eKnowledge: Web 2.0 tools are giving new life to traditional Knowledge Management

Since Nanaka and Takeuchi introduced the concept of knowledge management in the mid-90s, corporations, nonprofits and government agencies have spent millions implementing relatively simple KM systems that focused mostly on integrating various information resources. Knowledge Management initiatives fell out of favor for a while but are starting see a comeback as social media tools are enabling organizations to capture more of the tacit knowledge that resides in people’s heads and is often lost when they change jobs or focus.

The key is nurturing communities such as GovLoop and incenting participants to share what we “know.” Vetted information will always have a higher value but do not underestimate the potential value of people as knowledge resources. This can include staff, service recipients, contractors, elected officials and many other constitutents.

The other half of the equation for a successful eKnowlege solution is exposing these new sources of knowledge. Internal search engines have come a long way and many are now capable of including both people (based on profiles) and the content they contribute within facets. Now the knowledge seeker can choose to find new people with whom they may be able to collaborate, search trusted external sites (including blogs, wkis and forums), and progressively refine their search criteria to get answers.

Agencies such as the National Science Foundation are currently working to enhance their portals and search capabilities to unlock knowledge resources and make it easier find them. I recently participated in a webcast on this topic that you may find relevant if you have responsibilities in this area.

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