Sunday 11 November 2007

Selling Knowledge Management - Language is Key

I haven't had much time to post lately, my dissertation is at a very busy stage. One thing that I thought would be useful to share is my experience of turning an idea into reality. I am looking to pilot a wiki-based portal in my organisation to enable better collaboration for COP's (Communities of Practice), Special Interest Groups, Communications Groups etc.

I have found that the language used to describe my project has been very important. People don't readily know what is meant by 'Knowledge Management' and sometimes they can get a little scared when you try to sell an idea as KM. This is also true for web2.0, as is my experience with the word 'wiki'.

Now, almost everyone I have spoken to about the project has heard of wikipedia, but I am trying to demonstrate the benefits of wiki use in a controlled environment behind the firewall, So I have tried not to mention wikipedia where possible. I am enjoying people's reaction and their questions as they try to understand the concept.

I gave the idea a 'brand', so that when the people I meet talk to each other, they will spread the idea by using its' name. I called the portal 'OnePlace' - To signify that all of the work is now in one place, where the participants of a group can easily find their information (documents, meetings agendas, presentations), and that their COP now has a 'Place' (below) rather than simply comprising of a thread of emails and a monthly physical meeting.

So what about the language? I have tried to use words like re-use, reduce re-work, easily find what you are looking for, keep up to date describe the use of a collaborative wiki space when working as part of a COP.

So where has this got me? A pilot is now being implemented, and we will see how the users react. It will be interesting to see how the baby boomers react to using wiki instead of depending on the office suite. I am confident though that even if they struggle initially with WYSIWYG editing, they will experience/observe enough benefits over the traditional email & attachment way of running a COP within an organisation (below).

Please let me know of your experiences with introducing wiki to your organisation?

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