Posts Tagged knowledge

Directory Service, Please

Scott Schnaars commented to a blog the other day that one of his customers once queried, ‘Why can I find my best friend from second grade, but I can’t find an expert on international tax law in my company?’

Isn’t that the truth?

Scott was replying to Michael Idinopulos’ blog post, All Respect to the Company Directory, in which he talks about the necessity to create a central repository to replace the old mimeographed directories of yore. As he says:

What’s… interesting is that when true company-wide directories do exist, they’re a killer app. When I was at McKinsey, for example, over 75% of our intranet searches were directory searches. I’d be surprised if the number were much different at other companies.

In the last decade the joke around a lot of companies, when someone was looking for an answer, was to reply, “It’s on the web!” At which time everyone would giggle, knowing full well how hard it is to find that one bit of trivia in a corporate sea of data.

Nowadays the resource you’re looking for is much more likely to be a human resource and, given that, it might be more appropriate to say, “She’s on the web!” Having a functional company directory is a big step toward helping people locate that resource.

Roger Farnsworth

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Finding the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

We are seeing an explosion of social networking tools that are designed to bring people together — tools that make it possible for people to connect more easily. James Surowiecki describes the opportunity that comes from capturing the wisdom of crowds; but what if you have a need to capture the wisdom of an individual?

How do you unlock the specialised knowledge that exists in your organisation? There is an amazing wealth of experience and opinion out there, but in many cases it’s trapped in the minds of the individuals. Individuals who, for whatever reason, might be reluctant to advertise their unique value.

Gia Lyons talked about this a while back:

Why is it so hard to get your smart people to share? Because human beings typically share their precious knowledge only with people they trust. Not a software application.

Ah yes. Trust.

Gia goes on to talk about how the spoken word is more effective than the written word in both transmitting knowledge and increasing trust in a relationship. I think that’s very true.

Taking it one step further, I think that direct communication that contains elements of visual connectedness includes an additional emotional component that can expedite the formation of trust.

Combining social networking tools that help manage the complexities and details of large numbers of relationships with advanced communication tools that can increase the effectiveness and depth of a conversation is the best of both worlds.

Roger Farnsworth

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