In 2009 thought leader Bell Labs was exploring what I like to call “FaceBook for the Enterprise”.


The Intuitive Collaborative Design Group (ICD) was charged with implementing a social networking and collaboration platform across Bell Labs. A primary focus was on integrated messaging and workflow collaboration.

This was a delightful engagement: A small, but high-powered team of forward-looking professionals working on cutting-edge stuff.  It was  nice combination of practical and visionary.  Here is the first of several “process-focused” posts excerpted  from this timely case study.

Our challenges were:

  • provide appropriate tools in an accessible user interface
  • actively encourage participation by range of behavioral profiles

Role, Behavior, Design Challenge

First things first:   Who is involved, How do they motivated and  and What do they want to do ?  In my opinion, you will probably find these types of behavior:


  • Proactively starts new collaborative projects. Motivated by creating & leading . Often a manager.

Design Challenge: Rewards for success in crafting traction to action


  • Cleans up info, reduces noise, edits and organizes information, actively creates tags. Motivated by guiding and organizing .

Design Challenge: Editorial tools – an efficient environment for providing value


  • Mediates threads and forges connections among them.  Motivated by harmony .

Design Challenge: Management tools for crafting the environment


  • Responds to (by rating) or comments on existing threads.  Motivated by casual involvement.

Design Challenge:  Convenient valuation and attribution tools


  • Participates passively, contribution thru presence. Will join groups formed by others. Influenced by status .

Design Challenge:  Communicate the value proposition


  • Observes but little active contribution, no obvious presence. Uses service to “harvest” information provided by others.  desires anonymity .

Design Challenge: Overcome barriers to more active participation , while providing a safe environment.

These attributes describe a continuum of activity and often overlap in an individual.


One of our nice (I think) design solutions was to graphically map relationships across the network.

View the Bell Labs Case Study

I often referred to the project as “FaceBook for the Enterprise“, but we could also call it …

Your intranet on steroids

… is sexier than it seems.  It assumes that any organization or business wants to “leverage the water cooler”, i.e. affinity among the people in the organization

I must admit, I have a soft spot for intranets.  But that’s another rant.

The company’s intranet is the Infrastructure.  Affinity is the Model.

It’s how professionals connect.  Really connect.

… and Get Things Done / Collaborate (Don’t overlook that part)

  • LinkedIn had the positioning, the population, and even some of the infrastructure.  But they blew it.
  • beBee has a shot to do it right. Potentially.

Anybody up for crowdsourcing the concept?

What I bring to the table:

call me

The Communication Studio


Published on beBee 07/13/2016 :  1.1K Views, 10 Likes


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