I attended my first evening meeting of Boston's KM Forum. At the start of the meeting, we enjoyed a nice conversation about what each of us are doing with knowledge management. Several people are dealing with SharePoint, and several others are interested in semantic analysis, and several others are related to librarianship at some level.
Gian Jagai of Hitachi Global Services was the main speaker discussed the entertaining topic of "So You Were Just Promoted to Knowledge Manager - Now What?" Much like my original job at Pharmacia, he created the position himself. For Gian, the need was based on the realization that there were a lot of holes in the way information moved around the organization. He now works for the Global Services organization.
One definition that Gian uses for knowledge management is "Bridging the gaps between product features and customer needs." Interestingly, this is essentially what I'm do as a product manager.
Pillars of the KM program from Gian's perspective are
- Communities of Practice
- Recognition Programs
- Service Development & Delivery Processes
- Internal KM Services
The rest of his discussion focused on the efforts around communities of practice. The justification handily tied into several of the core values in the organization: Community, Openness, and Ownership. Other justification work for the project looked at what's-in-it-for-me, both for the community members and the company. This sparked a conversation about Buckman Labs' efforts and the idea of having human mediators in the knowledge communities. And it turns out that Gian's first role had to do with being a community coordinator.
The next step for Gian was to build the initial community into a corporate-wide effort in early 2007. He drew several people from the initial community and built out an early group of 30 people from across the company, all focused on a common business need. There was an interesting discussion in the meeting of some of the cultural aspects in dealing with the behaviors in various parts of the world.
As Gian was talking about the work he has been doing, I had a realization about one of the things I am doing in my job. We have internal "product core teams" that meet to discuss various aspects of the products: what's happening, sales tips, market intelligence, etc. This is exactly the kind of thing that a community should be doing. Now I just need to figure out how to make it something that my team develops together, rather than being so driven by me.
Several friends, new and old were in attendance. I think David Hobbie is planning to post something about the event too.