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ThinkstockPhotos-528912136(1).jpgAs many of you know, I'm the internal community for Jive's very own interactive intranet, Brewspace. My job is to design, implement, and operationalize strategic use cases for Brewspace, with a strong emphasis on enhancing employee communications and engagement. My day-to-day consists of tuning into and supporting our community, attending meetings to ensure business alignment, creating high-value content that teaches our community members or communicates a company-wide campaign/announcement, and pulling performance metrics and reports for executive summaries. To all my fellow internal community managers out there, this sounds familiar, right?


Then you're probably familiar with the following interaction with a certain type of community persona; the ones who are team managers, program owners, and department leaders. It starts off with a direct message, a 1:1 meeting request, or, god forbid, an email:


"Hey! How do I go about setting up a group? I want to create one for my team (or project, or whatever). And can you help me make it look good?"


*sigh* This is always a tough one. Because we all know that it's quite easy, almost too easy, to create a new place for team and project collaboration. It's certainly not hard to figure out, and once they do, they assume that launching a place is all about how it looks. In the beginning, not many people are considering beyond the look and feel... It's interesting how often I get the initial blank stares when they are asked about the audience, it's purpose, and how a place should be maintained and nurtured.


While I've offered 1:1 training's and consulting for anyone who owns large scale use cases and program, I also decided to create some self-help documentation and templates to help guide Jivers through the process of setting up a new place, and more importantly, setting their expectations regarding the ongoing commitment required once their places are created. Because after all, making it look good is only the icing on the cake.


I've decided to share this consulting process and these training assets with you, the Jive Community, in hopes that they might be relatable and valuable to your own interactive intranets.

Consultation vs Self-Help:

When helping community members self-centralize and create places for team collaboration, it’s important to understand when to step in and offer 1:1 assistance. There’s a fine line between doing everything yourself and expecting your community to help themselves. The former ensures governance and consistency, but can easily consume all of your time. The latter could easily turn your community into the wild wild west, full of places that are unmanaged, ineffective, or unused entirely.


For Brewspace, I opt towards consultation for any major use cases like company onboarding, strategic alignment initiatives, department portals, ideation for company wide cost savings innovation etc.  In those use cases, I typically sit down with a program owner and ask:


  • What is your goal?
  • What 2-3  major activities, engagement can the user expect from this community?
  • How much resource do you have to commit to an editorial calendar, content creation and the ongoing moderation?
  • How frequent do you want to surface your community activities at the company wide level?


This first phase takes the longest because it forces people to think about the tactics of the program itself rather than thinking about how a place should look.  Once I have answers to those, I'll recommend either to implement their program in an existing Place within the community, or create a new Place.  I'll then create a wireframe, take a stab at the initial design, then request feedback until the stakeholders are happy.  We'll then launch it and I'll create a data sheet for it for other Jivers to learn from for their initiatives. By investing 1:1 time in the marquee use cases and creating these data sheets, I can scale this training and support material to anyone else who is interested in creating their own place on Brewspace.


In reality, there’s no universal formula for knowing how much time to spend creating places yourself versus teaching your community to help themselves. Every community will be different. But in both 1:1 consulting and self-help, the key message that I keep reinforcing is: It's not only about launching a program but about the ongoing engagement.

The Result: Places with Purpose

To help provide you with a running start, I’ve shared all of the data sheets I’ve created for my own community members to help them create places with a purpose. You can use these as a starting point when creating places that support department communication and collaboration or simply guide people to see if this is something they are ready to sign up for.


Example: Guidelines for Place Creation and Ownership

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing (Home)

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - Marketing (global  private group)

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - International Marketing

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - Growth Marketing and CMR Program Center

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - Creative Services

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive:  Corporate Communications and News

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - Onboarding

Interactive Intranet Profile at Jive: Marketing - Corporate Events

In April of 2016, Starwood Hotels replaced their existing intranet—an old, out-of-date platform with no mechanisms for two-way dialogue or engagement—with Jive's interactive intranet. With everything they needed to support collaboration for their 250,000 plus employee community right out of the box, Jive's cloud solution made deployment simple, and the entire project stayed on schedule—and within budget. Now, four months later, the old "megaphone" platform is a distant memory, and Starwood's employees are taking advantage of the powerful collaboration capabilities the Jive interactive intranet provides: people are exchanging ideas, connecting with one another and building community in unprecedented ways.


