Organizational Network Analysis

Organizational Network Analysis[ONA] is a software supported methodology that reveals the real workings of an organization.  I call this the corporate knowledge network.  K-Logs (Knowledge Management Weblogs — Radio)  let you map a corporation's knowledge network.  How?  Through the following:

1) RSS subscription flow:  This flow will look very much like the organizational hierarchy at first.  Over time it will look much more like the knowledge hierarchy within an organization.  Where are the gaps.  Which groups aren't talking to each other but should.  It is pretty clear a face to face meeting between the groups concerned will quickly result in new subscription links being formed as people find there is value in the other group's activities.

2) Hot Link lists (Blogdex).  This gives you sense of what information is most useful within and organization in real-time.  Good ideas bubble up and get linked to fast, this is the way to track it.

3) Most popular Weblog lists.  Who are the most valuable employees in the company?  As a manager, you might think you know, but do you really?  Hot Weblogs are usually built by people that have something useful to say.  Often, people with the perspective and experience necessary to contribute are often invisible.

4) Most recent updates lists.  Who's working right now?  This is a quick way to see which of the people at the company are doing valuable work on a minute to minute basis.  Click on a couple of links and see what they are doing.  The further up in the managerial chain you go, the more removed you are from the day-to-day workings of a company.  This is a quick way to get sense of what is going on.

5) Personal Weblog referrers and a list of the most popular pages on your Weblog.  Who is listening to what you have to say?  Are your ideas gaining traction?  Which ideas are gaining traction?  As a manager or a corporate change agent, you might get people to nod their heads during a meeting, but what are they really thinking?  How are they interpreting what you say?  A personal Weblog referrers list lets you find out. 

6) Popular Search terms (Daypop).  Popular search terms let you find out what people are looking for.   If for example, people are looking for information on a divisional reorg, it may be time to post more specific information on the topic to reduce confusion.  Popular search terms take the pulse of an organization.

There are probably some that I missed, but all of the above represent radical improvements in monitoring and improving knowledge flow within a corporation.  For managers, the ability to peer into what is really going on is a huge benefit.  For emplyees, finding important info and smart people that can help get the job done is a benefit. 

Corporate knowledge is like grain on a  mill stone.  Much of the valuable knoweldge within a company falls to the floor and spoils.  K-logs are a way to place it back on the stone to be ground into useful products that can be consumed by the company employees and managers. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

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