Work – in particular the bit of the organisation I’m attached to – is a very information-rich environment. Information is our stock-in-trade, I guess you could say. And if information is ‘got right’ then I guess there’s a relationship there with knowledge (data->information->knowledge?).
So, having to think about promoting knowledge-sharing…in the context of social-networking approaches, and web 2.0 enablement(?), is an interesting task. It starts actively with making an input to a corporate event, after an external representative from a corporate leader in this field has described their experience and approach.
In this context, I guess my task is to play the barefoot doctor. We have no infrastructure to speak of (technically) and though we surely have plenty of collective experience organisationally and socially, we have not yet spent any of the necessary time realising this.
So, where to start? I think by letting them paddle about in it for a bit, and perhaps the easiest approach to this is just to tell a story. After all, I’ve been paddling about in it for a while now (the injecting yourself with cowpox analogy may be useful), so I think I will take them on a wee journey, that I did myself last week, involving the tagging of a blog post for our Green Group.
For a general initial framework, I came across a very handy post by Dave Briggs only the other day that, among other things, outlines the process or steps involved in bringing a community together (online).
- “Establish tags – common ways of describing and finding content that everyone can use: local gov, local press, individual bloggers, existing communities and groups
- Aggregate content – use the tags to bring the conversation about the area into one place
- Communicate – start to talk amongst the various content producers
- Meet – get everyone meeting and talking to each other in real life
- Develop – put together some of the infrastructure together to allow for further collaboration and coworking, both online and off”
[emphases added – why?, see below]
As knowledge-sharing can presumably only happen within some sort of community, these steps seem applicable.
And as the first logical thing to do, it seems, is to work out how you classify (and thereby identify, describe and sort) the knowledge you wish to share, then it seems to make sense to focus on tags, only, for a first input. Roaming all over the various tools one can use will probably be just confusing. Other things like the sort of things wikis are good for, will just have to wait. After all, folk will want, and I hope value, the opportunity to state whether they’d like to hear more rather than be given the whole 9 yards without the option.
Useful resources for things to think about for later on though, include:
- If people are persuaded enough to keep with the basic idea for the moment, and might like to think about it unharassed by a zealot, I guess they will need handy wee things to take away and think about, such as:
- guides, for example, such as Tim Davies’ Series of one-page guides to popular web 2.0 tools (thanks Tim), and the lovely Commoncraft video series (to, apart from their wonderful quality, make the point about how silly it is not to be able to view this sort of resource at all from behind the firewall).
- things to help re-assure, like Codes and Principles of Practice (short and high-level, or rather longer and more detailed)
- what about factsN’figures, too? (I hesitate to mention ROI, but someone is bound to ask) The Canadian focus group research (helpful commentary from Jason Ryan), and the EC Joint Research Centre report on ‘Web 2.0 in Government: Why and How?‘ (on iPaper too!), might provide some of each?
Then if people decide they would like to have a try – stick a toe in the water – then a range of sort-of stik-a-brik sets will perhaps be needed. Here (many thanks to Dave Fleet) is an inspiring example of the genre (albeit not related to tagging, but to online ‘listening’ – something people will need to try out early anyway).
- Later on when people are really beginning to think their way into what’s involved, they may want to consider roles and tasks – as in ‘what will people need to do differently’ and more importantly, how they will need to think differently about what they do.
- Jeremy Gould, who writes as ‘Whitehall Webby’ (I’m not sure which Dept – Update: now I do; it’s the Ministry of Justice) wrote a friendly outline of one of his peers Steph Gray, who has been doing some very interesting stuff at the DIUS;
- I found a couple of short pieces about a role called a ‘Community Manager’. Which seemed as relevant as anything I’d come across recently. Thanks, RWW, and Connie Bensen!
At various points, people seem to start talking about toolkits:
- The NTEN’s ‘We Are Media’ project is the best one I’ve seen recently, both in terms of content (see the Modules, accessible via links in the left hand menu) and the process of collating it – a classic use of a wiki, and as such a wonderful learning example.
- Emma Mulqueeny and colleagues in Whitehall and thereabouts are also thinking of one, which will surely be relevant.
But there surely won’t be one given route into this…must go and read more of the NTEN material for now, and perhaps Emma’s later.