Check out our video featuring Starwood's VP of Enterprise Systems, Brad Carr, and learn how Jive solved major pain points in their previous platform and is helping make Starwood a better and more fun place to work for its employees across the globe!



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Employee Engagement

All companies want it but few find it - at least to the level they really want.  And why?


Everyone has their theories on how to nurture employee engagement.  Usually, it comes in the form of a program or personality test or a new benefit (like child care).  And yet employee engagement is crazy low.  Why is that? Almost everyone is confusing two words:


Satisfaction & Engagement


What we are usually fighting is Dissatisfaction, or another very similar term, Disengagement. They kind of go hand in hand. Either way, it's what we are trying to avoid.  We assume that because the employee programs we put into place take employees out of those states that they will automatically put them into a state of Engagement.  But that's where most people err.  Rather, these programs often put them into more of a limbo land between Dissatisfaction and Engagement called Satisfaction.


So rather than creating "Engagement programs" they inadvertently create "Satisfaction programs."  And in fact, the Satisfaction programs work perfectly, except that management was expecting Engagement-level results.


When a company goes from Satisfaction to Engagement, it turns out that they actually shy away from programs and start working on the core culture in more meaningful ways.  They start designing and crafting the environment rather than slapping on lame programs.  Creating an engaged workforce isn't a "force on our employees" type initiative, but rather they create an environment that will allow their employees to be engaged.  Why is it so rare?  It isn't a "check the box" activity.  It is a sustained mentality and purposely designed set of circumstances.


And that isn't an easy thing to do.


Watch the video below for a better explanation for the difference between these three states.  Share this video with your colleagues and employees so they can understand why their employee programs may not be working.  Then together, you can reevaluate the programs you have in place right now.



(For a more in-depth look on this subject, check out the original post from my blog.)


Since this is a community of community managers, I'm know I'm preaching to the choir.


So let me ask:


  • Has your company broken through from the state of Satisfied to Engaged employees?
  • What made the difference?

Wannabe Jiver.jpgIt's that time again: time to turn the spotlight on another Jive Community member in the How I Work blog series. This one features someone I lovingly refer to as the poster-child for JiveWorld16: Dina Vekaria . You may recall Dina when she dropped the mic on all other #JW16 social media activity with this now-infamous dubsmash, winning Most Valuable Tweet of JiveWorld.


But despite her JiveWorld fame, Dina still has time for the common folk like me. So I managed to sit down with her to learn more about how she works. Here's what she had to share, in words, gifs, and videos:


Emilie Kopp: First off, let's tell everyone where you work.

Dina Vekaria: I work in the London headquarter offices of Pearson, a company dedicated to to helping people improve their lives through learning.


EK: How would you describe your current job?

DV: It's fun, creative and hard work, but I love it. This is how creative I can get:




EK: So how do you use Jive at Pearson?

DV: Jive is how how we communicate with each other as employees. It’s how we network with each other.

It’s how our senior leaders can communicate relevant messages either locally or globally. It’s how we can have our water-cooler moments between the UK and Brazil, the U.S. and Australia, Spain and South Africa.


EK: Wow, I really love that last bit. It really captures what an employee community is all about.

OK, so switching gears: What's your computer situation when you work? Mac vs PC?

DV: Mac of course. In fact, my house is an Apple lover’s dream! iPods, iPads, Macbooks, Apple TV, Apple watches, galore!


EK: So I'm assuming your mobile situation as dominated by Apple products as well?

DV: Yes. iPhone and iPad. I tried getting into Android, but I kept coming back to Apple.


EK: Besides Jive, what are the apps/tools you can't live without?

DV: Starbucks (keeping my priorities clear here), Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Pinterest and of course, all my social apps. I love to share! Follow me on Twitter,  Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat: @dinavekaria.


EK: How do you stay organized?

DV: Spreadsheets galore! My teammates will confirm this obsession. I have a spreadsheet for everything, all our project plans, upgrades and updates on Jive. I even go as far as having one for my banking, food tracking and shopping lists for when I’m in the U.S. I love a good formula.


