You are previewing Building the Knowledge Management Network: Best Practices, Tools, and Techniques for Putting Conversation to Work.
O'Reilly logo
Building the Knowledge Management Network: Best Practices, Tools, and Techniques for Putting Conversation to Work

Book Description

A complete set of best practices, tools, and techniques for turning conversations into a rich source of business information

Many organizations are now recognizing that the untapped knowledge of their members can be used to benefit every aspect of their business, from making smarter and faster decisions to improving products and efficiency. This book offers a clear-cut road map for building a successful knowledge management system to capture and fully exploit the knowledge exchanged in conversations.

Written by two of the foremost experts in online communities, this book covers a set of best practices, tools, and techniques for using conversation and online interaction to provide affordable and effective knowledge-based benefits and solutions. With a unique and invaluable perspective, the authors offer guidance for collecting, capturing, and cataloging knowledge so that it can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs in areas ranging from internal procedures through customer relations and product development.

This book provides step-by-step solutions for developing an effective knowledge network, including how to:

  • Formulate strategies and create action plans

  • Select the right tools for peer-to-peer networks, interactive communities, and events

  • Work with legacy systems

  • Train staff and stimulate participation

  • Improve productivity and measurement criteria

The companion Web site contains templates, checklists, a discussion board, and links to software.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Introduction
    1. Why This Book Now?
    2. Who Should Read This Book
    3. Self-Organizing Systems: What the Ants Know
    4. Knowledge and Management
    5. How This Book Is Organized
    6. About the Web Site
  4. 1. Cave Walls to CRTs: The Landscape of Knowledge Networking
    1. 1. Knowledge, History, and the Industrial Organization
      1. 1.1. Our Ancestral Heritage
        1. 1.1.1. Illuminating a Dark Space
        2. 1.1.2. The Net as Today's Cave Wall
        3. 1.1.3. Fear of the Unknown
        4. 1.1.4. Adapting to Accelerating Change
        5. 1.1.5. What's New and What's Not?
        6. 1.1.6. Show and Tell in the Knowledge Space
      2. 1.2. Stories, Rituals, Trust, and Culture
        1. 1.2.1. Ancient Media and Content
        2. 1.2.2. The First Knowledge Center
        3. 1.2.3. Conversation as a Basis for New Learning
        4. 1.2.4. Leaders of Intellectual Ferment
      3. 1.3. The First Mass Medium
        1. 1.3.1. Gutenberg and the Serendipity of the Black Death
        2. 1.3.2. New Ideas and the Challenge to the Hierarchy
        3. 1.3.3. Deskilling in the Industrial Age
      4. 1.4. The Dawn of the Info Age
        1. 1.4.1. Management Goes Scientific
        2. 1.4.2. Anticonversational Attitudes
        3. 1.4.3. Workers as People Who Matter
        4. 1.4.4. Fixing the Organization
        5. 1.4.5. The Emergence of Computer Networks
        6. 1.4.6. The Knowledge Explosion
      5. 1.5. Summary
    2. 2. Using the Net to Share What People Know
      1. 2.1. Managing Knowledge
        1. 2.1.1. Knowledge as an Object
        2. 2.1.2. Knowledge as a Process
      2. 2.2. Roots of the Knowledge Network
        1. 2.2.1. Blazing the Trails
          1. 2.2.1.1. Inventing Tools for Collaboration
          2. 2.2.1.2. The Birth of the Special Interest Group (SIG)
          3. 2.2.1.3. The Slow but Steady Adoption of Groupware
          4. 2.2.1.4. The Web Breakthrough
          5. 2.2.1.5. Design for Attracting Users
        2. 2.2.2. Lessons of the Pioneers
          1. 2.2.2.1. Computer-Mediated Communications (CMC)
          2. 2.2.2.2. Paying to Participate
      3. 2.3. A Knowledge-Swapping Community
        1. 2.3.1. Building Relationship Bandwidth
        2. 2.3.2. The Knowledge Pool
        3. 2.3.3. Familiarity and Trust
        4. 2.3.4. Rules, Customs, and Culture
        5. 2.3.5. Inside-Out Design
