Social, to Knowledge Management's Rescue?

Two articles recently published on the CMS Wire website have caught my attention because they
mention both Social and Knowledge Management, two of my favourite subjects :-)

In the first article called "Social to Knowledge Management's Rescue" the author looks at how Knowledge Management has been brought back to life by Enterprise Social Networking (ESN's) tools and other social tools. For anyone involved with Knowledge Management you might be thinking that Knowledge Management is alive and kicking and doesn't need bringing back to life. However the author argues that KM initiatives fizzled out in the late 90's and early 2000's because the technologies available at the time could not facilitate the activities individuals within organisations wanted to undertake.

I think this is a fair point and I remember using some of the very early "Web 2.0" and social media tools and thinking that their used could be extended to assist with KM initiatives. The author then looks at how ESN's in particular have assisted KM initiatives since their launch in 2006/2007 and one particular problem which is around how ESN's are often seperate from other Knowledge Management Systems. As the author says in order for ESN's to be used more effectively to capture and share knowledge "social collaboration functionality needs to be embedded into business processes and the major business applications that support them"

The author then asks whether enterprise social collaboration platforms can help push KM? Fortunately he has an answer, however it depends on your definition of KM, From the article

I believe “social” has a very important part to play in information capture and information sharing. Social collaboration platforms democratize content creation and information sharing, in smaller “bite size” chunks
So there you have it, social tools have the potential to resurrect Knowledge Management...that is of course if you think it has died!

The next article is by the same author and is called "Social collaboration meditated Knowledge Management" In this article the author backs-up the argument in his previous article by mapping it to a popular KM model called "SECI" This is a model, which helps explain how Knowledge is created, capture and managed effectively by organisations. In the article the author looks at how social collaboration tools can be used to facilitate the capture of tacit and explicit knowledge.

I've not come across the SECI model before so some aspects of the article were a bit heavy going, but the author very clearly argues the case for social and collaborative tools having a big role in the creation, capture and management of both tacit and explicit knowledge. If you are interested in any of these topics then this article is well worth reading.