EK: What do you listen to while you work?

DV: Music is life to me. I listen to music all day, everyday. I have a very eclectic taste in music, it ranges from R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, House, Dance. Right now, whilst I’m writing this response, Spotify is playing The Weeknd “Can't Feel My Face”. This song reminds me of JW16, when Maren Beckman and I went crazy at Drais for this song.

Dina & Maren.gif


EK: What's your best time saving trick?

DV: If you can get it, more screens. I’m so much more efficient when I have three separate screens. I plan everything in my calendar by the hour. Ticking things off my to-do list is the only way I can work. I have mild OCD with certain things.


EK: How do you balance work and life?

DV: This used to be a weakness of mine, but I’m working on it. I’m a workaholic and I live for the work. It’s taken me a while to understand it’s okay to have both. I now make a conscience effort to take time to do what I love in my work day, which is to go to the gym and grab an iced tea on my way home. Thank you, Starbucks, for introducing iced tea to the UK.


EK: If you had to pick one work that best describes how you work, what would it be?



EK: What's your sleep routine like?

DV: Unfortunately very poor as I suffer from insomnia. If I’m lucky, I can get 5hrs of sleep a night.


EK: Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

DV: A mahoosive extrovert! Could you not tell?


EK: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

DV: “Dina, you can’t do everything in one day, so get your *** home and spend time with your family. All of this work will be here in the morning ready and waiting.” - Maren Beckman


Thanks for sharing, Dina. It's always a pleasure and I hope to see you at JiveWorld next year and years to come.

And to the rest of the Jive Community: please help me applaud our wonderful Jive fan-girl in the comments below!

pitfallsmountain.jpgIn 1982, before the advent of the PC, the Disney movie Tron introduced people to the idea of living inside of a computer. Nearly three and a half decades later, it’s not much of a leap to say that we actually do spend much of our days inside of computers.


In fact, most of us live our consumer lives immersed in technologies that were once the stuff of science fiction. Today, our digital experiences are pervasive, flexible, open, adaptive and mobile. At work it’s not too different—except, in the digital workplace, it can often seem as if we’re still locked in a mainframe straight out of 1982.


Today, most employees are stuck using a mishmash of email, rigid document-centric suites and shiny-yet-distracting teamware apps all bolted together on top of a legacy, my-way-or the highway intranet that has aged about as well as a GeoCities community circa 1996. The problem is that modern workers expect an empowering, people-centric workplace experience rather than a glorified bulletin board or reams of message threads where knowledge goes to die.


In my new article in CMSWire, I discuss the ways in which an interactive intranet solution can help businesses address the challenges and avoid the pitfalls of designing a new digital workplace. By putting people at the center of a virtual "WorkHub," companies can increase ROI and engagement by living up to employees’ high expectations.


To learn more about why interactive intranets should be the hub of your digital workplace strategy, read my article, Navigating Pitfalls in the New Digital Workplace.

Hello fellow community managers,


There's a lot of really great features that are rolling out with the 2016.2 release of Jive’s cloud-based Interactive Intranet and Customer Community solutions. One of the features I'm personally most excited about is the new peer to peer recognition capabilities. We recently implemented a peer recognition program here at Jive using this newest feature in order to encourage higher participation and activity on our own employee community. I decided to share how I launched that program and configure the Jive Rewards feature in 3 simple steps. Check it out:


Announcing a new process for collecting your Ideas for Jive!


In case you are not aware, Ideas for Jive is the place in the Jive Community where customers can post ideas related to Jive's product offerings. The Jive product and community teams have been working hard over the last several months to come up with a new process to review and respond to customer ideas. We're shaping Ideas for Jive into something new, different and better. Something that rethinks the original promise but is realistic in execution. As a result, we'll be relaunching the Ideas for Jive space on July 28, 2016.



For customers only: exclusive access to submit ideas

We love to hear what our customers are thinking and what matters most to you. We will ensure better visibility to your ideas with our new process for ideas.


