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Monday, September 19, 2011

Social Network Analysis Methods

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Social Network Analysis MethodsSocial Network Analysis (SNA) Method plays very important roles in Business. The basic idea of a social network is very simple. A social network is a set of actors (or points, or nodes, or agents) that may have relationships (or edges, or ties) with one another.

Networks can have few or many actors, and one or more kinds of relations between pairs of actors. To build a useful understanding of a social network, a complete and rigorous description of a pattern of social relationships is a necessary starting point for analysis. That is, ideally we will know about all of the relationships between each pair of actors in the population.

The amount of information that we need to describe even small social networks can be quite great.  Managing these data, and manipulating them so that we can see patterns of social structure can be tedious and complicated.  All of the tasks of social network methods are made easier by using tools from mathematics.  For the manipulation of network data, and the calculation of indexes describing networks, it is most useful to record information as matrices.  For visualizing patterns, graphs are often useful.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Knowledge Management and Community of Practice

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Lave and Wenger first introduced the concept of a Community of Practice (CoP) in 1991. Lave and Wenger saw the acquisition of knowledge as a social process where people can participate in communal learning at different levels depending on their level of authority or seniority in the group, i.e. whether they are a newcomer or have been a member for a long time.

Central to their notion of a CoP as a means of acquiring knowledge is the process by which a newcomer moves from peripheral to full participation in the community as they learn from others; they termed this process Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP). Since then, the notion of a CoP has now been expanded to encompass a far wider range of groups.

The term Communities of Practice (CoPs) has now been applied to a range of different groups, from project teams to functional departments. There have also been several attempts to redefine CoPs in such a way that they are relevant to the needs of commercial organizations and attempts by some management consultancies to formalize methods to create them.

Article Source:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 3Cs of Knowledge Sharing: Culture, Co-opetition and Commitment

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Knowledge Sharing Culture
One of the challenges of knowledge management is that of getting people to share their knowledge. Why should people give up their hard-won knowledge, when it is one of their key sources of personal advantage? In some organizations, sharing is natural. In others the old dictum "knowledge is power" reigns. In this article we explore some of the barriers and offers some pointers to overcoming them.

Why Don't People Share?

Some of the common reasons given by those I meet and in helpful articles and books (see, for example, the section on psychological obstacles in reference 1 or "the impediments" in reference 2) are:
  • "Knowledge is power" - but how true is this really? My own view is that citing this reason is often a cop out by managers or change agents who are not adequately addressing the human factors or motivational aspects. In today's enterprise, where so much depends on teamwork and collective knowledge, it is only a handful of people who have knowledge for which they can hold their peers (and bosses) to ransom. It might be the owner-manager of a small company not wanting to lose trade secrets; it may be a particular specialist who has been in the organization many years and built up his or her own unique way of achieving success without perhaps even understanding the deep tacit knowledge of how they do it. Don't get me wrong - knowledge IS power, but is typically not the primary reason for lack of knowledge sharing.
  • "not invented here" syndrome - this is more common. People have pride in not having to seek advice from others and in wanting to discover new ways for themselves.
  • Not realizing how useful particular knowledge is to others - an individual may have knowledge used in one situation but be unaware that other people at other times and places might face similar situations. Additionally, knowledge derived for one need may be helpful in totally different contexts; or it may be a trigger for innovation - many innovative developments come from making knowledge connections across different disciplines and organizational boundaries.
  • Lack of trust - if I share some of my knowledge, will you use it out of context, mis-apply it (and then blame me!), or pass it off as your own without giving any acknowledgement or recognition to me as the source?
  • Lack of time - this, I suspect, is the major reason given in many organizations. There is pressure on productivity, on deadlines, and it's a general rule that the more knowledgeable you are, the more there are people waiting to collar you for the next task. How can you possibly find time to add your lessons learnt to the knowledge database or have a knowledge sharing session with your colleagues?
Other barriers cited by experts include functional silos, individualism, poor means of knowledge capture, inadequate technology, internal competition and top-down decision making. Generally, a mix of structural and infrastructure barriers is exacerbated by the predominance of human ones - social, behavioural and psychological.
How can we overcome such barriers? Certainly address the issues of organizational structure and inadequate technology. But give your focus to the three Cs of Culture, Co-opetition (a blend of co-ooperation and competition), and Commitment.

Changing Culture

Culture change is never easy and takes time. But cultures can be changed. Culture is defined in many ways, such as "commonly held beliefs, attitudes and values" (Institute of Personnel Development), "the collective programming of the mind that distinguished one group from another" (Geert Hofstede), and in many other ways that also embrace rituals, artifacts and other trappings of the work environment. I like the simple but effective definition "the way we do things around here". There is no one place to start, but most interventions are based on a simple layered model that portrays how people's observable actions and behaviours are influenced by reportable attitudes and values based on more deep-rooted beliefs. Therefore to change people's actions you have to address the more fundamental underlying layers. This can be done as an organization-wide programme or in small groups or even individually. Here are some activities that might be used to plan and induce change:
  • A culture audit - conducting questionnaires, interviews and team sessions with a cross-section of the organization. This is especially helpful in finding out the difference between what is articulated as the desired culture and what is done (e.g. "we put quality first" but at the same time the organization ships out less than perfect products at the end of a financial quarter to "make the numbers"). It is also common to find several sub-cultures that conflict with overarching goals. Can you clearly identify which values and behaviours conflict with better knowledge sharing and perhaps (more importantly) which people should be the target for change?
  • Challenge 'improper' behaviour - if you identify people hoarding knowledge unnecessarily: challenge them, though avoid "knowledge rage".
  • Involvement - some of the best knowledge sharing cultures are where everybody (even novices and newcomers) believes that their knowledge is respected, valued and used to inform decisions.
  • Use of role models - identify those people whose behaviours are an example to others. Celebrate and publicize them. Involve them with other groups.
  • Team-building / organization development sessions - at regular team meetings, allocate time to understand and improve internal processes; too many meetings are task and output focussed, but fail to address the means of achieving successful outcomes.
  • Align rewards and recognition to support appropriate behaviours - too many schemes are based on seniority or individual expertise, rather than team effectiveness.
  • Change people - move the knowledge sharers around; get industrial psychologists and behavioural experts on board; perhaps fire some bosses (seriously!) - after all, it is quality of leadership that will enable all the other culture change techniques to achieve their aims.
Finally, remember that culture goes hand in hand with structure (roles and responsibilities). At every level within the organization, there must be congruence between objectives, structures, processes, people and supporting infrastructure. A good example of changing culture alongside an evolving knowledge management programme is that of Siemens (see reference 3 and Knowledge Digest).

