Knowledge sharing never hurts, the wise man once said, but does this apply to a corporate environment? The closest a CIO can come to justifying buying a stupidly expensive social media for work-place would be to state the usefulness of using it as a knowledge sharing tool and the prospective intangible assets gathered during the process. Assets like cumulative knowledge, information sharing and time/cost savings and many more. But how many companies can claim having achieved all this by letting their employees login and update their status to “the new coffee machine is awesome”? Success of Facebook, orkut, G+ and the likes will have to be the openness and freedom to do whatever whenever wherever. An office will have its restrictions, however ‘cool’ the culture is. When you have a mix of different cultures, interests and responsibilities in a business the boundaries of coolness start to disappear and bright fluorescent bold lines of policies and corporate correctness start to emerge. All such differences could eventually lead to a high profile law suit or damage the company brand or reputation, neither of this any big organisations wants to encourage.
The ideal case for a free flowing collaboration of ideas and thoughts would be to take “management” out of “knowledge management” and implement social media sites and software in a corporate environment where the ability to multitask coupled with openness to collaborate would mean employees become more comfortable with the idea of collective effort and ease of information. The term “Management” always adds a dimension of control and process, kryptonite for any social successes and free exchange of ideas. I know many people disagree with that statement but I base my statement on qualitative data for successful projects like kickstarter and facebook.
I have seen many knowledge management implementations get luke warm reception from its end users and eventually die a painful and expensive death. Not for reason of failure in software or the implementation, but in the fact that elements of “Human” was never included in the project plan. Element of how to sell the idea of your everyday conversations around the coffee machine or local watering hole can be a treasure trove for others in the company.