Our new process will only be open to current customers, so please be sure that you have access by testing your access. In order to submit an idea to Jive after July 28, you'll need to be on our Jive Community 'Customer List.' To see if you are on the list already, visit: Customer Hub (as we will be utilizing the same permission list that we currently use for Jive Customers). If you cannot access that space, please sign up now so that we can confirm your access: Are you a customer? Request customer-only access today


Launch date

The new Ideas for Jive will launch on July 28, so the space will be temporarily unavailable on July 27 from 1 pm Pacific Time in order to get ideas moved around and the stages refreshed. The Ideas for Jive space should be back online by 5 pm PT that day.


We know you are passionate about your ideas. At this time we cannot address the specific disposition of any existing ideas. Check back in the Ideas for Jive space on July 28 to see the disposition of any current active ideas you have. We look forward to your participation in our new process!

Jive invented enterprise collaboration more than 15 years ago to empower people to work better together. Over the years, our Interactive Intranet has become the must-have solution for large companies across dozens of industries and lines of business to boost productivity and increase engagement among their employees. Today, Jive connects millions of people in ways that were unimaginable back when we began. And we’re only getting started.


We have a steadfast commitment and the best minds in the business working on the future of workplace collaboration. With our latest release, we’ve introduced new capabilities such as breakthrough personal analytics, intelligent profiles and enhanced integration to help organizations combine people, information and technology in brand new ways.


Tomorrow, Jive will not simply be a “place” or a “destination,” it will also be a pervasive virtual workplace. This new WorkHub will not only connect people, ideas, processes, work streams, devices and applications; it will create experiences. We are well-positioned to forever change the way work gets done in our digital world—today, tomorrow and well into the future.


To learn more about how Jive is powering the new future of work, read my new post here: The New Future of Work: A Peek into Jive’s Future History.

Today we officially unveiled to the world all of the great new features packaged in our 2016.2 cloud release! This new collection of features for Jive’s innovative cloud-based Interactive Intranet and Customer Community solutions help people get their work done faster and with more insight, while putting them at the center of their organization’s knowledge. Jive’s enhanced WorkHub allows companies to strengthen and easily leverage their biggest asset—corporate memory—wherever and whenever they need to.

Image of Jive's new innovative features

Jive’s unified WorkHub puts You at the center to fuel your organization's corporate memory


A special thanks goes out to all of our customers who put their words of excitement and support behind this important launch. Here's what they had to say:


  • "Jive's new personal analytics are important innovations to their solutions as they will not only help people see how active they are in the platform, but also how their content is resonating with other users. I believe this view into members' own impact on the community will increase the strong engagement we are seeing at Cox." — candidar, enterprise community manager at Cox Automotive


  • "I'm looking forward to the new personal insights in Jive's latest cloud update. We're eager to see how this new feature may change the behavior of our colleagues as they measure their personal impact in our community. In addition, Jive's new profiles are much more visual and provide faster access to a colleague's biography and expertise." — Dina Vekaria, community manager at Pearson


  • "We're excited about Jive's innovative new events functionality, which will deliver amazing time savings because we use events heavily within our community. Jive understands our needs, and is meeting them by delivering updates like the ability to highlight both internal and external speakers, create a copy of an event, and include a time zone—all of which are more streamlined ways to relay information to our members." —, social community manager at Relias Learning


  • "I'm excited about the introduction of personal analytics in Jive's latest release. This will allow our employees to see their individual impact, and inspire them to share more of their stories and experiences in the community—an important focus at our company." — Lori Harrison-Smith, enterprise community manager at Steelcase


  • "The latest enhancements in Jive's user experience allow us to spend our time focusing on what is most important—the content in our platform. In particular, every step taken in deepening the underlying analytics means that our users, community managers and the Jive system itself can use real data to decide what to target next and where to improve. Through ongoing engagement with customers like us—in user groups, in beta programs, and in its own customer community—Jive's transparency stands out, and we appreciate seeing regular new releases that incorporate our feedback and continue to excite us." — Andy Yates, technology strategy and innovation principal at ThoughtWorks


To learn more about this important release, read about it on our website: Jive's Latest Feature Release Drives Productivity and Engagement


More information in the Jive Community:

Personal Insights - 2016.2 Deep Dive


Flying helicopters in the North Sea is dangerous business. That’s why, when HeliOffshore, the global safety association for the offshore helicopter industry, was deciding on an all hands on deck approach to saving lives, they chose Jive.




