Friday, August 1, 2008

Knowledge Marketplace

I am reading an interesting book ... Working Knowledge. Quite an interesting read. Especially because they are looking at the dynamics of Knowledge Management in the organizational context. Which makes this quite a bit of a feet on the ground kind of a book. Besides it sort of validates one of the things that I have thought about fo quite some time now.

That between the "encourage people to contribute to knoweledge initiatives" through snazzy mailers trying to tell people that knowledge sharing is the best thing to happen to them since Kingfisher beer, and the "you better contribute or else ..." paradigm which manifests in contribution targets, there is the idea that people share knowledge because they derive some value from it. Now this is intangible value but value nevertheless. This also manifests itself in the idea of addressing the WIIFM aspect. This addresses the basic conundrum facing knowledge managers. This is the idea of a knowledge marketplace.

The interesting part is where they say ...

The promise of reciprocity in such a system (online knowledge repositories) is also weak. The buyer who downloads a document from a server feels less obliged to the provider than he would if he got the same material through a phone call or meeting.

This to my mind is quite an adequate explanation of something which I have observed in a number of organizations where knowledge sharing happens in an informal, offline manner but moment someone tries to take it online, it doesn't quite show the same results. This is probably something knowledge managers need to understand and make sure to develop practices to address this.


Sameer said...

Knowledge Marketplace; Quite interesting! Something like Yahoo Answers where you 'pay' for help? What else?

Atul said...

essentially that, Sameer ... in fact, i believe that the knowledge marketplace is being made more efficient by web 2.0 tools.

Doug Cornelius said...

I think one of the weaknesses in the marketplace analysis that the contributor is also a consumer.

The problem with first generation KM (i.e. the stuff around when Working Knowledge was written) focused on contributing for the collective good of the organization.

The new KM (KM 2.0?) is focused on tools that help the individual manage their own knowledge and flow of information. That the knowledge and flow of information is available to others is by product and not the focus of the tools.

Atul said...

quite agree, Doug.

I think with KM 2.0 the focus is coming back to people. Back because before modern management happened to us, the focus was with people.

And i believe there are structural differences between the knowledge marketplace, as thought by Prusak and Davernport, and the physical marketplace of classical economic theory, in that the classical marketplace is based on the idea of scarcity, and consumption reducing available supply, whereas this logic doesnt hold with the knowledge marketplace. Havent yet thought this through, though. :-)

Monty Kalsi said...

Knowledge Marketplace as a loosely coupled and socially interactive Knowledge System for Enterprises (Enterpise 2.0)

Knowledge Marketplace represents a new concept in Knowledge Management both within and outside an enterprise to propagate free flow of knowledge as it interacts as a social enterprise.

Check us out...we are launching shortly.