Implementing KM with Social Knowledge in mind

Today I responded to a Linked-In question by Pervez Z. Khan and thought I would share it here as I ended up collecting my thoughts in the answer.

Pervez is a Communication and IT Consultant in Saudi Arabia and his initial question was:

Any help in identifying tools for generating knowledge, capturing knowledge and sharing knowledge

I am participating in a project to prepare a road map to establish a KM Strategy and Phased Implementation. I need to oversee the Role of IT in establishing the KM center and tools required for generating, capturing, sharing knowledge. In addition, methods, models, strategies, strategies, bench marking of best practices and Knowledge Center Planning and Implementation Phase Guidelines for a telecom service provider company.
Any link or help will be appreciated.

There were quite a few good replies but many of them followed the assumption in the question that Knowledge is about measurable, documentable information flows. The discussion can be viewed here.

John Malony had responded about the problems with this outdated view of KM and Joseph Colannino had posted a great little case study of the successful automation of the information flows around their R&D process. My response is below.

I tend to agree with John Maloney. Joseph Colannino's answer about knowledge audits is brilliant, but is actually an information flow audit. Much of knowledge work is actually done socially, however this doesn't mean it cannot be assisted with IT tools.

Enterprise 2.0 solutions like wikis, blogs and tagging are a way that some of the social exchange of knowledge can not only be captured in process, but also expanded in scope, allowing remote employees to enjoy the same level of connection as local staff do.

Implementing these tools is not the same as putting in an ERP of DMS. It requires an evolutionary framework that is modified not just due to the changing business requirements, but also by whether it is used or not, ie: does it suit the corporate culture and if not, is it close enough that a change management program addressing both cultural and software function issues will make a difference.

Security is also slightly different in this area and a combination of clear guidelines and structured zones or domains for internal and public information should be provided for.

Finally, one of the key productive outputs of enterprise based social networking is that of serendipity. This tries to make use of Clay Sharky's "Long Tail", ie: those people who have little to do with a project or operation, but the one thing they can add might save the entire project. To make the best use of this requires high levels of involvement, which is most often stopped by 1) bad usability, and 2) lack of management support. As IT manager, the first one is right in your domain. The second should be championed by the local manager to get executive support early on, or before the implementation.

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