Sowing seeds and nurturing connections at Drake Music

Drake Music team meeting at their head office in London
Drake Music team meeting at their head office in London

After two and a half years my contracted work with Drake Music, providing social media support, has come to an end. To reflect on my time, and work, for the organisation I agreed with Drake Music CEO Carien Meijer to write a piece looking at what we had achieved.

Luckily, I have been narrating my work so you can see all of my approach through my blog posts. They are all listed here.

If you haven’t got time to read those, my approach to using social tools at Drake Music can be summed up as:

Sowing seeds and nurturing connections

From this, content and conversation would emerge using social tools such as Drake Music’s internal social network (Yammer) plus Twitter, Vine and other tools.

On a practical level, Carien and I adopted an ‘experiments’ approach in which we identified areas where we could try to build connections using social media tools. I like this approach because it enables you to define some expected outcomes and learn as you go. We carried out three experiments.

So what was the result of this work? Well, the use of Yammer would suggest colleagues are more open than ever to supporting each other through an internal social network. And in the time I have been working with DM, the @Drake_Music Twitter profile has gained nearly 1,000 more followers.

So much good content has been shared that the challenge now, as identified by Carien, is to put in place ongoing support to ensure the organisation benefits from all this effort.

It has been a real pleasure and privilege to work with Drake Music – its work changes people’s lives. I also got to try out some new things thanks to Carien’s support. Here’s a flavor of some of them.

Tweeting meetings

I can’t take all the credit for this, but once the hashtag for the meeting had been agreed we tweeted the bits we could. We had some input from out side the room. More than one such meeting has been tweeted so fgar.

Read the tweets from the meeting here.

‘Film’ notes from meetings

Be honest. You run a meeting, type up flipchart notes and distribute them. Does anyone read or act on them? I’m not sure they do, which is why I tried out an app called Adobe Voice to turn notes into something a bit more engaging. Colleagues really liked the two-minute film feedback vs the usual 1,000-word document.

A Flipboard of the DM content

Drake Music is very strong on sharing its work via reflective blog posts – in fact, the organisation is looking to make this reflection a part of the project assessment process. I suggested we turn these posts into an online magazine so that people could read and share the content on mobile devices. The magazine has 130 readers.

Read the Drake Music magazine here.

Using Yammer to start a discussion ahead of a team day, where we carried on the conversation and fed it back online

I created a space on DM’s internal social network to discuss the forthcoming team away day. To me, this is where such tools come into their own. As a geographically distributed team, the network enabled colleagues to shape discussions for the day. As the team day is restricted by time, these discussions online enabled us to get into conversations far more quickly on the day. We then shared outputs from the physical discussions back online to continue the conversation.

Creating an organisation playlist from a team day icebreaker

When I facilitated last year’s team away day in London is started the day by asking for everyone to share a favourite piece of music. An obvious thing to do for a music charity maybe but I thought it would be interesting. It was. As well as sharing tunes many people shared why they likes the tune. I also captured the list of music and turned it into a Youtube playlist and Spotify playlist.

Here’s the Youtube playlist.

And here’s the Spotify playlist.

Using Storify to amplify what the organisation shared

I set up a Storify account for DM and have created a range of stories. More importantly colleagues have started to capture events using the tool too.

See Drake Music on Storify here.

Facilitating team away days

I really enjoyed working with Carien to co-design and facilitate two team away days that have now become an annual fixture for Drake Music. Not only were they a chance to don a whistle and clipboard (!) but I also helped capture and share content from them.

You can see content from those days here.

Supporting the team in using social tools

A notable success for DM was the fact that Gawain Hewitt set up a Twitter profile for his research and development work. Through this profile Gawain was able to set up a hugely successful hack day, bringing together hackers and music makers to create new, accessible ways of making music. More on that here.

Not everything we did worked but that’s OK. By taking an experimental approach we could take a close look at what wasn’t working and why. It meant we could learn as we went and adapt our approach. Because my work at Drake Music had so many different aspects to it I thought I’d ask Carien how she thought I helped the organisation. She agreed and you can see what she said below.

I’d add that my work has taken time. It takes time for a reason – people need time to understand new ways of communicating and sharing and figure out how it can work for them and the wider organisation. Hopefully, we have helped build some foundations for more open, social communication within Drake Music  which is helping amplify its work externally. This is about building new, sustainable ways of working.

I’d like to thank everyone at Drake for their time, their openness and willingness to share more and more. In particular, Carien Meijer has been an inspiration. I have been supported and encouraged to try out new things and believe we have moved things on as a result.

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