Monday, August 27, 2007

How do you get people to work for you?

Well, this is a way to get people to work for you... Yeah, be on Oprah!

Thanks for the tip, Anne-Marie!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Intranet evolution

For some time now I've been following the "Globally local... locally global" blog. It focuses mostly on Intranet. Lots of insights are passed on to the world there. I've also been commenting on some of the posts. One post about Intranet evolution triggered me to ask some questions based on my "experience". Jane was so kind to give an extensive answer here. Thanks Jane.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The machine is us

This video has been around for some time now, but some of my friends and colleagues missed it... So I promised to post it here. It's a brilliant video on Web 2.0. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Defining Knowledge Management

When talking about knowledge management (KM) I use the following ‘definition’. Knowledge management is about connecting:
  1. People to people;
  2. People to information;
  3. Information to people;
  4. Information to information.

In short:
(1) is about helping people find other people (knowledge) that can help them solve their problem, answer their question, collaborate with them, etc.

(2) is about helping people find relevant information to be able to do their work (pull).
(3) is about pushing information to people so they can do their work, are kept up to date about new issues, etc. (push)
(4) is about aggregate data and information into new information (semi-)automatically. Then this can be used for 2 and 3.

Basically the reason why you would want to manage information is the enhancement of organisational and personal performance.

This definition summarizes the important aspects of KM.

But I was wondering where I got this definition from… Is it my definition? Or did somebody else come up with it?

I looked around. In some KM definitions you see 1 and 2 show up and sometimes 3, but never 4. E.g. in a presentation about Expert Location Systems APQC says these systems, a.o.: connect people to people and link people to information about people. And NCC defines KM as "connecting people to people in new ways, people to information in new ways, and information to people in new ways". But where did their definition come from? Or is it theirs?

Kaye Vivian limits KM to 1 and 2, when she writes: “Knowledge management is a business process that connects people to people and people to information for competitive advantage and better decision making.”

The Elsua Knowledge Management blog has a similar definition: KM is “a systematic process of connecting people to people and people to the knowledge and information they need to act effectively and create new knowledge”. (Taken from: Carla O’Dell, The Executive’s Role in Knowledge Management.)

So, we have three definitions with elements of my(?) definition.

APQC, O'Dell and Vivian mention the first two elements. This definition of KM seems to originate from O'Dell. NCC has the first three elements, but it's not clear where they got it from.

So does anyone know who’s the 'owner' of NCC's definition? And if my(?) definition is published somewhere?

Community (and wiki?) archetypes

Take a look at Tara Hunt's blog for an interesting list of community archetypes. She states:
This is a very very rough draft of the outline for what the Archetypes look like in a community (mostly thrown up here from TextPad notes). It is important to note that all of these community archetypes play highly positive roles in various communities.
In my post on the Wikinomics book, I mentioned that I miss wiki-roles (or archetypes) in the book. Could this list be a good starting point? It looks like it. However w.r.t. wiki's I miss a role in Tara's list. I'd call them: ‘pruners’/'cleaners’. These people that go through wiki pages, don't really add content, but make sure the content is readable. They remove typos, correct layout issues, etc. Is there such a or a comparable role in communities?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WebOffice offline (step 1)

Will Microsoft Office be replaced by online Office versions? Google, Zoho, etc. seem to be paving the way. However, skeptics could always say: "But I can't work offline with those applications." True, up till now. Google Gears came along and now, based on Google Gears, Zoho released its first version of offline WebOffice. This first version only supports viewing offline documents. Anyway, it's a first step towards answering the question I started this post with, with "yes". TechCrunch's (also) reports on this topic and has a demo video.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Knowledge Worker 2.0 by Collins

Sometimes you run into something on the web that is soooo helpful. I was reading Luis Suarez's blog and he posted about Stephen Collin's presentation on "Knowledge Worker 2.0". Luis says that is simply summarizes everything we know about knowledge management and work - in one single presentation. So, I went through the presentation and, WOW!, I absolutely agree. What a wonderful presentation (w.r.t. content and design)!
But Stephen has more to share. Looking for interesting presentations to explain your IT department how you want to work? Look here! Or, need to explain to someone what social media is and what it could mean for your company? Look here! Thanks a lot for sharing, Stephen - and Luis.

