Showing posts from 2008

Core elements for designing an Enterprise 2.0 portal

Lately I was invited to comment on a concept for an Enterprise 2.0. Based on the range of Web 2.0 applications I’ve seen in the past years, I was thinking about some of the most critical elements one should consider when designing a Web 2.0 application for an organisation. Second, I had to consider that typical Web 2.0 principles and features wouldn’t be known by all those reading the comment. Keeping that in mind, I came up with the following points. This is of course not a comprehensive list, but just what sprang to my mind immediately: Configurable, dynamic newsfeed on start page The most important element for any Enterprise 2.0 portal is a one-stop entry page with a dynamic so-called "newsfeed" about activities of people it’s core. It is what made Facebook so successful and why Facebook has actually built its recent redesign around such a “newsfeed” as the core piece of the site. When you get to the start page, the navigation to places where you can go (documents, links,

Review of KM Workshop with ENRAP/IFAD in Bangkok

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a KM workshop in Bangkok hosted by ENRAP (Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia/Pacific Region), which is a collaboration of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and IDRC (International Development Research Center in Canada). The workshop was facilitated by Lucie Lamoureux and Allision Hewitt which I knew from the KM4Dev network . It was very interesting to see how they managed to make the workshop very participatory and interactive (and this is said by me who actually doesn't like to be forced into group discussion on a topic which I couldn't choose myself). I particulary liked the way they consistently mainstreamed the use of Web 2.0 tool as natural mechanism for documenting workshop content in Wordpress , PBwiki , Flickr , YouTube and SlideShare (so "when the workshop's done, the documenting is done"). The good thing was that these tools were not just set up for use during the worksho

Wordle: Nice visualization tool for text content

Just discovered this neat online tool called Wordle (thanks to Sarah Cummings for posting it on the network !). It's a visualization tool for any kind of text content. You can use it to visualise whole documents, short texts like poems or lyrics, websites and even your tags. As the website of Wordle states, the tools is meant to "generat 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like." See below an example of the tag cloud that is generated for this blog. You can see, that the prominent "Web" word should actually be "Web 2.0", but apart from that minor flaw, I really like it!

Why is mainstreaming Enterprise 2.0 so difficult?

There is an increasing acknowledgement within the organisational development and management sector that Web 2.0 can bring concrete benefits to organisations - labeled under the tag "Enterprise 2.0". If you want so see some examples, published a list of 35 corporate social media examples in action and I was also very happy to see that players like IBM indicate a shift to Web 2.0 in their own organisational development. In addition, as a tool for self-assessment, Brett Bonfield compiled a set of indicators whether your organisation is ready to benefit from Web 2.0 approaches. However, the Web 2.0 community also realizes that something is different, when you want to apply the benefits of Web 2.0 from your personal development to an organisational environment. I found the analogy of the "two tunnels" by Thomas Vander Wal quite striking in this regard. He argues that while Web 2.0 is like building a tunnel through a mountain, where imperfections and leaks

Moving on to do Knowledege Advisory Services in Bangkok!!

As I got the confirmation already 2 weeks ago, it's about time to announce it here formally. Having worked for UN Volunteers for almost 2 years now, I will move on to Bangkok in October where I will take up a one-year position in the Knowledge Services Team of UNDP Regional Center Bangkok. There I will support the KM team in providing knowledge advisory services to UNDP Country Offices in the Asia-Pacific region, promoting knowledge networks, delivering training and consultancy services and - together with Country Offices - developing knowledge management strategies for the region. The environment will surely offer me some opportunities to further develop my skills in applying practical KM approaches and I am looking forward to learn a lot from the team and the new counterparts there. I have already got to see some of the South-East-Asian region last years during training mission and travel in Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma, so I am very excited to spend the next year in Thailand an

Your recommendations for your organisation's KM in the future?

