How Do I Unlock The Knowledge Of A Few For The Benefit Of The Masses?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 06.13.08

Courtesy of uthscsa.edu
Unlocking the knowledge of your “stars” for the purpose of building collective intelligence seems to be the goal of a growing number of learning and talent management professionals. Here’s one direct question from the head of learning of a FORTUNE 500 firm:

“How do I identify the stars within the enterprise, motivate them to share their knowledge and then empower them with a toolkit that is seamless?”

Do you recognize yourself in this quote?

In fact, AMR Research estimates that in 2007 the total amount spent on knowledge management was $73 billion and this is expected to grow by 16% in 2008. Why? I believe that increasingly companies are going to great lengths to capture and utilize the vast amounts of unstructured information that is flowing through, and around them. KM (Knowledge Management) is a vast, catch-all phrase that encompasses all kinds of software from portals to search engines to content management systems. Now the decisions around how to unlock this knowledge becomes more complex because more and more questions get raised:

  • Does this synch with your company’s Social Media strategy?
  • Do you want your application to be “searchable?”
  • Can users create content that is both public and private?
  • Finally, what polices and guidelines need to change as you attempt to “unlock” this knowledge for the benefit of all?

According to Forrester Research, 50% of the Global 2000 are planning to adopt some type of enterprise 2.0 solutions by 2013. This equates to a $4.6 billion market. The chart below shows how companies of various sizes are looking to adopt Web 2.0 in their respective organizations. So, if you work at a Global 2000 company (defined as having 20,000 employees) your organization is either in a buying mode or considering buying enterprise 2.0 software. Here are a few questions for you:

  • Is your Human Resources and/or Learning department involved in this decision?
  • Have you made a presentation to your department and to your IT department about the issues you need solved in order to unlock this knowledge?
  • Have you created relationships with key “influencers” in the organization so your point of view is understood and heard.

Business Adoption of Web 2.0 tools

Let me know where you are in this process. What’s clear is that with a market the size of $4.6 billion there will be a number of alternatives to consider in building the best solution to tapping into your organization’s collective wisdom.

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1 Comments

  1. Paul McDowall, June 16, 2008:

    With respect, KM is a WHOLE LOT more than “… all kinds of software from portals to search engines to content management systems.” Limiting the discipline of KM to a range of technologies significantly misunderstands its nature and thereby impedes its potential usefulness. Unfortunately this gross misconception is not unique. Consultants and vendors have traditionally focussed only on hard changes (tools, etc) and called it KM. Just please note that this is a very self-serving definition and not accurate. In fact it is the ’soft’ changes (managememt style, organizational culture, reward systems, etc) that are the truly hard changes to accomplish. This is a more important aspect of KM than technologues and the one upon which technologies can be chosen to support the organization’s strategic direction.
    Cheers

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