Challenging Through Co-opetition

Human beings are at the same time social cooperative beings and have a competitive streak. We all like to do better than our peers and excel in something. Yet, in today's complex world, we need help from them to achieve our aims. In an organization, lack of competition - both for individuals and teams - leads to complacency. But competition must be done in a healthy manner. Some things to consider:
  • In early stages of product development, don't simply approve one line of approach. Have several "competing" projects under way but make sure there are mechanisms to exchange knowledge and challenge / encourage each "runner" e.g. through people sharing, peer reviews etc.
  • Continually benchmark internal processes and functions with other organizations and potential suppliers. Encourage them to strive for improvement through learning from each other.
  • Introduce 'competitions', such as the "knowledge champion of the year", the "innovators team award", but invite everybody to the award ceremonies.
  • Compete, not against other people or teams, but set goals vs. challenging targets or external competitors.
Above all, let the apparent losers of such competitions share in success, celebrate what they have achieved, and make them feel part of the winning team (the wider organization). In one organization I know, whenever a competing development project was wound up, the best people were almost universally attracted to the winning teams (since the healthy competition meant that each had good knowledge of the other).


This builds on the other two Cs. Organizations need to create a commitment to culture, to change, to challenge, to compete and cooperate. If, as is often the case, time pressure leads to poor knowledge sharing, then there must be a commitment to allow time for it to happen. Budget 5 per cent of a project's resources to distilling lessons and sharing. Include time to contribute to knowledge development and sharing in people's job goals (and in the accompanying reward system). Build commitment into team processes.
Commitment to knowledge sharing must be demonstrated throughout the organization. It is apparent through what the leaders of the organization say and do. It is shown by commitment in the organizations' processes, reward systems, development programmes etc. It is, above all, shown by individual throughout the organization being committed to share their knowledge with others even if it is not formally part of their 'day job'.

Summary: Seven Incentives for $$haring

My own experience is that knowledgeable people do like to share their expertise - just listen to them in the bar after work. It's just something about their work environment that discourages this natural inclination. Understanding these barriers and individual motivations is the first step towards implementing changes in the work setting. I've offered some suggestions in the 3Cs above. Different approaches will be appropriate in different situations. But one thing is clear: you can change organizational culture and individual behaviours such that knowledge sharing, rather than knowledge hoarding, is the norm. You only have to look at companies like BP and Siemens to see this in practice. One article which also illustrates some successful examples was written by Larry Stevens, in the now defunct (at least in its hard-copy form) of Knowledge Management Magazine (the one published by CurtCo Freedom Press) in October 2000. He cited seven incentives for sharing with examples:
  • Hire people who will share - at Collective Technologies of Texas, the process starts with recruiting people through an intensive few days of interactive interviews;
  • Develop trust - Buckman Laboratories nurtures trust through its ten point code of ethics in which employees are steeped;
  • Vary motivations - CAP-Gemini Ernst & Young applies incentives at three levels: a solid business case for senior executives, relevant benefits for departments, and incentivizing positive behaviours with employees;
  • Show public recognition - Harris has its "wall of fame" a gallery of pictures of employees who have excelled at knowledge sharing;
  • Reorganize for sharing - Northrop Grumman uses integrated product teams, backed up by appropriate mentoring programmes;
  • Create communities - The World Bank uses electronic bulletin boards focussed around relevant topics, but which cut across organizational boundaries;
  • Develop leaders - Capital One formed a group from natural knowledge champions to promote knowledge sharing and develop training.
Article Source:

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Business Knowledge Repository

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    There are things every businessman in the world looks for, and out of all those that exist, one of them is finding a repository for various business knowledge. There are sites that cater to trading only, while some serve Internet marketers exclusively, but are there resources that combine several disciplines for the multitasking businessman?

    Of course there are, and they are easily accessible if you know how. But out of all the sites that seem helpful, which among them are truly legitimate? Well, though I can't answer that, surely you can. How can you know? There are ways on how to find the best resource for business matters, and most of them are rooted out of common sense. Let me give you a few pointers on how to discover the best business resource.

    First off, do a search. A simple search using Google or Yahoo should do the trick. And once you have access to several of these sites, try to browse around them one by one. The first thing you should take note is the ease of use. If during the course of your browsing you get bored, move on to the next. Something that bores you shouldn't last longer than a couple of minutes. When you find a site that seems okay, take a look at the content. Make sure that they address the issues that you want addressed and they offer knowledge that you'd otherwise not know about. Take for example, if you are a trader, you find comprehensive explanations on how trading risk management is done, or how trading money management should be accomplished. If you are an Internet marketer, does that same site offer tips and tricks about Internet marketing for you? Like how to build a site in the first place, and basically how to make a profit using Internet marketing as your medium? Or maybe how to do SEO campaigns on your site, or as a business in and of itself?

    Those are just two examples of course, but the bottom line is, as you look closer at whatever site you choose, you get to learn various stuff about various disciplines in marketing. Much like a smorgasbord of business knowledge, that are not only useful, but effective as well.

    So to recap, what you should do is find a good site that is easily navigated, does not make you bored, offer you knowledge about the business you want and the business you might get into, and give proof of the success of their word. A handful I know, but well worth the effort.

    Article Source:

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Knowledge Management Study

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    Knowledge Management StudyIt should Focus on Leadership and Culture, Not Technology, to Gain the Edge?

    The purpose of the article, study and website is to encourage the reader to take a step back from the technology component of knowledge management and widen his or her field of vision to include performance drivers around leadership, culture, organization and process.

    The study is based on in-depth interviews with key executives in some of the most admired knowledge enterprises in the world. Study participants include BP, Buckaman Laboratories, PeopleSoft, Sainsbury's, Simens and the World Bank. Some participating enterprises have chosen not to be directly named.

    What is knowledge management?

    Knowledge management is capturing, structuring, enhancing and disseminating the knowledge of an organization. Knowledge management involves:

    * Getting the right information, to the right person, at the right time and cost
    * Organizing, distilling and presenting information in a timely, relevant, accurate and simple manner
    * Leveraging both tacit and explicit knowledge in a systematic way
    * Using the information delivered to enable informed decision making

    Knowledge management helps problem solving, dynamic learning, collaboration, strategic planning and decision making, and also protects intellectual assets from decay. With this in mind we have developed a knowledge management framework to establish how enterprises achieved great success.

    What does knowledge management best practice look like?

    Leadership and culture are the critical success factors in building world-class knowledge management - enabled by good process and technology practice. We looked at knowledge management best practice against a number of performance dimensions: strategy, leadership, culture, process and technology.

    KM Strategy

    Alignment of knowledge management with the business strategy is a clear benchmark of success. We identified the following best practices: The development of an enterprise-wide knowledge strategy which links all knowledge management initiatives:

    * It is important to identify organizational and knowledge priorities
    * Promote full organizational participation
    * Knowledge strategy clearly aligns with a core component of business strategy - for instance:
    * A customer centric approach: KCS (annual efficiency saving of US$ 1.5 million)
    * A drive towards operational excellence: BP (US$ 2billion over 4 years)
    * The knowledge value chain is managed at an enterprise level:
    * Determine knowledge needed
    * Determine knowledge available
    * Assess knowledge gap
    * Developing or buy relevant knowledge

    KM Leadership

    Leadership is an important dimension in driving the success of any organizational initiative. The impact of leadership is even more pronounced given the cultural implications and low maturity of knowledge management within most organizations

    Enterprise knowledge strategy is deployed under the guidance of a 'Chief Knowledge Officer':

    * Each of the world-class companies have mandated a senior leader to oversee and steer the enterprise knowledge strategy
    * The CKO need not be a permanent role yet has proved to be instrumental in the establishment of world class knowledge management within enterprises:

