Tuesday 12 March 2013

Three reasons to keep the name with the knowledge

Nicole (in the sand) When you're publishing knowledge,there are three main reasons why it's important to keep the name of the originator attached to the piece of knowledge. Whether it is a blog post, a lesson in a database, a contribution in a call centre knowledge base, or a couple of paragraphs in a Knowledge asset,  it is important to keep the name with the knowledge.

The first reason is for the originator.  Keeping the name with the knowledge means its recognized as their knowledge, and they get some recognition or status for that.At the very least, they gain visibility in the organisation .   People hate the idea that "their knowledge could be stolen", and keeping their name with the knowledge means that it remains "their knowledge", even after it's been shared. We know that one of the main motivators for knowledge sharing is the sense that you are making a difference to somebody else, ideally backed up by somebody saying "thank you", and keeping their name with the knowledge reinforces the idea that " this is me helping you".  

The second reason  is for the user, or the customer of that knowledge.  If there is a name with the knowledge, then the knowledge has provenance, it has authenticity, it is the "voice of experience" , and the reader can follow up with the originator if they need to know more.  Including the name (and even better, including the photograph), personalises the knowledge.

The third reason is for the observer of this interaction.  Like the originator, the observer is worried that sharing knowledge is a risky thing to do, that  it will lose status, and that people will just "steal" your knowledge without attribution or recognition.  They see the interaction, they see the name with the knowledge, they see the knowledge being used, and if they're lucky they see the "thank you" note from the user.  They recognise that knowledge sharing doesn't lose you status, it gains you visibility and status.

 Of course, even better than keeping their name with the knowledge, is keeping the face with the knowledge.  One of the advantages of Social Media Technology is that very often your face is prominent, right next to your contribution, but of course you can do this  in any technology; even using your picture as part of your e-mail signature.  As KerrieAnn Christian said, in a comment on the post referenced above, "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".

Thank you KerrieAnn!


Lisandro Gaertner said...

I believe there is a fourth hidden reason here: to make clear this learning moment is part of a relationship. Recently I've been making some formerly closed communication flows public and people started to meet, recognize and interact with the ones who share similar contexts or problems. This, of course, creates new learning opportunities. Beautiful thing.

Nick Milton said...

Good one Lisandro, you are right, I had forgotten that one

Rupert Lescott said...

I would second Lisandro's point but add that where the knowledge is an identified lesson, it's important to keep the originator informed on its progress. If/when actions are taken that result in the lesson being 'learned', feeding back to the originator provides a degree of assurance and, crucially, demonstrates that there is a point to raising lessons after all.

Too many times, I have come across unassigned lessons that get actioned but there is no-one to inform. Such a lack of ownership only further discourages others from raising lessons in the first place.

Unknown said...

Very insightful article on improving knowledge sharing

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