To get its members on the same page, the UK-based non-profit had to streamline processes and break down communication barriers across dozens of companies in several different industries, including manufacturers, operators and regulators. To add to the layers of complication, many of those organizations are in different time zones, says HeliOffshore CEO, Gretchen Haskins.


HeliOffshore began testing Jive’s Interactive Intranet solution on its Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) – which monitors how a helicopter is functioning – last November. “The maintenance engineers loved it,” says Haskins. “We’ve got over 40 experts across the world actively collaborating,” she says, specifically citing the functionality of surveys and the ability to comment on documents in order to identify problems and propose solutions.


In the past, experts relied on accidents to retroactively learn how to prevent the next incident, says Haskins. Today, businesses like HeliOffshore are using data analytics and cloud collaboration tools to diagnose potential problems and offer solutions to prevent the loss of life before the helicopter even takes off.


To learn more about how Jive can help your company save time, money and perhaps even lives, read the Computer Business Review article here: HeliOffshore and Jive: Can cloud collaboration and data analytics save lives?

ThinkstockPhotos-451027867.jpgEvery community manager knows that it's the people that make your community, which is why driving adoption is such a key concern. It's one of the most common discussion topics on the Jive Community. It's asked in many ways, for a variety of communities - internal and external, new and mature. But it always goes a little something like this:


"How do I get more people active on my community?"


If you have ever participated in the discussion around this topic (and I imagine there are a lot of you!), here are 3 resources you need to know about right now:



1. Announcing the Adoption Resource Center

The Jive Professional Services team has created the Adoption Resource Center to provide all Jive customers with access to guidance and best practices to help you achieve greater adoption and success with your Jive implementations. It is intended to support your success across different stages of your Jive journey and community program development - and particularly the critical set up and launch stages - by providing access to foundational guidance and best practices. Please note that you'll need to be on our Customer List in order to access the space below, you can request access here: Are you a customer? Request customer-only access today

Check out the wealth of resources here: Adoption Resource Center


2. "Ask a Consultant" weekly office hours

In addition to the great content you'll find in the Adoption Resource Center, Jive has launched a weekly "Ask a Consultant" session on Thursdays. You get direct access to some of Jive's veteran consultants from Professional Services, where they field your questions and adoption-related challenges and provide tips and tricks to help you work through your community questions and issues. This is where you can provide input and dictate what topics and challenges are most important for Jive to help you solve.


Ask your questions here: "Ask a Consultant" Questions

Join the next "Ask a Consultant" Session here: Ask a Consultant - July 21, 2016

See future weekly sessions posted here: Adoption Resource Center


3. Best Practices webinar series

And to help you navigate all of these new resources and learning opportunities, Jive Professional Services is hosting a Best Practice webinar on July 20. Get the most out of the Adoption Resource Center, all of the materials and guidance it provides, along with some other related adoption resources Jive is now offering.  This is part of a broader series where Jive experts cover topics relating to building and managing your community.


Sign up for the upcoming webinar here: Adoption Resource Center Webinar - Jive Software


For more about this new space and all of these new resources, be sure to check out Jennifer Kelley's and Claire Fletcher's summary here:

Announcing the Adoption Resource Center

ThinkstockPhotos-179210469.jpgWhen it comes to employee collaboration, healthcare providers have it harder than most. They are often faced with a workforce that is scattered across hundreds of hospital, clinic, and service site locations. Doctors, nurses, and technicians can collaborate within each site, but when it comes to knowledge sharing across facilities and connecting to corporate missions and objectives, they're typically stuck with legacy intranet systems and "email jail."


That's why it's no surprise we're seeing many of the newest class of Jive customers come from the healthcare industry. They are transforming their internal communications and collaboration systems, turning to interactive intranets powered by Jive. Case in point: Spectrum Health.


