Originally answered Jul 6, 2016

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1. KM Trends

  1. Digital workplace and digital transformation
  2. Working Out Loud (WOL) and narrating your work
  3. Community management
  4. Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI)
  5. Analytics and business intelligence
  6. Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), especially Microsoft and Workplace by Facebook
  7. Chat tools such as Slack
  8. Gamification and digital badging
  9. Agile methodology
  10. Mobile apps and bring your own device (BYOD)

2. What are the biggest trends in KM today?

Working Out Loud (WOL) combines observable work (creating spaces where others can engage with your content) with narrating your work (posting in social software). Leading by example and persuading others helps create an open culture of truth, transparency, and trust, provides feedback loops, and spans organizational boundaries. Community management in Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs)includes launching, nurturing, and sustaining communities of practice. This connects people in the same specialty to deepen expertise, solve problems, and ask and answer questions. Cognitive computing, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and business intelligence are in vogue. Applying them practically and usefully is challenging but necessary.

3. Working Out Loud is KM’s Most Transformative Trend

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by Lauren Trees of APQC

I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with Stan Garfield, a long-time community leader, experienced speaker, and prolific author in the knowledge management space. I asked Stan about the latest developments in knowledge management, and he shared his top 10 list of trends and hot topics.

  1. There is currently a lot of buzz around the ideas of digital workplace and digital transformation, including both new platforms to help us do our work and the change management required to get people to adopt those tools and use them routinely.
  2. Working Out Loud is a growing movement that encourages employees to narrate their work and broadcast what they’re doing so others can interact, respond, learn, and apply that knowledge to their own work.
  3. Community management is emerging as a formal discipline where community managers are formally trained, developed, and assigned to full-time roles to oversee both internal communities of practice and external brand and marketing-oriented communities.
  4. Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence are being used to automate certain KM tasks and augment knowledge-related decision making.
  5. There is increased attention on analytics and business intelligence, which help KM use data to derive insights and inform actions and decisions.
  6. More organizations are adopting enterprise social networks, especially Microsoft and Workplace by Faceboook, as a better user interface for online threaded discussions. This allows KM to take advantage of the fact that almost everyone is using social media outside of work to drive adoption of similar behaviors inside the enterprise.
  7. Chat tools such as Slack, which are used predominately for team interaction, are gaining in popularity as well. These tools are great in that they encourage collaboration, but can prove confusing for users if they grow up alongside an organization’s enterprise social network.
  8. Gamification and digital badging are new ways of framing incentives to recognize people for performing the knowledge-sharing and collaborative behaviors the organization wants to see.
  9. Agile methodology originated in software development but is now being applied more broadly across the enterprise. Agile is a way to think about engaging customers in the process of developing systems and processes for them and incorporating iterative feedback into designs.
  10. Mobile apps and the bring your own device (BYOD) trend are reactions to more and more people using smart phones and tablets for work. KM must ensure that knowledge systems are optimized for mobile so that knowledge is accessible through the devices and platforms people want to use.

When I asked Stan which KM trend he thought was the most transformative, his answer — which focused on Working Out Loud — both surprised me and made perfect sense. I was thinking about the trends most likely to change the KM discipline, but Stan interpreted the question with a broader lens and talked about more fundamental shifts in how people communicate and get work done.

“The power contained in [Working Out Loud] is that organizations tend to be insular — they have hierarchies, people communicate only in narrow groups, and there is still prevalent use of email instead of enterprise social networks for more transparent communication,” he said. “There’s lip service given to the idea of using an enterprise social network, but then people revert to their old ways of communicating in small groups. I only send the email to people I know and trust, and I don’t want anybody else to know.”

“If we’re going to have a true digital transformation … we need to move from a need-to-know basis to need-to-share. That’s a radical change that organizations aren’t really ready for, but if … we can work more transparently… that has a chance to make a major change in organizations being much more effective than the way we’ve traditionally worked.”

4. Additional Articles

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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