In the comments on one of my recent posts it was suggested that we don’t try to push web 2.0 tools in the enterprise like we pushed the earlier km tools, people need to want to use them.
I used the term “induce”, but maybe I meant the term “infectious”, I think web 2.0 tools can be infectious if you leave them lying around for people to discover and use, moreso than previous km tools. But then again I may be living in a web 2.0 bubble, as not all people are into the web or computers, they just use them at work because you have to, they may not care one bit about technology, as long as they can word process and email, that will get them by…of course I’m talking about the pre-MySpace generation.
The purpose of using these tools also comes into the equation, I guess there is a difference between collaboration and knowledge sharing. Collaboration is not entirely personal (hence you are collaborating), whereas knowledge sharing can be personal (eg. blogs), with a public benefit. I think the “del.icio.us lesson” is important when looking at the human nature of knowledge sharing in the enterprise environment.
I mentioned in an earlier post that knowledge sharing tools may differ than earlier km tools in the angle of sharing (not neccessarily collaboration) as people want to use these tools. People on the open web can’t get enough of these tools, as you get a piece of the web action, you can connect with like minded people, etc…
NOTE: Knowledge sharing and collaboration cross over, ie, when you collaborate you are sharing. But you can share knowledge without purposely or intentionally collaborating, if I bookmark at del.icio.us I’m doing it for personal value, and am also glad that I’m sharing this information at the same time, therefore I’m collaborating in building a folksonomy/human indexed web.
Intent/purpose and motivation
The difference is in the intent or purpose, if I’m bookmarking or blogging, I’m happy to use these web 2.0 tools in the enterprise as they give me personal benefit, and by default I may also be sharing without trying to. This type of tool is great as it is like we are just asking workers to use the tools for personal benefit. But with time you see how you benefit from reading other peoples blog content and bookmarks, so now you start to bookmark and blog for the community as well, it just spurs itself on and manifests into a the exact process you are wanting out of km 2.0.
Although, this scenario may change a little if it is a project blog, as it is not about personal passion/interests, so a project blog is in more direct competition as an announcement tool vs email, in regards to motivation of use.
If I collaborate on a document what is the personal benefit I get from using web 2.0 tools, well there is a great benefit, moreso what is the motivation to use these tools over email.
Some people use blogs, or will be motivated to try, as there is personal benefit and also be glad they have an audience to converse with (which is also an aspect of personal benefit).
But if they use a blog to collaborate on a project (less personal benefit) will they be still motivated to try using a blog.
Maybe this gives some insight to our adoption approach…the idea is for people to collaborate in the enterprise by using web 2.0 tools for projects and also to share general knowledge.
The part about sharing general knowledge is easier, as people like discussing things they are passionate about, and are excited about sharing new tips and experiences.
Using these tools for more work based purposes like a project is not going to have the same passion, unless you really love your job, so the motivation may not be there to try a new tool, which is a pity because in the end people will see that using these tools provides so much benefit, it’s just they don’t know it yet.
So how do we get them to know it?
I think we have to promote these tools into the enterprise for personal use, as people will be passionate about using them, once this takes off then people will start to think, we could use these tools for projects as well.
In saying this, it is not that easy, there still needs to be a knowledge and collaborative culture that comes with education, role models (champions), management support, successes (pilots), promotion…it’s an ongoing process.
Provided that you have a knowledge culture process (ongoing, unlike a program), I think adoption of web 2.0 tools will be easier if people first experience using these tools for personal knowledge sharing eg. Communities of Practice. Once they get a feel of its benefits they will be more inclined to use it for project work.
I suppose the real question is getting people to try these tools out in the first place, this is the hard part. This post is more about sustaining or gaining a momentum.