One area where the Blue Man Group realized they were not doing as well was in collaboration among their 500 employees and 50 blue men – the existing intranet was outdated and suffered from lackluster adoption. In 2011, the company prioritized finding a solution to foster creativity while delivering organizational efficiencies.
Leading the challenge of vendor and product selection was Blue Man Group’s information architect. “We knew we wanted a platform that was prototypical… not typical”, said David Wharton, Director of Infrastructure. In addition it was known that buy-in from all internal teams was equally important. David’s team solicited feedback from department leaders and stakeholders across the organization. The resulting tag cloud was a way to visually show everyone the importance of the feedback process and what was most relevant organization-wide.
Keeping aligned with Blue Man Group’s core values of fun, playfulness and interactivity, a naming contest was launched for the new site. Of over 450 entries names that came in, the one that received the most enthusiasm was The Shiznet. The name resonated with the founders and above all made people laugh.
The Blue Man Group has productions all over the world. One noticeable benefit to these teams is that Socialtext Signals (micro-blogging) are creating interactivity and connections amongst regional groups. Employees are now able to collaborate, brainstorm and communicate throughout the flow of their workday and participate in relevant conversations regardless of where they sit. With over 90% adoption, social interactivity is unlimited. Employees see questions and answers, important news, edits to important content and more! This transparency influences activity and speeds innovation across Blue Man Group.
David Wharton, Director of Infrastructure
The Intranet integration was easily able to find company members that are passionate about social media, and harnessing that energy towards the dynamic content and dialogue that flows daily. The Shiznet is essentially a conduit for communications, content, media, and conversations. While many of these elements were occurring before, they were just happening in separate places via different mediums.
In addition to facilitating better company-wide communications, The Shiznet also acts as a central repository for the hundreds of videos, audio and digital assets that are regularly used and created by the Blue Man Group. From the latest production stills to commercials, anyone within the organization can easily find, tag, access and share content within The Shiznet. This is the first time Blue Man Group has had the platform that could centralize its creative assets into one repository, streamlining the ability to save and distribute internal media assets.
In particular, the overall look, feel, flexibility, scalability and ease of customizing personal dashboards appealed to the Blue Man Group’s lead integration team. Blue Man Group’s employees were thrilled with the user-friendly Open Social Platform that Socialtext provides.
One of the most active and engaged sections of The Shiznet is the Creative Cauldron, a workspace that was created specifically for “Blue Men” to collaborate on new show ideas and brainstorm on bringing those ideas to life. The “Blue Men” engaging and participating in The Creative Cauldron has created a launching pad for new show ideas, stunts and creative content. Key executives, to include the founders; are actively involved in providing feedback for creative projects and new idea generation.
Working for Blue Man Group has it perks and access to performance tickets at discounted rates is certainly a big one, but previous to The Shiznet, employees had to order their tickets through an archaic paper trail and fax process. Among the integrated functionality Blue Man Group plans on bringing into The Shiznet, is an internal ticketing database as well as global show schedules. Employees will also be able to view paystubs, submit time-off requests, find relevant colleagues across the organization, get information on theater locations, and more.
Since Blue Man Group’s adoption of the Socialtext solution, internal communications, productivity and collaboration have all increased. The Shiznet has become the central point from which all activity and information flows, providing a channel that connects employees to each other, leverages resources and assets in the most convenient way and fosters the creativity and innovation that is so much a part of Blue Man Group’s lifeforce.