Developing content, which means finding, sharing, expanding upon, correct/moderate, putting together, link to, compound information items is what the the knowledge worker is engaged in. Then we need to find the tools/environment best suited to handle/develop information items. Gathering/developing information is a collaborative and emergent exercise. It expands beyond your mind, your close associates, your team/organization/company, yes the www of the Internet has made it possible to draw on the whole world’s resources to achieve your aim. What’s our aim, why gather/develop information? An example below:
Collecting DATA forms INFORMATION combines to KNOWLEDGE which are the basis for right DECISIONS and SOLUTIONS
DATA ⇒ INFORMATION ⇒ KNOWLEDGE ⇒ CORRECT DECISIONS & ACTIONS ⇒ SOLUTIONS
The collaborative nature of the new Web2.0/Enterprise2.0 tools has given us some good examples on how this could work, like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap which heavily rests upon the notion of “None of us is as smart as all of us” and “The wisdom of crowds” , gathering all possible information inside/outside the organization, not just limited to a few experts or the circle of people you know. We believe utilizing this concept now so commonly available out in the open Internet landscape also inside the company realms is the way to go. Why can’t your Intranet work like the Internet, why not have an internal Wikipedia type system, etc. A dynamic/effective way of handling/developing information is the key – the open consumer/public Internet has shown us the way, now it’s time for the corporate world to take advantage of this as well – and they need i badly (see: “It is the public/consumer market that drives development/inovation, not the big corporate players”).
The nature of collaborative work:
- Any work we do is at one stage or another (if not all) collaborative in nature
- When we collaborate our work is enhanced and enriched (given more value)
(if we live in a true collaborative workspace that gives the right kind of output and receives the right kind of input)
- In any work we do, somebody (or something?) else in our workgroup/company/related companies or organisations (even or most surely competitors)/country/the world, is/has been/will be working on the same or related issues.
- Collaboration is the only true form of information/knowledge gathering
- Any knowledge worker and any knowledge company should have the ideal or close to the ideal collaborative workspace to foster and be a stewardship of knowledge (Information Dynamics)
- Any knowledge not shared is worthless
- This article/list has been produced (and will be enhanced) with collaborative efforts.
Finding the right tools/environment to achieve this in the corporate world
Up until recently there has not been much difference to the understanding of developing content and writing a document. Historically writing a document comes from the typing a letter (type writer) metaphor. Word processors like MS Word was made with that metaphor as design basis. However with the tools we now have available which is more than a type writer, it’s time to change the metaphor. The thinking need to be more in the line of information/knowledge development pioneers like Vanevar Bush(1945), Doug Engelbart(1968) and Tim Berners-Lee (1991) who paved the way for what Internet and Hypertext originally was made/meant for namely the collaboration of highly effective knowledge seeking teams (see this presentation and “Whatever happened to the web?“). The print centric view of MS Office and reflected on the Internet horizon in static html pages has not given us the full credit of what a world connected hypertext system like the www is good for. With the advent of Web2.0/Ent2.0 thinking/tools basis we are finally arriving at what www and Internet was made for.
Mature Hypertext-centric systems and not MS-Office centric systems will give us what we are seeking. So far going the MS way has given the knowledge worker organization poor collaborative content/information development tools and silo-based (not so easy to find) information storage
Many large corporate accounts today have gone the Microsoft way and the IBM Lotus way. Many have (half) switched from the IBM Lotus way to the MS way with the MS Office compliant issue as the main reason ….. ??
See Microsoft operating profit by division – http://bit.ly/bTJmRY . (Office is a very important revenue stream for Microsoft, but it’s not a knowledge worker’s best friend)
Collaboration based on Hypertext/wiki systems vs MS Office, Document/File, KM/ Sharepoint systems
|Hypertext, Wiki collaboration||Microsoft, Office, Documents/Files Management, Sharepoint|
|In stead of document we use the metaphor information items and collection of information items or information bundle / compound documents. The focus of the development is on the information items, not on the whole document. The focus is on development of comprehensible content, not on how it’s gonna look or print. We worry about that later, not first.||Open and lock whole document to work on it. Only one person working on it at a time|
|Collaborate on and developing information items together (emergent, interactive) see this model and this more general model.||You (only one person) open the whole document (it’s locked). To collaborate in real time you can use a Netmeeting or Communicator session.|
|Content/information can be collaboratively developed either using comments or editing/moderating directly in the article text. Either way it has to be clean and changes easily tracked, both what, who and when. See this example . The change history is neatly presented, compared, and with easily access/reference to any changes (each dot/circle is an instant of the version history in time)||Because MS Word is concerned with both content and format/printout the whole moderation change thing is a bit messy. See this messy Word collaboration example compared to this clean wiki collaboration example.|
|Content/information is easily found because it’s all in or referenced by a Hypertext system and not hidden in group/department/AD/centrally assigned file/data stores, it is based on the “Open if not Restricted” philosophy, information creator/owner sets the restriction himself, restrictions can be set down to paragraph level (people can still find the article even if parts of it is restricted), etc.||There has been numerous attempts at making the file/document/KM storage model easily searchable, but with few successes. The centrally managed access regimes creates silos of information storage. See these articles and comments: IT / business silos: Bridging the gap and Reflecting on IT / business silos and Information silos and IT governance failure and Enterprise 2.0 and the importance of Silo Smashing!|