Sharing insights is a must-have to get information flowing within and between teams, in particular in cases such as market intelligence, sales enablement and learning & development. Learning from others with digital forms is its infancy and has yet to see its strongest innovations. It is mostly inspired by / limited by classroom learning and static data repositories (like blogs and folders). We believe it will progressively free itself from this mental model, in order to take advantage of available technologies, and fit with users’ perceptions, behaviours and needs for interaction. Micro-learning and learning in the flow of work are such directions.
We know that Cronycle boards are a great workspace for teams to collect, make sense of information and extract insights collectively. This is where sense-making and connecting the dots happen. With subscriptions, we extended access to these insights and knowledge repository experience to benefit larger audiences. The main goal is to increase interaction between participants.
The first section of this posts outlines a few relevant use cases which we have used to build this experience. The following section describes the functionality and how to use it.
Relevant cases of sharing insights with Cronycle boards
This list is not exhaustive, and we are always happy to hear from you about your successes and difficult moments.
Insights from the market intelligence teams need to quickly flow to execs, marketing, sales and product teams, to inform about the competition and market shifts. Time being of the essence, getting information in near real time, with value-added insights and annotations (from the market researchers) is a great way for most stakeholders to stay up-to-date.
Commenting and discussing between stakeholders on the same boards / topics also help clarify vague updates, progressively going towards a clearer idea of what a competitor move or market trend may be, and what that means to the organization. Rather than just listing information, the ability to share and discuss market research findings helps teams become more agile.
Most product and sales managers (or specialized curation teams) collect relevant and up-to-date information for sales teams. Unfortunately, sales team members rarely have the chance to discuss, get insights associated with the content, or even have a good tool to search and filter. Cronycle boards empower curators to easily collect, annotate, summarize, and give access to relevant and timely information, both as a constant trickle and always available to retrieve.
Subscribers, in this case sales team members, do not need to wait for weekly/monthly/quarterly reports or briefings which often come too late or are too much to digest. The boards work both for internal sales teams as well as for channel distributors, value added resellers, brand partners, etc. They can easily join the Cronycle organization without security risks. They can only subscribe to boards they are invited. As you can see, regardless of your sales setup, subscribing to boards is particularly relevant for sales enablement.
Managers and human resource teams have a similar need of providing significant amounts of up-to-date information to new recruits, recently promoted personnel, or employees enrolled in development initiatives. Onboarding and training cohorts now last for several months, thankfully with progressive information disclosure – essential for successful learning.
However, means to share insights over weeks or months are not commonplace in online learning. Among those, solutions also enabling conversations between participants and curators are even rarer.
Cronycle boards fill that gap. Online learning for employee development happens via a permanently updated set of content and references, where each participant can interact with. Assignments can be shared, discussions triggered and enriched over time. Curators can even get feedback via votes as to what information is most or least useful.
While this is often done for specific periods of time, longer access to previous participants also makes up-to-date information easy to find, thanks to filter and search. Learning is constant!
The Covid-19 health crisis has revealed many issues in so many domains, and not the least, in relation to information. I wrote an earlier blog about anxiety related to covid-19 information quality and quantity. And our co-founder curated the Coronadaily newsletter for several months (and wished for the published boards to be ready back then).
Here, we wanted to suggest a local approach to information related to Covid-19 – or any other important issues a community has to live with. One of our users is very successfully curating information for a local community, focused on quality of life (housing, safety, disaster planning, etc.).
In the case of Covid-19, healthcare organizations and public health entities could produce a subscription board where they curate trusted information. In addition, they can layer local context via their commentary and annotations, while they can engage with their audience via discussions.
Professional networks & educational organizations
Professional organizations, instructors and event organizers curate content for members or trainees. In the case of professional networks, a knowledge base is often maintained, but with little to no interaction. Very much like in the case of sales enablement.
Boards empower professional networks and instructors to curate information, deliver it in a safe environment where members (subscribers on the boards) can read, comment, discuss and vote. It is easier to get feedback and exchange ideas with your members. Furthermore, full text search and filters, alongside tags, make it easy to find the right information needed at the right time. So rather than publishing information, organizations can propose online learning without heavy investments.
What subscribing to a board means
Plans & roles
We introduced the possibility to subscribe to boards to share findings from market research (and other secondary research types) more easily, to benefit stakeholders. Board subscribers can truly engage with information by reading, commenting, replying to Crystal discussions, and voting. However, board subscribers cannot add or remove or modify content, unlike board collaborators who have full access to boards.
Additionally, subscription is reserved for members within your Cronycle organization, to ensure confidentiality. Board enabled for subscription are not available publicly. The organization admin users are in control as to whom gets added. To push information outside of Cronycle, check the many options available from the publish button and export.
In addition to the possibility to subscribe to boards, we introduced the role of “subscriber” – a bit like a viewer but with the possibility to engage. Subscriber seats are cheaper than full access curator and admin roles. Admin users can check the role of each user in the admin console. Here is an overview of rights per role:
- Subscriber – the most limited access used for stakeholders you want to share insights with. Subscribers can only be added to boards as subscribers, where they can engage with information but not modify.
