Interesting post from Steve Dale – taking a slightly different approach to the use of social tools within the workplace (see ‘social business’ or ‘enterprise 2.0′ ad nauseam) where he focuses instead on the concept of ‘personal knowledge management’.
In order to develop a true learning organisation, staff need to be given much more freedom to use the tools, facilities, applications and networks that they have chosen. After all they are far closer to the issues, problems and potential solutions associated with their work than a CIO, a CFO or head of L&D. It is my firm belief that social learning and personal development requires a shift from hierarchies to networks, and empowerment of the workforce to choose the tools they need to do the job. Organisation that can’t or won’t grasp this paradigm shift will struggle to attract and retain talent, and will struggle to survive against more agile and adaptable businesses that do.
It’s interesting that it’s Steve saying this – because he was the guy who did such great work designing and promoting the LGID’s Communities of Practice platform – and it’s such a shame to see the momentum that project created being lost in the transition to the supposedly superior Knowledge Hub.
Steve’s thinking in this latest post seems to be that perhaps the community based approach to learning doesn’t work so well in an age of smaller and more personal technology. I agree.
How do I know which community I should join to share a certain bit of knowledge? Better surely to just share it, using the tool I am most comfortable with, and let people find it who need to.
This ties into what I said in a post a little while back on why internal use of social hasn’t really kicked off:
Much is made of the fact that due to the consumerisation of technology, workers are more likely to expect that social tools are available to them at work. I’d agree with this, but I think it is more likely that they expect and desire to use tools of their own choosing and not some corporately imposed knowledge management solution.
In other words, I suspect in this area employees would want to use the tools they like using, for their own purposes. There’s nothing wrong with this – I’m not suggesting that people just want to waste time, or spend their working day expanding their LinkedIn network – but I do think it more important that organisations allow staff access to the tools they want to do their jobs, and then find a way of managing it all – as opposed to procuring a big system to do ‘social’ and assuming people will want to use it.
I can’t help but think that it is a shame that so few organisations within the sectors I hold dear have taken up the baton of using new technology to foster knowledge sharing, more effective management of projects and generally smarter working.
Perhaps in an age of ‘bring your own device‘, bring your own apps isn’t far behind.