The focus is in the use of internal blogs, internal wikis, internal forums, and their adoption and use… yes, I’d say the focus is on KM. Web 2.0-enabled, which is nice, but KM of the most practical sort. And, by the looks, not just effective but also efficient.
I’m talking about this podcast, explained here. It’s a second installment of a series of conversations with Toby Redshaw, Corporate VP of Motorola, hosted by Dan Bricklin (it’s not new, I came across it at e-clippings). And it holds quite a few interesting tidbits. I won’t spoil your fun by writing them down, but here’s my own pick… and it’s wide, because they have done many things the way I like:
- The adoption was up from the grassroots. Once green-lighted, it was viral, not commanded.
- The team supporting the enormous numbers of blogs, wikis and forums is ridiculously slim. But they have collaboration from the employees, from weeding out old or dead content to stamping bad behaviour. In other words, they have resorted to hired admins and volunteer facilitators.
- He wishes they had focused on search earlier, since its use is enormous. Evidently, search is the use-enabler of any content management system. And wikis, blogs and forums are content management systems.
- He wishes they’d stood up to people wanting unneccesarily “confidential” resources, just for a tiny team. Those closeted resources don’t benefit from, nor add to, the ability of the rest of the employees. And too many people are shy of having their work watched.
- It’s “internal”. It supports employees and a substantial number of partners.
- Wikis are used as a means of capturing and spreading knowledge from new acquisitions. Think of a easy-to-use self-juicing machine.
- The net result is that decisions get made with better information, mistakes don’t get repeated (as often), and cycle times improve (as the wheel does not need to get reinvented each time). Getting things done becomes easier.
A veep’s perspective of this is not exactly hands-on, usually. But the picture drawn, and the unspoken policy implications of tolerance for collaboration (i.e. keeping bosses from locking knowledge in silos) and breaking closed repositories (i.e. keeping bosses from blocking exposition of their work to peer scrutiny) is very instructive.
Redshaw says the process didn’t require memos to spur collaboration among the troops. I’m betting it did require some to stir management along the right lines. Just look at who was sponsoring things. IT alone is not enough to change a corporate culture: too many failed projects attest to this.