I agree with the concept Patrick puts forth of , “I’m not sure we would have found our way into the social computing groove if we hadn’t made the mistakes of indiscriminate structure and control, and big planned systems that didn’t fit local working needs.”
But I’m not so sure this applies in this case, I’m not sure Knowledge Management even had to exist for social computing to occur…maybe I’m wrong, I wasn’t on the beat in the earlier days.
Would of Facebook still happened if KM didn’t happen?
Would of YouTube still happened if KM didn’t happen?
Would of del.icio.us still happened if KM didn’t happen?
Would of Blogger still happened if KM didn’t happen?
You get the picture…
I’m not dissing KM, I’m just inquring, and investigating.
As far as I know, KM used information management principles to tease out (conscript) and organise people’s know-how, ie. stuff you hear in conversation…casual fragments.
So the idea was to get people to “share” what they know…and of course all in the aim of supporting and formulating decisions and actions.
But at the time you couldn’t do that unless you were having those conversations in an environment that could capture what you said as you said it.
We can’t have a video on all the time, there would be too much garbage, but now with social computing you can have conversations online, which become digital artefacts as a result.
But as a result, and I do agree with Patrick, in the other extreme of a fragmentation frenzy, where everything is informal and nothing is distilled or preserved. It’s all messy and is intact by hyperlinks.
I like the idea of a deliverable that has some metadata listing the URL’s to all the blog and forum fragments that beget the deliverable…all the workings out.
Usually this is email, but that doesn’t have a URL (and who wants to upload stuff in the repository), and you don’t usual muse in email…whereas a blog is your thinking out loud place.
A real important aspect is a local embedded champion in each team who is a gardener, weeder, distiller, facilitator, guide, plumber, curator…
This person is to take those fragments that stick or resonate and house them in a location.
But to me, doesn’t this flow anyway, if someone says something profound in a blog or forum, it makes the rounds. Still there’s no reason why these nuggests can’t sit in a wiki via the flow and stock approach…everyone loves making lists.
This person could also run techniques like World Cafe’s, Most Significant Change, After Action review, anecdote circles, CoP, SNA, etc…
What do we call this person? It has an aspect of a librarian (curator).
Is it a coach? No a coach sounds like a leader.
The word co-ordinator and practioner is better.
This is about performance and learning, this person makes sure they patch up mis-communcations (or that they don’t happen often), that everyone is in the loop…they tie everything together, and massage the team.
Anyway I think a person who curates and facilitates is needed in every team…a collaboration coordinator is too narrow a term.
They are certainly there to optimise all the know-how and talent of the team and how they cooperate and are aware of other teams.
So this is about knowledge and performance, but more about coordinating it, so it flows itself, and what we drink from the flow helps us to adapt to our changing environment.
Perhaps a Knowledge co-ordinator.
Perhaps a Performance co-ordinator.
But then does this mean about performing to a decided outcome. If so, then it lacks the learning and adapting part.
This person observes how the team operates, and gets it to be more fluid, rich and responsive…almost sculpturing.
How do you mesh all these words into a coordinating role
- communication, information, knowledge, learning, collaboration, performance, adapting
The utopia is once the team has been guided and optimised in its behaviour or way of being, then perhaps they will become adaptive and self organising…and it sure helps to have intuitive technology.
I’m not sure about this, groupings of people have different dynamics, so you always need a facilitator to guide people, show them the boundaries, the group norms, the style of working…
Patrick’s tells us why we need a person like this:
“The reason why KM happened was that the problem of how organisations can operate coherently and swiftly on large scale became critical to survival. The more connected, competitive, uncertain and fast moving our environment is, the more this problem rears its head. This includes being able to sustain our slow, deep knowledge structures and memory, not just our fast moving current awareness.”
Tom Davenport talks about managing the balance of messiness and structure:
“Let’s talk about the more limited issue of defending knowledge management. As I said, I don’t really care what you call it, but if your organization really cares about creating, distributing (I’m sorry—“sharing”), and applying knowledge, you need to manage it. The last time I checked, “management” of knowledge could include some relatively structured, “here’s the knowledge we really need to do our jobs right” approaches, as well as some more emergent, Enterprise 2.0-oriented ones. If you only do the former, your knowledge workers will probably feel a bit stifled; if you only do the latter, things will probably feel a bit chaotic. If I’m a NASA astronaut, for example, and I’m sitting on the launch pad when something goes wrong, I’d rather have people looking for a solution in structured knowledge bases than mucking around in blogs and wikis.”
Andrew Gent has this to say about codification:
“The next layer up represents “knowledge capture”. Here the knowledge is instantiated in documents of some kind: sample documents, lesson learned, case studies, white papers. These all represent mechanisms used to selectively capture and sort knowledge in such a way that it can be reused by people who may never come in contact with the original author. The obvious limitation is that only a small portion of what any individual knows about their profession is captured in any of these documents. This is offset by trying to capture the most important or influential pieces of wisdom.”
“…the process of codifying or standardizing knowledge into actionable procedures and practices actually changes the knowledge. It cleanses, sanitizes, and simplifies the knowledge — removing the stray tidbits, the ugly but necessary workarounds, the secret tricks of the trade… all of the untidy clutter that make up true expertise in a field — all of this is stripped off to achieve a linear, documentable, process.”
[ADDED 24/07/08: Contribution and Discovery]