Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Keeping Knowledge-Sharing Simple

This is a topic which keeps coming up from time to time ... i have blogged about this, and recently, there was an interesting post by Andrew Gent about this. There idea is simple ... its about keeping the entire gamut of knowledge-sharing activities simple. My friend, Sujit Sahu, has an interesting phrase for this ... Sarudemo Wakaru ... which, i am told, means make it so simple that even monkeys should understand it. Now, this is not to build any comparisons whatsoever, so if you are thinking something, that is purely a product of your mind. But this does make a point.

The idea, again, is to make knowledge-sharing a part of day-to-day work for people, rather than having it as a separate set of activities that they need to do. Because, it these are to be separate activities, then people tend to treat them as line items on a check-list, and while it may get done, you are probably not getting the most out of it.

One way of doing this is to make knowledge-sharing a part of the business processes of an organization. Now, this entails a number of things. To begin with, it requires some platform which enables this. Given that in most organizations, business processes are carried out on some technology platform, the idea here could be to blend the KM platform into this platform itself. While this may be feasible from the technology perspective, this doesnt seem to be so simple to do. Another thing, which is probably more important, is to actually get people to do it. And that, to my understanding, is going to be the challenge that it is today.

Coming to the other aspect of the complexity of knowledge-sharing, the idea of taxonomy comes in. Taxonomy, as we know, is meant to classify information, so that it is easy to find. The question that probably needs to be answered here is how much taxonomy is too much? And to what extent can we rely on search as an alternative to taxonomy? Something i have blogged about. However, this becomes simpler, for example, if we look at the paradigm of blogs, for instance. Here, tags suffice to describe the content of the conversation. Or, if we look at social networking, the network itself could be the source for information, as i have blogged about. So, there is taxonomy, search, and networks (or shall we say conversations) which could be combined to build a mechanism which is simpler, in a way that it enables people to discover knowledge more easily.

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