Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Knowledge Life Cycle and Social Media

I usually try to keep work and blog separate, but I gotta say I really like working for IBM and especially the IBM Security Services group. Why? I get paid to have some really interesting conversations.

Last week I was in a meeting where we were discussing the right way to use Lotus Connections in our work team--versus a department Wiki we already have.

Lotus Connections is social network app that has forums, file uploads, activities, wiki, yadda yadda. BTW, it's pretty good. But the discussion was "When do we use that tool versus our more formal department Wiki--where we keep departmental procedures and such?"

The conclusion was actually quite elegant in its simplicity: We will use Lotus Connections to hold the conversation; we will use the Wiki to curate the answer. I'm sure that's not original--but we got there on our own, nonetheless.

I think this is a pattern that has lots of applications where social media has started to get traction. Online user doc vs. user forums, for example. STC SIGs and its Body of Knowledge is another example that I think about a lot and that seems to apply here.

I think this is a field that needs a lot of discussion and open dialogue, specifically, how to manage the life cycle of knowledge from ideation and churn, through vetted "this is how it is," and eventually to "this is last week's dead fish."

Of course, my traditional mistake is to impose formal process and control on what should be left open and organic, but still, I feel that some sort of process or guidelines would be useful. Here's my laundry list of questions. More questions, answers, general trouble-making--all are welcome:
  • What are the stages of knowledge or what are the categories of maturity/credibility, whatever?
  • What other dimensions should go into "whatever" in the question above?
  • Where does knowledge live during these stages?
  • Who moves its classification during its lifecycle?
  • At what point is someone liable for the consequences if knowledge is acted on and proves wrong?
  • When can knowledge be branded as intellectual property in an evolutionary model like this, and who gets to own it?
And I apologize if this is all naive and the solution is fully developed by now. I was very involved with Knowledge Management before social media had the kind of impact it has today.

1 comment:

walter.adamson said...

It's an interesting question and I think with social media as a "knowledge' tool we are looking through the telescope in the opposite direction to KM. KM starts by trying to structure, and often stops there in terms of impact, whereas social media flows are already hosing in and the challenge is to filter not to create. So I'd say how do yo go about filtering in the most effective way and then a quick "post" and forget too much about "curation" etc.

Walter Adamson @g2m