The next big thing in Knowledge Management

From David Wilcox’s Socialreporter blog.1 Create conditions for collaborationYou can manage information – but you can’t manage the most useful knowledge. What you can do is help people to share what they know. That requires leadership to develop a culture of trust where collaboration is encouraged.2 Encourage conversations The best way to help people share knowledge is to give them plenty of chances to talk to each other. The richest conversations usually happen face-to-face, after which people are more likely to open up and contribute online.3 Add new rolesOnline knowledge sharing among a diverse group of people requires appropriate tools – but more than anything it needs appropriate people to help. They may be variously called community manager, technology steward, digital mentor, social reporter … and it’s unlikely one support person can do it all.4 Listen carefully, connect widelyUse light-weight social media tools like social bookmarking, Twitter, Netvibes, Ning communities to scan what’s going on outside. Build relationships with useful people, follow and share with them.  Then the network is your new library.5 Talk failure, tell stories about successIf you really want to understand what works in any situation, help people talk about what failed, and  to tell stories of success in their own words. Case studies from consultants won’t connect nearly as well.6 Open up, cross boundariesCommunities of Practice behind a login are excellent for sharing knowledge among specialists. If you also want to understand what service users need you have to engage with the wider community out in the open.7 Mix and blend your mediaWork both on and offline. Run semi-structured events like knowledge cafes and unconferences. Shoot some video, blog and tweet the event … then use digital assets to spark new conversations online. Cultivate a knowledge ecology where learning can flourish.8 Dive in, try it, change itYou can’t learn to swim outside the pool … or learn to fly watching the instructor. Find time to explore. Many of the tools you need are free, so you can experiment and build on what works, or drop anything that doesn’t. Invest in people rather than technology.9 Decentralise, foster resilienceEncourage teams and groups to take responsibility for their own research and learning, then share with others. That way you should have a more resilient system less dependent on central services.10 Three Ps before TIt’s easy to get caught up in the how and wow of new tools. Think Purpose, People, Process – and only then Tools.

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