In a June 2016 article titled The Evolution of Social Technologies, McKinsey & Company reported that the use of social technologies has evolved to include their use as tools for developing Organizational Strategy. Knowledge management (KM) professionals and librarians need to recognize this represents an opportunity for them to contribute to organizational success at the highest level.
“Since the dawn of the social-technology era, executives have recognized the potential of blogs, wikis, and social networks to strengthen lines of company communication and collaboration, and to invigorate knowledge sharing. Many leaders have understood that by harnessing the creativity and capabilities of internal and external stakeholders, they can boost organizational effectiveness and potentially improve strategic direction setting.“
The Tools of Choice: Social Networks, Wikis and Video Sharing
About ten years ago, organizations experimented with using Facebook and YouTube to interact with target audiences for purposes such as attracting new customers, garnering votes, or influencing societal behavior. Five years later, organizations started adopting tools like Yammer to encourage collaboration, gather insights, or manage knowledge more effectively. McKinsey reports that today, many organizations have appropriated social networks, wikis and videos for developing strategy.
The Opportunity for Knowledge Professionals
By directly delivering content via these social technology platforms, knowledge managers can contribute to the strategic planning process. Admittedly, Yammer, wikis or videos are not true knowledge management platforms. Instead, consider these as destinations to which curated and updated content must be directed.
Take the Initiative
Don’t wait to be asked to join a conversation or provide content. Instead, find out what is trending in your organization and start doing what you do best: sourcing and delivering timely, relevant content to people who need it.
KM and Library professionals often make the mistake of thinking that what they do is either misunderstood or blatantly obvious. The truth is, most people don’t understand our profession. Historically, everyone understood libraries as destinations, as knowledge repositories – so they knew where to go when they needed help. These days, knowledge professionals need to go where end users are.
Save People the Effort of Searching
One of Lucidea’s clients makes a point of delivering, without being prompted, a portfolio of briefing documents to key meetings taking place within the organization. Now, with social technology, we can a) determine what people are interested in before the meeting is called, and b) deliver the information without being asked.
Most people don’t want to do research; they want the result. With social technology, KM professionals can monitor organizational information needs in “real time.” In addition, they’ll know who needs what.
Just-in-Time Knowledge Services
A key component of modern manufacturing processes is the sharing of information between suppliers. The leanest companies don’t place orders to their suppliers. They require their suppliers to anticipate their needs, and facilitate this by allowing them to monitor supply levels.
Using social technology, KM professionals can monitor knowledge demand – and deliver in advance. Senior management is using social networks, wikis and video sharing to develop organizational strategy. They’re doing this because it helps them engage with their employees, disseminate knowledge and communicate ideas. Shouldn’t you do the same? At the very least, the people you work with would begin to understand what you do.
Last But Not Least
Should you embark on a similar strategy, be sure to brand everything you contribute. For example, put your logo on every page and include the equivalent of a “Google Ad” link the reader can click to request more information. Consider using a watermark too, if you find your material is not being given the attribution it deserves. Great content and services deserve good visibility and marketing.
To enable users to repurpose content and learn from internal and external information sources, knowledge managers must offer complete, flexible access.
Often, a special library makes a first impression through its web presence; keep the user experience (UX) at the front of all website decisions
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Nontraditional skills for special librarians include marketing and visibility building; these are critical in a virtual library environment