KM and Web 2.0 – A User’s Perspective

Presentation Summary From
Boston Knowledge Management Forum Symposium on Leveraging Knowledge
What is KM 2.0? Is it real, or just vendor hype?


Ray Sims, formerly Director of Knowledge Management at Novell (now of Deloitte)

This presentation begins by summarizing what Web 2.0 means from a behavioral (not tools) perspective and what that implies for the future of knowledge management. It then connects these ideas via an exploration of the business-driven use cases related to KM that most benefit from Web 2.0 behaviors and software application approaches. The presentation concludes with some general observations of where we are collectively in this journey and provides some prescriptive guidance for those on the path to knowledge management and Enterprise 2.0.

Ray started with a timeline of his adoption of Web 2.0 technology. He moved onto his definition of knowledge management and his post on 43 knowledge management definitions. (Now up to 57 definitions). He also pointed out the analysis of these knowledge management definitions by Stephen Bounds.

One of the trains of thoughts are that knowledge management exists at different levels. One level is the personal level; organizing knowledge for your own use. Another is at a team level; organizing for a small group. Then there is the enterprise level of knowledge management.

Ray also talked about the differences between knowledge as a flow and as artifact. (I posted about this a few weeks ago: Knowledge is an Artifact and a Flow and Wikis as a Knowledge Artifact and a Knowledge Flow.)

Ray concludes that Web 2.0 is “ideally situated to personal knowledge management and a personal learning environment.” He sees the benefits of personal knowledge management as increasing knowledge in a chosen field. Writing and thinking about field should increase your knowledge and expertise. Using Web 2.0 helps you build your external network. (For enterprise 2.0 is should help you build your internal network.)

Ray believes wikis should be the THE tool as a default text and management tool. He thinks blogs are a great way to manage projects and provide status reports. For the projects he manages, Ray intends to ban project email. (Also see Luis Suarez’s journey on not using email).

Ray sees the four greatest opportunities for Web 2.0 / E 2.0 through the knowledge management lens:

  • Increased social capital
  • Increased innovation
  • Improved decision making
  • Improved efficiency

Why improved efficiency? The increased transparency and openness makes things more findable. You can also leverage the power of the network, getting input from more people. There is also the raw speed. It is much faster to edit a wiki and share changes than editing a document and emailing it around.

Ray also peppered his presentation with the virtues of Twitter (Twitter@dougcornelius) (Twitter@rsims). Twitter is “his girlfriend of the moment.”

UPDATE: Ray posted about his presentation and published his slidedeck: KM2.0 Presentation – Boston KM Forum.

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