Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Inverted KM

I'm certainly no knowledge-management (KM) expert, but I had occasion to recall Connex, an old Hewlett-Packard KM system today. As I understand KM systems, they generally attempt to capture isolated organizational knowledge and make it more broadly available throughout the organization.

Connex worked the other way. Instead of capturing knowledge, it captured information about experts. If you needed information about subjects X and subject Y, and you had reason to need it from someone who spoke German, you could query Connex and find the name and contact information of any experts who fit that profile.

That seemed easier for the experts, for they didn't have to take the time to write up their expertise without knowing whether it would ever be used. They didn't have to work to make their tacit knowledge explicit, either.

It seemed advantageous for the people needing knowledge, too, for, instead of getting a canned response that might not precisely fit their situation, they'd be able to discuss the matter with the expert and, hopefully, tailor a solution to their particular problem.

What I found really attractive was the social dynamic upon which it was founded. In a KM system, experts might feel as if they were passing along to others what made them unique and valuable. Instead, by listing their profiles with Connex, they enhanced their reputations while benefiting others in the company.

With a bit of searching, I discovered that Connex is not necessarily unique; Motorola has its Compass program, and IBM has its Blue Pages Plus.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Terrence said...

Wonderful example of a successful approach to KM that capitalizes on some aspects of human nature (e.g. that people like to be asked for their ideas and advice).

Terry

01 March, 2007 10:06  
Blogger Bill Harris said...

Thanks for stopping by, Terry. Do you know of more systems like Connex?

01 March, 2007 10:17  

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