      4. 2.4. Organizational Knowledge Networking
        1. 2.4.1. The Learning Organization
        2. 2.4.2. Communities of Practice
          1. 2.4.2.1. Tech Companies Take the Lead
          2. 2.4.2.2. User Groups
          3. 2.4.2.3. Product Codevelopment
          4. 2.4.2.4. Building the Extranet Bridge
        3. 2.4.3. Portals Simplify Navigation
          1. 2.4.3.1. Emulating the Web
          2. 2.4.3.2. The New Intranet
        4. 2.4.4. Online Events
          1. 2.4.4.1. Virtual Meeting Interfaces
          2. 2.4.4.2. Celebrity Access
          3. 2.4.4.3. The Corporate Showcase
          4. 2.4.4.4. Virtual Seminars and Conferences
          5. 2.4.4.5. IBM Learns from Its Work Force
        5. 2.4.5. Generating External Knowledge
          1. 2.4.5.1. Touring Customer Hangouts
          2. 2.4.5.2. Providing Customer Hangouts
      5. 2.5. Summary
    3. 3. Strategy and Planning for the Knowledge Network
      1. 3.1. Strategy and Change
        1. 3.1.1. Reporting the Surprises
        2. 3.1.2. Leading the Moving Target
          1. 3.1.2.1. Nimble Strategy for Short-Term Surprises
          2. 3.1.2.2. Evolutionary Strategy for Long-Term Trends
          3. 3.1.2.3. The Agile Culture
          4. 3.1.2.4. The Change-Embracing Organization
        3. 3.1.3. What the Company Wants to Know
          1. 3.1.3.1. Knowledge of Maximum Leverage
          2. 3.1.3.2. Setting and Maintaining a Focus
        4. 3.1.4. The Right Leadership
          1. 3.1.4.1. Executive Wisdom
          2. 3.1.4.2. The Role of Consultants
          3. 3.1.4.3. Leadership Culture
      2. 3.2. Planning and Cost Issues
        1. 3.2.1. Designing the Network
          1. 3.2.1.1. Seeding the Knowledge Community
          2. 3.2.1.2. Cultural Influence
          3. 3.2.1.3. The Pilot Phase and Network Expansion
          4. 3.2.1.4. Defining Success
        2. 3.2.2. Cost Justification
          1. 3.2.2.1. The Cost Savings of Doing Smarter Business
          2. 3.2.2.2. Minimizing Financial Risk
      3. 3.3. Summary
  5. 2. Matching Culture with Technology
    1. 4. The Role of IT in the Effective Knowledge Network
      1. 4.1. IT and Knowledge Exchange
        1. 4.1.1. The CTO's Growing To-Do List
        2. 4.1.2. The Daunting Task of Integration
        3. 4.1.3. IT Culture in the Organization
        4. 4.1.4. IT Culture and Knowledge-Sharing Culture
        5. 4.1.5. IT and the ROI of Knowledge Networks
      2. 4.2. Technical Approaches to Managing Knowledge
        1. 4.2.1. Limitations of Technical Solutions
        2. 4.2.2. Integrating Knowledge Resources
        3. 4.2.3. Web Services: A New Approach to Integration
        4. 4.2.4. Knowledge Organization
      3. 4.3. Basic Tools of the Knowledge Network
        1. 4.3.1. Email
        2. 4.3.2. Instant Messaging
        3. 4.3.3. Discussion, Conversation, and Conferencing
        4. 4.3.4. The Peer-to-Peer World
        5. 4.3.5. Content Management and Publishing
      4. 4.4. Online Environments for Knowledge Sharing
        1. 4.4.1. The Productive Intranet
        2. 4.4.2. The Knowledge Portal
      5. 4.5. Summary
    2. 5. Fostering a Knowledge-Sharing Culture
      1. 5.1. Creating the Ideal Conditions
        1. 5.1.1. The Sense of Place
        2. 5.1.2. The Thirst for Knowledge
      2. 5.2. Analyzing an Organization's Culture
        1. 5.2.1. The Elements of Culture
        2. 5.2.2. Cultural Conflict
        3. 5.2.3. The Importance of Values
        4. 5.2.4. Cultural Assessment
        5. 5.2.5. The Knowledge Audit
        6. 5.2.6. Conversational Tendencies
      3. 5.3. Tapping the Mind Pool
      4. 5.4. Leadership: Energy from the Top
        1. 5.4.1. Titles and Terminology
        2. 5.4.2. Patience, Patience
        3. 5.4.3. Performance as a Motivator
        4. 5.4.4. Listening as a Motivator
      5. 5.5. Self-Organizing Subcultures
        1. 5.5.1. Roles within the Network
        2. 5.5.2. Across the Firewall
      6. 5.6. The Challenge of Change
      7. 5.7. Summary
    3. 6. Taking Culture Online
      1. 6.1. The Medium Is Part of the Message
        1. 6.1.1. The Postocracy
        2. 6.1.2. Matching Environment and Culture
        3. 6.1.3. Collaborative Design
