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Winning with KM Despite a Worst-Case Scenario

By Ron Aspe, Lucidea CEO

Lack of participation is the biggest challenge when introducing a knowledge sharing program. So what can you do?

The Perfect Storm
What do you do as head of a knowledge management initiative if: there is no knowledge sharing culture,
management doesn’t set an example, and employees don’t see the benefit of contributing content?

We hope you never face all three of these problems at once, but even if you do, there are ways to prevail in a worst-case scenario.

Priming the Knowledge Sharing Pump
To get people using knowledge sharing tools, you must provide easy access to information they want without requiring them to contribute. Google wouldn’t have taken hold if people had to post their own content. Whether you like it or not, getting the benefit without the effort is the baseline expectation of your end users.

With respect to leadership, one of my favorite quotes is, “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader,” from Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rolling. Most leaders are actually fast followers. If staff use the knowledge management tools you provide, your leaders will eventually take up the cause. Of course it won’t hurt your mission if your KM system provides senior management with information that saves time and makes them look good.

How does the average person benefit from content? By using it. Millions of people use Wikipedia without contributing content (let alone funding) and without looking at banner ads. That said, many do contribute.

Wikipedia reports that 71% of editors participate because they like sharing knowledge, 69% believe that information should be freely available, 63% think contributing is fun, and 7% contribute for professional reasons. If you want people to post content -- without being required to do so as a condition of employment -- you must find a way to tap into what motivates them.

Exploit Existing Information Repositories

Internal Silos
Every organization has information silos. Find these and publish the content to your knowledge sharing site. Everything has value, from the most mundane directional information (e.g., “Who actually has a copy of that document anyway?”) to the most edifying research report.

External Resources
Everyone in your organization uses external information resources. Connecting your KM site with these will strengthen its position as a rich and readily available repository in your users’ minds. Look for ways to add value such as, a) allowing users to skip the login process or, b) managing their passwords when they access outside content through your platform. 

It’s all about convenience
Don’t worry if your knowledge sharing platform isn’t yet the definitive, authoritative resource you wish it to be. Convenience is a key driver of consumer behavior and your users are consumers. The immediate priority is to make your knowledge sharing resource the first place people look.

Water pumps need to be filled with water before they can start pumping water. Similarly, knowledge management systems have to contain knowledge before they facilitate knowledge sharing. Bottom line, pre-loading highly relevant content is a great way to kick-start your knowledge program.

* This article was originally posted on our partner brand's, SydneyPLUS, blog. See original here.

Choosing a Balaclava


By Erika Halloran

Here in New England, ski and snowboard season is upon us. Social media sites are swarming with photos of the first dustings of the season, radio stations are promoting the next great “Ski and Snowboard Expo” (spoken in my best radio announcer voice), and today’s morning commute featured plenty of traffic because one driver saw one flake and subsequently hit the brakes.

I fully admit that I’ve caught the fever. Last night, I spent time online clicking on goggles, wool socks, and balaclavas (the newest word in my personal vocabulary). There are more choices than ever before, and apparently, “the technology for these products changes every year.” I’m not completely convinced that this is true, but since most of my own gear is well over 10 years old, I’m willing to accept that it’s time for an upgrade.

So…searching “balaclava” on Amazon gave me 7,142 results! 
Scary? Not at all. Let’s narrow it down. 

Department? Skiing. 1,543 results.
Price? $25-50. 337 results. 
Amazon Prime Eligible? Yes, please. 46 results.
We’re in business! 46 is a number I can handle.

At this moment, when I was down to 46 balaclavas and I was trying to decide among micro-fleece, nylon, and merino wool, I found myself thinking… “This is just like Presto!” You heard me right. I was searching for new winter gear, and I was equating it to Presto.

Presto v4.2 (released in August 2013) brings users the ability to do exactly what I just did – refine their search results based on metadata. This might just be my favorite new Presto feature!

With Presto’s new guided navigation, a user can search for a general term that returns thousands of results, and then quickly and easily narrow it down by selecting a category. Presto will immediately refine those search results. You only want eBooks? No problem…narrow it down again by specifying a format. Voila! A results set of a manageable size. No complicated search syntax, no long search screen with “AND/OR” selectors, and no need to train your users. If they’ve shopped online for a balaclava (or anything else), they already know how to do this!

So, which balaclava did I select? You’ll have to hit the New England slopes this winter to find out.

This customer just made my day

By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

It’s been over six months since we released Presto for DB/TextWorks, and we now have a growing and enthusiastic user community for this product.

I’ve been watching the implementations performed by our services group and many are stunning. But I was unbelievably happy to see how fast the Center for Transportation Research (at the University of Texas at Austin) progressed with their implementation. I asked the services team why this one was moving along so quickly, and they said “well the client is doing it almost all herself!” I was so excited to hear this.

I was even more excited when I saw the customer talking about the upgrade to Presto on their website. (See it here).  And they are now in beta so you can see the site here.

What I love about this specific implementation is twofold. First, they are embracing Presto and its ability to accomplish advanced web publishing without the need for outside programmers. The Center for Transportation Research is taking advantage of Federated Search, Faceted Search, the InfoCart and Alerts / RSS feeds. These are standard features in Presto that can be implemented with a few clicks of the mouse and in the case of Federated Search – a basic understanding of HTML. Do-it-yourself has always been a strong tenet in how Inmagic products are designed. I love the fact that advanced web-publishing features can still be fully controlled and implemented by a curious and driven librarian.

Secondly, I love the fact that they are taking the upgrade as an opportunity to review what they want the website to be and what it can accomplish. By leveraging the new capabilities (such as a robust home page, Google like search, browsable taxonomies, and more) the Center for Transportation Research is not simply adding new features to an existing structure, but taking a fresh look at what their users want and how they can meet these needs. Job well done!

I have always said the best part about my job is seeing what our customers do with our software. The Center for Transportation Research has just made my day.


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