    In Buckman Laboratories, knowledge sharing and collaboration have evolved from a top down prescriptive approach towards knowledge sharing into a pan organization imperative. The company highlights that they do not have just one Chief Knowledge Officer, but rather all workers are knowledge leader

    Similarly, a global software company points to its leadership programme, in which knowledge-sharing and collaboration are emphasized, and is a key reason the have no Chief Knowledge Officer. A programme is developed to identify and foster knowledge leaders throughout the enterprise:

    * In addition to a Chief Knowledge Officer, leading knowledge management enterprises built another tier of knowledge leaders - in the form of 'knowledge champions', 'knowledge mentors' - at different levels across the enterprise
    * The enterprise leadership itself must be seen to act as knowledge mentors and collaborators:
    * This is leadership by example: - they are seen to model the behaviours they are trying to promote within their employees:
    * Software Company, CEO, is known to contribute to the company's many discussion forums
    * Buckman Laboratories: Bob Buckman, ex-CEO now Chairman of the Executive Committee, would contact employees that have not been active on the company's knowledge sharing system and asks what assistance the leadership can provide to help them contribute more

    KM Culture

    Cultural change within an organization is highlighted by all world-class KM enterprises as the most important success factor in of a KM programme. The development of a common language and understanding of KM based around key business needs:

    * Even the naming of KM projects can prove to be problematic and their success influenced by predetermined attitudes to KM; some companies participating in this study chose to abandon the term 'KM' altogether because of a negative association with the term
    * Knowledge sharing becomes culturally embedded more quickly when knowledge objectives are articulated in the language of an organization's business objectives. Examples include:
    * 'Operational Excellence Programme'
    * 'Knowledge Centred Approach'
    * 'New Ways of Working'

    Understanding what compels knowledge sharing behaviour within the organization:

    * The use of financial rewards only is not necessarily the right answer; internal and external recognition for knowledge sharing (e.g., published metrics, Company Knowledge Award) motivates some people to contribute (but not all)
    * Ensure contributors and sharers of knowledge are aware that their efforts are visible to senior executives
    * Design appraisal, performance and promotion with knowledge sharing behaviors in mind
    * Explore innovative approaches promoting knowledge sharing behaviors - e.g. Global software company uses oral histories or organizational storytelling
    * KM Process
    * World class KM enterprises have focused on developing consistent and robust processes to support best practice KM.
    * Build a robust Content Management process:
    * Facilitates adding content onto the system and gives guidance for the 'Collection, Creation and Validation' of content
    * Have a clear idea on the content life cycle for maintaining and retiring content
    * Ensures relevance and accuracy of content and increased user confidence

    Ensure content flows from a standard central control point:

    * Both distributed and centralized content management models have been identified within this sample group however centralized content management is used throughout
    * Creates a common understanding of employee and customer requirements
    * Makes sharing and disseminating content simple and consistent
    * Ensures reduced duplication of data

    Understand the process by which users retrieve information:

    * Content must be readily accessible - the 'three clicks rule' is applied
    * Structured content based on a developed taxonomy enables content search through full text search or browsing
    * Critical content is pushed out to users, information they require may be pulled as and when needed
    * Ensures effective use of the system, reduced search times

    KM Technology

    In best practice KM organizations, technology is an enabler of KM behaviors and should be tailored to the needs of users.

    From the beginning focus on the business and user requirements:

    * Prevent too much emphasis on what the tools can do and increases emphasis on the needs of the people who use the tools
    * "If there is no need for what you are doing in the organization (technology), then it will not be successful" - Bob Buckman, ex CEO, Buckman Laboratories, Chairman of the Executive Committee

    Develop and leverage custom built KM solutions to meet business and user requirements:

    * Easy to use applications developed built on strong understanding of user requirements
    * Tailored to the requirements of each user community

    Exploit and leverage existing tools on current architecture:

    * Focus on tools that employees currently use and make them more efficient - e.g. MS Outlook used for discussion groups functionality

    Integrate KM tools into key applications where appropriate:

    * CRM System
    * Extranet
    * Intranet
    * Marketing systems
    * Product development

    Article Source:

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    successful knowledge management initiative

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    successful knowledge management initiativeAn organization that implements an effective knowledge management (KM) program should see a substantial payoff: Reducing duplicated work increases productivity; leveraging past experience improves quality; and tracking customer behaviors enhances customer service.
    In practice, this has not always happened. Many companies have invested millions, even billions, of dollars on KM technology and received little in return. Why?

    After researching and reviewing numerous KM initiatives, comparing those that succeeded with those that failed, the answer becomes clear: KM isn't simply about technology. It's about people.

    Consider this real-world example of a global financial services company that invested a sizable dollar amount in a system for capturing, organizing, and retrieving project methodology information. It seemed like a good idea -- high-powered software that promised to improve staff efficiency. The system was expensive, however, and hard to learn. The implementation did not include a pilot to test user adoption, and many of the key personnel never used the software. It was, in short, a waste of money. "Cool" technology was implemented, rather than something that met business needs.

    All too often, KM initiatives that are driven by technology fail. In many cases, KM is the brainchild of an IT person who envisions a grand repository of all the company's information in the form of a database with a search engine that can find all documents matching a certain keyword. Again, it sounds like a great idea. But does it meet the company's business needs and, in particular, does it take the organization's people into account?

    Knowledge management is not only about information; it is also about the people you have recruited, trained, developed, and promoted within your organization. KM involves not only the implementation of a software system; it involves understanding your business needs, your organization's culture, and your personnel. To succeed, any KM initiative requires that you know your people and clearly define the behaviors that need to be changed or reinforced.

    Following are five steps that are crucial to the success of a KM initiative:

    1. Understand key business drivers. To be worth the investment, a KM initiative must improve the bottom line by either increasing revenue or reducing cost. You need to develop a business case for the initiative based on metrics that can be measured on an ongoing basis to demonstrate the value added.

    Some will argue that KM is too subjective -- it's too hard, at the outset, to define the metrics for determining value added. It's an argument worth refuting. If the value of the initiative can't be defined before it is implemented, what chance is there that it will be adopted by your organization's people and deliver value once it has started?

    Article Source, and Further Reading:

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Choosing Knowledge Management Strategy

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    Choosing Knowledge Management PracticeKnowledge Management (KM) has been the subject of much discussion over the past decade. Organisations are told that they will not survive in the modern Knowledge Era unless they have a strategy for managing and leveraging value from their intellectual assets, and many KM lifecycles and strategies have been proposed. However, it has become clear that the term "Knowledge Management" has been applied to a very broad spectrum of activities designed to manage, exchange and create or enhance intellectual assets within an organisation, and that there is no widespread agreement on what KM actually is. IT applications that are termed "knowledge management applications" range from the development of highly codified help desk systems to the provision of video conferencing to facilitate the exchange of ideas between people.

    One fact that does seem to be agreed on is that different situations require different knowledge management strategies. But the range of different "Knowledge Management Strategies" on offer can be bewildering and it is often unclear where to begin in choosing a strategy for a particular situation. We will start by examining a number of published KM strategies and consider how these can be classified. We go on to consider a range of driving forces behind the strategies, and then propose a strategy and a number of heuristics for the selection of a suitable KM strategy.

