each other or corporate Facebook clones, or is the challenge always the human challenge of defining roles and chasing people to stay within those roles rather than role creep? I would have to say the latter.
I mean I love collaboration tools.
I think it's great, but I also have to be honest with you.
I get really frustrated when people think that they can solve a governance problem with a tool, because actually a governance problem is really a power struggle.
Who gets to decide? I don't care how well I can talk to you in your underwear in your bathroom at home right from where anywhere in the world, I want to know am I supposed to be making the decision or are you.
We can have a conversation, but at the end of the day, that's really sort of what's going to happen.
And once that's clear, then actually all the other discussions become much more easy.
So yes I'm all for the collaboration.
In fact, I wouldn't even say I'm all for that.
I would say I'm just agnostic about that.
That's not my domain expertise and I think it's different team to team to team what types of collaboration tools that you want to use.
So use the ones that are culturally appropriate.
But in any type of situation, you need to understand who your decision makers are.
And that might sound sort of rigid, and it is, but it's going to make things move more quickly and scale more effectively.
And that's not to say there's not room for sort of R&D and innovation.
But once you've innovated something and you want to start replicating it, something's happened and it's successful, you need to have some governing dynamics around it or you're going to end up making a mess.
This is the question for me, not from the audience, because I'm the guy with the microphones.
So bad luck.
But this fascinates me.
I found myself in the situation of telling the chief executive of the organization at 5pm on a Friday night that I was not going to put a PDF of his 10 page speech to the World Institute of Chartered Surveyors on the homepage.
How'd that go for you? I moved jobs soon afterwards.
But, it is a power struggle.
And in most organizations, of course, the chief executive or that at C-level boss is the person who dictates.
So how do you persuade your bosses for the needs for digital governance? That's probably the number one asked questions that I get from people, which is I get this, but nobody upstairs gets this.
And sometimes there's some condescension in that attitude as in they're idiots.
They don't know anything about digital, we should be in charge sort of thing.
I beg to differ a lot of that.
Usually, what it is really just a knowledge challenge.
The C-suite, the executive suite, managing directors, whatever you call them in whatever country you are, they have a very specific job and it's to make sure that when the check get signed that everybody gets that they used to feed their kids and family that it actually goes to the bank, that money comes out the other end.
That's their job.
Their job is not digital.
So to the extent that digital can enable that to happen, that's good.
But you have to sort of come at them with that argument.
You have to come at them about how this is going to add monetary value, even if you're not a for profit business.
At the end of the day, non-profits are often just trying to make money as well.
So you have to sort of speak their language and don't assume they don't know what they're talking about.
I talked to a lot of C-suite folks in the work that I do.
And I always talk to them last when I'm doing discovery with people because I want to hear all the dynamics and then I want to see if I can validate it against them.
And with rare exception, they're not as clueless as you think.
They just I want you to come at them with a cogent argument about why they should do something.
Now, the ego trip thing, you know that's just crazy.
And you have to kind of involve them in that digital strategy formation, so that one thing after the team when I said enabling the vision, that's usually understanding what you're doing online, why you're doing it.
There's a business aspect to that.
How are we going to use digital to actually get to the bottom line? And if you involve your executives in that process-- not the how many sites we're going to make and what are they going to look like, that's the standards part, but exactly what we're making-- but why are we making we're making.
Are we trying to close down call centers? So we're trying to create some type of knowledge base online so that people will call us less? What are you trying to do for the business? If you can make that business relevant, they'll come in line and they'll begin to understand, not immediately, why certain behaviors that they might want to do online just aren't to the advantage of the business or don't make any kind of sense from a UX perspective.
I'd love to talk all day, but they will beat me up if I don't adhere to the schedule.
So ladies and gentlemen, Lisa Welchman.
Peace everybody, thanks.
[APPLAUSE] Thank you.