Becoming a Change Agent

Not attending IA Summit? Get a redux of an IA Summit talk by Carrie Hane Dennison, Web Director at the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Businesses want return on their web investment. To do that, IAs need to step out from behind the screen, take a seat at the table, balance user and business needs, and create a positive environment for change. Armed with an approach Carrie calls “strategic nagging,” this is the story of how she became a change agent using IA and content strategy to transform the 160-year-old American Society of Civil Engineers for a digital-first world.

When she became ASCE’s Web Director in January 2013, she thought she’d tinker with some content management issues, help rewrite some content, and provide governance guidance. Little did she know that she would use change management tactics disguised as web strategy, design, and development to get them to adopt an overarching digital strategy to better reach its members, grow revenue, and start to make stuff that really matters. ASCE is reaching a pivotal moment, and this is the story so far.

Things you’ll learn:

• How to introduce digital content culture into a traditional business 

• How to manage change up, down, and sideways

• Why you’ll need forgiveness, not permission, to be a catalyst for change


Special thanks to our hosts: UberOffices

UberOffices fosters collaborative coworking communities for small business & startups. Providing cutting-edge work spaces, superior amenities, & service above and beyond.

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  • Becky T.

    There was some discussion at the end of the presentation about how to announce and roll out changes to a major web site. I just happened upon Weather Underground's site makeover. I think it is an interesting example to share because it employs a slow rollout, embedded help/tips on your first visit, as well as other information about the site revamp. I'm not endorsing that this is the right method or anything else about the site, but it is an interesting example of a rollout for a site that hasn't changed much in years.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/wuproductteam/show.html

    April 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks for posting. I was the noob who asked about rolling out a new site. We may go with a soft launch to fix bugs. Then do a full-fledged launch pointing people to the site from our channels.

      April 15, 2014

    • Becky T.

      I am right there with you. I'm actually not a full fledged content strategist, either. I work as tech writer (but do many things that are similar to content strategy, info architecture, etc.). I just thought this was a timely example. I don't know what type of user base you have, but the tech writer in me does agree that even though the design should be easy to use, people still sometimes need an introduction when change happens (even if it is 100% better in design). Use patterns get ingrained. It sounds like you have a good plan.

      April 16, 2014

  • Karen O.

    Excellent presentation, with a lot of useful information! My quick notes are here http://wp.me/pev0Y-43

    1 · April 11, 2014

  • Dori K.

    I like how Carrie took the topic of change leadership and applied it to our industry. Well done!

    April 10, 2014

  • AW

    Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend anymore. Is there a way to get the presentation/notes after?

    April 10, 2014

  • Michaela H.

    I'm bummed I can't make it, but I'm presenting at Drupal NYC. Looking forward to attending future events; good luck Carrie!

    1 · March 25, 2014

  • Carla

    Any idea of a location yet? I'm based in Virginia and keeping my fingers crossed it's not too far.

    March 9, 2014

    • CarrieHD

      We've just confirmed it will be in DC. Hope you can make it!

      March 10, 2014

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