Comments on posts in your Reader

What are comment posting and reading best-practices? Sometime ago I posted this question.

In the meantime ReadWriteWeb has an interesting post on a new feedreader, called that:
...lets you read feed content and comment, all within the app. The comments can be two-way, meaning publishers can choose to aggregate comments into their blogs.
A video also gives you an idea what it looks like and how it works.

Is this the answer to my question? It sure looks like it! But we'll have to see in practice. Soon they'll be open to the public.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TimeBridge: Now Synching Your Meetings Through The Web

Lots of time goes into scheduling meetings. Of course using Outlook Calender helps a bit. But, every Outlook experiences its limitations daily. For instance, planning multiple meetings at once or giving options for meeting dates/times to a group. For me, a person without a secretary, it's a hastle, but secretaries themselves run into this problem over and over again. Timebridge addresses the issues that Outlook neglects. (-- How come Microsoft doesn't seem to get these problems and fix them?!) I just registered to Timebridge and am going to try it out, because they seem to really have solved scheduling problems.
What they also do is integrate your personal calender (e.g. Google Calender) with with your other calender (e.g. your work calender, which usually is Outlook). I use SynMyCal for that now (which works wonderfully for me).

Here's a post on how Timebridge works and what new products they have to offer. (There's also a video on how Timebridge works.)

Innovation at Google

Google's CIO, Douglas Merrill, tells us how Google innovates and fosters being innovative in this 50 minute video. He calls Google "an innovation engine". The last 10 minutes is the most interesting part, when he gets into how Google tries to remain innovative. The approach is not surprising, but hard anyway. But they seem to be doing things right anyway...

By the way, maybe Douglas can tell me about Google's information management/architecture? Or write about it on his blog?

The Future of Work: where's paper?

Business Week published an interesting article on "The End of Work As You Know It". It tries to give us a peek in the future, based on mechanisms that many books have laid out for us, such as "The World is Flat" and "Wikinomics". The article ends with:
All that raises a fundamental question about technology's ultimate impact on workers. Will this be a new world of empowered individuals encased in a bubble of time-saving technologies? Or will it be a brave new world of virtual sweatshops, where all but a tech-savvy few are relegated to an always-on world in which keystrokes, contacts, and purchases are tracked and fed into the faceless corporate maw?

It's safe to say we'll see some of both. But perhaps we can comfort ourselves by realizing that, while technology will change the nature of work, it can't change human nature. "All of these technologies," says Charles Grantham, executive producer of the research group Work Design Collaborative, "aren't going to be a substitute for face-to-face interaction."
Ah, well actually that is exactly what I was missing in this article. Where's paper? Will we live in a digital world and read everything from devices? Practice and the book "The Myth of the Paperless Office" say 'no'. And isn't that where complexity comes in: the real problem with work is moving between our fysical (e.g. face-to-face) and virtual, paper and digital worlds. Two worlds organised in different ways.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Work for Océ R&D?

Looking for a new job? Come work for Océ R&D in Venlo, The Netherlands. Take a look here for jobs or (in Dutch) here. We're looking for all kinds of engineers in Research, Development and Engineering.

Web 2.0 Search Engine

Is this new? This Web 2.0 Search Engine lets you:
Simply search for a keyword of what your [note: typo, should be "you"] wish to make or work with to see the tools & Web 2.0 links available.
Very unclear description of what this search engine is about... I tried the engine by typing in "blogging". The result list you get is not insightful either. There's no information on how the result list is defined. Is it a ranked list? Or is the top result that latest information on this topic?
Actually I was hoping it would give a list of all - in this case - "blogging" tools ((non-)commercial) out there. Something like web2logo (which also has a search engine).

Thanks for the tip, Wolf!

