Posted by Lee Aase (@leeaase) · Jan 28, 2014
BLOG 201: Innovation Case Study in Curation
When I first heard the motto of our Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI) – Think Big. Start Small. Move Fast.™ – it immediately resonated with me. In three punchy sentences of two words each, it encapsulated not only our social media history at Mayo Clinic – which led to creation of our Center for Social Media and the Social Media Health Network – but also our aspirations for the future.
Each sentence also uses what my elementary grammar teacher said was the “You understood” subject construction. It’s in the Imperative mood: (You) think big. (You) start small. (You) move fast. To apply it, just supply the “You.”
(On a side note, I know Mrs. Jones may not have approved of using adjectives instead of adverbs. She probably would have preferred “Think expansively. Start slowly. Move quickly.” Better English, but far less memorable.)
When we’re at our best in the Center for Social Media, the CFI motto captures the essence of how we work. A recent project (still in progress, but moving along nicely) is a good example of that philosophy in action.
A few weeks ago, we got a big (okay, maybe not really big, but at least good) idea: it would be great if we could curate relevant news at the top of our blogs and community sites. We had seen examples in some other sites, and thought this would be useful to our communities, too.
Twitter is great, but the half-life of a tweet is measured in minutes at most; if your followers are following many others, the message can move downstream really quickly. A curation system would enable us to pull out some of the best nuggets and effectively hit the “pause” button, highlighting them at the top of our sites. That was the big thought.
So we started small. We began with the Social Media Health Network site (which is our learning laboratory) and hacked together a prototype, using blocks of text...
...and an HTML editing function like this…
…to create a Headlines section that looked like this:
The feedback was highly positive, so we started moving quickly to create a more sustainable mechanism. In the prototype, adding new headlines and moving the others along toward being rotated off the page was extremely labor-intensive: it was a domino effect without the benefit of gravity. We had to manually move each of the headlines to its new place on the page.
So we asked our collaborators at CareHubs to develop a system that would allow us to enter a URL, headline text and a source name (e.g. Wired) for each link, and that would display the most recent headlines, rotating the last one off the page as a new one is added. Here's how it looks now:
I think they developed a great mechanism, which also incorporates the curation function into the site Activity stream, allowing discussion of the article. We will be tweaking this together in the coming days and weeks, optimizing the styling and also adding some new features (such as, perhaps, an All Headlines link that will let users browse stories that have dropped off the front page.) We'll continue to move fast!