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What I learned on your summer vacation

That's right, this isn't about me and my vacation (which was lovely, thank you). It's about you and your vacation. It's August, and if you're like many, you're part of a skeleton crew holding down the fort as people head to the beach, the mountains, and their backyards for some hard-earned rest and relaxation.

You also are probably familiar with "the list." The list from your co-worker of open items, things that might come up, projects that might need completing, questions that might get asked, etc., that you are responsible for until their return.

You also know that little feeling of panic when someone comes to your desk urgently asking for "X," when you know Mr. Flip-Flop is the only one who knows how to deal with "X."

Vacation: A small window into the importance of knowledge retention, and a big opportunity to improve how your organization captures and retains knowledge.

As social technologies take hold, we have a new opportunity to improve how information and knowledge is captured and transferred amongst staff. As we learn all too well in the summer months, much of an organization's knowledge is stored within individuals. Capturing, retaining, and transferring that knowledge is crucial to preserving intellectual property and accelerating innovation.

Take a look at past revenues and chances are you'll see the lag in Q3 simply because of summer. Why? Because it's hard to get anything done with so many people (and their knowledge) out of the office. What if you could reduce that lag by keeping the people that are in the office more efficient, productive, and able to capitalize on the knowledge of their coworkers -- even while they're not in the office?

Social Knowledge Networks (SKNs) provide a way to unleash this knowledge so employees can share information, update, and enrich core content to create a dynamic, living knowledgebase. By bringing together content, people, and tools to support corporate objectives, SKNs let organizations improve the transfer and retention of knowledge, foster collaboration, and increase productivity.

Until we take a hint from Europe and shut our doors for the dog days of summer, we can take a hint from our vacations and work on improving our knowledge retention abilities. In the meantime, just be thankful Mr. Flip-Flop is back on Monday.

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