Social Software... in Plain English

Just read and watch this. Great post, great video's. No further comment.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Towards a better search engine? (2) First demo Powerset

Some time ago I posted about an article in TR on Powerset. Mark Johnson from Powerset left a comment and pointed me to a blog post about their first demo. Data Strategy says:
It was basically a PowerPoint with some live demonstration of a few queries where Powerset got much better results than Google. (No surprises there.) Note that all the demos throughout the evening were only searching over Wikipedia.
The interesting part of the night was the demo station where they allow people to compare search results between Powerset and Google. The queries were limited to the form of “What did ___ say?” and people were welcomed to fill in the blank with famous names.
After each query, the user was encouraged to vote using one of the three buttons underneath the search box. He could vote that 1) Powerset results were better, 2) Google results were better, or 3) It’s a tie, and the buttons kept track of the counts. In almost all cases, the results were either a tie or Powerset had better answers.
There'll be a 'part 2' soon describing in more detail what he saw .
This at least gives an idea of where Powerset is heading and, although the demo was limited (and, indeed, not always easy to follow), it makes me curious what the live version of Powerset will bring us.

Wonderful, by the way, how everything was recorded on video! Thanks Data Strategy!

What's Web 3.0?

Everybody's talking about Eric Schmidt's definition of Web 3.0. To name a few, refer to Wikinomics, Read/WriteWeb and Innovation Creators.

I missed the reference to the definition of Web 3.0 given on the O'Reilly Radar some time ago. It relates to Schmidt's definition but it's much more elaborate. Tim O'Reilly also gave his definition in an interview (on IT conversations?). Tim's definition was more about "always being online" and "Internet moving to devices".

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Inbox Zero: Merlin Mann's Google Tech Talk

Merlin Mann, from 43 folders, gave an interesting Google Tech Talk titled "Inbox Zero". Merlin asked to share the video with you. Here you are!

I'll give a (short) summary of the talk, but please block an hour and sit back, learn and apply. It worked for me, although most of it can also be read in David Allen's, "Getting things done" (GTD) - which is very worth the read. I apply it to my daily work and it helped me be more productive.

Here goes the summary:
Email was like a little hug I (Merlin) was giving people a hug and getting hugs from people.

But it didn’t always stay that way.

Email became the one source for all incoming and outgoing information. You didn’t need a system to handle email. Now you do. A simple and complete framework how to deal with your email. More and more people live in their email. They do everything in there (for practical purposes). They have their system in there. That is not a way to live, according to Mann. You should have a system outside email to cope with email.

As a knowledge worker the two most precious things you have are you time and attention. They are finite (it fits in “a box”) and irreplaceable. Multitasking is a myth, according to Merlin.

Use walls. Have a healthy relationship with your email. Make decisions about how your time and attention are related to email.

Manage attention. If you’re managing attention your making sure that your time and attention are always mapping to the things that you claim are important. This implies that you could be spending less time on email.

Merlin takes a lot of ideas from David Allen’s "Getting things done" (which is “Advanced common sense”). The problem is we don’t always do the obvious.

Email is a medium. It’s not where the action is. I have a question here though: I agree with the fact that the action is not in email. But could we put the action there? If email is the core tool of a knowledge worker, shouldn't more tools integrate with email? E.g. why can't I just write a document in my email? Or the other way around: why can't I just write a document in Word and decide that I want to send the content as an email? (Note: I don't mean attaching the document to an email!)

Summary continued:

There’s a single place for anything. Note by Samuel: my first thought was this contradicts what we see in practice and for instance what Weinberger says. However, Merlin actually implies something else, see point 1!

Process to zero. That’s more than checking. And less than responding. It’s: so what do I with it?

Convert everything to actions.

What can happen to an email?:

  1. Delete (or Archive = a single folder! It’s not the 24 folder system. Don’t spend the time of sorting out where to archive it.)
  2. Delegate (but use 'waiting for' to track it)
  3. Respond (quick and short responses, 5 sentences?)
  4. Defer (this is tricky, stuff you will need later or deal with later, e.g. put it in a to-respond folder, leave the inbox for what you have not read/processed)
  5. Do (it now! or capture a placeholder for that action, e.g. your calendar, don’t decide what you do for the day by looking at your inbox. Keep a tasklist.) Note: I agree with the tasklist! I use one since I read "Getting things done", with categories (action, waiting for, call, etc) and it really works and keeps me (more) focused.

Always choose one of the above!

Tweak this to your own work habits. But make a sound, complete system. Make it a habit, do it and you will see great differences.

Other tips: don’t leave your email open all the time. Don’t turn on the auto-check. Set up a check email schedule. You’ll learn that a lot of email is less urgent, than you thought. Check it and get back to work.