Spectrum Health was the winner of the 2016 Jive Award for Transforming Employee Engagement for HR. Their Jive-powered InSite community connects more than 23,000 employees from various departments and geographic locations, resulting in measurable increased employee engagement through locally owned content, access to information and connectivity to and between individuals and groups. Even more impressive: there are 1,300 answered questions on InSite posted by employees from more than 130 service sites, with a best-in-class 82% resolution rate. Anyone who's worked in the healthcare industry will know that the ability to ask questions and get answers from fellow employees and corporate leadership is, as Spectrum Health put it, a "gift that keeps on giving."


Spectrum Health was recently featured on the Jive Software blog and shares more about their transformation story here:

Jive Serves as the Catalyst for Transforming Spectrum Health


And be sure to join the Healthcare group to connect with other healthcare organizations that have made the transformation.

It's time we learned more about one of our most active, fellow community members, Toby Metcalf. It's likely you've already seen his name come up beside some of the most helpful, poignant, and down-right polite comments in Internal Communities and External Communities. So who is this guy behind the bow tie? I had a chance to find out:




Emilie Kopp: Hiya, Toby. To start things off, tell us a bit about who you work for and what you do:

Toby Metcalf:  I work for PTC, based in Needham, MA. We provide CAD software that helps some of the most innovative companies design things: John Deere, Lockheed Martin, KTM Mortorcycles to name a few.  In addition to CAD, our IoT (Internet of Things) company, ThingWorx, helps products become smarter and connect to the internet.  I am thrilled to work for a company that make so many other companies successful.


I am the Jive Admin for our PTC Community and ThingWorx Community.  I am responsible for content, social media promotion, look and feel, and all aspects of the customer experience.  I also teach PTC employees Jive best practices and how they can utilize our communities to interact with and learn from our customers.  One of the best things I get to do is create a "social face" of PTC. This is done through my participation within our communities, as well as TweetChats; I have met so many smart people through them.


EK: Tell us more about the communities you manage. What business use cases do they support?

TM: Our communities are utilized for peer to peer support, as well as hosting private focus groups. They are places for our customers to help one another solve problems and share best practices. These are intelligent professionals willing to share their knowledge to help one another. On our PTC community, 80% of answers are provided by customers.  I am very lucky to have membership that is so engaging and professional.


EK: So take us behind the scenes: how do you work to make this all happen?

TM: Well, for starters, my Jive WorkType is Energizer - Coach. Here's more on that: My Workstyle – Lead & Inspire | TobyMetcalf. PTC is full of outgoing people who believe in teamwork and are wiling to share knowledge. The offices are open rooms so it's easy to collaborate. When it comes to my work space, I'm usually working from my PC with my two large monitors, which I love. If I'm working via mobile, I'm using my Samsung Galaxy S5, since I prefer the large screen.


EK: How about the software apps you can't live without (besides Jive, of course)?

TM: Here's my must-have list:

  • Twitter: I use for social listening and tweeting coded URLs that take customers to solutions within my community - I love to share the good stuff.
  • Hootsuite: Makes scheduling tweets easy.
  • OneNote: Along with being a community manager, I am also a project manager and OneNote helps me run, document, and summarize meetings.
  • Trello - I have too many projects for Outlook alone. So I create a Trello board for each week with 3 categories (Project, In Progress, Shipped).  It makes is very easy to stay organized
  • Outlook - Enough said.
  • Spotify - Music soothes the savage beast.
  • - Makes it easy to follow and participate.
  • Google Analytics - You cannot improve what you are not measuring; you need to track those UTM codes.


EK: OK, since you are on Twitter so much, it's time for some quick-fire questions. Let's see your answers in 140 characters or less.

What's your best time-saving trick?

TM: Learn to say no.


EK: What do you listen to while you work?

TM: On Spotify: The Who, A Capella, John Coltrane. Plus local news and sports talk. In Boston we take our sports and politics seriously.


EK: How do you balance work and life?

TM: I work when I have projects to ship. I get out of the office when it's slow. I coach hockey and lacrosse and love to cook.


EK: What's your favorite non-computer gadget?

TM: My collection of pans. Making my own stock and risotto is soooo rewarding.


EK: What's the best advice you've ever received?

TM: It's all about the Little Things. A life lesson that's simple and brilliant.


Thanks for a glimpse into your world, Toby. And thanks for the great participation.

