Thursday 18 November 2010

Putting a face to a name

Transferring knowledge in a written form is very difficult. It's far easier to talk with someone, to ask questions, to enter into dialogue. Very often the written form of the knowledge can act both as an introduction (so that the person who needs the knowledge has a basic understanding of what has been learned, and so knows that they can discover something of value through the dialogue) and an aide memoire for the knowledge provider (because, as we know, the human memory alone is unreliable).

One thing that really helps the introduction, and that makes it easier for the knowledge seeker to get in touch with the knowledge provider, is a photograph. A name is good, but somehow putting a face to that name helps us feel more of a link with the person before we even meet them. Any of you who have done online dating know the same - it's hard to feel a connection with an anonymous piece of text, its far easier with a photograph.

So for those of you building knowledge bases, or wikis, or yellow pages systems, or lessons learned systems, make sure people can include their pictures. And make sure these are customisable; let people use informal smiley pictures if they want. It will facilitate connection, which will facilitate knowledge transfer.

Put a face to the name!

(For a while, I used to put a picture in my email signature, but that just made the .pst file too big, so I stopped that practice)

1 comment:

Kerrie Anne Christian said...

I attended a Knowledge Management Learning & Development conference in Sydney Oct 2009

A speaker at the conference from Worley Parsons said they found that they got better collaboration from their global engineering community (30,000 ++) on Sharepoint if they included their photos or avatar pic

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