The whole question regarding to the Knowledge Managment is a very difficult one. As a normal end-user we could think that knowledge management (for a given company) means that employees share their thoughts and knowledge to each other using a platform, something like building up a common knowledge database /warehouse. This platform should provide some search functionality for the people to be able to look for the answers for their intrestings and issues.
And here comes the first difficulty. Could be an empty database named as a knowledge database? So we could think that all the employees can work for each other and understand the reasons for building up a collective “learning/knowledge warehouse”. Well we will be dissapointed if we think on that…
Everyone can understand the reasons but to be honest all we are a bit lazy (sorry about the generialisation) and we do not like to write down a solution given to an issue. Does it ring a bell to you? – OK, we got rid of that task, let’s get another one. And after few weeks we just remember barely for the solution.
So we can have a cool Knowledgemanagement tool with empty database which is not feed by people. Here you are the empty knowledge databse 🙂
But not this “Lazy-question” is the first. The first one is how to build up a community which is not lazy to share its thoughts and knowledge. And here we can ask for a hand from Mark Miller, the editor of the formal EndUserSharepoint.com and the co-editor for NothingButSharepoint.com. He was able to build up a community for sharing thoughts, solutions. So i would like to post about the way how to begin to manage your “housing programme”.
So referring to Mark i describe you a way how you could build up such a community at your given company. First you don’t need to be a prime minister or a chief or a leader or a manager sitting in the sky to have success.
Here are the basic pre-requisites to begin to build up a community
1. You need a common platform which is userfriendly, functional and always on-line
Userfriendly means that the platform can be used implicitly and users know all the signs can be found on the screen.
2. This platform should be the basic spot of all search possibilities
Search should work like GoOgLe – just a search box and after having pushed the search button you can get the relevant answers coming from many connected systems (company databases, fileshares, Active Directory information, etc.)
3. The main page should provide “fresh and up-to-date” informative articles and should be addictive
Addictive means: You have to make the people to come back to your main page more often than daily. Such like news portals… they always provide fresh information frequently and are updated more times a day.
Informative: Those article which can make the reader interested
4. Publicate more than once a day
How could we publicate more than once a day meanwhile we are doing our job? Let’s build a community with few inspired people. From a community with 8 people can provide you that ‘functionality’.
But how to find inspired people in a company?
Well, here are the trick:
1. Find people who like to post, write articles in any topic. Topic can be tabloid like, professional etc… does not matter. From 100 people there are 2 ones of that type 🙂
How to find? Let’s make relationships to all division.
2. You have to find the telltale people of your company (at every division). During the “linking-process” you will find them 😀
These people will inform the others about the new gossips read at your main page. Some weeks later people who don’t know about the latest gossip publicated on your site will feel a bit frustrated.
The info about the usefullness of your site should be multiplied, spreaded by the employees not by the management. So people should hear about the usefullness in the kitchen not from emails coming from the executives.
From 100 article-readers 10 will give some feedback to the articles. From these 10 there will be 1 in the future (2-3 months) who will join to the article-writers and begin to publicate also.
IMPORTANT: In the first period you need people how publish regularly. It does not matter if they post about the earthquakes or photography or biochemistry. Just the intresting of the post is important. The company should tolerate non-professional articles! That’s the key. Let people show their intrests.
But how this provides me the basics of a new knowledgebase?
You have to teach people how to use the platform which you would like to be used for the knowledge-sharing. But providing them some step-by-step documentation you will fail. Learning by doing is the best method. If they are familiar with the latform they will like to use it. First you have to make the people visit your site/platform regulalry.
In the near future a post-series can be read about how to climatize/practise people to your platform.
I hope i manage to give you some usefull information on how to start to build up a community who can share their knowledge… Have fun… Let’s try it! It’s a very intresting game.