Bottom-up Knowledge Development

Writes John Robb:

There is only one good approach to approach bottoms up KM development:

1) Start with a simple system (ie. like a weblog publishing tool like Radio) using tools that allow future innovation. Try it out with a small team to pilot it. Post the weblogs to the Intranet (all you need is an FTP location for each weblog — very simple).

2) Get people publishing daily what they are working on. Make sure they understand the basics of publishing to the Intranet. The chronological format. The archives.

3) Help them to start subscribing (via RSS) to each other and essential news sources. This is again a simple thing to do. That way, they have lots of good fodder for posts.

4) Next. Ask team members to begin to create category specific weblogs. Show
them how they can post from inside their tool to as many or as few category specific weblogs as they choose. Ask the team to create similar categories dedicated to specific projects or topics. Encourage people to subscribe to projects that they are interested in.

5) Build a community system for the weblogs. This will allow people to get community pages that include recently updated weblogs, top weblogs by pageview, etc. This will help people find each other.

6) Write up the results and begin to encourage other teams to join the community. Sell the concept. Encourage use by having the pilot team read and
recommend changes to the new community members.

At this point, there should be a steady flow of great information, data, and knowledge flowing to the Intranet and between community members.

7) Next, begin to experiment with ways to slice and dice the knowledge that is being generated. Try a search engine, build directories (ie. Active Renderer), add metacontent to the publishing process (ie. Live Topics), enable e-mail to weblog publishing, aggregate RSS streams, connect to Web Services, etc. There is so much that can be done at this point.

The key to making this work is to make it easy and valuable for people to publish. Success here will solve the knowledge “capture” problem. Community development will help spur greater involvement and more frequent updates. Only at the point when you have a viable system should you start to try more innovations in how the information is organized. In fact, what you will see is that people will start asking for new ways to organize information/knowledge in order to save time and get more value out of the process. Without this demand side of the equation, selling complex KM will not work.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.