Full Circle Bookshelf, Why KM Initiatives Fail, Good Intranet Design, Encouraging Tool Usage

08-Jan-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Books

Full Circle Associates Bookshelf by Nancy White: Online Community, Teams and Networks

  1. The Virtual Community by Howard Rheingold
  2. Community Building on the Web by Amy Jo Kim
  3. Online Communities by Jenny Preece
  4. Knowledge Networks by Paul Hildreth and Chris Kimble (Editors)
  5. Communities in Cyberspace by Marc Smith
  6. Building the Knowledge Management Network by Cliff Figallo
  7. The Power Of Many by Christian Crumlish
  8. Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning by Sasha Barab, Rob Kling, and James Gray (Editors)
  9. Distributed Work by Pamela Hinds and Sara Kiesler (Editors)
  10. Building Virtual Learning Communities by Rena Palloff
  11. Distributed Communities on the Web by Peter Kropf, Gilbert Babin, John Plaice, and Herwig Unger (Editors)
  12. E-tivities by Gilly Salmon
  13. E-Moderating by Gilly Salmon
  14. Virtual Teams by Jessica Lipnack
  15. Hosting Web Communities by Cliff Figallo
  16. Design for Community by Derek Powazek
  17. The Well by Katie Hafner
  18. Collaborating Online by Rena Palloff
  19. Networked Art by Craig Saper
  20. Mastering Virtual Teams by Deborah Duarte
  21. Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins
  22. The Hidden Power of Social Networks by Robert Cross
  23. Training to Imagine by Kat Koppett
  24. Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell
  25. Cybertypes by Lisa Nakamura
  26. Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold
  27. Blog! by David Kline

KM Links

Why KM Initiatives Fail! by David Gurteen

“There are a few fundamentals that you need to get right to ensure that your KM is initiative is not only sustained but has a marked impact on organizational performance:

  • Focus on business outcomes
  • Get specific
  • Use business language
  • Engage staff”

Standards for Good Intranet & Extranet Design by Dave Pollard

“Characteristics of a well-designed Intranet or Extranet:

  1. Simple and intuitive user interface and architecture
  2. Easy orientation
  3. No overlap with content of the organization’s other websites
  4. Table-, macro- or CSS-driven
  5. ‘Bookmarkable’
  6. Expandable
  7. One-click access
  8. ‘Taskonomy’ rather than taxonomy
  9. Personally reconfigurable
  10. User-driven content and tools
  11. Tools, not just content
  12. Search in context
  13. Use of clickable graphics
  14. Really simple publication and subscription
  15. Accommodates different ways of finding
  16. Security is ‘under the hood’ “

KM Questions

Q: How can I engage/motivate end users to use enterprise collaboration tools such as expert profiles, communities of practices, discussion forums, etc.? For instance, reward/recognition programs, embedding collaboration expectations into performance management, establishing key stakeholder engagement, developing training modules, etc.

A: (from Bruce Karney):

“Let’s simplify and generalize this question to:

‘A new tool is now available to employees. It is not being used as much as those who introduced it hoped/predicted/ promised. Why is this happening and what can be done about it?’

When formulated this way, several hypotheses can be made, potential solutions can be identified, and these solutions can then be tested to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis about why the tool isn’t being used.

  • Many employees are simply unaware of the tool. <Inform them>
  • Though aware, they don’t believe the tool is better than existing tools for doing the same job. <Persuade them>
  • Though aware of the tool and its advantages, they don’t know how to use it. <Train them>
  • Though well trained and capable of using the new tool, they revert to using the old approach. <Remind them, incent them, or remove access to the old tool>
  • The tool requires some skill or other tool that many employees don’t have, for example, the ability to read English or connect to a webserver via a high-bandwidth connection. <Adapt the tool to the skills and circumstances that exist>
  • For many employees, the new tool is, unfortunately, inferior in important ways to the tools used previously. Inferiority could exist in any of a dozen dimensions, including availability, reliability, trustworthiness of results, etc. <Fix the tool so it is superior, or stop expecting people for whom it produces no value to use it>
  • The tool is expensive to maintain, and produces little measurable value to the department that uses it or the organization as a whole. <Modify the tool so it produces more value than it consumes, or get rid of it to eliminate the ongoing maintenance expense>
  • The tool is known, easy to use, and produces improved results for the organization, but the employees themselves are no better off whether they use the tool or do things the old way. <Modify the tool or reward system so the employees experience a net benefit>
  • The usefulness of the tool will be low until it is very widely adopted within the organization, at which point it will be very useful to everyone. <Demand that it be used and reward compliance or punish non-compliance as you prefer>

Speaking as a guy who likes hardware stores more than any other type of retail establishment, I know that new tools can be very seductive, and when I get my hands on a new tool that solves a problem I’ve previously struggled with, I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Will your new KM tools make those who adopt them feel this way? Or are you trying to get them to adopt a tool that is demonstrably different from what they have now without being demonstrably better?

The last major categorical advance in tools (from my perspective) was the shift from powered electrical tools to cordless tools that perform the same function. To be specific, electric sanders save me lots of TIME and EFFORT, and the cordless version saves me even more TIME on small jobs. Neither type of electric sander required me to learn too many new concepts or skills. The QUALITY of results I achieve is about the same that I got with a plain old sanding block.

If a new tool offers benefits of TIME, EFFORT, or QUALITY at a reasonable cost (including acquisition cost, training cost, and spoilage as I learn to use it), then it is something I will buy and use. If not, it must sit on the shelf in the store and wait for my mother or my wife to buy it for me as a Christmas present.”

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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