|Monday, January 28, 2002|
John Robb's Radio Weblog: "The first step to enabling a Knowledge Worker is to put a K-Log publishing tool on their desktop. Show them how easy it is to post their thinking, useful links, important e-mails, documents, and pictures to the Intranet. Show them how to connect to other K-Loggers through community features like a http://www.weblogs.com that runs behind the firewall. Point out news feeds (both internal and external) that they can subscribe to that provides them with up-to-date information on their domain of interest. Now step back and watch them begin to post, get feedback from readers, respond to links from other K-Loggers, and develop the habit of frequent posting. "
There's a characteristic of almost all of the discussion about KM that bothers me and I've finally figured out why. KM has become one of those things that everyone knows you ought to do -- it's on a par with getting more exercise or flossing your teeth. Worse than that, KM has become the organizational busybody, talking about what everyone else ought to be doing for their own good. Few of the people talking about KM seem to have any KM problems of their own, just ideas about what somebody else ought to do. There's an ugly control streak buried just beneath the surface of most of what I've seen recently about KM.
That's what makes John Robb's notion of knowledge logs (k-logs) so refreshing. But we've skipped past that part too quickly into a discussion of k-logs at the organizational level. How do we encourage people to contribute, how do we get past issues of people hoarding knowledge, and on and on.
WIIFM, what's in it for me? Let's not skip over that question because it's central. John's starting to get at that here. Forget any payoffs to my employers; why should I bother to do anything to contribute to KM? Because a k-log makes my life easier. Maybe the others who've been talking about this are already compulsively organized and can already locate anything they've worked on in the last two years with unerring accuracy.
Me? I've been disorganized since the second grade (1960). I've been a piler not a filer most of my life. The thing I didn't figure out until it was nearly too late was that piles of bits on your hard drive are very hard to see. I think you have to work harder to be organized with PCs because everything is invisible. There aren't any physical clues to help aid your memory. A k-log in a tool as simple as Radio finally begins to help. It doesn't do the work for you, but it sure does make the work that has to be done a lot easier.