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May 12, 2008

Is knowledge hoarding all about your pay cheque?

Filed under: km, conversation

The other day I posted on, Participation is the currency of the knowledge economy.
The word “participation” can be interchanged for “social captial”, “conversation”, “contribution”, knowledge sharing”, but I chose “participation”, because “conversation” cannot happen without “participation.” And “participation” sounds more involved, sustained, or perpetual than “contribution” or “knowledge sharing.”

Anyway in that post I mentioned that the way companies currently operate is driven by each worker building their “intellectual captial” to get ahead, and to differentiate themselves. The more “intellectual capital” you have the more you are worth something or unique to the company. This kind of means workers compete with each other, or at least try to have unique power that will make them an asset to the firm. In this environment “knowledge sharing” would be the worst thing you could do, as you would be giving away your “edge”, giving away what makes you a unique asset to the company.

Of course we all know the “wisdom of crowds”, and an open and transparent participation model leads to ideas and conversation, which leads to discovery and collaboration. The act of sharing and finding saves others from re-inventing the wheel, saving money and project cycle-time.
A company that runs on a social captial model runs on the notion that “two minds are better than one”, so why not have a culture where these minds have open dialogue. In the end this opportunity for access to knowledge to help you with your work and to find new work brings the company closer to innnovation, and more honest client relationships.

No matter how simple the tools, and no matter even if people understand the benefits of “knowledge sharing” it just won’t happen if the company culture is about “intellectual captial” rather than “social capital.”

Enterprises ought to be thankful that enterprise 2.0 knowledge sharing tools can be a catalyst for culture change to a more social enterprise.

All the good stuff you knew about “social captial” but couldn’t practice because of the deficient tools, is now no longer a frustration.

Culture has to change to a learning organisation and social tools can help achieve and sustain this notion. And that’s what they are, “tools”…just because I have a hammer it doesn’t mean I can build a house. Likewise just because I have a blog doesn’t mean I will use it, I have to be guided facilitated, exposed to successes, see others doing it…build confidence.

Anyway the reason for this post was an article by David Fitch in KM Review Vol 11 Issue 1 March/April 2008, called “In pursuit of justice-and knowledge.” It perfectly illustrates the “knowledge hoarding” characteristic, and why I think knowledge sharing tools won’t do anything to allieve this unless the “culture of work” changes to a more social culture, and only then will these social tools augment this whole new attitude.

Here is this quote on why keeping knowledge to yourself makes sure you keep getting your pay cheque:

“Lawyers at large corporate law firms in the US tend to be paid on an “eat what you kill” basis - they earn according to the business they personally bring into the firm. That means that lawyers in the same firm are competing against each other, so there’s not a lot of incentive for them to exchange knowledge with each other. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it kills knowledge sharing.
In the UK, by contrast, the system “lock-step equity” means that lawyers are paid according to the financial performance of the firm as a whole, so they’re more willing to share knowledge with each other.”

That’s a top-down move I’d like to see.
Basically we work for passion and to get paid, and if the ecosystem you work in pays you according to how well the family is doing, rather than how well you are doing, then it’s in your interest to help out your family.

The workplace has to change from the “competition” model to the “social” model.

I agree that competition is good for achievement and performance, and some might say that the people who get more sales are paying the slackers.

But this really won’t go unnoticed, if a slacker is not making use of the shared knowledge pool to apply to action opportunities, then that’s an even worse excuse to not getting results, as now they have the social captial to draw on, not just their own know-how.

Sure you get paid based on the holisitic performance, but if you’re not doing any work, you’re not gonna last long.
If you’re not a regular in online social conversations, then it’s seen you are not part of the family growth.

Basically, since each member of the team’s know-how affects everyone’s pay check, then it’s in the interest of the team to educate each other, and to make sure everyone member is “aware” of what’s going on in order to perform optimal output.

I bet in this type of “lock-step equity” ecosystem, enterprise 2.0 tools would be a god-send as it helps share knowledge which is crucial to getting your pay check.

