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Collaboration hub

Enterprise collaboration hub

Enterprise Collaboration Hub

While working on the IBM Collaborations solutions team I got the opportunity to kick off a blue sky project, to re-envision IBM Connections. Our goal was to create a tailored experience for users that they could customize at a organization or team level using fit to purpose templates. Once they choose the template that matched their needs to could personalize it to make it work best for their individual needs.

We worked really hard to foster great relationships with a sponsor users. A result of building this trust and confidence of our sponsor users we were able to travel abroad to conduct a on site design thinking workshop with a customer. We crafted the workshop to focus on different types of team managers and how they want to build an ideal hub for their team.

The Challenge

The ask from our organization was thinking creatively about how to propel ICS into next generation of enterprise collaboration. We needed to create a new streamlined journey for team leaders to create a fit to purpose space that enables them to better collaborate with their team and communicate with a wider audience, such as external stakeholders.

Business Outcomes & User Impact

Over time we built a strong bond with customers in remote user sessions. We shared validated insights, shared designs and prototypes for evaluation, and collaborated on design thinking activities. Working in enterprise design it is impossible to meet all of your users face to face when they live around the world, so I innovated and introduce my team to the idea of remote design workshops using mural. I onboarded sponsor users to the mural tool, created templates for design thinking activities, and then facilitated the feedback sessions. This was a great success for us and our users. It Allowed us to capture valuable insights in the words of our users, and our users were delighted to take part in the design thinking process. Similarly, we celebrated a highly successful onsite visit with one of a main sponsor users. We visited for three days, over which we conducted 5 contextual inquiries and a two day workshop with a dozen team leaders. We came away with key artifacts and quickly synthesized our findings which we then shared back with the sponsor user to show them the value of their continued partnership.

Time //

Jan 2017 - March 2017

My role //

UX & Research

My team //

Anita mernagh | Ux

Kristina Beckley | Design manager

Michelle Cooper | Research

Methods //

Contextual inquiry

Persona validation

Empathy maps

Journey mapping

Big IDeas



Artifacts //

Refined personas


Prioritized Outcomes

Research syntehsis

We started our customer workshop by creating empathy maps and clustering themes.


Design thinking activities

We used design thinking activities constantly to validate assumptions and align on our direction as product team. We used activities such as as-is and to-be stories, bigs ideas, and prioritisation grids to create a roadmap for ourselves of the opportunities we could tackle that would be the highest value add for users.

An example of one of the to-be stories that came out of our customer workshop

An example of one of the to-be stories that came out of our customer workshop

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Big ideas from our sponsor users

Big ideas from our sponsor users

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Our final activity with users was to write outcomes based on the big ideas. We used the WHO -WHAT - WOW framework. Writing outcomes is always a challenge, but incredibly valuable for aligning the team and/or workshop participants. Once we had all our outcomes written we voted on the top outcomes. After arriving home and starting on the workshop synthesis, we identified the key sub outcomes and how they mapped to our top outcomes.

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Tying it together and showing progress

The biggest challenge of sponsor user interaction is strike the balance of rapidly deriving relevant insights for your team while also letting users know their feedback is appreciated. I like to show my team the value of user interaction and in turn show users the value of sponsorship by creating playbacks that remind everyone of our process. At the end of each playback I will provide synthesis and final deliverables for our sprint. These deliverables that are built on the insights provided show everyone how we got to our conclusions, and how we leverage opportunities to meet the user needs identified. In the case of our Tailored experience customer workshops, the playback culminated in a series of storyboards in which my design team and I created succinct stories on the top outcomes that took inspiration from the big ideas and to-be story we had created together in the workshop. The stories focus on how we could improve team leaders’ experiences in future iterations.