        4. 6.1.4. Bringing Simple Conversation Online
          1. 6.1.4.1. Leadership and Human Intervention
          2. 6.1.4.2. Conversation Filtering
      2. 6.2. Tools and Their Configuration
        1. 6.2.1. The Genres of Online Conversation
        2. 6.2.2. Fitting Diverse Subcultures
        3. 6.2.3. The Impact of Format on Conversation
          1. 6.2.3.1. Linear Discussion Format
          2. 6.2.3.2. Threading Discussion Format
      3. 6.3. Three Dimensions of Collaboration
        1. 6.3.1. The Tendency to Interact
          1. 6.3.1.1. Serving High Interaction
        2. 6.3.2. The Degree of Focus
          1. 6.3.2.1. Serving High Focus
        3. 6.3.3. The Effects of Group Cohesion
        4. 6.3.4. Interactivity, Focus, Cohesion, and Interface Design
      4. 6.4. Knowing the People and the Policies
        1. 6.4.1. The Power of Personal Profiles
        2. 6.4.2. Policies and Guidelines
      5. 6.5. External Collaborative Communities
      6. 6.6. Summary
    4. 7. Choosing and Using Technology
      1. 7.1. Tools for Every Purpose
        1. 7.1.1. Simplicity and Power
        2. 7.1.2. Choosing Tools to Fit Circumstances
        3. 7.1.3. Matching Technology with Purpose
        4. 7.1.4. Technology, Group Size, and Duration of Activity
          1. 7.1.4.1. How Many Participants?
          2. 7.1.4.2. How Long Will the Conversation Last?
        5. 7.1.5. The Importance of Familiarity and Participation
        6. 7.1.6. Who Forms the Group?
        7. 7.1.7. Technical Autonomy
          1. 7.1.7.1. Local Interface Control
          2. 7.1.7.2. The ASP Way
          3. 7.1.7.3. The Peer-to-Peer Wave
      2. 7.2. Tools, Their Features, and Their Applications
        1. 7.2.1. The Dimensions of Email
          1. 7.2.1.1. The Email List
          2. 7.2.1.2. Etiquette Makes Email Effective
          3. 7.2.1.3. Email on Steroids
        2. 7.2.2. Real-Time Communications: Chat and Instant Messaging
          1. 7.2.2.1. Chat Tools
          2. 7.2.2.2. Chat Etiquette
        3. 7.2.3. Asynchronous Discussion: Message Boards
          1. 7.2.3.1. The Organization of Discussion Environments
          2. 7.2.3.2. To Thread or Not to Thread
          3. 7.2.3.3. Features That Affect Participation
      3. 7.3. Instant Messaging and Presence
      4. 7.4. Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Nets
      5. 7.5. Building Environments for Collaboration
        1. 7.5.1. Making Members Feel at Home
        2. 7.5.2. Learning from the Conversation
      6. 7.6. Tools for Transitory Conversational Events
        1. 7.6.1. Asynchronous Conferences
        2. 7.6.2. Producing Live Events
      7. 7.7. Summary
  6. 3. Practical Applications of Knowledge Networking
    1. 8. Initiating and Supporting Internal Conversation
      1. 8.1. Cultural Preconditions
      2. 8.2. Where Consultants Come In
      3. 8.3. Selling the Idea
        1. 8.3.1. Where the Practice Is New to the Company
        2. 8.3.2. Where the Company Is Familiar with the Practice
      4. 8.4. Engaging the Stakeholders
      5. 8.5. Incentives to Participate
        1. 8.5.1. Eliminating Disincentives
        2. 8.5.2. Rewards and Compensation
        3. 8.5.3. Reputation Enhancement
        4. 8.5.4. Reciprocity
        5. 8.5.5. The Membership Effect
      6. 8.6. Learning to Tell Stories
        1. 8.6.1. Story Power
        2. 8.6.2. Springboard Stories Go Online
      7. 8.7. The Practice of Online Conversation
        1. 8.7.1. Leading Online Conversation
        2. 8.7.2. Participating in Online Conversation
      8. 8.8. Organizing the Community
      9. 8.9. Spontaneous Conversational Communities
        1. 8.9.1. The Organization's Stake
        2. 8.9.2. Who Is Responsible?
        3. 8.9.3. Fostering Spontaneity
        4. 8.9.4. Life Cycles of Spontaneous Communities
        5. 8.9.5. Enabling Email Groups
        6. 8.9.6. Providing a Place for Discussion
      10. 8.10. Transitory Conversation for Immediate Solutions
        1. 8.10.1. Jump-Starting knowledge Transfer
        2. 8.10.2. Training and Education
        3. 8.10.3. Maintaining Resources for Transitory Networks
      11. 8.11. Planning to Reinforce Knowledge-Sharing Culture
