Tuesday, 4 December 2012

the 20% adoption hurdle in KM - getting to tipping point

7th grade hurdles Here's another interesting article in Sloane Management Review, entitled "they build it, but employees aren't coming." The article summary reads as follows - 
  "According to a survey of large companies in the U.S. and Europe already involved in social initiatives, only 10-20% of their employees are actively involved in social collaboration. Are companies that have made headway in introducing a social collaboration platform into their enterprise having success getting employees to participate? According to one recent study, not really".
Now the summary above actually misrepresents the study a little - certainly more than half of the companies surveyed said "only 10-20% of their employees are actively involved", but a reasonable proportion saw more than that.

However, I am not surprised by that low figure, which seems to be a pretty common hurdle in KM implementation.

A while ago, I blogged about the demographics of KM support, and I asserted that

Only about one in five people instinctively "get" KM.
Only about 20% of staff are supporters of the idea from the beginning. When you talk to a room full of people about KM, the "KM Light Bulb" will switch on over the heads of about a fifth of your audience. 
Now this is a good thing, as that 20% will become your allies, your supporters and the early adopters. 
However, about 3 in 5 people don't care about KM 
They don't get it instinctively, the light bulb doesn't switch on. They will do it if they have to, if it's part of the job, but if they don't have to do it, they won't. If KM is voluntary, or "encouraged", they won't bother. They have better things to do. They just want to get on with their job. Now in a way, this is also a good thing, because if we make KM part of "doing a good job", they will do it.
The remaining 1 in 5 really don't like KM at all
I think what the Sloane article is summarising from the Dachis report, is the effect of the "one in five". 20% of people are naturally KM enthusiasts, and will naturally flock to a new platform. The rest won't. So a platform rolled out in the hope that "they will come" will reach that 20%. And if you focus your attention only on that 20%, you are preaching to the choir. The KM fans will create a KM bubble, but you won't penetrate the rest of the organisation, so 80% of the knowledge remains untapped and unmanaged.

To bring in the remaining 80%, you need to embed KM into the work process, and to bring in the 4 incentives I mention in this blog post, because once you are past the 20%, the rest won't come until you lead them, cajole them, and ultimately require them to come. 

1 comment:

Boris said...

Actually this survey is about what they call social business but you are right, it's technology oriented KM or what David Gurteen calls it now "Social KM".

It's a deja vu!

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