Use email templates. Note and question: I don’t use them. Anyone got examples of use? Merlin’s example sounded difficult… (at 29:00) Merlin suggested of thinking about email responses you write a lot. I’ll try that, but where do you save the templates? In your email?

If you do this well, it becomes more like 1993… (when Merlin got his first email account and felt sending and receiving an email was like a hug).

Merlin also took questions:

One question was about expectances: depends on your team or on who evaluates you. Work it out! Talk about it with your colleagues and agree upon the way you use email.

He also comments GTD tools: usually they focus to much on the tool as the solution but it's not. You have to have the system first. If you use a tool to support the system it should be seamless, easily to change modes and easy to use.

Also talks about the processing the pile of email when you get back from vacation.

Wow, (at 55:00) a Google lady told that they have David Allen come to Google regularly to give 'Getting things done' courses!

End of summary.

The slides of the Tech Talk can be found here.

My shared feeds

Just set up a "Shared items list" which shows feeds I've read and like to share with you. They're on my blog (on the right hand side). You can also find them here (and subscribe to it, if you want). Hope you enjoy it.

Yes, Search in Google Reader please

I posted about missing search in Google Reader before here. Today InformationWeek ran an article titled "What's next from Google? Perhaps Reader Search, Hosted Google Enterprise".

It says:

Google Reader, the company's syndicated newsreader, is search-less today, despite significant demand for the ability to search through news feeds and other RSS subscriptions. A few hacks to search through Google Reader feeds have even popped up on the Internet. The Google Reader team "gets the message," according to Google software engineer Matt Cutts, and Google Reader search is one of the top priorities on the team's list.

Looking forward to it! And how about adding Google Reader to the Google Apps package?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Keen-Weinberger debate

There's been some buzz on the debate between Andrew Keen and David Weinberger at the Supernova conference and in the WSJ. It's an interesting and weird discussion in many ways. At Supernova Weinberger gives an interesting overview of handling analogue and digital information. Ending up in "digitalizing everything" and having users organize it.
I find it disappointing that he didn't go into the fact(?) that not everything will be digitalized. Remember "The myth of the paperless office"? We live in a mixed world, with paper and digital information, with structured and unstructured information. The real question is: how do we cope with that, how do we organize this way of living, can it be done?
Furthermore, I simply can't seem to understand the point Keen is making. Every time Keen says/writes something I came up with an answer (except for the points that Weinberger agrees with such as "authority on the web"). And, funny enough, Weinberger gives the same answers I would give (only of course more elaborate, as an expert - which I am not - would do). (Also refer to Snowden's short post on this debate.) Example: in the WSJ article Keen says:
But once everthing is flattened, when books are digitized, when libraries becomes adjuncts of Google, when writers are transformed into sales and marketing reps of their own brands, what then?
What then?! This won't become reality, as far as I see it. Why? Because we see more books being published (also due to the fact that books can be published more easily). It's also a fact that you sell more books if you put (part of) your book on the Web (too). (Up until about a year ago print volumes continued to grow.)

So I (mostly) agree with Weinberger and not with Keen? Yes and no. Yes, I agree with what Weinberger is stating. But I'm also intrigued by what Keen is saying and questioning myself: Am I missing something? Keen's story relates to my earlier post about Sanger's "Who says we know". I had the same weird experience when I read Sanger's essay: I don't agree with the statement that's being made, but still...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

WebbAlert: 5 minute tech roundup

Wow! Have a look here: the first episode of WebbAlert. It's a new video blog that gives you a tech round up in 5 minutes. The first episode is wonderfully done.

It says that feedback is appreciated. Well, I was looking for a way to subscribe to the feed, but couldn't find it...

UPDATE: One day later... WebbAlert has a news feed. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Defining information architecture (2)

Some time ago I posted on definitions of information architecture. Gartner sees information architecture as part of, what they call, Enterprise Architecture. So, within the Enterprise Architecture (which basically comprises the whole company) there's an information architecture, with an information architect. The picture describes his/her roles. Gartner distinguishes between three levels of architects. It's not clear to me why that make this distinction and call all of them information architects. I would call the first (left) one an information architect. The second (middle) one I would join with the first. The third (right) is the information management department employee to me.