19 October 2010

Did you ever learn to be a knowledge worker – part 2

In my last blog post I raised this question: Did you ever learn to be a knowledge worker? In part two I would like to give you a little background on how this question came to my mind.

In the last few years I initiated the introduction of various free digital tools for internal communications in our company, but I did not do that on my own, on the contrary. In 2006 I joined forces with Samuel Driessen, our Information Architect. It was very interesting to collaborate, as Samuel and I both worked from a different background. We found each other in the middle, in our interest for social media. His cutting edge knowledge about enterprise 2.0 tools, and my knowledge about communication and human behavior was the perfect mix for a very creative approach that led to the introduction of various new tools in our communications mix on a budget of 0 Euros. This approach was well documented in various articles and presentations, so I will no elaborate in this blog post. When it came to executing our plans we could rely on my great colleagues at the Corporate Communications Department who made it happen and an IT team that was willing to take some risks.

We found out along the way that the adoption of enterprise 2.0 in a company is very difficult, as this area is located in what I would call an organizational vacuum between Information Management, IT, HR and Communications. Who owns publications, collaboration, knowledge sharing, document management and archiving in a company? The answer in many organizations is: nobody, really. Different departments own different parts. The Enterprise 2.0 developments force us to seek each others help. To illustrate that: I wrote an internal blog post once, titled ‘help, I’m in IT land now’, kindly commented on by our IT counterpart who said not to worry, as he was here to help (and he delivered). And, yes, my work as internal communicator has changed dramatically over the last few years.

Now, back to the question raised: did you ever learn to be a knowledge worker? After the introduction of the tools, we felt we needed to educate people, Samuel and I created a workshop about social media, and we found out along the way that our audience had actually never learned to be knowledge workers. They loved our explanation about what tool can be used for what purpose. We learned that people struggle to keep up with the information overload and that they are not aware of the great tools out there that can help them. We came to the conclusion that two things are needed. I already mentioned the tools, but a really underestimated second prerequisite is human skills.

That is why we raised this question: do we teach people to be knowledge workers? No, we don’t, and I would call upon all HR-managers, Internal Communications Manager, IT-managers and Information- and Knowledge management experts to join forces. Our employees need help! I hope you are lucky enough to find the same great colleagues from other departments that I encountered. And Samuel, thanks for everything, it was magic!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind mention, Jan. I'm blushing... And it is and was great working with you too.