    First, though, we need a working definition of what KM is. Many different definitions of KM have been published, and several will be discussed in this paper. To avoid pre-empting the discussion on the best definition of knowledge management in a given situation, a very broad definition of KM is used for current purposes:

    Knowledge Management can be thought of as the deliberate design of processes, tools, structures, etc. with the intent to increase, renew, share, or improve the use of knowledge represented in any of the three elements [Structural, Human and Social] of intellectual capital.

    Article Source:

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Critical Success Factors When Building a Knowledge Management System

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    Critical Success Factors When Building a Knowledge Management System[Article Source: http://sharepointmagazine.net/articles/critical-success-factors-when-building-a-knowledge-management-system ]

    In today’s business climate, competitive pressures are greater than ever. Organizations must leverage any competitive advantage to gain or maintain an edge. Or, in the midst of a shrinking economy, there is always a need to do more with less. Recently, many organizations have turned to knowledge management (KM) systems like SharePoint to create new knowledge. Some experts consider knowledge to be perhaps the only sustainable competitive advantage. With knowledge come better decisions, more efficient teams, and a commitment to learning. However, the high risk of failure is well documented which compels us to study why and then define critical success factors that are found within successful implementations.

    Working in the researcher’s favor is the overwhelming consistency found when researching these critical success factors (CSF). Furthermore, in a study of thirty-one KM projects1 across twenty-four companies, researchers found that successful projects “had virtually the same indicators.” Additionally, the study concluded that “the unsuccessful or not yet successful projects had few or none of the characteristics.” These findings give us a high degree of confidence in the factors that are provided here. These factors have been selected based on the frequency found in journal articles, various case studies and experience in deploying SharePoint solutions.

    Not Just Information Technology

    When asking most business or technical people what Information Technology (IT) means, very likely one will get an answer that only involves technology. Somehow, the information element gets lost or subjugated. While technology is an important element, and arguably a CSF outright, the CSF more emphasized in research is recognizing that there is more to the solution than a technology component. Some of the first KM efforts have learned this lesson the hard way, and it is now widely published that a KM implementation must involve people and processes. The KM system is a multidisciplinary effort that depends on organizational learning, sharing habits, and changes to culture; in other words, it is not just IT. As quoted by a KM consultancy firm in New York City, “The biggest misconception that IT leaders make is that knowledge management is about technology”2


    In some sources it is reported that having a healthy corporate culture that is conducive to knowledge sharing is perhaps the most important success factor. Unfortunately, changing culture is also one of the single-most difficult things to do. This dangerous mix helps explain why most KM efforts fail. There are many barriers to why staff are reluctant to share. These include lack of trust, lack of perceived value, or simple knowledge hoarding. Even without these barriers, there is the inertia of instituting any type of change. Companies must have individuals, teams and the organization as a whole believing that sharing knowledge is a healthy and normal way to do business. Having a compatible culture is not optional: either this KM initiative fits “into their organizational culture, or else they should be prepared to change it.”3 If the culture is not KM friendly, “no amount of technology, knowledge content or good project management will make the effort successful”1. Having the right culture can also work in your favor. If employees really believe that sharing knowledge is essential to the organization, they will use every available process or technology to share and learn.

    Building a Foundation

    In addition to culture, there are other important ingredients that go into the foundation, or infrastructure, for KM. This foundation consists of the establishment of roles and teams that will help build a learning environment. Management should develop effective policies, procedures and guidelines for the organization. This structure, commonly called governance, cannot be understated in importance. Without this, the garden of knowledge can become starved, turn into a jungle, or become overrun with weeds. Some organizations even form a new executive-level role in that of a Chief Knowledge Officer, or CKO, to formalize this in the organization.

    Motivating Staff

    While motivational incentives alone do not guarantee success, they are still critical to becoming a learning organization. Rewarding employees helps reinforce positive behavior and is one element in changing an organization’s sharing culture. Recommendations include moving away from individual performance incentives and towards group- or team-based compensation. The goal is to create a sense of shared work and purpose which stimulates collaboration and fosters teamwork. These should be tied into job or project performance reviews as well as annual evaluations. The approach should, in general, be long term and be visible across the organization. Keep in mind that not all incentives need to be—or should be—financial in nature. Recognition, expectation, as well as peer pressure can all act as motivational carrots.


    Training is also a critical success factor in the deployment of a KM system. In fact, in one study employee training had the strongest correlation with a successful KM implementation4. Training ensures employees understand a new software system and the processes associated with it. While not itemized as a single CSF in this paper, it is clear that user adoption is essential for success, and training is the primary way to prevent refusal or apathy by the staff. This component is not just having everyone sit in a class; often times, it is just getting the word out to the organization. The message can be through seminars, bulletins, announcements or just evangelism to get employees and managers familiar with what KM is.

    Making Resources Available

    While the goal of KM is to make organizations smarter and more efficient, this will not happen overnight. KM is an investment in the future of the organization, and it takes time, money and effort to get there. Time is needed for training, process re-engineering, occupying new KM roles, and performing knowledge-sharing activities. Money may be needed to purchase new hardware, software and services for a new KM system. Effort is needed in changing culture and convincing staff of the merits of sharing knowledge. Human resource availability is already a common problem with staff already feeling over burdened with tasks. Nothing positive comes from a KM effort that is just dropped into the organization with the belief that staff will either make or find the time. As a result, planning the scope and iterations of a KM effort with realistic timelines and outputs is essential for success.

    Executive Support

    While there is always the hope that a grass-roots effort will instill KM within an organization, executive support is still necessary. If knowledge is of such strategic importance to the organization, executive and board support is crucial. Beyond a passive leadership role, executives must be KM champions in both actions and words. They establish a clear vision for KM and also ensure alignment between KM strategy and corporate strategy exists. They amplify the importance of knowledge and clarify which types of knowledge are most important. They help ensure the culture changes take effect as well as play a pivotal role in the creation of a solid foundation. Executive sponsors make resources and other funding available to the KM cause. In short, they make it clear that the organization is focused on KM and steer the organization in that direction.


    The effective implementation of KM is controlled by certain factors. Understanding up front what these factors are enable proactive management and mitigates a project’s largest risk areas. Keep in mind each organization is different, and while these factors apply to some degree to most all types of companies, the ranking of each will vary. In some organizations, there will certainly be other factors not spelled out. Hopefully with careful analysis of these areas specific to your organization, building a successful KM implementation is well within reach and will also yield a strong return on investment.


    1 Davenport, T., De Long, D., & Beers, M. (1998, Winter98). Successful knowledge management projects. Sloan Management Review, 39(2), 43-57.

    2 Kulkarni, U. Ravindran, S., & Freeze, R. (2006, Winter2006/2007). A knowledge management success model: Theoretical development and empirical validation. Journal of Management Information Systems, 23(3), 309-347.

    3 Wong, K. (2005, May). Critical success factors for implementing knowledge management in small and medium enterprises. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 105(3), 261-279.

