After feeling bad about leaving this blog sitting idle for months, I am back – but just for a minute! I have been keeping current on my professional blog, and invite you to join me there. You can find my Digital Marketing blog at DigitalMarketing.NetROIbyWSI.com. See you there!
The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada) recently had an article about the re-make of libraries in the last few years. One library is even mentioned as having opened an on-site bar – a new way to enjoy a good book and a glass of wine!!
Following on Mary’s comment about libraries (see my post on Learning Organizations) I thought it was interesting that our great public institutions are making a real effort to move into this century. The article also reinforces the concept that information is something other than urban myth or opinion, and that we all need to rely on solid, peer-reviewed research to learn and gain better understanding of things. We seldom get that on the internet (without paying!), which means we are continually absorbing someone else’s summary of what may or may not have been good information to begin with. As the volume of content explodes, we need to work at improving the quality of the information resource that we are creating for the world.
How do we do this?
I think it is time for all of us to begin to do a few of things:
- when we find an article, a page or a post that is presenting incorrect content as fact, comment on it!
- if you have depth of expertise in a subject, tag accurate and useful material to make it easier to find good content – wherever it comes from!
- understand the risks of relying on written words on teh web – maintain a healthy level of disbelief!
What do we get by doing this? We will be able to sort the gold from the dross when we need information. We will take back control from spam content that is all over the internet, and reward the people who are posting credible and accurate content. We will reduce the risk that some small group of people can use collaborative tagging and linking to direct us to the places thay want us to go.
What’s this got to do with wine? Lots – try to sort out which blogs, forums and sites can acutally give you information about that 15 year old cab franc you have been carefully preserving! Then again, who could trust a post about a wine that came after sampling a bottle of the grape…. see you at the library!
It was a busy day today. In a couple of conversation during the day I realized how much information I have absorbed about creating and managing a presence on the internet over the last few years. That knowledge – which I have learned by experimentation, by formal learning, by inquiring of knowledgeable people and by observing those who have become successful in the business of internet marketing – recently came together in a great way during a two day course that put a structure around the activities that lead to succeeding in doing business on the internet.
A group of over 60 colleagues (all WSI franchisees) got together over two days to preview the program and provide input on how it could be improved. The starting point, provided by one of our more process oriented consultants, was great, the result after two days of inspection and improvement, are amazing.
What does this have to do with this blog (which is really not about my business!)? Think about it -the power of building on a solid foundation with open and honest criticism from an expert community accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, and creates a wonderful opportunity for all of us to serve our clients better and add even greater value than we could before! This is the essence of sharing knowledge and confirming your understanding, putting your thoughts up for evaluation and put them to the ultimate test – can someone else make it work? I’ll get back to you on the answer to that question for this instance!
So much for rambling! The point is that I have learned from the broad network of specialists who sell their knowledge of internet services online, from the many software / information services who provide research tools that allow us to identify real opportunities to connect a business with its audience, and from just plain experimenting! But none of these opportunities mean anything without an active learner. Curiosity, openness ti new ideas, active seeking of new information, critical evaluation of opinion and information -these are the behaviours that enable learning. Sharing knowledge, like any sharing, involves two roles!
I pulled an “oldie but goodie” off the shelf the other day – Peter Senge’s 1990 “The Fifth Discipline”. It is interesting to think back to the challenges in developing a learning organization without the collaboration tools that we use in our daily work today – inter-organizational email, for example, simply did not exist! Anyway, I started along the path of an entry about the things we take for granted in our world – then I was interrupted.
I queried our friend Google about Senge and his discussion of mastery – and found a site that has shown up off and on in my search results for quite a while…. managementhelp.org is a great library of moderated, community-sourced information about management. The library was kicked off at about the same time as Wikipedia, and is among the top 20,000 sites in a good collection of English-speaking countries.
Take a look, learn and share the knowledge!
There is an old expression that says “It’s a poor workman that blames his tools”… but far too often we find ourselves in the position of trying to use the hammer that was perfect for the last construction job then what we really need is a glue-gun, a welding rig or a screw driver. It is the same with knowledge sharing – every work style and role has different demands and accommodates different communication mechanisms. Here is a great summary from McKinsey that identifies some “best” solutions for different roles and styles. If you consider the people in your community that need to share information – knowledge – and pick the tool(s) that will work for their role you might find you get better results!
One of the (relatively!) new ways of capturing knowledge in a practical way, then applying it to current challenges, if through a process called Appreciative Inquiry. The simple concept is to work with a group of people to build a vision of the desired future, then build a plan to “make it so”. There is a TON of literature on this (see the AI Commons on the Case Western University site) – or get a first hand description of how it worked for an advocacy group through this YouTube video!
We often learn simply by osmosis – or so it seems! Tacit knowledge exists all around us, and we add it to our knowledge base simply by observing others and emulating their behaviors. The greatest example of this is a young child learning everything from language to the concept of safety through interaction with their parents.
Do you have a great knowledge sharing story or example? Add a comment, I’ll look into it! Let’s share what we know!