I was reading an interesting post earlier today ( A Better Way to Manage Knowledge – John Hagel III and John Seely Brown – Harvard Business Review) and it triggered a number of thoughts in my head. Perhaps the act of participating is far more important to get right then the process of managing that participation?
My recent post titled The Governance Ladder attempted to align an organisations view of participation to their governance approaches, well I am now thinking that this is more and more the case.
I don’t think i need to add much more to the quote below really other than to say i think it is fundamental to Governance frameworks that you understand the difference between the “management of people and processes” and “the organisational itself that allows for effective decision making, participation, collaboration and knowledge sharing”
Knowledge management traditionally has focused on capturing knowledge that already exists within the firm — its systems rarely extend beyond the boundaries of the enterprise. Creation spaces instead focus on mobilizing and focusing participants across all institutional boundaries. Sure, there are lots of smart people within your enterprise, but imagine the power of connecting with and engaging a more diverse collection of smart people beyond your enterprise. That is another source of the increasing returns in creation spaces — participation is not limited by the boundaries of the enterprise.
via A Better Way to Manage Knowledge – John Hagel III and John Seely Brown – Harvard Business Review.
How i see this linking is that a traditional view of Governance focuses on managing the people and processes much like knowledge management focused on capturing the knowledge, but that in itself made the process disengaging and often caused the failure of Knowledge Management Projects. I accept that governance does have to do this but it also needs to recognise the act of participating in Governance itself is much like participating in anything else, you need tend to think about “what’s in it for me”. If the process is all about the people and processes and not actually about delivering the right results and priorities then surely it is failing. The creation space aspect for me is about the culture of governance that exists within your Organisation or Enterprise. If this supports an open participative culture then i suspect that your Governance approach would be far less intensive and more Emergent and based on the people within the governance process. I also posted my thoughts around Emergent Governance on the Devon Enterprise Architects Blog.
They also say in their post:
But for the most part the repositories and directories remained fragmentary and the resources didn’t get used. The folks with the knowledge were often reluctant to put what they knew into the database. The folks seeking the knowledge often had trouble finding what they needed.
I guess i see this as being an analogy to the coordinated Governance approaches that are required across large Enterprises.My thinking is still evolving in this area and the more i read the more fascinated i get as the direct link between participation and governance grows.
Like this quote, Carl:
“Sure, there are lots of smart people within your enterprise, but imagine the power of connecting with and engaging a more diverse collection of smart people beyond your enterprise.”
There’s a great book by Beth Noveck called “Wiki Government” (released June 2009) that ties together the elements of governance and participation. One of my triple star quotes from the book:
“While it is important and useful that government is responsive to the watchful citizen, this passive vision does not recognize the full potential of ordinary people to share expert information and effort with government. Among members of the public are scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, students, teach and nonprofessionals with a wide range of experience and enthusiasm who can contribute…These potential resources for public decisionmaking are largely going to waste.”
In other words, those in the halls of governance feel as if they need to come up with all the answers and fail to engage the citizens themselves in coming up with those answers!
A few other great books I’ve read on this subject: The Wisdom of Crowds, Wikinomics and Here Comes Everybody.