Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Social Intranet

There was a strong sense of deja vu as I read this blog post by @oscarberg , a KM/E2.0 expert from Sweden.  

In his post, Oscar effectively outlines what he thinks ought to be the ideal principles of the modern-day Intranet – The Social Intranet. It's an extremely well-written post and is a must-read for everyone wanting to make the transformation from traditional KM to E2.0 enabled KM.


The sense of deja vu, by the way, is because I had the wonderful opportunity to conceptualize, design and roll out such a social Intranet in my own organization just a few months ago! Quite glad to note that the principles of the app we rolled out are in alignment with some of Oscar's thoughts. PS: I've written a full paper on the work that I was involved in and am actually hoping to present it at an appropriate conference. 

Key views (from Oscar's post) that coincide with the approach I adopted for our E2.0 app: (Highlights mine)

To help people find and discover information that is relevant to their tasks when they need it, we also need to create powerful pull mechanisms which allow relevant information to automatically surface and be placed at the fingertips of knowledge workers just when they need it. It is also critical that they have access to ALL information that is available, including collaborative content produced by teams, content produced by external resources, tacit knowledge captured in conversations, and so forth.

It equips everyone with the tools that allows them to participate, contribute, attract, discover, find and connect with each other to exchange information and knowledge and/or collaborate.

Although too many options can decrease your performance and create stress, information abundance does not equal an abundance of choice; the social intranet is a pull platform with mechanisms for automatically attracting relevant information and people to you. What’s important is that the options you are presented with are relevant and usable.

Deliberately hindering information to reach people is not the way to avoid the sensation commonly called information overload, because as Clay Shirky argues the problem is not the amount of information but rather that the filters we have fail to sort it properly for us. We need to get the filters in place instead of blaming and emonizing ("Tsunami of data", "firehose of information" etc) information supply and arguing that the only way to solve this "problem" is to limit supply.

The social intranet also has an important part to play when it comes to supporting serendipity; enabling people to find both information and people they didn’t know they were looking for.

Spending time and effort searching for relevant information and people where there is information abundance just won’t pay off. We must have ways that “automagically” attract useful information and connections to us.

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