        1. 8.11.1. Fostering Roles and Culture
      12. 8.12. Summary
    2. 9. Conversing with External Stakeholders
      1. 9.1. Building External Relationships
        1. 9.1.1. The Importance of Innovation
        2. 9.1.2. Lessons from the Dot Coms
        3. 9.1.3. The Online Business Exchange
          1. 9.1.3.1. Facilitating Business Transactions
          2. 9.1.3.2. VerticalNet and the Community Theme
      2. 9.2. Learning about (and from) Your Customers
        1. 9.2.1. Customer Research Goes Online
          1. 9.2.1.1. Procter & Gamble and Its Customer Advisors
          2. 9.2.1.2. Hallmark's Community of Ideas
          3. 9.2.1.3. The Revenue Connection
        2. 9.2.2. Customer Relationships in Cyberspace
          1. 9.2.2.1. The Rising Cost of Customer Service
          2. 9.2.2.2. Consumers in Conversation
          3. 9.2.2.3. Listening First to Many Voices
      3. 9.3. Customer-to-Customer Knowledge Exchange
        1. 9.3.1. The Net-Savvy Marketplace
        2. 9.3.2. eBay's Secret Ingredient
        3. 9.3.3. Cisco Attracts a Technical Community
        4. 9.3.4. How to Learn from Customers
        5. 9.3.5. Self-Organized Communities of Consumers
      4. 9.4. Hosting the Customer Conversation
        1. 9.4.1. Inviting Customer Input and Collaboration
        2. 9.4.2. A Business School and Its MBA Candidates
        3. 9.4.3. A Gathering Place for Creative Users
        4. 9.4.4. Providing the Basic Support Community
        5. 9.4.5. Designing to Support Health Needs
      5. 9.5. Where Customers Gather on Their Own
        1. 9.5.1. A Customer-Run Complaint Department
        2. 9.5.2. Customer-Provided Order Tracking
      6. 9.6. Summary
    3. 10. The Path Ahead
      1. 10.1. Interdependence and Infoglut
        1. 10.1.1. Global Connectivity
        2. 10.1.2. More Voices, Faster and Louder
      2. 10.2. Conversation Proliferation
        1. 10.2.1. Incentives to Engage
          1. 10.2.1.1. More Efficiency through Technology
          2. 10.2.1.2. Recognizing the Value of Knowledge Flow
        2. 10.2.2. Mapping Social Networks
      3. 10.3. The Sustainable Organization
        1. 10.3.1. Messiness Is In
        2. 10.3.2. Speaking the Customer's Language
        3. 10.3.3. Learning about Learning
          1. 10.3.3.1. Smart People Trump Smart Software
          2. 10.3.3.2. Empowering Creative Thinking
        4. 10.3.4. Adjusting to the Changing Marketplace
          1. 10.3.4.1. The Net Waits for No Company
          2. 10.3.4.2. Proving the Return on Investment
          3. 10.3.4.3. Truly Knowing the Customer
          4. 10.3.4.4. Consumers as Consultants
        5. 10.3.5. The New Shape of Organizations
          1. 10.3.5.1. Speeding Up the Learning Process
          2. 10.3.5.2. The Rising Emphasis on Collaboration
          3. 10.3.5.3. Making Collaboration More Effective
          4. 10.3.5.4. A Return to Community Values
          5. 10.3.5.5. Tearing Down the Walls
        6. 10.3.6. Deviance as the Source of Solutions
          1. 10.3.6.1. Resisting Solutions from Outside
          2. 10.3.6.2. Adopting Solutions from Inside
        7. 10.3.7. Redefining Success
          1. 10.3.7.1. Performance Measurement
          2. 10.3.7.2. Knowledge Generation as Performance
      4. 10.4. The New Skill Set
        1. 10.4.1. Getting Attention
        2. 10.4.2. Future Leadership Skills
          1. 10.4.2.1. Peer-to-Peer Management
          2. 10.4.2.2. Effective Facilitation
      5. 10.5. Future Technical Paths
        1. 10.5.1. Next-Generation Portals
        2. 10.5.2. Integration Technologies
          1. 10.5.2.1. Web Services
          2. 10.5.2.2. Application Service Providers
          3. 10.5.2.3. Virtual Network Organizations
          4. 10.5.2.4. The Collaborative Future
          5. 10.5.2.5. Collaborating in Simulated Communities
      6. 10.6. Summary
  7. A. Resources
    1. A.1. Suggested Reading
    2. A.2. Suggested Web Sites
  8. Notes
    1. A.3. Chapter 1
    2. A.4. Chapter 2
    3. A.5. Chapter 3
    4. A.6. Chapter 4
    5. A.7. Chapter 5
    6. A.8. Chapter 6
    7. A.9. Chapter 7
    8. A.10. Chapter 8
    9. A.11. Chapter 9
    10. A.12. Chapter 10