A modern intranet: connecting people to people?

2017-10-12 22_27_08-connecting people to content content to content people to people. - Google zoekeToday I read “Will Intranets Disappear With the Rise of the Bots?“. The author writes about how “old” intranet were all about one-way communication and providing essential content.

But:

Intranets designed and built around document libraries, one-way communications and links to deeper knowledge are no longer the proud, highly esteemed centerpieces of old“.

According to the article this doesn’t cut it in this time anymore. Doing business and work nowadays asks for more fluïd information, fast two-way communication etc. to support decision making and innovation:

A functioning intranet has become more about people: Finding people, interacting with people, building relationships and networks.” and “Decision making needs and the drive to improve the customer experience require a more fluid and faster intranet than one that is essentially a library“.

The article goes on about bots and how those bots will assist us in getting answers to common questions and helping us with doing simple tasks.

While reading this I thought to myself “But what with the ever-present problem of capturing tacit knowledge“? The goals of Knowledge management are to get the right information to the right people (of proces) at the right time, basically to achieve “doing the things right the first time”. There are two important use cases for managing knowledge:

  1. To make sure that new people that join the company know what the company has been doing, what works/worked and what (has) not, where to get the information they need. Simply to make them productive as quickly as possible.
  2. To make sure that the company is doing the right things right. Think about R&D and product/business development. It makes no sense to develop products you already have or to to research on a topic that has been covered in the past and from which the outcome is already known.

So when the author says:

Knowledge is instantly available, discussed, shared and fully used in the time it takes to add metadata to a document

and connecting people in a social environment is more important than securing information for future reference, we risk asking the same questions to people over and over again. Also, when experienced people leave the company the existing knowledge will leave the company with them. Connecting to people also poses the risk of getting them out of there current process to. This can lead to lower productivity because of the constant disturbance of notifications, instant messaging etc,

So, I still believe in “document libraries” with high quality information and data that any employee can access and use when ever he or she needs it. We simple need to manage the knowledge, information and data so that it is readily accessible.

When the article speaks of “bots” in that context I translate that to “a fucking good search engine” that understands what’s important and what not (in the context of the user/question). Enterprise search solutions also have the ability to provide pro-active suggestions to relevant content (research, people with knowledge). It all depends on how deep you want to integrate different technologies.

So, connecting people remains important in a company. But for a company to survive for a long time, it needs to secure it’s information and “knowledge”. Surely we need more smart solutions to connect people to content, content to content, content to people and people to people.

 

Simpele dingen die we kunnen doen om “Tacit” knowlegde inzichtelijk te maken (Engels)

One Common Model

Different authors have come back to a general concept along these lines:

  • Instill a knowledge vision
  • Manage the conversations
  • Mobilize knowledge activists
  • Create the right context for knowledge creation
  • Globalize local knowledge

At AnswerHub, we try to work within all these areas on a regular basis, although the idea of “globalizing local knowledge” — essentially, making sure that certain bits of information aren’t tied up in one person’s head/e-mail — is one of the true value-adds of our software.

All the steps above are crucial, although the terminology can feel a little “business-school-y” from time to time. What exactly does it mean to “instill a knowledge vision,” for example? How do you “mobilize knowledge activists?” Let’s see if we can break this down into some day-to-day examples.

Simple Things We Can Do To Uncover Tacit Knowledge

  1. Set one meeting a week aside as Discovery Day: Have three people picked beforehand; their goal is to do five-minute presentations (no longer than that) on an aspect of work that isn’t part of the day-to-day grind but really intrigues them. After the 15 minutes of presenting, the other participants in the meeting go to one of the three presenters (whoever interested them most) and the presenters take their colleagues and explain the idea a bit more in depth. This is a way to promote the idea of learning, looking outside the day-to-day, and fostering discovery among employees.
  2. Set one meeting at the beginning of the month as a Gaps meeting: If you want to avoid this being a meeting, you can turn it into a Shared Doc/Tumblr/etc. Essentially, everyone is supposed to list some of the biggest knowledge gaps that prevented them from doing their best work in the previous month, as well as 2-3 new things they learned in the work context. If everyone contributes in the first five days of the month, you now have a picture of your biggest knowledge gaps — as well as what you’re doing well. You can plan for the coming month off of that!
  3. Lucky Lottery Partnerships: At the beginning of a six-week cycle, bring clusters of 25-50 employees together and draw them off in a lottery into groups of six-eight. Within the next six weeks, the newfound groups need to share new types of knowledge and demonstrate how they did so; this can be weekly meetings, coffee dates, a poster or white paper, or something else. It can feel like more work — that’s where you need top-down buy-in — but in reality, it helps cement a culture where pursuit of learning / new knowledge is paramount. That type of culture will thrive long-term.
  4. Pulse checks: The idea here is to quickly (brevity is a key) figure out how your people are most comfortable learning. Would they rather learn from peers, from experts? From SlideShares, from videos? In quick bursts or day-long seminars? Remember: a key differentiator between top companies (in terms of engagement) and low-ranking companies — and this is at any size — is the access to and context around new opportunities to learn/grow. Your employees want that to be provided, so you need to figure out what makes them learn the best.
  5. Process Software:The ultimate goal with tacit knowledge capture is taking local knowledge — only Bob knows how to do this, so when Bob is out of office or Bob takes another job, we’re doomed — and making it global knowledge. Software, like AnswerHub, can be a powerful tool for doing just that. The key elements therein are:
    • Making sure Bob isn’t threatened and still realizes his value
    • Figuring out the most comfortable way for everyone else to learn Bob’s skills
    • Setting up a few different modalities/programs for Bob’s knowledge to be disseminated
    • Creating organic communication channels where people can ask Bob questions
    • Having a space where the shared knowledge is now physically shared.

In a five-step process (with help from technology), you just went from information silos and knowledge being contained locally to shared knowledge throughout your organization. It’s hard, but it’s definitely achievable

- See more at: http://answerhub.com/article/5-steps-to-tapping-into-your-tacit-knowledge