This comes at a controversial time - a time when many KMers I know are on a roll against Emails. While I quite agree that Emails are meant for one to one communication more than anything else (especially not for collaboration), I shall not rule out emails as a good source of an individual's knowledge as yet. In fact, increasingly, there are tools that are adopting the approach of analysing email flow from and to a person in order to assess her connectivity, popularity in terms of knowledge sharing, and expertise levels. This, ironically, is providing inputs for determining social networks, identifying potential communities, expertise identification etc.
My intention of writing this post was to share an idea that just came to me. This is a simple and obvious idea of cross leveraging on the comparatively recent phenomenon of tags and tag clouds. Its underlying intention is to help people manage knowledge via emails as well as share it. I think it would be a good idea to introduce tags for email management in applications like Outlook. (Gmail already allows users to attach tags to their mails.) Default tags could be suggested by the application (based on the sender of the email, the subject and the contents). Additionally, the user should be allowed to edit the tag list. Tag clouds should then be created on a dynamic basis so as to allow for a visual image of the individual's interests and further aid the easy location of knowledge via the tag cloud links. And, yes, these tag clouds could be made public and searchable as well. Another point I almost forgot to mention - users should be allowed to mark certain emails as public (and such emails should be copied and pushed into a corporate email tag cloud via links).
I think this would be an example of adapting to the culture rather than trying to change it radically!