Considering Your Collaboration and Knowledge Management as a Freemium Model

Freemium has become a popular model throughout software, from mobile apps and games which are free to download and then charge you to hasten progress or receive exclusive prizes, through to enterprise software which gives free access for a set period of time, for example you can trial Interact for 30 days for free and then decide if you wish to purchase it on a subscription basis.

However, very few people have looked at this model and applied it to how you manage knowledge and knowledge sharing in your business.

The Freemium Collaboration Model

Applying knowledge sharing on your intranet in a freemium model won’t see your employees paying to use your software, their investment will take other forms:

  • they invest their time using it,
  • they commit by changing their behaviour, adopting it over current methods,
  • they invest knowledge when collaborating
  • they commit with increasing confidence to grow networks of need outside their standard peer groups

In short you need enough to get them hooked by answering why they should adopt this new software which sees them invest in the forms above to get more from your intranet individually and collectively.

Evidence shows that just implementing collaboration and knowledge management is not enough, however there are a range of tools to make adoption easy, engaging and sustained. Sometimes this is most effectively driven virally on a peer to peer basis, allowing word of mouth / word of mouse to gather momentum, for others a broad general release and communication will gain maximum results, it all depends on the culture of your organisation.

Tools that aid adoption include:


Employees can ask a question or start an initiative which is answered by a range of people across your business with users’ able vote up or down on an idea whilst the initiator can mark a suggestion as their favourite.


Understanding which skills are hidden amongst your employees by allowing them to list their expertise can allow project initiators to identify people who can help them solve or complete their problem / task. Enhance this functionality with endorsements to validate the level of expertise.

Influence Score

A user’s influence score increases as peers interact with their content. That user’s influence score is then compared to their peers, generating a soft level of gamification to encourage them to contribute.


Some problems require an immediate answer, presence enables someone seeking a solution to see who is online and immediately available to assist.

Recognition / Rewards

Peer to peer recognition through points which can either be accumulated or potentially swapped for gifts, gives a great way to make your business’s values live rather than laminated. For example, Colleague A may reward Colleague B for going above their role in a project. This peer to peer insight can often give an extra layer of insight when it comes to performance review.

The Key to Success

It is critical to understand why users would adopt your collaborative tools based on their values, not yours. Is it quicker, easier, more trustworthy and timely? Does it meet a set of their immediate requirements.

There are a host of behaviours you can grow within your user base but to ensure they move from trying your tools to readily adopting them as standard practice requires you to appreciate those needs and ensure they are met.