As yet, technology in business has hardly been used to harness the knowledge held by talented high-performing individuals. Why not? Well, it’s funny that you should ask. We are now great at storing data – check on any company you like and you’ll find shared hard drives with data trees up to your eyebrows. But in most cases if you ask the users where they access essential information on the best people’s progress and what they have learned in the last week, they’ll seldom tell you – Oh that’s right here.” It just does not seem to happen. This kind of organisational change, although being used in some cases, is still some way off.
What would you need to do in order to be able to do it better?
- Firstly, you’d need to have a system where you could design a database of internal smarts, probably categorised by area, and which uses a kind of hierarchy to capture information design.
- Then you’d need to define the “Key” areas and who knows the most about them – a talent identification and management process. In other words, you would want to have a series of “Internal Experts”.
- You’d need some way of downloading in each area a series of what really matters e.g. in a projects environment, it might be meeting schedules, quality of pre start meetings, project knowledge, resource management, major supplier relationship building etc.
- As the database was built upon, almost certainly you would want to have some kind of tags or “Meta tags” where the information in each file has a meaningful link to a user searching for it.
- Finally, you’d need to understand how, why and when people would access these smarts.
Have a listen to some of the world leaders discussing problems in the workplace. They talk about the new collaborative technologies and their deployment, and the effect on business processes. How are they affecting our use and definitions of what is public and what is private, our intellectual property? What about the way that language affects how we use these technologies?
Test small first, and test as you design, as part of the organisational change process. Find out what works and do more of that! Most often, the IT people get carried away with technology that no one else cares about or knows how to use, so the money is wasted.