Facilitation

Open Source is not just about plunking your code down for all to see, it is about collaboration – working with people to develop products.

To this end Coko has developed a collaborative methodology for developing successful user-facing products. We call it ‘Collaborative Product Development’ and it means we facilitate your stakeholders to develop your product. To enable this we work with your organisation in a series of facilitated design sessions. In these sessions we first identify what your current work flow is, where you want to be, the difference between the two, and how to get there.

The next phase is all about designing the product and it is here that the methodology really kicks in. Collaborative Product Design posits your stakeholders at the center of a facilitated design session where you will design the product together.

There are three critical ingredients that make this methodology successful:
1

DIVERSITY OF STAKEHOLDERS

Diversity creates better projects
– Una Kravets

Diversity of stakeholder input makes for better products. This is not a new idea in the world of product development, since Ikujiro Nonaka wrote about the ‘new new product development game’ in the 1980s and the inclusion of a diverse set of stakeholders has been considered critical to product development. Interestingly this kind of diversity has been strangely absent from the open source sector.
Hence Coko advocates shifting away from technocratic meritocracy that ‘deliver you a solution’ and towards building solutions with a diverse stakeholders from your organisation. This means including all stakeholders in the process – users, production staff, higher management, graphic designers, user experience designers, developers and others that are affected by the solution.

Involving a wide range of people with differing perspectives improves the product but collaboration of this kind doesn’t ‘just happen’ hence the importance of our next ingredient – facilitation.

2

FACILITATION

Leaders need to cede control, not vigorously exert it.
– John Abele

Creating successful collaboration is a result of a particular kind of leadership – what John Abele calls ‘collaborative leadership’ and what we call ‘design facilitation’. We have one of the top facilitators within the Open Source sector on our team – Adam Hyde, founder of the inspirational facilitated method known as Book Sprints. Adam leads your team through a process that builds trust, change, and the product you need.

3

PRODUCT FLEXIBILITY

Innovation diffuses more rapidly when it can be re-invented
– Everett Rogers

If you bring people together to improve a product it stands to reason the product should be easy to improve. Hence Coko is building very flexible products that can be ‘re-invented’ by those that need them. Afterall, if you can’t improve the product there is little use in bringing people together to do so.

It stands to reason that if the tool can change to do what you need, it will more more successful for you AND your stakeholders can have a direct role in designing the outcome. Hence Product Flexibility is not only good for the ongoing health of the product, allowing collaborative design processes that can easily improve it, but it also potentially lays the groundwork for a healthy and accelerated adoption cycle within your organisation.