Patti Anklam helped companies understand their organizational roles and social networks, how to select, introduce, and manage social software and collaboration tools to enhance people-to-people connections and knowledge flow and to capture and curate information and knowledge assets. Below is the first post in a series on KM Thought Leaders.

Her specialties are knowledge management; social & learning networks, and collaboration — infrastructure assessment, design and tool introduction, social network analysis, communities of practice, contextual interviewing, work practice modeling, organization development.

Patti worked at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) from 1976 to 1998 and at Compaq until 2000. She worked with me as a key member of the knowledge management team from 1996 to 1998.

Profiles

  1. LinkedIn
  2. About.me
  3. Profiles in Knowledge: DEC

Blogs

  1. Net Work
  2. Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness
  3. The AppGap

Presentations

  1. SlideShare
  2. SIKM Leaders Community — Networks and Sensemaking: Themes from Net Work
  3. KMWorld

Conversations

  1. AOK: Preparing for Conversations with Patti Anklam
  2. AOK: Conversations with Patti Anklam
  3. SIKM Leaders Community Posts

Book

Net Work: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Networks at Work and in the World

Synopsis

Provides a guide for leaders and participants to work within and lead purposeful social networks in the world. Awareness of networks and networked organizations has reached the mainstream of the business publishing world, as evidenced in the increasing number of articles in such publications as the Harvard Business Review and the Sloan Management Review. Many graduate business school programs now teach social network analysis and network theory.

Networks exist outside of corporations as well. Everyone participates in multiple networks, including the informal family, community, work, and their purely social networks of friends. Formal networks include civic organizations like Rotary International, alumni groups, and business and professional groups. The latter have all evolved distinct governance models, norms for joining and participating, legacy databases, membership rolls, and very public identities.

There is yet another class of network that is not yet well defined, and for which the norms and governance models are emerging–networks such as inter-company and intra-company learning and collaboration networks; independent consultants who share common interests and passions who want to remain independent but work collaboratively and consistently with like-minded others. They can be geographically local business networks; web-based virtual learning groups and communities; or global action networks destined to make the world a better place.

The purpose of this book is to provide a taxonomy and guidebook to these emergent networks, with a specific focus on helping leaders and participants to create and sustain successful networks. It will address the need for articulating a governance model and norms, selecting and using appropriate tools, and expectations for how the network will grow and change over time.

Contents

Chapter 1. The Principles of Net Work: describes assumptions about the nature of networks with a fundamental assertion that all networks can be described using a basic set of properties.

“Chapter 2. The Business of Net Work: evidence for the increasing prevalence of networks in organizations of all types, including corporations and nonprofits, and the network view that is driving many organizations to establish networks that cross organizational boundaries.

Chapters 3 through 6 set out the core facets — purpose, structure, style, and value — that describe network properties.

You can describe a network based on its purpose (Chapter 3), structure (Chapter 4), and style (Chapter 5), and you can identify its value-producing processes (Chapter 6).

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 introduce tools and methods for applying the “network lens” in working with networks. Chapter 7 introduces the design and evolution of networks. Chapter 8 describes methods for examining and diagnosing the structure and health of a network. Chapter 9 provides guidance for managing a network through transitions.

Chapter 10 summarizes the imperatives of “Net Work” for leaders today: the new work required to create and sustain purposeful and thriving “nets” inside their organizations and outside.

Other Content

  1. Tweets
  2. Site: Leveraging Context, Knowledge, and Networks
  3. Article: The Camelot of Collaboration — the case of VAX Notes

The Case of VAX Notes: Excerpt

The term ‘community of practice’ hadn’t been coined at the time, and the distinctions we now make about types of community were not in our lexicon in the mid-1980s. If you perused the master list of conferences registered in Digital at the time you would find:

  • Communities of purpose;
  • Communities of practice;
  • Communities of interest.

By far the greatest leverage for VAX Notes came with its use in supporting the business of the company. Communities of purpose — development teams, quality circles, researchers — integrated one or more Notes databases into the fabric of the organizational life and process of their teams. Field people, geographically distributed technical personnel who were the earliest adopters of the technology, relied on the conferences supported by the development teams: VMS, Unix, Networking. Many teams would use the conferences as a way to capture and record bug reports and responses, to solicit requirements for new products, and so on. By deliberate sequencing, ordering, re-ordering, indexing, tracking and monitoring Notes, the emerging knowledge about a product under development was maintained and made accessible to the company at large.

Conferences were available for people in specific professional communities within the company: writers, marketing professionals, financial analysts, product managers and so on, all had their own conferences. These Notes conferences, which spanned geographical and organizational boundaries, provided a venue for announcements about events, discussions about changes in process, socialization of new ideas, informal job postings, etc.

The work-related communities far outnumbered the communities supporting ‘water cooler’ conversations. These latter communities of interest ranged from areas of deep technological specialization (the ‘Chips’ conference) to broad social concerns (the ‘Digital’ conference). In between, there was room for discussion of professional (‘Linguistics’) and personal (‘Cats’, ‘Home improvements’, ‘Ballroom dancing’, etc.) topics, topics about life in the workplace, word games and rumors.

The tolerance of personal interest topics was not universal. There were many managers who tried to curtail or to stop Notes activity outright, especially when there were the infrequent but highly visible abuses of company time and resources, or evidence of personal attacks in the files. However, the existence and ultimately the support of personal conferences within the environment reinforced the sense of community across the company and had a tipping effect on the acceptance of collaboration tools in the workplace.

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