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Sunday tag surfing

Before I get down to serious work, here’s a look at the most interesting things caught in the morning’s browsing. WordPress’ tag surfing does add a bit of spice.

The wisdom of clouds: John Millner doing a panegyric of social-tagging folksonomies. Not bad for a sales pitch. And he’s right (Socialtext’s shared tagging got me to find his post, for instance). An interesting blog on learning, too.

The 3 stages of CMS: Boris Mann of Raincity Studios made a presentation on mid-February that just got posted on DigitalAssetManagementOrgUK (lots of nice educational links there, and some tools), and it does set out very clearly some principles and ideas, aimed at independent web developers, that are not just right but (for me) becoming articles of faith. It’s about the evolution of web sites ;-) into complex interconnected bits, and how best to make them. Sage, too.

Knowledge energies: Luke Naismith trying to get some sense out of a recent Act-KM mailing list discussion about complexity and chaos. It was way beyond my depth. Luke’s perspective is more understandable and original (he says “eccentric”). Also nice, the couple of links reflected here remembering the link between any technology and some business model.

Explaining KM: Michelle Laurie (first featured here for her on-the-job pictures of African life while doing soft-edged asessments of KM programmes for a big institution) ploughs on as an independent KM consultant up on the mountains. She keeps using simple terms instead of the usual fodder, or so it seems. Inspirational :-).

Make and sell: OK, so it’s not a blog, but after reading about it in Wired I came across it again today… and it’s worth having a look at the operating model. Ponoko builds things to specification (which is innovative), but has also harnessed crowdsourcing to get itself more orders: it acts as a hub for product designs and specifications, so people can either hire or share bits of each other’s designs… and then get them built.

On hiring and attrition. Paul Ritchie’s ongoing series of comments gets especially practical here, IMHO. As I’m right now in the process of renewing (nor just reinforcing) the collaborator team of Macuarium, which is hard to juggle as we need to find, recruit, train and slowly incorporate into the mix a lot of new personalities while balancing a growing work load; and also part of the building of a new business unit at my employer, which is proceeding in fits and starts, I can agree with both his comment: don’t delay, and don’t hope for magical tool solutions. You may not agree on everything but the blog’s a mine for project managers (and most likely a very effective management tool): the most recent favourite on getting bad news out of the way.

A relevant workshop: Luca Servo’s work with a recent “strategic” workshop with rural radio workers from old Congo looks (and reads) just like the good old ones we used to pull for G2E customers. His work for the knowledge management arm of FAO looks impressive (not least because he seems to be actually applying his masters’ dissertation), but – going practical – the blog’s chronicle of the workshop is relevant in itself as a portrait of methodology. Don’t miss previous episodes.

A perspective of KM: Lee Gaddis is getting to grips with KM in his marketing firm. What I like about his view is that he clearly separates the means (technologies) and the skills (education and training) from the will (mindset and motivation). You can put any tools in place, you can design processes and write them down and train people… but unless it makes sense to them (it’s practical, efficient and worth their while), you will get nothing lasting or practical out of the effort. IMHO, while it’s a very superficial view yet, he’s got that part right. Which is more than most do: so many KM efforst prefer to navigate around incentives and recognition and then fail to reap real change.

Action learning and water management: S. McIntosh, N. Leotaud and D. Macqueen published on the KM4Dev journal a piece on an “action learning” project to examine the ways water is used and managed in several Caribbean islands: through hands-on reasearch and the participation of the stakeholders at every level. The piece is interesting. The link with knowledge management, tenuous but still there. Seeing instances where sharing experience is literally vital helps clear the fog. Found it through the WASH Lessons Learned blog.

The book “We think”: Penny Edward’s recounts the experience of listening to the author of a book on the web’s effect on mass creativity, innovation and collaboration. Which is huge, and growing. Her site is more than interesting (mixing wikis, KM and project management). And since her takeaways are ideas I’m curious about (having close experience with them, I want to analyze them better) it seems I might have a new book on the shopping list.

On participation: Brad Hinton’s got a nice piece on the role of mass participation in business decision making. Based on a specific example, he goes on to elaborate how the involvement of workers will not just be requested, but actually inevitable. Not to be a spoilsport, but I think the kind of involvement people enjoy is not the kind that allows for long-term, thoughtful and differentiating management decisions… but it does form a very fertile ground for managers to make them.

The Facebook business model: as explained by themselves in their site (came in looking for something different; I don’t actually like the place). That is what they really, actually offer. A bit of food for thought, if not many news, in there.

Qué es una Comunidad de Práctica: Carlos Merino at the Departament de Justicia of the Generalitat posted this presentation for a meeting in December 2007, in Spanish. The nature and the keys of success. I find a sore lack of involvement and motivation aspects, but the rest of it is worth reading. Jordi Graells posted another interesting presentation (about collective intelligence and “wiki-administration” in government), in Catalan. The rest of the blog is also full of links to more news and presentations from one of the most active “knowledge administrations” I’m aware of (there’s hope for the rest).

More Spanish knowledge blogging at Comunisfera by Daniel Martí. No, there’s no recent pick to show (mostly links to outside resources: Morgan Stanley’s report on Internet trends, PDF here; Universal McCann’s report on social media use and impact here, PDF here; Cristobal Cobo’s presentation about the Knowledge Economy on Issuu, parts in Spanish, look out for the Issuu machinery also; and I think the link to Planeta 2.0 came from here also), but I’ve been enjoying the perusal. Very relevant selection of themes.

Tangentially, there is Foro de Internet 2008, acongress aimed at internet content entrepreneurs next week (on the 10th) in Madrid. I might attend, since there may be useful ideas about traffic monetization floating around. With the hope of a new member of the family, comes the responsibility of feeding it ;-). And even further away is Barcelona’s UrbanLabs, which sounds interesting.

Reasons to participate in social media. At Groundswell, and also commented at Furilo, there’s a nice useful list. Useful why? Useful because the ends pursued by people when participating in sharing environments are quite more complex (and sometimes much more banal) that some think. If you want participation, look into these. If you’re designing for it, you’d better be creative.

And now, to do some (paying) work.

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