In this ecosystem blogs and wikis help you share knowledge easier and more effectively, and the more tuned this system is, the more the know-how is spread. And the more you know, the better you can perform, and the better you perform, the better the enterprise performs, and inturn guarantees everyone a pay cheque.

In an indirect way knowledge sharing = money.

In this ecosystem taking away a blog or a wiki, is like taking away a hammer from a builder.

I still don’t think sharing knowledge in this environment is quite “altruistic”, as you are only doing it for personal benefit, it’s in your interest everyone does well inorder to sustain a good pay cheque. But you hope after a while this may evolve into genuine passion for the family.

May 9, 2008

Examples of re-purposing email

In a past post I talked about Re-purposing email, and after that I was going to give some examples, but I got sidetracked on what blogs an enterprise would have when it would come to communications, see Enterprise blog channels for communications.

If these examples seem universal, then perhaps we can start a “Re-purposing email wiki”…I’m sure Luis Suarez would agree.

Emails are not just about communications, sometimes they are about collanoration, tasks, sharing tips, etc…

This post is not just focusing on communication type blog posts, in fact it’s not focusing on blogs at all. It’s going through example emails and proposing how that email could be re-purposed.

What I have done is listed the email under the social tool it could of been delivered in.
Any notes have been denoted by an (*).

BLOG (team/project/personal/office-wide/community)

Announce

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:IT
A new security patch on 25-12-07 will be implemented when you login, please let the PC do it’s thing

* This is an easy one, the general IT Office blog

To:OFFICE TEAM LEADS
From:Training Lead
We are running courses, on Access database training, please ask your team members if they are interested.

* All my boss would have to do is publish a blog post on our Team blog pointing to the post on the Corporate Training blog
- this would work as she would be subscribed to the CorporateTraining blog, and we would be subscribed to the Team blog
- in fact if I came across the training blog post (if I had access), I could potentially know before she even told me

To:TEAM and 2 other closely related teams
From: TEAM LEADER
A new banner and overview sheet has been included in our toolkit.
Please let others know.

* Perhaps this could be posted to our Team External blog, where we publish stuff that other team leads can see
- since our team and other team leads subscribe to this blog we will all be in the know
- each team lead can then let their members know by posting a brief blog post on their Team blogs, pointing to our TeamExternal blog.

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:IT
There is now a colour printer in the office

* This is an easy one, the general IT Office blog

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:Admin
Please welcome the new global manager for “social software” (hehe)

* This is an easy one, the general Office blog

To:PROJECT TEAM
From: A Project unit manager
The new project workspace has been set up at this URL.
Here is the getting started overview.

* This is an easy one, the general Project blog

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
Here are the usage statistics for December

* This could be published on the Team blog
- then again this may be of no value to the Development team, or another sub-team, this is what lead me to my post on mesh blogs

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:Admin
The trains are on strike this afternoon, you will need to make alternate arrangements

* This is an easy one, the general Office blog

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:Admin
A staff member was mentioned in the national newspaper today for a job well done on one of our projects

* This is an easy one, the general Office blog

To:PROJECT TEAM
From: A Project unit manager
Our main repository does not support media files, please assist clients by using this alternative

* This is an easy one, the general Project blog

Status

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:IT
We are having problems with internet access, we are speaking to our providers to resolve this

* This is an easy one, the general IT Office blog

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:IT
The internet is now working

* This is an easy one, the general IT Office blog

Work

To:SUB-TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
If anyone is interested, here is a workaround to this problem

* Perhaps this could be posted to a Sub-Team blog,
- other sub-teams in the team can subscribe if they like

To:SUB-TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
The solution to this issue was a setting in Outlook

* Perhaps this could be posted to a Sub-Team blog,
- other sub-teams in the team can subscribe if they like

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
I’m finding I’m learning a lot about our industry in Africa from my work on this deliverable….

* Perhaps this could be posted to a Sub-Team blog or personal blog
- others can subscribe if they like

FORUM (team/project/personal/office-wide/community)

Question

To:OFFICE-WIDE
From:Admin
We are looking for someone to offer their expertise on….