In our organisation, we are currently conducting a Knowledge Management Review (often also called a Knowledge Audit). The objectives of the review are to establish a baseline regarding where the organisation is now with respect to KM practices, to develop a better understanding of existing good practices and perceived needs in regards to knowledge sharing and to identify priority KM initiatives for the future. One component of this review is a quite comprehensive online survey, mostly with multiple choice questions, but also with some fields to state opinions in free text. Even though it was part of the team which developed the survey, as a staff member I was also entitled to fill it in myself. The final question in the survey asks "What are your personal recommendations and expectations regarding the organisation's knowledge management in the future?". So here's my answer to this question: Let's not go for a big bang KM strategy, but rather launch various differe

What is the potential of knowledge brokering?

On my latest field trip I made an interesting observation with regard to Knowledge Management. First, I visited our field office in Kosovo to learn about volunteer related activities and projects in the brand new nation. After two days, I travelled to Macedonia to visit a UN colleague from a partner agency there. Hanging out with the colleague I also got to know a volunteer who is working in the country office there, highly motivated and enthusiastic about possible opportunities to involve community volunteers in local development projects. However, he felt very disconnected from other volunteers in the surrounding countries and he found it difficult to find partners for possibile joint activities in the region. It hardly took any effort for me to connect this committed individual with the focal point for volunteer activities in Kosovo, once I had seen what both were working on. But none of them would have found out on their own. When we talk about KM and that the focus of KM should be

How to handle information stress

This spring, I experienced an unpleasant downside of Web 2.0 tools. During the last 9 month, I had accumulated a wide range of different web information channels and online tools regarding KM and Web 2.0. Everyday I was literally plugging my brain into an accelerating flow of information via RSS, Twitter, email lists, online fora, news websites, online social networking sites and portals, in my professional and my private life, from 9am until 12pm. Plus I was contributing to these channels myself by writing my own blog and twitter posts, as well using email and website applications excessively. I hadn't recognized it at first, but after serveral weeks this spring I felt that I got more and more exchausted. Not physically, but mentally. It wasn't a classic burn-out, as I was still working normal hours, I didn't have immediate deadlines and the social climate at work was excellent. I just couldn't process information properly anymore. The Neurologist later said, that my b

Twitter concept study for categorized feeds

How can you filter better what kind stuff you want to follow on twitter? Doing some further research on this, I discovered that there are indeed already a few options. First, there's the Twitter Pack Project , a free wiki where you can find users who are only twittering on specific issues. Some people are also automatically feeding their twitter with Twitter Feed , which can then be used to sharpen a twitter profile towards a certain issue. A great way to create a thematic twitter feed within a community has been presented by the Nonprofit Technology Network . By using a combination of a new common community Twitter account, Twitter Feed , Terraminds and a unique keyword like "ConferenceXY", they were able to produce a collaborative feed on an event where every post of users which contains the keyword "ConferenceXY" is published. However, I would still love to have in Twitter the option to define different categories (job, private life, hobby X, interest Y, etc)

The flaws of Twitter: About message noise and categorized feeds

I’m using Twitter now since 4 months. And I’m still note sure whether I should continue using it, whether I should promote it or whether I should just abandon the tool. There are indeed benefits. Like with the status messages in Facebook I can monitor what’s going with people which are important to me and by writing directly to that person through twitter I can hook in on an issue whenever I want to. However, I experienced two very critical flaws which in my view hinder Twitter to be a really excellent application. Some people are sending messages just every other day or once a week while others are twittering twenty times a day. That makes it awfully difficult to identify the valuable contributions from the ones which are only writing rarely within the very “loud” twittering by the frequent users of which only a certain percentage might be useful to me. I wish I had a button where I could “quiet down” certain people without having to kick them out of my contact list totally. Maybe t

Devil's advocate: Forget about KM strategies?

There is a consensus in KM literature that every knowledge management setup in organizations needs to be based on a corporate knowledge management strategy as a mandatory prerequisite. Dealing with KM strategies myself, I don’t disagree. However, when reflecting on KM approaches with other KM practitioners, I realized that one could also take a different position, which would be the one of the devil’s advocate below: "I don’t believe in corporate Knowledge Management strategies. Since I am exploring possible ways of doing knowledge management in organizations, I increasingly become to think that instead of strategizing, promoting and enforcing top down KM concepts, we should just start doing the things at hand. Because the business needs are already there (and already incorporated in strategic business frameworks). People do projects, people launch initiatives, people communicate and participate in the exchange with each other and their partners. And they are hungry to learn about

Transparency is good

Here's just an add-on to my last post about Facebook . This article of the German journal DIE ZEIT points out the benefits of transparency in a completely other area: taxation. In Sweden, everyone knows what everyone earns and how many taxes they pay for the good of the national community . No hiding and no fear. And as a result more trust into the state and the community.

