Perceived Value

perceived value
Image: from Tim Scullin blog
The other day I was in Disney with my family.  It was great fun, we did almost all of our favorite rides, Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain, Pirate's of the Carribean.   Unfortunately we missed out on going on Splash Mountain as it barely got to 60 degrees and we were not brave enough to risk getting wet and being cold.

What I found so interesting as we walked around the park is how quickly some of the lines grew (of course spring break has that effect).  The thing that was so interesting was that they were not the rides that I would have chosen - which was great for us. That got me to asking the question, why do some rides have longer lines faster than other lines.  I believe that one of the reasons is that every person places their own value on each ride.  Some people valued the rides like Winnie the Pooh, while others valued Haunted Mansion, some liked Dumbo while others valued Thunder Mountain.  Each person places their own value on each ride and decides which ones they want to ride first, which rides they are most willing to wait in a long line for, and which rides they just won't ride that day.

This got me to thinking about how employees adopt different technologies, tools and techniques based on the value they perceive they will provide.  For example, I can apply this to the work that I am doing related to driving adoption of activity streams (btw, this is just one example of a large variety of technologies).  As I talk with employees about how they might use an activity stream, some say that it seems just like email and they wonder (aloud sometimes) what value the activity stream provides beyond email.   Some employees never see any value in using an activity stream.  Some know that moving away from email is valuable in some situations, but don't know if the activity stream is the best method.  Some believe a RSS feed aggregator or other technologies are better. Others, thankfully, understand the value right away, but when they start to use the new tool, they find that no one else is using it, which diminishes the value for this individual.

So how do you get people to use the new technology, the new tool, or technique?   There are many ways, and you need to use them all.  Going back to Disney, they use many different methods to entice you to ride their rides (and even to come to Disney World). One of their methods is to nudge people to ride the next ride.  Enterprise can use similar techniques to attract employees to use the new "stuff".

When a nudge is provided, typically the goal is to increase the value that the employees sees in the new tool, or technique or technology.  Or said a different way, the employee's perceived value of the tool needs to increase.  Disney World uses many techniques to nudge people to ride each of their rides.  Most Disney World rides use great visual effects on the outside of the ride.   For example, as you walk into the Haunted Mansion, the people are in character, giving you the "eye" and the line leading into the ride has grave stones with funny things written on them and book shelves that have books that move in and out.   They attract you to the ride using over the top decorations such as the carriage with a ghost horse.

Following the Disney World example, enterprises need to use techniques to get employee to change and use the new "stuff".  To drive this the employee perceived value of that tool, technique or technology must increase. If that does not happen, they won't ever use the new "stuff".  Unfortunately, as you have probably guessed, this is the most difficult part of driving adoption of technology, but it is also the most rewarding.