Jive Community: Please join me in thanks and say hello to Toby!


pastedImage_1.pngClinicians today are caught in a catch-22. While their goals are generally aligned with the Affordable Care Act’s directive of improving patient care, they’re stuck dealing with expensive technologies that offer more obstacles than solutions. That’s because EHR vendors are caught in the middle between clinician desires for ease-of-use, the need to capture billing code information and HIPAA’s strict security mandates. Unfortunately for both providers and patients, so far they’ve chosen to err on the side of regulatory compliance and billing.


That’s resulted in steep declines in both pay and productivity for providers, as well as a sharp increase in hours worked per day. A vast majority of clinicians describe themselves as over-extended, at full capacity and, in some cases, burned out. And patients have noticed. According to a recent Prophet study, “an alarming 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience.”


Some forward-thinking clinicians have reacted by finding efficiencies in the areas they can affect most quickly. They are supplementing their EHRs with alternative, secure collaboration solutions to streamline communication and knowledge-sharing within their practices, as well as externally with patients, administrators and payers.


In an article I wrote for Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review, I diagnose the problem with EHRs, develop a treatment plan and suggest a cure. To read the entire article please visit Empowering the clinician around the EHR.



It's time we kick the How I Work series on Jive Talks back into high gear. And what better way to put the pedal to the metal than with the digitally-savvy-and-creatively-stunning Ben Zweig from Social Edge Consulting. Libby Taylor and I sat down with Ben to get an idea of how he balances work and life out of his home in Austin, TX. Here's what he had to share:



Emilie Kopp: OK, for starters, tell us where you work:

Ben Zweig: Just hit my 4-year milestone at Social Edge Consulting, one of Jive’s consulting partners. I moved to Austin from NYC back in September, but the rest of our company is scattered across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and Europe.


EK: What do you do at Social Edge?

BZ: As a Senior Consultant on the creative team, I’m responsible for visual direction, creative strategy and UI/UX design for our clients. It’s my job to find ways to use the Jive platform to creatively address our most challenging use cases. So I’m part UI designer, part strategist and part product designer.


EK: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

BZ: Very. I’ve even worked on a few WorkType projects with Jive. My primary WorkType is ‘expert’ and my secondary is ‘optimizer’.


EK: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?

BZ: The ‘expert’ WorkType “brings clarity to a situation” and sees how “parts fit together as a whole.” In my work, I’m always trying to use design to make things simpler and easier, and I love coming into a project, taking a few step backs, and really trying to uncomplicate. When I’m most successful, I have my eye on every part of the project, pulling the pieces together. On the ‘optimizer’ side, I’m often trying to find ways to do things faster. Sometimes I get sidetracked looking for a solution that will save me time in the future. Last week, I made a batch Photoshop action to automate a client deliverable. Hopefully that will end up saving time for me and our clients.


EK: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?

BZ: Social Edge has an internal community called Edgeville, which we’ve branded to feel like a small town—like you’re actually hanging out in a town called Edgeville! We practice what we preach, so 95% of our internal work takes place in Edgeville. Our company culture is rooted in our community, so Jive plays a huge role in our work. We’re also in the process of moving our public website to Jive-x, which is exciting.



EK: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

BZ: iMac at home, MacBook Pro and iPad Pro on the road. What is a PC?


EK: And what you use for your mobile device?

BZ: Whatever the newest iPhone is, unlocked.


EK: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

BZ: I am all about apps and tools. Sometimes I download apps simply to test, with no intent of using them. Here’s a sampling of what I use on a daily basis:


Dropbox: My local hard drives are pretty empty. Everything goes in Dropbox.

IFTTT: Love creating triggers to connect different apps.

Alfred: This is like Mac’s Spotlight search on steroids, plus a ton of other productivity wins like clipboard history. I can find and control anything on my computer in a few keyboard strokes.

TripMode: When I’m on the road using my LTE hotspot, I conserve bandwidth with this app.

Adobe Creative Cloud and Sketch: My design tools of choice

News Feed Eradicator: Awesome Chrome extension that replaces your Facebook news feed with a motivational quote. Still have the feed on my phone, but never tempt myself on desktop.

Frank DeLoupe: My color picker of choice.

Jive Daily: When you Jive as much as I do, Daily must be on your home screen!

