Next time you are writing a document, a report or replying to an email, stop! Stop and think about what you would do with those letters if you had only a limited number of keystrokes left in your fingers. Pretend for a second, that the keystrokes you type are a resource that will not be replenished, that we are running out, and when we do, they are gone forever.
Thinking like this will get you thinking in terms of maximising value. How can I maximise the impact of the knowledge I’m creating? How can I transmit it to the people who can benefit from it most? How can I save the non-renewable keystrokes of others who might be working on the same problems? How can I keep this knowledge working, perhaps even after I have stopped?
To me, this is a powerful way of thinking about the knowledge we are inevitably creating from the moment we sit in front of our computers, until the moment we turn them off. Of course it goes further than us as individuals. Capturing, organising and, most importantly, sharing the knowledge we create is one of the greatest challenges facing organisations today.
Being great at getting the right knowledge to the right people can be a significant competitive advantage.
I’ve seen an enormous number of attempts to solve this problem. In fact, my first role at Microsoft was the unenviable task of demonstrating how you can build collaborative applications using Outlook and Exchange that rivaled those created in Lotus Notes. Over the years it has been called “Knowledge Management”, “Collaboration”, “The New World Of Work” and “KM 2.0”. Throughout this, its always had the same goal, how do you move the knowledge and experience from one person to another.
For the first time in the 13 years or more I’ve been working in this area I’m seeing a new approach emerge, one that I think, might just work. Its an approach that starts from the bottom and works its way up. Its an approach which is informal, unstructured, decentralised and direct, but most importantly its an approach that people actually want to participate in.
Its Blogging, where the KM bus dropped us off.
I can already hear the skepticism, and make no mistake, I shared it when I started down this path now 18 months ago. It was a healthy skepticism though, one that was informed by the blogging experience I enjoyed at Microsoft. I learned then that there was a huge number of people who actually wanted to share their knowledge, all they were waiting for was an easy platform upon which to do it.
Looking back now its clear to me that a blogging platform for people inside the organisation would be just as valuable as the blogging platform I’m using to share this knowledge with you right now. Blogging has not only worked on the internet, but its informal, unstructured, decentralised and direct approach has undermined an entire industry. There just has to be something to it.
Ask yourself a question. Is it as easy for someone in my organisation to publish a page to the intranet as it is for them to reply to an email?
If your answer is “no” then with every minute that passes you are wasting a non-renewable resource, keystrokes, which are the currency of knowledge, are going a wasting.
Head over to http://demo.zevenseas.com and take a look at what an employee blogging platform built on SharePoint could look like. There are people in your organisation right now who want an easier way to share their knowledge, to grow their reputations and make deeper connections with their peer groups.
When you have taken the test drive, drop an email to email@example.com for more information.