19 March 2009

Social media's potential for improved impact

Simone Staiger-Rivas, part of the CGIAR's ICT-KM program and ground breaker in knowledge sharing for development, made a presentation on social media at CIAT yesterday. She was kind enough to share the presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/ictkm/

Take a look at the ideas here about how the impact of her organization's activities and research projects, as well as the efforts of individuals can be enhanced through the use of social media. It has already stirred up a discussion on Simone's FaceBook page, which I think is fantastic. I hope the presentation went well at CIAT and that it has many minds now thinking about the possibilities of social media within large, structured organizations!

We need to reprise this presentation for use in my own organization...

@km4dev shared a link earlier today which compliments Simone's presentation: Notes for Non-Profits: Ten Things a Nonprofit Should Do Before Setting Up Social Media. Don't just read the ten points, read the discussion posts below - particularly the discussion on ROI is useful in my opinion. (Hmm ... maybe we in the sprawling international organizations need to have a chat about the concept of ROI. What do you think gang?!) A bit of strategy is always a good thing when embarking on a new venture, and it would help management to understand why some tools are chosen over others and the corresponding resource commitments.

A bright definition for Knowledge Management

Yesterday KM4Dev (@km4dev) pointed out Steve Barth's blog Reflexions with an aptly titled piece on defining knowledge management, "All the right words", which says:

Knowledge Management is the cultivation [and facilitation] of an environment within which people want to share, learn and collaborate leading to individual, team and organisational improvement.

This is a great definition that Steve should be praised for putting out for us to read and ponder. Finally a definition that with a positive spin that doesn't allow us to forget organizational culture , reward systems, individual characteristics/preferences; a definition that preempts the need for discussion on the fact that we cannot manage knowledge (I agree, but we are somewhat stuck with the "KM" term now aren't we?); a definition that KM leads to improvement ... what senior bureaucrat could argue with that?!?

I wonder if others feel the same about this definition? Or would anyone adapt or even completely revise it?

This is an important issue. We in KM may know very well what we do, but are we good enough at the quick sell when it counts? @NancyWhite once referred to being able to explain something convincingly to an important individual who's just stepped into the lift with you before s/he gets out of the lift one minute later.

Tying up loose ends

For some time now I have been bothered by my own inability to organize the increasing number of online networking and sharing tools. It's not that they are not all great in their own right (well at least some of them), but there are days when it's hard to know what's/who's where. Today I found out from @mobileactive (thank you!) about a simple tool called UnHub which allows one to create a single profile and put all the URLs of their various online presences in there. You can list websites, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, RSS, etc. It's simple, easy to use, and I think a very neat little tool. My UnHub is at http://unhub.com/mongkolroek

PS: President Obama is already on UnHub! It is so hard to keep up these days.