Snapseed: I’m hugely into mobile photography, and this is my favorite editing app.

Wikiwand and Quora: I consider Wikipedia a bible of sorts. I endlessly scroll Quora for expert Q&A.

Due: For important time-sensitive reminders, I use Due.

Plex: I cache movies on my mobile when I travel using Plex. At home, Plex streams my videos to AppleTV.



(Don’t worry, I erase my phone all the time.)


EK: What's your best time-saving trick?

BZ: Text expansion, hands-down. Nothing saves me more computing time than all of the text shortcuts I’ve added. As soon as I catch myself writing the same thing multiple times, I turn it into a text shortcut. So when I type “bsec,” for example, it inserts my 34-character work email. I do that for everything from the current date to HTML snippets to images of cats and directions to my apartment.



EK: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

BZ: Sticky notes. I don’t know what it is about them!


EK: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?

BZ: For project management, I use a Trello board split into status columns. I work on tons of projects at once, so that keeps me aware of priorities at a high level. It feels like I’ve spent an eternity trying to pick my favorite to-do manager, and I landed recently on Todoist. I’m loving the new Amazon Alexa/Echo integration where I can say “Alexa, add ‘Jive Interview’" to my to-do list,” and through IFTTT, it syncs to Todoist. Alexa even breaks down my daily meetings each morning. The rest of my brain is in Evernote.


Here's my Echo:



EK: What you surround yourself with is important. What’s your workspace like?

BZ: Oh yeah, it’s hard for me to be creative without the right environment. For starters, I always try to work with natural light. I have a hybrid living-working environment with really inspiring light.

I use a Jarvis desk and rotate between standing on an anti-fatigue mat, sitting on a ball, and… dancing. I don’t like seeing cords so I’ve gone to extreme measures to hide wires in my workspace. When I need a break at home, my building also has a rooftop common space with WiFi; we have a great community of folks that work remotely. If I’m working away from home, I use WHA to find spaces with ample power outlets and fast WiFi. I rarely work at coffee shops; I’d rather bring my laptop to a mall, courtyard, hotel lobby, botanical garden, coworking space, restaurant or museum.


Here’s the coworking space of Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, MA. Way better than a coffee shop!



EK: What do you listen to while you work?

BZ: I’m always listening to music. When I want to focus, I go for playlists like (the aptly named) Tracks for Designers or Deep Focus. If I’m not listening to those, I usually pick a theme: Billy Joel, 90s rap, rock opera, Disney, Beethoven EDM remixes, movie scores—it’s all been done. On Mondays, I check out the Spotify Discover playlist, which is personalized based on listening habits.


EK: How do you balance work and life?

BZ: It’s hard, because I often work from home. My lights are timed to gradually change color when the workday should be over as a way to incentivize me to wind down, but that doesn’t always stop me. During the week, I try to plan activities after work to create an actual boundary. When I work from the coworking loft of Austin’s bouldering gym, I extend my workday by a few hours and try to climb in between work sprints.  And every Friday at the end of my workday, I unplug my USB headset, bundle it, and stick it in a cabinet out of sight. That’s a reminder to myself that my apartment is no longer an office.



EK: What's your sleep routine like?

BZ: I use Flux on my iMac to gradually shift the colors of my monitor to remove blue light as the evening approaches. The same happens with my Philips Hue lights and on my iPhone, so my environment gently nudges me to bed. I track sleep on iOS with Sleep Cycle, and I have 2.5 years of data to prove that I get my worst sleep on Tuesdays. (Why!?) The lights in my apartment automatically fade on when my alarm goes off, because I am actually Tony Stark.



EK: Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

BZ: According to my Myers-Briggs, an extrovert. But it really depends on the day, so let’s go with ambivert.


EK: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

BZ: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” I saw it written in graffiti on a wall in Connecticut when I was younger, and it’s been a mantra of mine ever since. 


EK: Pick one word that best describes how you work.

BZ: Balanced. (Well, aspirationally.)


Well, he's certainly put the "style" in work-lifestyle. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos and the nifty apps and shortcut tips for getting work done. Jive Community: Feel free to say hello and help me thank Ben Zweig for sharing!

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