Netwoking – The weapon of choice

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Experience is susceptible to change. Not only do people come and go, but the world itself is progressing in an aggressive manner. This imposes a great challenge for organizations since cultivating the right type of knowledge is fundamental in order to gain a competitive advantage.

CEO´s are currently more concerned about productivity and value generation issues than before. Thus when projects repeatedly make mistakes and are unable to learn from past experiences it all seems as if we were living in a distant age with little promise of color.

In this sense, Knowledge Management (KM) has become a valuable ally since it pushes organizations forward and helps steer productivity levels. Not only are past mistakes patched and strategically nurtured so that they won’t happen again, but it also allows collective intelligence to take place.  Organizations only become knowledgeable when knowledge is actionable.  For this to happen, interconnected ideas must translate into a suitable course of action and become work standards for future processes or projects.

This process might also be referred to as social intelligence. Some see it as new form of crowdsourcing which brings people together so that they can solve problems and bring up new ideas. In order to get there we can´t just worry about the platform. Although some say that in the social media age Gen Y is a natural information seeker and developer, culture will still need to be nurtured in order to make people want to become a part of it.  A content curator or manager will also need to be brought in so that conversations don’t become grapevines. Big data may also help to read between the lines so that we can pick up additional data which can contribute in decision making.

Platforms need to be chosen carefully. I have seen many which just combine two of the following three characteristics:

Good, Nice and Cheap.

So we need to choose wisely and prepare something “custom made”. At least consider what your users really need before giving it to them. There are plenty of cloud solutions available although sharepoint has become the weapon of choice. I personally believe that we need something simple with plenty of analytic type tools which can allow the content manager to detect opportunities, decision makers, experts, trending issues and so on.

The playground as some call it, needs to be attractive and not just in terms of look and feel. You need to create a motive for people to come in. Gamification might be worth a shot but it’s not something most companies can think about right now. Investment levels are not always the same so my advice has always been to work the communication side. Create demand and reward participation. Raise awareness.

Networking will indeed help create that “enlightenment” moment and connect the dots. It will also create a shortcut for knowledge development and transfer. Some experts actually believe that creating the perfect playground will be enough to make people participate. In terms of KM it would be like going back to its first generation where technology was the prime catalyst for knowledge sharing. If culture is indeed shaping itself and Gen Y already understands the purpose then maybe we can just skip the culture phase. However, not just right now. As I said before, I think current work force demography makes it clear that culture cannot be taken off the KM agenda.

Networking will shape the future of KM; hold on…. it’s already happening. The pace at which organizations can work on it will determine productivity and value generation levels because the end result is actionable knowledge and intelligence. 

© Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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