* Perhaps this could posted in a few community forums
- this way the whole office is not spammed

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
Does anyone know how to do this excel formula…

* Perhaps this could posted to your team forum
- otherwise search for an excel or Office tips community that may have an excel wiki or excel blog

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
Where can I find a file for our team logo?

* Perhaps this could posted to your team forum
- or IM blast a portion of your network

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
What do people think of Windows Vista, what are your experiences?

* Perhaps this could posted to your team forum, or a community forum, it depends which audience you want to ask

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
Where would I find information on…

* Perhaps this could posted to your team forum, or a community forum, it depends which audience you want to ask

To:PROJECT TEAM
From:1 PROJECT TEAM MEMBER
Does anyone want to car pool, I live outer eastern suburbs?

* Perhaps this could posted to the project forum, or the office forum, it depends which audience you want to ask
- or IM blast a portion of your network

IM

To:WORKER
From:WORKER
Can I use the Adobe writer on your computer?

* This is a quick question that can easily be done in IM, rather than an email in each inbox

To:WORKER
From:WORKER
I forgot to ask you was it cold when you were just outside…I’m about to go out.

* This is a quick question that can easily be done in IM, rather than an email in each inbox

To:WORKER
From:WORKER
The conference is about to start, where are you?

* This is a quick question that can easily be done in IM, rather than an email in each inbox

To:WORKER
From:WORKER
Are you free for a chat, I have 3 others that are free now.

* This is a quick question that can easily be done in IM, rather than an email in each inbox

WIKI

Collaborate

To:4 TEAM MEMBERS
From:TEAM LEADER
Can you all make a list of issues and email them to me and I will put them in one big list

* This could be a wiki task, see my post

To:4 TEAM MEMBERS
From:WORKER
Can you all review this attachment and send me the changes

* This could be a wiki task

To:4 TEAM MEMBERS
From:WORKER
Sorry, here’s another addition to the meeting agenda

* This could easily be added to the meeting agenda wikipage without emailing people

Knowledgebase

To:7 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
If anyone is interested, here is a workaround to this problem

* This could easily be added to the solutions wiki
- or perhaps Tips and Tricks blog

To:7 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
I can’t find the documentation on…where is it kept

* This wouldn’t happen if there was a centralised team wiki or a wiki that lists documents in the repository
- otherwise ask the question in the team forums

To:7 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
When you load this in the database remember to change this element as the template is not yet fixed.
This is not documented in the procedures.

* This is a reply-email to someone who didn’t need to send the email request if there was a Workarounds wiki or blog
- otherwise ask the question in the team forums

Event

To:7 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
I can’t find the email for when that workshop is taking place

* This wouldn’t happen if there was an Event wiki
- otherwise ask the question in the forums

To:TEAM
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
The workshop is kicking off today.
Here is the agenda.
This person cannot make it.
I will further email you the presentation attachments

* This wouldn’t happen if there was an Event wiki, with a wiki blog
- perhaps a community could be set-up for the workshop

Task

To: SUB-TEAM
From: 1 TEAM MEMBER
Could everyone please sign off that the new features have been tested and work

* This could be a wiki task, and perhaps posted on the wiki task blog
- rather than once person sending out an email to about 10 people with an attachment
- then each person sending back an email to say they have actioned it

To:7 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
The test server will be going down for 3 days to be patched.
I will let you know the moment it is back up

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community

To:3 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER
I am currently at stage 3 of my report, I’m now doing field research for stage 4.
Tomorrow I will fly to China, and need to find accomodation.
I will meet with client and let you know of the results.

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community

To: SUB TEAM
From: TEAM LEADER
A new advanced editing feature will be rolled-out on 25-12-07
Please test this and report back.

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community

To:3 TEAM MEMBERS
From:1 TEAM MEMBER

The server has been set up and the program installed, you can now proceed.
I had issues with the subscription module, so it’s not installed yet

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community
- only members of this community will be subscribed saving other team members not having to be spammed
- so in fact this example is more a project communication, rather than a team communication
- I think it’s important that quick short-lived communities are set up to achieve tasks

To:1 TEAM MEMBER
From: TEAM LEADER
Can you please do this task, and report back and then contact Bill do take it onwards.