    4 Hung, Y., Huang, S., Lin, Q., & Mei-Ling-Tsai, M. (2005, March). Critical factors in adopting a knowledge management system for the pharmaceutical industry. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 105(2), 164-183.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Knowledge Sharing Critical Success Factor

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    Knowledge Sharing Critical Success FactorPurpose – This research aims at investigating the role of certain factors in organizational culture in the success of knowledge sharing. Such factors as interpersonal trust, communication between staff, information systems, rewards and organization structure play an important role in defining the relationships between staff and in turn, providing possibilities to break obstacles to knowledge sharing. This research is intended to contribute in helping businesses understand the essential role of organizational culture in nourishing knowledge and spreading it in order to become leaders in utilizing their know-how and enjoying prosperity thereafter.

    Design/methodology/approach – The conclusions of this study are based on interpreting the results of a survey and a number of interviews with staff from various organizations in Bahrain from the public and private sectors.

    Findings – The research findings indicate that trust, communication, information systems, rewards and organization structure are positively related to knowledge sharing in organizations.

    Research limitations/implications – The authors believe that further research is required to address governmental sector institutions, where organizational politics dominate a role in hoarding knowledge, through such methods as case studies and observation.

    Originality/value – Previous research indicated that the Bahraini society is influenced by traditions of household, tribe, and especially religion of the Arab and Islamic world. These factors define people's beliefs and behaviours, and thus exercise strong influence in the performance of business organizations. This study is motivated by the desire to explore the role of the national organizational culture on knowledge sharing, which may be different from previous studies conducted abroad.


    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Why Should your Organization Organize Information and Knowledge

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    There seems to be no end to the amount of information and knowledge you've acquired through interesting articles or blog posts you've read, courses or e-courses you've taken, and all the other types of information research you've done.

    You've stored all of this somewhere... but where? Can you easily find it when you need it? You may be wondering why it really matters if you can find this or not.

    Well... what you'll find in this article is the top 5 reasons why you really DO need to organize all your information and knowledge:

    5) How Do I...?

    You're stuck... and you know you have the answer somewhere in the information you've gathered... but where? Make your organizational system searchable so you can find the exact info you need, when you need it.

    4) Content Creation

    You've got blog posts and articles to write. What about that e-course you planned on releasing? Researching all the information you have is a great source for content. It's right under your nose. Again, organize it and make it searchable.

    3) Customer Support

    Your customer or client has a question. It may be something that will make or break your relationship with them. Customer service is, after all, of utmost importance to your business success. By organizing your information, the answer to that question is readily available.

    2) Answering Questions

    You're connecting on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog, or... you have a Q&A session for your e-course... and someone asks a very good question. To be seen as the expert, you need to be able to have an answer. If your information is organized in a way that makes sense to you and is easily retrievable, you can have the answer in front of you in a matter of seconds.

    1) Repurposing

    You have content from a few previous courses you did and bits and pieces here and there from your blog and articles you've written. If you have all that content and information organized, you can mix and match it to repurpose it into an entirely new course, post, article, or whatever you wish. If you can't find it or retrieve it, you may have extremely valuable information that will remain dormant... not helping anyone at all.

    Having your information and knowledge organized and managed to be easily found and retrieved is important to you, the people you connect with and your customers and clients.


    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Knowledge Society and Web 2.0

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    Knowledge Society and Web  2.0Introduction

    In today's nascent knowledge-society, individual knowledge-workers need to create a body-of-work. This body-of-work can serve as the basis for personal branding. Web 2.0 paradigms provide an ideal platform for creating mind-share for this body-of-work, helping an individual to connect and integrate with a community.


    One enters existence as a nameless bundle-of-life. Soon one gets a name, and with it, one's own personal brand. Thereafter this name serves as one's identity and brand. The rest of one's life is devoted to management of this personal brand in a half-conscious, half-sub-conscious and sometimes even in an unconscious manner. The scope of this management necessarily covers all aspects of living. However this discussion will focus on the socio-professional aspects.

    Knowledge-society - imminent and inevitable

    The transition to a knowledge-society is underway. Let us consider some examples:

    * Google was founded on a search algorithm - it has a market-cap of 150+ Billion USD. In comparison, the market-cap of Toyota, the world's leading car-maker, is 100+ Billion USD. (all figures as of 22-Jul-2010)
    * iFart - an iPhone App with self-suggesting if indelicate theme - developed with minimal effort,non-functional and trivial and yet has earned over a million USD
    * Alex Tew's Million Dollar Homepage - Alex funded his college education by selling pixel ads on his website
    * Microsoft is paying - yes paying - developers to port iPhone Apps/Games for Windows Phone 7

    This diverse set of examples is meant to suggest how knowledge in the information age is emerging as an equivalent to capital and labour in the industrial age. It demonstrates the potential of knowledge, expressed through innovation and ideation, as a wealth-creation tool, both for an individual and a group. Therefore, in a completely-commercialized world of the 21st century, creation of a knowledge-society appears to be imminent and inevitable.


    A knowledge-society is built from and by knowledge-workers. A healthy society needs each knowledge-worker to assume his rightful station. Such an optimal arrangement depends greatly on an individual's ability to effectively communicate his personal knowledge. However it is a challenge to communicate something as nebulous and intangible as human knowledge. A mere listing of facts and figures, academic qualifications, professional achievements, awards et cetera in conventional forms like CV or resume may not be sufficient. The requirement in the present context is a body-of-work to cover the entire spectrum of an individual's capabilities - present and potential.


    A human being is an extremely complex creature. He cannot always be defined by what he does or thinks. But these are good starting points for creating a body-of-work. And he must make a beginning as early as possible. For it takes substantial time and effort to build a critical mass.


    The first step of this creative process is expression - self-expression needs to be made a central goal of existence and not its by-product. Such an expression could be in the form of written word, images, audio, video or multi-media. The form is not important and neither is the valuation of the expression - as self-expression leads to a process of discovery - self-discovery,the necessary first-step towards personal-branding

    The topic and content of expression must derive from an individual personality - an artist may express himself through paintings, poems, prose, photography; a professional may demonstrate his expertise in a domain through knowledge-sharing, answers to other's questions, queries to the community; a thinker may express his beliefs and thoughts; a social person may build or join communities sharing likes and dislikes; a political person may express opinions and visions and so on... The list will be as varied as the diversity in human race and as unique as each individual.

    Organizing via the Web

    The second step is organizing this self-expression into a body-of-work. One need look no further than the web and the tools it offers:

    * Articles, blogs - WordPress, BlogSpot
    * Community-building via wikis - Wikispaces,Wikidot
    * Audio-casts, Pod-casts
    * Videos or screen-casts - YouTube
    * Slides - SlideShare
    * Documents,Spreadsheets - Google Docs, Windows Live
    * Personal websites - Google Sites
    * Images - flickr, picasa


    The third step is continual nurturing. A body-of-work, by definition, demands an ongoing effort. As an individual evolves, the body-of-work should be updated to reflect this.

    Brand-value - Community Mind-share

    The existence of brand-value pre-supposes an audience. In a socio-professional context, the target audience is assumed to be a vertical community or a Community of Practice. Personal brand-value in a knowledge-society is closely co-related with mind-share - the awareness in the community - of one's body-of-work. This is where Web 2.0 comes in.