Don't use Facebook (Part II) - because of privacy issues?

Privacy concerns have accompanied Facebook since its launch in 2004 , mostly for legitimate reasons. Undoubtedly everyone has a right and - to variing degrees - a need to privacy and any service provider who ingnores these rights and needs should seriously reconsider his strategy. However, I would like to shed a different light onto the scenario. Especially in the German media, more and more articles voice a very critical view on social networking in general. Like e.g. my favourite online journal SPIEGEL ONLINE, which has continuously publishes solely critical articles against Facebook & Co (,1518,531000,00.html or,1518,532070,00.html ). The critical voices all go into similar directions: If you use social networking sites, publish rather less about yourself Why should anyone connect to so many people online? Why should anyone just tell stuff about himself? It's better not to use social networkin

Blogging increases stress

After about 6 months of blogging, it's time to look back and reflect on the outcome of my blogging activities. And I hate to name it, but the first outcome that comes to mind is stress. First it was the stress of finding the right topic. Do I have anything to talk about which would be interesting enough to others? Then it was the stress of being seen. Suddenly friends were mentioning that they have read my blog lately and were commenting on it. Each time then I rushed back to my site to verify that what I had written was really something I could still confirm, desperately hoping that I make somehow sense with what I write. Then it was the stressful urge to get more users. Of course I want to be seen and I want have more readers, so I started to link to other blogs and make comments there, at the same time inviting others to comment on mine. Which of course requires further investment in research and quality check. And increased quality indeed takes time and effort, which in return

At a glance: Three key opportunities for organisational learning

It's amazing how quickly knowledge management ideas have become a natural part of how I reflect on issues. I just finished an online training on 'Learning Management' and during the training was asked what opportunities I see for United Nations organisations to build capacity through learning. In an instant, I came up with three items most important to me: In my view, most organisations underestimate to a large extent the potential of knowledge management mechanisms for learning on the individual, but especially on the team level and organisational level. Three mechanims could be highlighted which would support organisational learning in any organisation (including UN agencies): 1. Introduction of Peer Assists A Peer Assist is a process where one indivudal or a team which faces a particular problem or is about to start a project, calls a meeting to seek insights from other people or teams on the issue. This is part of the "learning before doing" in a knowledge man

Don't use Facebook - because of security issues! Really?

Since a few months I get the feeling that public (or media) opinion is shifting towards a more critical position regarding online social netwoking applications like Facebook , MySpace , Orkut , etc., mostly because of privacy and security issues. To one extent the emphasis on a more considerate approach to communicating his own data is definitely desirable. Privacy is an issue and we need to be careful to whom we tell what about ourselfs and where we store and publish which data for which purpose. On the other hand however, I have the impression that there is a current tendency to throw out the baby with the bath water. I actually meet more and more people who in a very strict way say that they would never register on any of these networks, sometimes referring to media news about identitiy theft like recently about Facebook . In my opinion, there is a problem with this thinking, at least as far as security is concerned. The issue with the current security cases rather is that lots of

Internship in Knowledge Management at United Nations Volunteers

Just want to seize the opportunity to distribute this announcement for an internship in Knowledge Management & Research in my office department at UN Volunteers . The intern would support our Research and Development Unit in a variety of research and knowledge management related tasks which would include: Researching, collecting, analyzing and editing documents related to Volunteerism for Development (V4D), volunteers management and UNV organizational procedures. Assist in tasks related to mainstreaming V4D within the UNV volunteer management cycle and support the cross-sectional house-wide Task Force. Assist in identifying and creating new content related to UNV, including the development of a UNV online glossary and research on external online resources. Assist in maintaining the UNV Knowledge Platform using a web-based Content Management system. This includes upload and updates of documents and articles, changes to navigation and structure as well as collection of in-house knowl