Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Social Business Apps

Came across this quite interesting article about Harnessing the Power of Social Applications. This article is quite a refreshing one ... More so because it points out the way some companies are using the social apps ... And, opens up a lot of vistas ... You dont necessarily have to be in the high-tech industry to leverage these apps. Fiskars could do it ... And, to add to it, Barrick could do it ... The question simply remains how imaginative we can be, in applying some of these emerging technologies.

More than being imaginative, though, one of the things which is most interesting about web 2.0 is the fact that it would evolve ... evolve the way users want it to. Akin to the idea of the companies losing control to their customers, the technology "haves" are, and will in all probability, continue to lose control over the evolutionary path of technology, and it is the users who would come up with more and more imaginative ways to use this technology. And this, i feel, is for the better of the technology itself. As we can see, too, more and more, the experts tend to follow the trends rather than come up with theories about how this technology should evolve.

Somewhat similar to the idea posted at the IBM Podcasting Update. The key words being ...

IBMers go looking for it, it is most often not delivered through official means.

This is the very essence ... The organization would, in all probability, lose more and more control over the way information flows across until recently unusual channels, and this is already bringing about change in the processes of management, and is, in all probability, set to continue this.

Incomprehensible words

Andrew McAfee has written an interesting post about explicit content. While the concept as related is quite interesting, i quite agree with him when he says the wager is more of academic interest rather than of any practical interest.

I for one believe we need to be careful so as not to get into too much semantics, and too much jargon ... it could actually kill web 2.0. In fact, i think this is the basic difference between the way technology has evolved in the past, to the way it is set to evolve ... Technology of the future, to my mind, would need to be far more user-friendly (and I dont just mean this in terms of the features) than it ever has been. And, the jargon is an important part of this, i would think.

Coming back after that little meandering ... I do believe the explicit part of the content is the more important one from the viewpoint of the KM practitioner. After all, the concept of implicit content, if taken to its logical conclusion, is about what the user was thinking when they clicked on something. The clicks and what the user actually did buy is a manifestation of what they were thinking. However, when we think, every one of us think in ways which are quite different from one to the other. And, to be able to appreciate what the other person is thinking, one needs to understand the way they think (remember Dr. Watson being unable to follow the train of thought of Sherlock Holmes?). And, the way the other person is thinking is something which is conditioned by their perspectives, their "mental models" so to say, and also the context of the content.

These are the thoughts that lead me to believe that at least at this point (maybe there will be a day when we will be able to read what the other person is thinking, along with their train of thought, and their contexts), explicit content is what KM practitioners need to focus on. Lets master this first (and we are a long way from there), and then see where this takes us.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Secret

I am these days reading a book ... The Secret ... The essence of the book is very interesting ... That what we are seeing in our life, are things which we have called to us, which we have attracted to us by persistent thought. Interesting ...

Though, to begin with, this can be quite a daunting thought. When we do realize that what we are is due to our thought patterns, that lays the responsibility for our wellbeing on ourselves. This can be a daunting thought to a lot of people. To me, too. But, thinking about it deeply ... One can see where this is coming from. One acts according to ones thought petterns, and like begets like, and ... Something which i would recommend to everyone, to read.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Long Tail of KM?

Over a period of time, I have been thinking about one of the challenges facing "conventional KM ... the long tail. Actually, at a basic level, the long tail would be a corollary to Pareto's Law (or am I oversimplifying things here?). And, Pareto's Law would be applicable to KM as we know it. At least from the perspective of content. Lets face it ... all knowledge managers have to have a document repository with artefacts (documents?) being contributed to this repository from the business. Now, this is where the issue lies. With the long tail of KM, it can be seen that there are only a few resources which are accessed by a large number of people. This implies that there is a large number of resources which are appealing to a very small audience. The long tail ...

Corollary ... People expect KM to address all the niches in the business. And, this is where the question arises ... Can KM be all things to all people? Looking into this question at a deeper level ... Where do these documents come from. In most organizations, these documents are largely contributed by employees. Now, not too many organizations where people would be contributing documents related to the different niches of the business (by definition, most of the people in the organization probably dont even know these niches exist). The other alternative is that KM needs to invest in expertise in the different niches of the business to address the resource requirements of people in the organization addressing these niches. Question is ... How much is worth it!