Harold – my question is what organizations should be doing around this? What skill building?
The challenge is that it’s personal and quite different based on roles. Going around and coaching seems too expensive.
How do you begin to move an organization forward?
I still think that the easiest way to share knowledge is to make visible some of what we already do, without adding extra work or effort. Pretty well anyone with a personal computer saves web sites to their Favorites/Bookmarks. Changing that simple annotation process to something that can be shared is relatively easy. I’ve explained it before in Free Your Bookmarks.
If an organization or department decided to put everyone’s bookmarks into a social application it would make for a large repository of links. There may be some effort in going through these bookmarks and adding more descriptive tags but it could be spaced over a period of time. The department responsible could then look at all of these bookmarks, which might be on a variety of systems (e.g. delicious, diigo) and bring them together with RSS and publish them to a central web page. The page could include a visual tag cloud for easier searching. This is an example of the role of connecting & communicating that I advocate for the training department of the 21st century. [Note to self: Diigo looks to be much more collaborative than Delicious, and I have to test it out some more].
It’s doubtful that everyone will be good at sharing bookmarks that are relevant, annotated and appropriately tagged. I think that in a large enough group some people will shine at this and, once again, the leaders of the initiative should support them. The examples provided by peers will have more chance of influencing workplace behaviour than rules and regulations from above, so allow methods to develop over time. The early adopters of social bookmarking may become facilitators for some of the other knowledge sharing activities I’ve previously suggested (and I haven’t even mentioned twitter):
However, in organizations where there is little history of online collaboration, I would wait a while before initiating these. For a lot of workers and organizations, the leap to online social bookmarks will be big enough.