Early in my career, I joined a team on the week that a core team member was retiring, and was tasked with helping him with the transition. As a young project manager, I was already well-versed in the difficult process of transcribing years of knowledge and expertise into a consumable format. I remember sitting through a session with him, walking through a thick binder filled with process diagrams, flowcharts, and spreadsheets that was supposed to somehow encapsulate his 20+ years with the company – and as he was explaining the history behind one of the initiatives he developed and ran, I realized how much context was missing from what he had documented.
In a webinar tomorrow, August 18th at 10am PDT, I will be joined by former SharePoint MVP and Senior Solution Architect Mike Oryszak (@next_connect) with Beezy partner, B&R Business Solutions, as we talk about some of the problems surrounding knowledge management, using SharePoint as a knowledge center, and how idea management can help. You can register for the webinar here.
While idea management and knowledge management are not the same thing, we’ll make the case that idea management is a strategy that can dramatically improve your knowledge management efforts. Idea management is part process, part cultural change. It works best when you open up your environment to the entire community, allowing different voices and work experiences to join in and voice their opinions. As more people provide their input, it makes your environment more social – people become more engaged, sharing and commenting on other’s ideas, and creating information assets that become searchable within SharePoint.
Thinking back to this former peer, leveraging an idea campaign would have helped us capture much of the tacit knowledge (individual skills, ideas and experiences that are difficult to document) that was lost when he left the company. For example, we could have created an idea campaign looking for ways to improve the define project management methodology. The campaign would have included his documentation and description, but then allowed people to share their thoughts on how to improve upon the model. Employees would have been able to add ideas, comment, vote, like, and share – including the individual who started the campaign.
As workloads become more social, as with idea management, people share more: they generate more content, they apply more tags/keywords, and they are more apt to correlate ideas to other, existing content. The end result is not just the creation of new ideas – but an enrichment of existing ideas and content and profiles. That’s the power of social collaboration – and idea management is an organizational tool to unlock that social dialog.
For more on idea management and SharePoint, I encourage you to check out the Beezy blog for relevant articles, download a copy of our free ebook Formalizing Idea Management, or you can join us tomorrow for the webinar.