May 31, 2009

KS vs KM - different strokes for different folks

Cold Sunday morning, teenager's soccer match cancelled - so checking out RSS feeds in Googlereader came across Implementation 2.0 by Jon Husband - The App Gap. I liked the post, found it thought provoking, especially the comment about a preference for conversations with people you trust.

"What Intranet designers and managers fail to appreciate is that the principal way people share information and build useful knowledge  (italics my addition) hasn’t changed in centuries — people get it through real-time conversation with people they respect and trust. This gives them comfort that the content they’re given is current and authoritative, and through the conversation they can also appreciate the context behind that content, and ask questions to make it more useful to them."

But it seemed predicated on several assumptions - that you have access to the people who "know" and that your team are all onboard with all developments in social media cyberspace, and are jumping keen to implement them.

However - a few "what-ifs"..

First. What if the people who "know" are not available to have the conversation you need - eg last year at my workplace, the key Babyboomer Guru & his Gen Y understudy both departed 6 months out from the "once in 20 years" $370 million capital project kicking off - ouch !

Fortuitously, in the preceding years I had KM conversations with trusted family member & KM guru Laurence Lock Lee. So I'd organized knowledge capture of past reports of similar capital projects. Getting them scanned into document management systems. Prodded the team to create wiki pages etc. Back in 2002 the team were reluctant adopters .. only went along with it when it was included in their incentive programme .. because ...hey ... there'll always be someone that you can turn to .. so why worry ... no need to to stress. It's such a pain to load their latest report into the document management system. Around 2005 they began to see benefits and developed rules for how document metadata should be entered - even though they had never heard of the word "metadata".

So sometimes teams need to be introduced to the E-tools techniques - with incentive programs in place to get their use embedded.

Then a year or two later - the E-tools have become so embedded - it's how we do business around here - incentive program no longer needed.

But it was only in 2008 when two of their colleagues left abruptly did the team really begin to appreciate how Knowledge Management systems could be the fallback when the conversations were no longer possible. The Gen X team leader taking over from the departed Babyboomer Guru has in fact become a "born again believer". She is now intent on capturing lessons from the past to inform but not constrain the present circumstances.

Perhaps we could have waited until now to start the KM capture program?

We would have lost 6 crucial years. And also we would have been starting out  just as the Global Financial Crisis hit. Constrained resources as we were all being sent on long leave & letting go contract staff.

Bottom line - no resource to capture 40 years of hard copy reports.

Second what if. People in your workplace are all Web 2.0 literate and keen to get on with implementing the tools to suit their needs.

What if you are in a work place where people are not Web 2.0 literate - or in the GFC are so overloaded that they don't have time to work out what Web 2.0 tool makes sense and then couldn't find the time to work out how to use it.

That is my current reality.  

Can I rely on my Gen Y and Gen F to help drive implementation of Web 2.0 social media tools ? . Well - as yet they don't see the workplace benefits to bother. Of course .. too busy "in the present" to worry about the future ... not surprising either with the GFC having turned so many norms and plans totally upside down. Why make plans ... won't they just get trashed ?

So I, female techo Baby Boomer Web 2.0 social media loving afficianado manager, am now nudging the Gen X'ers along to see KM benefits of the web 2.0 social media tools, adopt them and champion them to fellow team members.

So while the Implementation 2.0  post makes some valuable comments for some contexts - sometimes it's different strokes for different folks.


aka KerrieAnne Christian

Posted via web from kerrieannesfridgemagnets's posterous

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