    Personal Branding using Web 2.0

    The term Web 2.0 has been coined to denote a real-time, interactive, collaborative, community-driven platform the web has been transformed into. Web 2.0 paradigms provide an ideal platform for creating mind-share for one's body-of-work.

    Benefits of established Personal Brand-Value

    Liberation from CV/Resume

    A CV or Resume in the traditional form is uni-dimensional. The body-of-work as conceived here is something that is rich and living. It can be used to create a living, breathing digital projection of one's physical self, for the community to experience and appreciate. The effectiveness of projection is limited only by one's imagination and creativity.

    Liberation from Employer-lock-in

    Previously, a professional had a limited audience derived from the employer's organizational-space - colleagues and clients. His personal brand-value existed in a restricted sphere and was therefore mostly immobile. Once investment, in terms of time and effort, exceeded a threshold value in the same organizational-space, it became increasingly difficult for a professional to discard the resultant brand-value and start building his personal brand from scratch with a new employer. This created an employer-lock-in which became more pronounced with the passage of time, eventually resulting in a death-grip that suffocated personal growth and aspirations.

    The lock-in scenario described above is not applicable to an individual with an established personal brand-value in a vertical community.

    Liberation from earthly nature of Supervisors/Leaders

    Supervisors/Leaders, being human-beings, are susceptible to the failings of earthly nature. So a supervisor's/leader's perception and mindset is not always impartial or unbiased. This has a direct impact on individual careers. And there appears to be no systemic remedy for such a scenario.

    It is seen that Supervisors become self-conscious whilst dealing with individuals who have established personal brands, especially when the reach of the brand extends to the Supervisor's own Supervisor and the entire community. In such cases Supervisors make a special effort to be transparent and open in their professional relationship with the individual.

    Liberation from mortality

    We are mortals and will perish one day. Yet we strive to leave behind a legacy, for succeeding generations, in general and one's progeny, in particular. A body-of-work, preserved for-ever in digital space, appears to be the best way to leave behind lasting footprints in the shifting sands of time.


    Personal branding is no longer a choice. In a nascent knowledge-society, it is an imperative for any individual. As a first step an individual needs to create an online, living, discoverable body-of-work that covers the entire spectrum of an individual's capabilities - present and potential. Thereafter Web 2.0 serves as a potent platform for him to connect with a global audience and create mind-share. Based on resonance to his body-of-work, he can integrate and collaborate with the community and eventually create or discover his true place in it.

    Yet there is a larger aspect to this. Man is a social creature and is born with a need to connect. The first effort for personal-branding may derive from the need for professional survival in a knowledge-society. Yet, it may end up fulfilling the secret need within each of us to escape the narrow bounds of separative existence and feel part of a collective whole.


    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Knowledge Mapping

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    Knowledge MappingThis module focuses on the basics of Knowledge Mapping, its importance, principles, and methodologies.

    Key Questions

    * What is K-map?
    * What does the K-map show, and what do we map?
    * Why is K-mapping so important?
    * What are some of the key principles, methodologies, and questions for K-mapping?
    * How do we create K-map?


    Each of the past centuries has been dominated by single technology. The eighteenth century was the time of the great mechanical systems accompanying the Industrial Revolution. The nineteenth century was the age of steam engine. After these, the key technology has been information gathering, processing and distribution. Among other developments, the installation of world wide telephone networks, the invention of radio and television, the birth and unprecedented growth of the computer industry and the launching of communication satellites are significant. Now people started to think that only information is not enough, what matters is Knowledge. So there has been seen shift from Information to Knowledge.

    A bit of information without context and interpretation is data such as numbers, symbols.

    Information is a set of data with context and interpretation. Information is the basis for knowledge.

    Knowledge is a set of data and information, to which is added expert opinion and experience, to result in a valuable asset which can be used or applied to aid decision making. Knowledge may be explicit and/or tacit, individual and/or collective.

    The term -Knowledge Mapping- seems to be relatively new, but it is not. We have been practising this in our everyday life, just what we are not doing is - we are not documenting it, and we are not doing it in a systematic way. Knowledge Mapping is all about keeping a record of information and knowledge you need such as where you can get it from, who holds it, whose expertise is it, and so on. Say, you need to find something at your home or in your room, you can find it in no time because you have almost all the information/knowledge about -what is where- and -who knows what- at your home. It is a sort of map set in your mind about your home. But, to set such a map about your organisation and organisational knowledge in your mind is almost impossible. This is where K-map becomes handy and shows details of every bit of knowledge that exists within the organisation including location, quality, and accessibility; and knowledge required to run the organisation smoothly - hence making you able to find out your required knowledge easily and efficiently.

    Below are some of the definitions:

    It's an ongoing quest within an organization (including its supply and customer chain) to help discover the location, ownership, value and use of knowledge artifacts, to learn the roles and expertise of people, to identify constraints to the flow of knowledge, and to highlight opportunities to leverage existing knowledge.

    Knowledge mapping is an important practice consisting of survey, audit, and synthesis. It aims to track the acquisition and loss of information and knowledge. It explores personal and group competencies and proficiencies. It illustrates or "maps" how knowledge flows throughout an organization. Knowledge mapping helps an organization to appreciate how the loss of staff influences intellectual capital, to assist with the selection of teams, and to match technology to knowledge needs and processes.

    - Denham Grey

    Knowledge mapping is about making knowledge that is available within an organisation transparent, and is about providing the insights into its quality.

    - Willem-Olaf Huijsen, Samuel J. Driessen, Jan W. M. Jacobs

    Knowledge mapping is a process by which organisations can identify and categorise knowledge assets within their organisation - people, processes, content, and technology. It allows an organisation to fully leverage the existing expertise resident in the organisation, as well as identify barriers and constraints to fulfilling strategic goals and objectives. It is constructing a roadmap to locate the information needed to make the best use of resourses, independent of source or form.

    -W. Vestal, APQC, 2002

    (American Productivity & Quality Center)

    Knowledge Map describes what knowledge is used in a process, and how it flows around the process. It is the basis for determining knowledge commonality, or areas where similar knowledge is used across multiple process. Fundamentally, a process knowledge map cntains information about the organisation?s knowledge. It describes who has what knowledge (tacit), where the knowledge resides (infrastructure), and how the knowledge is transferred or disseminated (social).

    -IBM Global Services

    How are the Knowledge Maps created?

    Knowledge maps are created by transferring tacit and explicit knowledge into graphical formats that are easy to understand and interpret by the end users, who may be managers, experts, system developers, or anybody.

    Basic steps in creating K-maps:

    Basic steps - creating K-maps for specific task

    * The outcomes of the entire process, and their contributions to the key organisational activities
    * Logical sequences of all the activities needed to achieve the goal
    * Knowledge required for each activity {gives the knowledge gap}
    * Human resource required to undertake each activity {shows if recruitment is needed}

    What do we map?

    The followings are the objects we map:

    * Explicit knowledge
    o subject
    o purpose
    o location
    o format
    o ownership
    o users
    o access right

    * Tacit knowledge

    o expertise
    o skill
    o experience
    o location
    o accessibility
    o contact address
    o relationships/networks

    * Tacit organisational process knowledge

    o the people with the internal processing knowledge

    * Explicit organisational process knowledge

    o codified organisational process knowledge

    What do the knowledge maps show?

