Monday, October 29, 2007

Snowden on Web 2.0

Listened to two interesting podcasts this weekend. One is an interview with Dave Snowden (Cognitive Edge). I didn't know, but Cognitive Edge has a 450 person network now!

I'll give you a summary of the parts I liked most.

In the research on Knowledge Management we learned that it's about connecting people (2:30). But, Dave says, when we learned this, about 10 years ago, the technology didn't support it. We now, with the Web 2.0 tool around, can do exactly this. It seems that knowledge management ideas were ahead of technology.
The connections between people are "voluntary", they "emerge" and are "self-organising". Dave uses blogs and feed reading as an example for this point.

Dave finds "context" "the most neglected word in KM". Most information systems are organized in a way in which the content is context-free. Web 2.0 does seem to address context. And it also taps into trust, which is also an important issue in sharing knowledge. Sharing is only done when knowledge is needed.

Snowden believes (7:00) that a knowledege sharing culture cannot be created. But the interactions between people can be increased.

The knowledge worker will not become a corporate role. (8:55) It's about the way we do things.

It's time for the firewalls to be brought into the raw data. Let people go free on the Web. IT has to learn what to control and not.
There are implications for HR (10:50), because more and more employees will decide for themselves and together, which role they take in a project (every time).

Snowden does find Web 2.0 too unstructured in it's own for the enterprise (19:25). Wiki's are OK. Using consistent categories and keywords with blogs, however, is difficult. And this is essential for the long term. So, we need a semi-structured tagging system to support consistent tagging. Cognitive Egde is working on this.
On the other hand, Snowden does not believe in tags generated by natural language processing (22:00). Because text does not comprise everything; there's also video, pictures and audio. And tags can hardly be found in the text. Human-based tagging is much better than semantic search. It's not all in the content, but in the context, the relationships (26:00).

How do you find 'knowledge objects' in your organisation? These are things an organisation should manage. (27:45-29:30) Snowden advises to collect stories in the organisation and use the ASHEN model to analyse these structurally and define the knowledge objects.

Make sure you balans between social computing (no order) and enterprise systems (order). (30:00)

Knowledge Management will dispear as a formal organisation title. But as a function it won't (32:00). As a function it will become more important. This will require a big shift. This will result in the collaps on the centralized IT department. IT should focus on putting more security on data and less on collaboration.

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