Knowledge Management – Part 4 : Knowledge Harvesting, Collaboration Tools, Web 2.0 and Summary

Knowledge Harvesting

Techniques for getting information will be different for different levels. You also need to ask yourself who you final audience is and what they are going to need for maximum absorption of that knowledge. There are 4 levels of competency in people :

The 2 types of knowledge you need to harvest are tacit and explicit knowledge.

  • Tacit – hard to get, know-how, when, habit. Youtube is great for eliciting this information.
  • Explicit – how much we can capture and write down, how much have we got.

Harvesting information in large companies is even harder. When companies get to a certain size, people become invisible and strangers. This is called Dundar’s Number and the estimated figure is 150 people. You need tools to overcome this.

Collaboration Tools

Knowledge management is technology agnostic and there are many tools available to leverage the information you extract. Obviously my favourite is SharePoint. 🙂

It will be the responsibility of the Knowledge Manager to test the tools chosen. If it falls over it will still reflect on you as you are the public face of that system who just spent months gathering the information for it.

Remember the general rule of 9 when compiling dashboards with the information. We can only see 9 things at a glance (think of a telephone keypad). It stems from the aviation industry and the flight controls are designed accordingly.

Web 2.0

Bjarke Gotfredson is busy with his Doctorate in social technologies and shared some interesting insights :

Web 2.0 goes hand in hand with knowledge management, social media and social networking. Web 2.0 is not a technology, something you can download, it is a way of working. It’s interacting with the Web, it’s user generated content. The role of introverts and extroverts will be swapped in future as this progresses as everything will be online and generally introverts are great at that.

The key concepts for the next generation are social affiliation (Facebook, LinkedIn etc); being online as opposed to going online (we are permanently online now); digital self expression (blogging); participatory web (commenting on blog, contributing to Wikipedia); and the web as an application platform (cloud computing).

75% of bloggers are women. 90% of bloggers are under 25. 90% of Knowledge Managers are women. Guess we’re just better communicators :).

Identify the blogger in your company and let them write the company blogs for you. It comes naturally to the younger generation.

Social networking, RSS and blogs are the top 3 performers predicted for the next 3 years.

You can’t block the younger generation from using Facebook, it’s like cutting off the blood supply to their heads. You won’t be able to attract young talent if this is your policy as Facebook is literally their life blood. Rather manage their time appropriately and make sure they have enough to do during the day. Remember too that you will get the expertise of many people with your one young person as they will ask their friends on Facebook first if they can’t do something. Likewise another company will get a little bit of your employee as well. There is no separation between work and play, it’s the same thing for them, their bosses are their friends. If you are in this situation, it is prudent to make sure you are a friend on their profile so you can monitor any discussions about your company.

Web 2.0 is about soft skills and giving people choices, they want to design their own dashboards that work for them. Ask people what they want, don’t always dictate. It is the architecture of participation. That’s why the younger generation don’t want to read books, it’s boring. They’d rather play World of Warcraft, they can participate in it.


IT puts the plumbing together, the Knowledge Managers purify the water. The water is the knowledge.

Being a Knowledge Manager is a full time job!

Aim to put people in touch with each other.

The word SharePoint was only used twice over this series, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the information.  And always about people.


  1. Hi there Veronique.
    I’ve been looking for sometime now the author of the 4 web 2.0 values (sharing, social affiliation, digital self expression, Co-creation) do you know who wrote down this concepts for the first time? Thanks a lot in advance.


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