Chief Knowledge Officer

I just read an interesting article called The Four Personas of the Next-Generation CIO.  The four personas listed are:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Integration
  3. Intelligence
  4. Innovation

But I believe they are missing the fifth “i” (like the 5th Beatle) which is: Information.  And what is information?  Well, it is everything employees are doing within (and outside) the firewall.  Such as content, knowledge and data.  Plus, with the explosion of social media (or social business) in organizations, there is information everywhere in blogs, forums, status updates, documents, IM’s, wikis, etc.  Who is managing all of this information?  Driving out best practices?  Ensuring that the knowledge of the company is used, leveraged   and re-used?

And that is where the fifth “i” comes into play.  And I feel it does not belong under the CIO.  I actually believe this is a future role for many organizations.  For the heck of it, let’s modify it (so it is not CIO), to read CKO – Chief Knowledge Officer.

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”.  But if organization do not properly capture and utilize this knowledge, then they are missing out on a competitive advantage.  But who now is accountable to “empower this knowledge”?

You got it – the Chief Knowledge Officer.

Suggestions for Improving Lotus Connections Communities

As a user of Lotus Connections 3.0 communities, although they have improved from 2.0, here are 5 suggestions on how to improve them:
1.    More columns (customization)
2.    Hiding “static” options
3.    More widgets
4.    Status Updates Widget
5.    Latest Activity Widget

1. More  Columns (Customization)

One problem I have with Communities is everything is crammed into the middle of the page.  But on the left hand side there is the community image /explanation, menu and tags.  On the right, Important Bookmarks and Members.   For me to get any information past the first widget, I need to scroll.  Very annoying.  Why not first of all, have multiple columns?  You can have the option of two or three columns on your home page; why not bring this functionality to communities?

2. Hiding “static” options
Well, there is some static data (such as the navigation menu, tips, and tags) that are always there.  I also want to include the Community log and overview.  Why not hide it as if I have been to the community, this information is redundant.  And, if I need to navigate at the top level, I just click on the widget title to get to my content.
So, you could take a page out of Lotus Notes sidebar and add it as a sidebar on the left.  Let’s take a look at 1 and 2 would look like:

So, now it is hidden.  And what that has done is opened up a lot of space now for community activity.  Of course, when you drill down a level; for example forums, the collapsible menu can be opened up automatically.

3. More Widgets
You’ll notice that in my static data I did not speak to the right hand information (Important Bookmarks and Members).  Although I see the value of this content, there is no choice to actually move them.  Thus, I think that important bookmarks, Members and even the above Tags should be widgets that can be added to the community if required:

4. Status Updates Widget
It would nice to a widget that allows community members activity stream added.

5. Recent  Activity Widget
When being away from a community, it would be nice to go in a see an RSS feed (in a widget) of what recent activity (discussion forum post, bookmark, etc) has happened:

Anyway, those are some of my suggestions for future releases.

Think: I may not want free

So, here I am checking my mail and what do I find but a flyer from the newspaper I subscribe to on the weekend (Toronto Star – local news). Seems that they are giving “selected subscribers” an extra five days at no extra charge until December 17.
Well, that would be just great if I actually wanted those extra five days.
I don’t
And I have gone through this before with them. The first time they extended it with me (I didn’t know about the offer)…and then accidently charged me. Which meant I had to take time out to call and fix the whole thing.
The second time it started I had to call to stop.
So, here were are again. If I do not want this special (which I do not), then I need to get in touch with them.
So, here are a couple of pointers:
– don’t assume everyone wants your product
– keep historical records/profiles of your customers
– don’t make me work to cancel what I do not want

One more before I go. So, to stop the paper I can e-mail them but if I want to stop ‘future promotional’ material, I need to call. Seems the process works for them and less about the customer.

Give me my Status Updates…with e-mail

Every vendor (worth their salt) is now rushing out status updates products to catch the “Twitter Wave”. And that is great and status updates are a fantastic way to connect, build relationships, find people/content, etc.
But unfortunately, within the enterprise, e-mail is King (status updates are like the 2nd Prince from the throne). And if you want adoption for new software and change how people collaborate, you have a better chance going to a place where people already are during the day – their inbox.
I actually still know people who sometimes do not open their browser all day. And their instant messaging is running in their e-mail client. At least give users the option of having it there so you can reach a wider audience. That way, change is right in front of people. Make it easy. Make the change enjoyable. And let them make the change.

The New Killer App…Your Inbox

With recent releases of Twitter in Microsoft Outlook, Facebook e-mail, Google Buzz in Gmail, plus the existing Lotus Notes sidebar, Zimbra Desktop,  and what Mozilla is doing with Raindrop it seems that the new killer app is…the inbox.   For years we have heard the term killer app and have installed new applications or bookmarked new aggregates to get all of our information in one place.  But, no matter what we did, we always ended up back in our inbox…cc’ing everyone in our address book.  Why?  A few reasons:

E-mail is easy
The learning curve is so easy, that people are hooked instantly.  And it is easier to start building onto an existing platform that people like and use instead of a new experience or application.

No specific company own’s e-mail
As mentioned above, any company can create their own e-mail client…but it still does the same function as all the others.   Thus, no matter which country you live in, language you speak, or religious beliefs (kidding), there is an e-mail client for you.

E-mail has a bigger market share than Twitter, Facebook, YouTube put together.
Maybe they weren’t first to market for connecting people (the telephone beat them to the punch) but it has grown so popular that if you think about it, when was the last time you met someone who did not have an e-mail address?  For goodness sakes, I have three of my own. Robert Scoble has one.  Don’t you?

People will let you tweak it
Sure, go ahead and add Twitter or Google Buzz to my in-box.  It doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to use it.  But, that is the beauty of it.  It is just there, waiting for you.  And if you get curious, or your friends/family/work starts to use it, well, you can take a peak because you already have your e-mail open.  And if you can’t figure out how to DM your mother…well, you can send her an e-mail.  But the power here is you are not forcing people to start communicating in a totally different way or application…you are letting them gradually start to use these tools.

E-mail Content
In an e-mail, you can be formal/informal, long/short, add images/video, put links, add emoticons, write a novel, sell products, and be private/public, communicate with one/thousands of people all in one application.  No other tool can do it all.  Sure, Twitter you can reach a million people with one Tweet…but you can’t add a video, an emoticon, picture of the vacation and a excel spreadsheet.  But Twitter has it’s use…that is why it is a good ‘add-on’ to e-mail.

So the killer app is out there…and everyone is using it…so tell me again why we want everyone to abandon it?  That is why I believe that you will see more and more integration of other tools into the in-box. Or whatever else it will be called in the future.

ROI and Innovation

Rob Cottingham

I came across this cartoon the other day and it really hit home about the focus on ROI.   Listen, don’t get me wrong – I understand the importance of measuring ROI. But sometimes, it is not as easy as A+B=C. Sometimes you need to just let it incubate. Let folks try it, stretch it, taste it and see what they can come up with. You never know…a new wheel might be around the corner.

The Change Bus

Within the Enterprise, change is part of everyday life. But there are still those folks who expend a great amount of energy resisting change. But, as change happens faster and faster, those resisters have less time to try and stop the change. So, let’s all get aboard the change bus to see who is who:

Drivers: Those who drive out change/early adopters. They are the ones who drive the bus, and plow forward through the storms.

Passengers: Although they won’t be first to change, they will get on the bus and go along with any change that happens.

Road Kill: Those who resist change.


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