- Curator – they can create and join feeds and boards, modify them, add and modify information, and publish. They can also be added as board subscribers.
- Admin – this is the highest access level, useful to manage users and organization configuration. They can also be added as board subscribers.
Being a subscriber to a board
Sharing insights can be done by subscribing someone to a board (regardless of the role in the organization) so they can:
- View and read content, including content body, uploaded files, and videos
- View summaries, tags, annotations and comments. Mentions trigger notifications.
- Search content on each board, with our full text search
- Filter content by date, type and tags
- Comment on content and take part in discussions (Crystals). Mentions trigger notifications.
- Vote up or down for each piece of content
- Open the original content from its source
- Receive notifications when there is new content available or when they are mentioned (default)
- Share content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and via email
However, someone who is a subscriber to a board cannot:
- add new content
- delete or copy content
- add or modify tags, summaries and annotations
- group or editor approve content
- modify the publishing options
- modify the name and description
- add or remove collaborators
To perform these read actions, you would need to invite the user again with the curator role, and as a board collaborator. Currently, someone with a subscriber role cannot be made curator, and vice-versa. You need to invite them again with the right role and deactivate the un-necessary account.
A subscriber can unsubscribe from the board settings, by clicking on “unsubscribe” in the panel footer. Also, any board contributor can remove subscribers from the list of subscribers in the users panel.
How to share insights to subscribers?
To start, you need a board you own or contribute to, and where you collect information. Create one if you don’t have one yet.
Secondly, to protect confidentiality (so boards cannot be identifiable across the organization), a board owner or collaborator needs to enable access for subscribers. From the board, click on the users icon and avatar(s), near the top right corner of your board menu. Go to the Subscribers tab and enable it for subscriptions:
Once enabled, you are ready to add subscribers to the board – either from the board or from the admin section (with any of the boards enabled).
You’ll notice two options below the switch, to define what information is visible to subscribers.
- The default is Editor approval which lets you enrich and check your content before making it visible to subscribers (and sent across any publishing option enabled for that board). Remember to editor approve each item individually by checking the box on the board tiles.
- The alternative is to select “All content”, in which case content is visible to the subscribers immediately after they refresh their board view. This is fast and effortless, but it means you do not have the time to annotate, summarize or validate.
Subscribe your audience to the board
You now need to subscribe members of your audience to the board to share insights. There is currently no way for other users in your organization to browse available boards and subscribe.
To add subscribers, from the board users side panel (accessed from the users icon and avatars), click on “+Add users”. In the next step, select “As subscribers”:
Right after that you’ll get a reminder to enable the board, if you haven’t done so earlier. Once done, click on the box to add users from your organization.
Organization members of all roles (admin, curator and subscriber) are listed and can be subscribed. After you click on “Add”, they will have limited rights to this board, and you’ll start to share insights on the board.
Invite new subscribers to the organization
You also have the possibility to invite new users to your Cronycle organization.
First click on “invite new subscriber(s) to organization”. A form appears to add one or several new subscribers to the organization. Add the email address of the new member(s) to invite, with one email address per line. To add more than one person, click on “Add another”.
Once you are ready, click on “Send invite” (if you are an admin user), or “Submit invite” (if you are a curator). The difference comes from the fact that admin users have the rights to invite new users to the organizations, while curators need the validation of an admin. So if you are a curator, as soon as you click on “Submit invite”, the admins of your organization receive a notification to review the invite you submitted.
Once an admin approves (from the organization admin console), we send the invitation email to the new subscriber. The email is identical to the one sent directly from admin users, simply with one more step in the process.
The new subscriber clicks on the link in the email to open a page where s.he can add a password and access her/his new Cronycle account. The board s.he was invited from is immediately visible
Note that this method is only to invite new organization users with the role of subscriber. If you want to invite curators, you need admin rights, and you can invite from both the organization admin console, or from the board collaborators list. More info here.
At any point, you can check the list of subscribers by opening the board users panel (by clicking on users avatars in the board menu). From that list, you can invite more subscribers by clicking on “+Add users”, or remove current subscribers by clicking on the (-) button to stop sharing insights to specific users.
Subscribers themselves have an option to unsubscribe, from the board settings.
Invite several new organization users as subscribers to share insights
If you are an admin user, you have another option to invite new subscribers to the organization. This gets particularly useful when inviting many persons at once and when you want to subscribe them to several boards initially. Head to the organization admin console from the main menu, then to the Users page.
A table shows all the users within the organization, with the role. There is also a button to “Invite users”. Click on it to open a window where you define role for the new members to invite – subscriber or curator. Select subscriber, and in the next step, add one or several new email addresses to invite. We recommend you also list one or several enabled boards to subscribe these future subscribers to (so they do not have an empty account upon joining).
You can also prepare a CSV file listing all the subscribers you want to add and upload it by clicking on “add many at once”. Check this dedicated tutorial. Again, make sure to select as subscriber, and not as curator.