How to create a K-Logger: Amy Wohl wrote a great article on Weblogs and KM recently. In it she said that companies are willing to purchase solutions that 1) preserve and organize knowledge (so it isn't lost when someone quits), 2) use that knowledge to train new employees quickly, and 3) provide current employees with a resource that lets them access and apply knowledge outside of their current expertise. Unfortunately, as she noted, most executives are unhappy with the current crop of mostly document-centric solutions (Lotus etc.). K-Logs should provide a solution to this impasse.
The key to making K-Logs work as a way to fulfill the goals Amy outlined is to ease employees into effective, daily knowledge publishing without creating a backlash. Luckily, K-Logs are simple and intuitive. However, I think a step-by-step approach may be the ticket to getting people to become great K-Loggers. Here is my thinking on how employee usage of K-Logs should progress (although many will intuitively “get” the K-Log and jump to the end-state, which in turn serves as an example for others) :
1) Provide links to important news and information they find in their K-Logs and annotate those links with some information that provides context.
2) Publish annotated links to internal resources such as documents on file servers, Intranet Web pages, and other employee Weblogs.
3) Make daily or hourly status reports on what they are working on (this is particularly useful when coworkers are distributed georgraphically). This step fosters the creation of a K-Log habit.
4) Write-up experiences with customers, partners, products, services, and co-workers (Categorization of content will help at this point by allowing employees to create K-Logs that are targetted to specific groups of users).
5) Build directories that organize information (bookmarks, documents, published e-mails, etc) for other employees.
With this knowledge production process in place, centralized tools can be used to improve its value. Note: most KM systems currently on the market merely attempt to organize existing document stores, and as a result fail. Why? Most of the best knowledge is still located in desktop information silos such as e-mail inboxes or in the heads of employees. Without a knowledge publishing process, this knowledge is lost.
For ways to help people extract relevant knowledge and find needed expertise, see my earlier post on the subject.
This previous post lists the community services people currently use find great Weblogs and new information on the Internet. These community features also serve as a means of behavior reinforcement. Great K-Logs get a lot of links and traffic. Poor ones don't. Tie that status to a bonus pool and watch the results. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]