Lilia Efimova is back to writing about knowledge management. Yipee. I'm guessing she's feeling a new motivation after her summer in Seattle. Unexpected knowledge sharing: on recording and discoverability of knowledge traces
In many companies usual communication evolves around joint work and on "need to know" basis. For me some of the greatest challenges of knowledge management are about tapping into knowledge which is not part of existing workflows: would it be about disconnected groups learning from insights of each other, discovering like-minded others where you wouldn't expect or serendipity that gives birth to innovations.
Lilia discusses two strategies relevant to KM for organizations: highlighting the demand for knowledge, and motivating the discovery of knowledge (really "knowledge traces"). What makes this "unexpected" is the whole nature of knowledge discovery. People tend to discover more when they actively seek and ask questions. But if they don't know who to ask, they can get lost. That's where the idea about motivating discovery comes in: Not only do people need to be able to ask, they also need to be able to respond. And to respond, they need to come across a question or a "trace" of a topic in which they have expertise or interest.
The reason traces are important here is that in large enough groups, there is no one place where everything is stored. And people tend to work in multiple digital environments anyway. My understanding of this idea of knowledge traces is that we want to be able to track threads of an idea or conversation, both to learn what has already happened as well as to insert our own ideas and suggestions.