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Knowledge Management Is Going Social

What started as a single blog post has turned into 3 and a ton more ideas on how people can have an impact utilizing social media.  I really want to finish up this thought.  The first one Personal, the second Marketing, and the third area –  Social KM, using social tools to engage employees and share knowledge.  This is an area I am passionate in, and I think my blog posts here will start to reflect that.

North America has turned into a knowledge based economy.  No longer is it the companies that dictate how workers work, it is the employees and their ideas, their passions that shape the company and make it successful.  Knowledge workers have the power and it is the companies responsibility to support them and provide an engaging, open environment.  There is too much stuff to know, too much information out there, and too much change for everyone to know everything about everything.

Companies need to be open to engaging and empowering their employees, and encourage creativity and innovation.  Take Google for example – many Google products come from an employee idea – Google employees are encouraged, if not expected, to spend their own time (as well as company paid time) pursuing their own ideas  for products.  Some will be great (Gmail, Wave…) others may tank, and the company has to support both.

So companies using tools internally like social networking, blogs, knowledge bases, idea databases, wikis, etc.. are going to survive.  These are all example of how to share knowledge and get information more easily available to all employees.  The old school companies not investing in these tools and their people are not going to be around much longer.  It is time to change.

KM did it all wrong years ago, when companies built huge KM systems from the top and tried to record every piece of information they could get their hands on.  Employees were not engaged in the system, except for the ones doing the capturing.  Maybe “all wrong” is harsh, at least they recognized the issue and tried to solve it the only way they knew how.  Wow how things have changed, and are still changing….  Social media tools have allowed knowledge workers to integrate knowledge sharing into their daily work processes.  They are simple and inexpensive tools to use.

Think about it for a second – How much time do you spend looking for information? Do you know who the expert on a certain topic is?  When was the last time you heard from the CEO of your company?  How much time did you waste trying to get and process feedback from 4 colleagues on the last document you had to write?  Who has the latest version?

Social media tools can be applied internally to save you time, and engage your employees.  The social part of it is very important, because if management installs one of these tools and mandates its use – guess what is going to happen?  (It is probably not going to work.) But if a PM recognizes that he needs a better tool for collaboration on a product specification document, then a simple wiki type solution might be an interesting thing to try out.

And once the team uses it once, its hard to go back.

Posted in 2.0 Lessons, Business, Social KM, Social Media.

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