Headshift transformed Demos’ former one-way information hub into a transparent collaborative network to engage the think tank’s target audience, as well as Demos employees.
Creating Interaction and Discussion
By developing a tool for project collaboration, ideas dissemination and relationship building, Headshift helped Demos reflect their core brand values of ‘interaction and discussion’.
In doing so, the research process was opened to the target audience to benefit from their collective intelligence and Demos’ own work and collaboration processes were improved.
Fostering Transparency and Debate with Social Media
Headshift set out to create a platform which placed social media, transparency and debate at the front and centre of its activities. The development included a personal social interface that provides lightweight, informal knowledge sharing tools to help groups organise their own view of Demos’ information, allow users to connect and collaborate with each other more effectively, and increase transparency around Demos’ research process.
The Strategy included:
- Rigorous analysis of user profiles, cultures and behaviours leading to a user-centric interface and information architecture
- Customisation and integration of blogging and discussion forums
- Introduction of tagging and themes, including tag clouds and mapping which allows users to follow themes via key offerings – e.g. projects, publications, events, research
- Custom-developed content management and a fully-fledged publication system
- Ability to receive project updates via RSS, podcasts and email
The extranet system – based on Confluence – is integrated with the site’s administration system to enable individual Demos project to utilise the enterprise wiki in support of various activities which include news publishing, content co-creation, event organisation and social bookmarking of key resources.
Significantly Increasing the Site’s Utilisation and Winning an Award
By now, there are over 170,000 page views per week and the number of average downloads ocurring in the first week of a publication’s relase have increased from 300 to 3,000.
The site’s utilisation has also increased significantly among Demos employees, which has in turn facilitated further collaboration and engagement with the external target audience including an unprecedented international audience.
For example, Demos research fellows report that they now receive considerable external input on projects thanks to this development.
Beside these positive effects, the project was also selected as best think tank website at the Prospect Magazine Think Tank of the Year Awards 2006.