    Knowledge map shows the sources, flows, constraints, and sinks of knowledge within an organisation. It is a navigational aid to both explicit information and tacit knowledge, showing the importance and the relationships between knowledge stores and the dynamics. The following list will be more illustrative in this regard:

    * Available knowledge resources
    * Knowledge clusters and communities
    * Who uses what knowledge resources
    * The paths of knowledge exchange
    * The knowledge lifecycle
    * What we know we don?t know (knowledge gap)

    Activity: 1

    >> Can you create your personal knowledge map which shows the types and location of knowledge resources you use, the channels you use to access knowledge?

    Where does knowledge reside?

    Knowledge can be found in

    * Correspondents, internal documents
    * Library
    * Archives (past project documents, proposals)
    * Meetings
    * Best practices
    * Experience
    * Corporate memory

    Activity: 2

    >> What are the other places where you can find knowledge?

    What are the other things to be mapped?

    Benefits of K-mapping

    In many organisations there is a lack of transparency of organisation wide knowledge. Valuable knowledge is often not used because people do not know it exists, even if they know the knowledge exists, they may not know where. These issues lead to the knowledge mapping. Followings are some of the key reasons for doing the knowledge mapping:

    * to find key sources of knowledge creation
    * to encourage reuse and prevent reinvention
    * to find critical information quickly
    * to highlight islands of expertise
    * to provide an inventory and evaluation of intellectual and intangible assets
    * to improve decision making and problem solving by providing applicable information
    * to provide insights into corporate knowledge

    The map also serves as the continuously evolving organisational memory, capturing and integrating the key knowledge of an organisation. It enables employees learning through intuitive navigation and interrogation of the information in the map, and through the creation of new knowledge through the discovery of new relationships. Simply speaking, K-map gives employees not only -know what-, but also -know how-.

    Key principles of Knowledge Mapping

    * Because of their power, scope, and impact, the creation of organisational-level knowledge map requires senior management support as well as careful planning
    * Share your knowledge about identifying, finding, and tracking knowledge in all forms
    * Recognise and locate knowledge in a wide variety of forms: tacit, explicit, formal, informal, codified, personalised, internal, external, and permanent
    * Knowledge is found in processes, relationships, policies, people, documents, conversations, links and context, and even with partners
    * It should be up-to-date and accurate

    K-mapping - key questions

    Knowledge map provides an assessment of existing and required knowledge and information in the following categories:

    * What knowledge is needed for work?
    * Who needs what?
    * Who has it?
    * Where does it reside?
    * Is the knowledge tacit or explicit?
    * What issues does it address?
    * How to make sure that the K-mapping will be used in an organisation?


    * K-maps should be easily accessible to all in the organisation
    * It should be easy to understand, update and evolve
    * It should be updated regularly
    * It should be an ongoing process since knowledge landscapes are continuously shifting and evolving

    Offline Readings:

    * K-mapping tools
    * K-mapping tool selection
    * Creating knowledge maps by exploiting dependent relationships
    * Creating knowledge structure map?
    * White pages
    * KM jargon and glossary

    Online Resource: http://www..voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KnowledgeMapping

    K-mapping Tools:

    * MindMapping
    * Inspiration
    * IHMC (cmap.ihmc.us/) (need to have.NET Framework and JavaRunTime installed in your computer)

    (Learn more about KM tool selection at http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KmToolSelection )

    Categorised K-mapping

    Social Network Mapping:

    This shows networks of knowledge and patterns of interaction among members, groups, organisations, and other social entities who knows who, who goes to whom for help and advice, where the information enters and leaves the groups or organisation, which forums and communities of practice are operational and generating new knowledge.

    Competency Mapping:

    With this kind of mapping, one can create a competency profile with skill, positions, and even career path of an individual. And, this can also be converted into the?organisational yellow pages? which enables employees to find needed expertise in people within the organisation.

    Process-based Knowledge Mapping:

    This shows knowledge and sources of knowledge for internal as well as external organisational processes and procedures. This includes tacit knowledge (knowledge in people such as know-how, and experience) and explicit knowledge (codified knowledge such as that in document).

    Conceptual Knowledge Mapping:

    Also sometimes called -taxonomy-, it is a method of hierarchically organising and classifying content. This involves in labelling pieces of knowledge and relationships between them. A concept can be defined as any unit of thought, any idea that forms in our mind [Gertner, 1978]. Often, nouns are used to refer to concepts [Roche, 2002]. Relations form a special class of concepts [Sowa, 1984]: they describe connections between other concepts. One of the most important relations between concepts is the hierarchical relation (subsumption), in which one concept (superconcept) is more general than another concept (subconcept) like Natural Resource Management and Watershed Management. This mapping should be able to relate similar kind of projects and workshops conducting/conducted by two different departments, making them more integrated.

    Knowledge is power, broadly accessible, understandable, and shared knowledge is even more powerful!

    [1] http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Deependra_Tandukar

    Knowledge Intensive Collaboration Online In Business 2.0

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    Knowledge Intensive Collaboration OnlineThe business world is similar to the gadget world. As soon as new gadget appears, all previous become outdated. The only things to be sure about - there is no assurance scheme. There is no silver bullet that makes business run 37% more effective.

    Same about project management. Combining processes, people and technology is an art, not craft. But there is one phase of the subject. management possibilities Those who failed once because of lack of communication, is now open. It is no more an issue but trouble.

    Let us look at what's called future business. What are its features. How to succeed in the world of constant speed-ups. In a world where market transparency and complexity continues to grow.

    Members «2.0 2008 Enterprise» conference said this way of Business 2.0 features:

    1. Flat organization: the existing minimum layer between management and worker-top general
    2. Ease of flow organization
    3. Agility: minimum bureaucracy
    4. Flexibility: how fast your company adapt to external changes
    5. User-driven technology
    6. Bottom up: The control and information flows are often derived from any layer
    7. Distributed: The distributed both geographically and in time. Teams are global.
    8. Fuzzy boundaries, open borders: there is no specific department within the company
    9. Transparency: the state of your company is always visible from the outside
    10. System information that appears, and not forced from the top-management
    11. Folksonomies replace taxonomies. There is no point in making people think you are doing the same.
    12. Simple. Nothing to add here.
    13. Open: The best description given by Jonathan Nolen, hope this helps
    14. Works on demand: for each new request, the company created a new solution. I recommend to check out an interesting article about business-on-demand.
    15. Short time to-market cycles

    Looks real simplicity of the new organization is based on the complexity of people and technology. When 'man' said I mean, the new business is only possible when those characteristics are very high. Responsibility, creativity, communication skills, inner mobility. People are becoming more demanding of themselves and the business creates new people. Technological aspects of new business is: all the innovation made possible by new communication and knowledge management techniques.

    But this is still not difficult. The difficulty lies in combining people and technology growth. He came that ideally technology should be one step ahead of people. Technology as a way to send the achievement of more advanced for the other participants. It's like two end points the same spring. In such a way as to develop business systems.

