I’m continuing my research into Knowledge Management practices and principles within the project world. Currently still in literature review mode and hope to have the majority of this review done by mid-year. I put together a presentation on what I’ve learned so far…hope you enjoy it.
In this presentation I talk about the need for knowledge management in projects and methods for sharing different types of knowledge.
Whether you are an expert in the Enterprise 2.0 world or just a beginner, this book has something for you. Whether you believe in Enterprise 2.0 or not, this book has some excellent concepts that can be used to help bring social tools into the enterprise.
The book is split into two parts with the Part 1 covering the tools of Enterprise 2.0 and Part 2 discussing how to successfully utilize social tools within the enterprise.
Part 1 provides a very good overview of the tools and techniques of Enterprise 2.0 as well as some real-world case studies of companies that have implemented Web 2.0 platforms. These companies are extremely diverse running the gamut from government agencies to start-ups and the information provided by McAfee shows real-world usage of Web 2.0 within enterprises.
Part 2 is where the really good stuff happens. This is where McAfee shines. This is the stuff that every CEO, COO, CIO and CMO should read and digest. This is the place where you get to see some strategies for using social tools within the enterprise. When you read this book make, sure you pay attention to the Six Organizational Strategies starting on page 179. Good stuff.
Will this book give you the recipe for successful use of Enterprise 2.0? No. Will this book make your Enterprise 2.0 project(s) successful? Maybe. Maybe not. What this book will do is give you some ideas on how to introduce Enterprise 2.0 into your organization and give you some tips on make it successful.
So…let’s take a step away from the book for a minute and look at the topic itself. Enterprise 2.0. Great name but one that has been much maligned. The topic has caused a lot of debate since being introduced. For some examples, go read Dennis Howlett‘s article titled “Enterprise 2.0 – the non-debate” and then read Mark Fidelman’s response on CloudAve titled “Enterprise 2.0 Caffeine: Let’s debunk the non-debate” to get some flavor of the various debate’s happening out there on the topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of Enterprise 2.0 in the comments.
With all of this debate, or non-debates as some would say, let’s look at McAfee’s definition of Enterprise 2.0:
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms by organizations in pursuit of their goals.
McAfee continues with his definition when he writes:
Enterprise 2.0, then, is about how organizations use the newly available ESSP’s [emergent social software platforms] to do their work better
With those definitions in mind, let’s revisit one of the main arguments against Enterprise 2.0 –> The value of Social Media / Enterprise 2.0 cannot be determined. In fact, there are many (Howlett included) that say social media tools are worthless to the organization.
My response to this argument is a simple one:
How valuable is the knowledge of an employee? How valuable is the knowledge of 10, 100 or 1000 employees? Can you place value on that knowledge? Maybe. Maybe not. That doesn’t mean that trying to harness that knowledge is worthless. So why would using tools to harness that knowledge be worthless?
I can understand some of the arguments of folks out there against Enterprise 2.0. There are a lot of buzzwords floating about and a lot of hype around the subject, but if you take the lessons from this book to heart, you’ll do more than buy into the hype…you’ll give your organization an opportunity to succeed by really harnessing the expertise, experiences and value of your organizational knowledge.
A few months ago I ran across the IDEO Fellows website and saw a lot of really interesting authors listed and realized I’d heard of everyone on the page except for one: Daniel Wilson. Included with Wilson are such notables as Chip Heath, Bob Sutton and Barry Katz so I found it intriguing that I hadn’t heard of Wilson before.
The IDEO website lists Wilson as Research Director at Harvard Project Zero and co-author of a book titled ‘Learning at Work‘. Dr. Wilson’s background intrigued me so I took a deeper look at the book. As far as I can tell, this book is only available from Harvard’s Project Zero bookstore…a quick review on Amazon shows a few books with the same title but they don’t appear to be the same book.
I ordered the book and waited patiently for its arrvial…then waited patiently to find time to read it. I finally found that time and I’m glad I did.
The main purpose of the book is to describe the fundamental need to turn knowledge into something that is actionable and useful to an organization. The official description of this book is:
For four years researchers at Project Zero worked closely with the leaders and over fifty office managers of a university as they sought to cultivate a culture of learning and understanding throughout their organization. This book shares the story of this project along with the key lessons and practical strategies that helped to enhance understanding, deepen inquiry, strengthen leadership, and improve communication. Organizational leaders, group facilitators or those interested in applying Project Zero concepts in the workplace will find this book of interest.
The book is a wonderful treatise on learning within organizations and provides a great deal of information on how an organization can build a culture of learning.
As part of a research project for my doctorate work I’ve been looking at the use of storytelling for knowledge sharing in project teams. I’ve found the topic extremely interesting and perhaps even something I can find a dissertation topic out of.
So how do you get your point across when people don’t want to think?
Just tell a story. For thousands of years, human beings have learned many life lessons from stories or fables (remember Aesop’s Fables). So why not use them to get your point across? In just a few paragraphs, you can tell someone about a problem (the issue), provide a plausible explanation (impact of the issue), and teach a lesson (the solution to the issue). Nice and neat, and everyone is satisfied. By using the facts and information you have and molding it into a story that the audience can relate to, you will have their attention, and you can make your point effectively. Yes, you will have to really think about how to put your facts into a story your audience can relate to, but remember, you want to make sure that your issue is clearly understood.
As much as we may want to get people to think more, when it’s clear your audience is not up for it, telling a story is a very effective way to get your point across and get what you want. Remember, we all like a good story.
Great introduction in the use of stories to get your point across.
Stories have been used to pass down wisdom and knowledge from the beginning of time. Every culture has had its own stories and storytelling techniques so it makes sense that using stories to transfer and share knowledge within project teams might prove worth researching. I’m currently researching this topic and will be working a paper that I hope to get published later this year.
A study by U.S research body The Conference Board has found most American, Canadian and European businesses are woefully ill-prepared for the exodus of the post-war Baby Boom generation from the boardroom.
Most firms do even not have a plan to manage and transfer knowledge and even fewer included cross-generational issues in what strategy they had.
“Knowledge transfer is not as widely practiced as the potential business benefits and workforce demographics suggest it should be,” concluded Greenes.
“In a knowledge economy, firm-specific knowledge is critical to the sustainability, performance and innovation of organizations facing the imminent retirement of large numbers of baby boomers,” he added.
Looks like all the talk about Knowledge Management over the last 20 years has been just that…talk. Any ideas as to why this important aspect has been overlooked by organizations?