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Building the Knowledge Management Network: Best Practices, Tools, and Techniques for Putting Conversation to Work by Nancy Rhine, Cliff Figallo

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Chapter 8. Initiating and Supporting Internal Conversation

In this how-to chapter, we apply the cultural and technical elements of the first seven chapters combined with best practice recommendations to describe a framework for devising, designing, and implementing knowledge networks. This is not a list of quick and easy recipes but a process of analyzing what you've got, clearly stating what you want to accomplish, and choosing from the available options to design the most appropriate social and technical structure.

Our technique is to present recommendations—based on our experience and the experiences of other experts in the fields of knowledge management and online community—for mobilizing and supporting internal communities that will benefit significantly by conversing through the Net. Our instructions will provide some shortcuts, but their main value will be in helping to avoid subtle pitfalls—the miscalculations in social assumptions or interface design that can significantly reduce the enthusiasm, participation, or creativity of a group. Participation is vital to successful knowledge sharing.

We preface our recommendations by reemphasizing that the culture must encourage people to converse with each other online. Our advice alone can't overcome internal resistance to taking conversation to the Net. Some groups working within rigidly hierarchical cultures are satisfied with creating isolated pockets of free knowledge exchange. That may be revolutionary, but it's not guaranteed ...

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