    OK, what we have in the market system of intellectual

    1. Complete automation of project management tasks
    2. Empower managers' flexibility in building teams and processes
    3. Create an environment to share knowledge within a team

    Let me note that these three things are connected with each other and support each other. There are systems that each solve the problem completely. But only one. Company Wiki to store and share knowledge, methodologies and standards development management, ERP and «professional» project management tools like Microsoft Project. GTD programs are good for short-term teams that come together for one project (management communication system look like it was some GTD for the team, yes).

    The balance between the complexity of all these three tasks and usability is a challenge for many software companies: Salesforce, Basecamp, Zoho.

    You can review the comparison of well-known system, I do not want to stop at this problem now.

    Balanced solution that covers all the needs of 'business 2.0' still does not exist. So many companies are now trying to build their own technical foundation for growth.

    We at NewtonIdeas not satisfied with the current system provides for the possibility. So we kept seeing on-edge developments in this field, and consider our 8 years experience in IT and business. And build our own, where we put the principles of Enterprise 2.0 in the way we understand it.


    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Free Knowledge Management Tools

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    Free Knowledge Management ToolsA little while ago, I had an idea.

    The idea was that knowledge management (I realize not everyone is familiar with knowledge management, so a definition is always useful) is an extremely useful approach to getting things done within an organization.

    However, knowledge management is often limited to large organizations with big budgets and dedicated staff who can set up complex tools and processes to make it work.

    So I thought: why can't this approach work for small businesses, non-profits and other organizations with limited money and resources?

    This article is designed to be a guide to using the many free tools on the web to set up your own personalized knowledge management initiative -- and best of all, how to do it at absolutely no cost to you (except your time of course).

    While I could write a short tip once in a while about how to go about doing this, I thought I'd rather package all this information up into a longer article that you can read when you have time. If you don't have the time to read it now, print this article out or bookmark it for later.

    Interested? Have time to start reading now? Great. Let's get started.

    My reasons for wanting to help you.

    So first you ask, why am I doing this? Well, I wanted to take some of the cool knowledge management stuff I do every day and explain to you how to do it for free. Why? There are so many organizations that can benefit from this type of approach. Whether you're running a small business or are part of a non-profit organization (like a school or library) you can put some of these principles into practice and save time and money.

    Time to get started: Google Desktop Search.

    You'll notice that I am suggesting a great deal of Google tools in this article. Not only are Google tools almost always free, they are also of high quality and available online (which makes you wonder about Google's aspirations for providing online collaborative software).

    OK, enough speculating. Now we're going to get into how to actually go about setting this stuff up.

    First, you will need a Google account. So if you don't have one already, go create one. Just lick "Create an account now" in the bottom right-hand corner.

    After you've done that, you'll want to install Google Desktop Search.

    Before we can get our strategy going, we first need access to all of the information and knowledge stored within our own files, emails and drives. This follows from the fact that good knowledge management must build on solid information retrieval tactics. This step provides the foundation for the knowledge edifice we are going to erect on top of it.

    Before you go ahead and install it however, you should know that you have two options with Google Desktop search: the regular edition and the enterprise edition.

    The regular edition of Google Desktop Search will allow you to search your network drive, your emails, your web history, and any other difficult-to-find stuff that you have on your computer.

    The enterprise edition of Google Desktop Search allows a central administrator to control how desktop search is set up on each person's computer, and to centrally administer policies.

    For most purposes, regular Google Desktop Search will be fine. Click on "Agree and Download" and then install the application.

    Rather than going through all of the features of Google Desktop Search here, you can view Google's guide to the features of Google Desktop Search.

    Got Google Desktop Search installed? Good. Let's move on.

    Google Personalized: get the feeds you need.

    Now you're able to find the information you need on your own PC, we need to move to the next step of our personalized our strategy: personalized news and information feeds that reflect what you're interested in and what you need.

    While there are many desktop search tools to choose from, no other search engine really offers the personalized search option that Google does (which certainly could change in the near future, especially if we consider whether it's possible for Google to grow their current search market).

    First of all, you'll need to go to the Google Personalized page. Use the Google Account you created right before step 1 to log into your account. Here is a sample Google Personalized page I've set up (click on it for a bigger view, if the bigger view still looks messy, click once to zoom in on it).

    You will see from my example above an "Add a tab" link in the top and middle of the page, right under the Google search bar. This will add more tabs to your page, which you can then use to organize your content.

    Most importantly however, you will want to use the "Add stuff" link to the right of that. This will provide you with categorized lists of content that you can use to populate your page with useful news and information.

    I would also suggest creating a 'Tools' tab, where you can store any useful reference information you use at work on a regular basis. This could include Wikipedia, driving directions, or an online dictionary. This will save you a great deal of time, since you'll now be able to access all your resources from one page. See below for an example of what I mean.
    A sample of Google Personalized Tools.

    If you want to get a little more fancy with adding feeds, go to any web page that has RSS support and you can add the link directly into the "Add stuff" part of Google Personalized. If you're not familiar with RSS feeds, check out Wikipedia's page on RSS.

    Now that we've got personalized information feeds, let's take a look at a collaborative knowledge-sharing tool you can use with your colleagues.

    Don't just personalize your page, personalize search itself.

    Do you ever wish Google search could prioritize particular sites in their ranking related to what you're interested in? Or that you and your colleagues or friends could work together on maintaining a listing of the sites you want searched and the priority you want to assign to those sites?

    So how do we go about doing this? First of all, check out the search engine I've set up. Or try a search in the box on the right-hand side of this page. Conduct a few searches to get an idea how the personalized search engine works (for more information on Google personalized search, check out this post on Rocky's reDesign blog).

    Now that you've done that, visit the Google Coop page to get you started. Click on the image to the right of "Create your own search engine". You will need to sign in with your Google Account to create your search engine.

    Basically, you'll give your search engine a name and assign the sites that you want it to search. Because this is done through Google Coop, you can enlist 'volunteers' to help you with your search engine. Get your colleagues to sign up for it (they will need Google Accounts), and they can suggest sites to add to the search engine.

    For some interesting uses of the Google Coop service, check out this post on librarian.net.

    Isn't that fun? Let's move on to the next step.

    Install Firefox.

    As an astute reader, you may be asking yourself why I'm asking you to install Firefox. It's not a Google product, right? Right. However, it still has many features we can use to our advantage, with the added bonus of also being free.So first, go install the latest version of Firefox.

    Now that you've done that, I'm going to tell you that installing Firefox itself will help you use some great features, but there's nothing you really won't get with Internet Explorer 7 (which you should also install, by the way, if you haven't already).

    However, there's one area where Firefox beats Internet Explorer hands down, and that's in its use of extensions.Extensions basically 'extend' the functionality of your browser in ways not possible through a standard install. It's how we use these extensions that will form the basis of our customized and personalized strategy.Google has some great extensions for Firefox available for download.

    And one final suggestion: OpenOffice.

    Finally, I'll suggest one other software suite you should try. While it's not going to necessarily provide you with a new knowledge tool, it can certainly save you some money. Go try out OpenOffice. You will get all of the functionality that would be provided with Microsoft Office, but it's free. Sound too good to be true? You be the judge -- since it's free, what do you have to lose by trying it?

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