I’m not sure it’s the first thing that pops into a KM purist’s mind, but it does seem to fit this definition surprisingly well.
In my current role, I’m responsible for bringing change to the way our employees traditionally do their work. As a big part of that includes the adoption of social media, one of the agenda items I’m pushing is an enterprise micro-blogging capability. Outside the walls of work I not only have fun participating on Twitter, I do derive a great deal of personal value from it as well: insight into my passions (both personal and professional), peer review & feedback, expertise location, network expansion, timely alerts to pertinent information (I actually first learned the date, location, speakers and topics of my own company’s annual IT Forum on Twitter from a non-employee…that’s crazy!), and innovation & ideation.
I believe knowledge is highly social and that it happens in the cracks between our published and documented work: in the water cooler, email & IM conversations we have that aren’t indexed or searchable; in the impromptu meetings and white-board sessions that have no minutes or ‘share this with others’ button. Imagine moving those interactions to a platform capable of storing, indexing & making searchable those interactions? By capturing the lifestreams’ of its users, Twitter does a very good job of tracking what’s in those cracks and by extension KM. Maybe a better way of putting it is that the social nature of knowledge lends itself to Twitter.
Here are the Motivations of KM as Wikipedia defines them:
- Making available increased knowledge content in the development and provision of products and services
- Achieving shorter new product development cycles
- Facilitating and managing innovation and organisational learning
- Leveraging the expertise of people across the organisation
- Increasing network connectivity between internal and external individuals
- Managing business environments and allowing employees to obtain relevant insights and ideas appropriate to their work
- Solving intractable or wicked problems
- Managing intellectual capital and intellectual assets in the workforce (such as the expertise and know-how possessed by key individuals)
Well, heck. I’d say Twitter does most, if not all of those things. If those are your ‘holes in the wall’ then I’d say Twitter could definitely be your drill. Here’s a post from Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang (I highly doubt that if you’re reading this you don’t already know who he is) that might help fill in some of this posts’ gaps.
I’m trying to convince my peers and leadership that we don’t necessarily need the traditional threaded discussion board or Ask An Expert-type application; that if we do our change management correctly all we need is micro-blogging, a document management system that gives URL’s and maybe a link-trimmer, a la Snurl.
Those three things are a powerful combination, they’re cheap and low-risk, too (I’m guessing if you’re interested in KM your company already has a document management solution that spits out URL’s). Twitter may not be your father’s KM solution, but it certainly solves his problems. I’m getting more and more convinced of this every day…