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community
- just have to put up with other subscribers of the blog getting this post that is only intended for one person

To:1 TEAM MEMBER
From: TEAM LEADER
Can you please update the appendix on this report

* This could perhaps be posted on the wiki task blog
- or if it’s part of a bigger picture like a project where the wiki and blog could be in a community
- just have to put up with other subscribers of the blog getting this post that is only intended for one person

I’m finding with a lot of these tasks a more focused tool like Activities from Lotus Connections would be more appropriate.
Or a commuity or wiki that has social networking so you can message a member in the inbox of that wiki task, rather than your email inbox.
This way the task request is not separate from the task itself, you would only get a notification in your email inbox or perhaps a dashboard to alert you of your task.
It’s also bringing to mind Foldera…but then again there are heaps of task, workflow type tools.

The ultimate scenario is for a team to have a community site that includes:
- sub-communities
- social networking
- blogs
- forums
- wikis
- IM
- tasks

All your work and communications are together. The idea is not to have stuff in your email related to where the work lives, it should all be open and together…no siloes and no people out of the loop.

May 8, 2008

Google Reader Notes

Filed under: blogs, rss, readers

A while back I mentioned that Google Reader Shared Items (which is like a clip blog) needs to be merged with a service like Google Shared Stuff (which is like a clip blog).

The problem I was having is that I could not clip stuff I found outside Google Reader into my Shared Items stream, this meant I had to have two clip streams.

Well now this has been solved with Google Reader Notes.

In the Google Reader console there is now a page called “Your Stuff”, and under this there are two pages called “Shared Items”, and “Notes”.
Clicking on the “Your Stuff” link is a way to see “Shared Items”, and “Notes” in the one stream.

Share with Note

For any item in Google Reader there is an addition to the one-click “Share”, now there is another choice to “Share with Note”
- this pops-up a box where you can add a note/annotation (just like with my Facebook Posted Items).

Notes

“Notes” allows you to make a note without it having to be about a webpage, it’s just like blogging an item.

This can be done via going to the “Notes” page in Google Reader

This automatically shares the item into the “Shared Items” stream, as well as being in your “Notes” stream (which is private).
You can unshare a Note so it no longer appears in your “Shared Items” stream, and is only in your “Notes” stream.

“Note in Reader” bookmarklet

The “Note in Reader” bookmarklet allows you to add an item (along with a note if you like) into your private “Notes” stream.
The bookmarklet also has a box to check to include it in your “Shared Items” stream, before you press submit…otherwise you can decide to share it later on from your “Notes” stream.

Issues

- I wish a Note didn’t share by default
- I’d like to filter the Notes stream by Notes I have shared, and Notes I haven’t shared…this way I can keep some private notes in one spot.
- I can’t edit or delete a Note
- There isn’t a bookmarklet to create a new note (you can only do this from within Google Reader).

What could be next?

- Comments
- Tag “Shared Items”
- A calendar archive
- Template/sidebar additions
- Reblog and item from someone’s “Shared Items” to yours (like Tumblr)
- Merge your “Shared Items” with your friends (like a Tumblr group), or perhaps this could be a network instead like Friendfeed (this is more probable as there already is a “Friends Shared Items” feature.

Google Reader seems to be where I live, so instead of having another window for Webnote, I just like a tab in Google Reader…I wonder if there is a hack.

You’d think they may do this with there own set of products, at the moment at the top of Google Reader I have links to Gmail, Calendar, Docs, etc…what about tabs instead…maybe I’d use Google Notebook, rather then Webnote.

Actually this is what you can do with OtherEgo, but this is more of a profile aggregator by tabs (not quite a lifestream). Not sure if you can add a tab from a private service like Google Reader.

But I like this idea of a private startpage, but instead of widgets on the one page, it’s the whole page by tab.

In one window I could have access to:
Google Reader
Gmail
Twitter
Friendfeed
Facebook
Webnote
del.icio.us
My blog
…and several other pages.