Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Thinking out of the Inbox - More Collaboration through less e-mail

A few years ago, the team I worked in was merged with two other teams. One of the first things we did was set up a team Quickplace with a Q&A forum for team communications. One particular incident sticks vividly in my mind. In response to a question I posed on the forum, I got an email reply from the director. My reply to him was along the lines of, "thank you - you know the answer and now I know the answer. The point of putting the question on the forum was so that everyone in the team should get the benefit of the answer". He never did post the answer on the forum. I guess he just didn't "get it".

I am reminded of this whenever I see articles about reducing email traffic.

Hands up everyone who gets too much email. OK, so what are you going to do about it?

Some suggestions for alternatives to email were posted on the Thought Sparks blog, 13 Good Alternatives to Email : Thought Sparks some time ago. Worth a read.

But this guy has gone one better than just reading about it and is putting some of the ideas into practice:
A Refreshing New Way of Collaborating and Sharing Knowledge - Giving up on e-mail! (Part I)
This is the first in a series of posts where he tracks his progress. This is his most recent update: Giving up on Work e-mail - Status Report on Week 13

He has gone on to put together the following presentation. (Not as snappy as 'Meet Charlie', but there are a couple of gems in there - I particularly like slides 20-23)
Next08 - Thinking out of the Inbox - More Collaboration through less e-mail (Presentation Material):

So what have you tried to reduce the flood? (Use the comments facility to share your favourites).

To open the bidding, here are my two:
  1. Started using an RSS reader so I could unsubscribe from email alerts
  2. Started a Blog!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Generation Y and WEB 2.0

For my first post in this series on WEB 2.0, here is the text of a post from Read/Write Web that caught my eye that addresses the generation question.

Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web - ReadWriteWeb: "Work Tools Need to Mirror Web Tools: Gen Y will drive adoption of 'Enterprise 2.0' products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. If socializing on Facebook helps them get a sale, then they're not going to understand why they can't use it at work. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren't provided with the tools they want, they're going to be savvy enough to go around I.T.'s back and get their own.

Companies wondering how Gen Y wants to use these tools at work should take a look at this - Sacha Chua's Gen Y Guide to Web 2.0 at Work (made for IBM):

SlideShare | View | Upload your own"

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The RSS Evangelist

The RSS Evangelist

After the recent WEB 2.0 rountable event, the more I thought about it the more I became convinced that as KM Evangelists (we are all KM Evangelists aren't we?) we ought to be making full use of the all the Knowledge Sharing technologies available to us. Hence this article about RSS. If you have yet to start using an RSS reader on a regular basis, I urge you to give it a try. Those of us that do use them wonder how we ever managed without them and how other people manage without them. They really are a valuable tool for keeping up to date on almost any topic. This article will concentrate on RSS use on the World Wide Web, but they also have huge potential for use within the enterprise.


In a KIN survey done a few months ago (do you use an RSS Reader), a quarter of respondents said that they did not know what RSS is and a further 12.5% said that they did not use one. Admittedly, the response rate to the survey was not high but extrapolating those results suggests that use of RSS by KIN members may not be all that prevalent. I admit that I have been using a feed reader for less than a year myself but in that time I have become a big fan. So the purpose of this post is to encourage KIN members who may not yet have tried using an RSS feed reader to give it a go!

What's in it for me?

RSS feeds can be broadly useful. Harvesting news headlines, classified ads, press releases, and even internal corporate project collaboration notes. News from the BBC, seasonal conditions from The Old Farmer's Almanac, product lists from Amazon; the list goes on and is growing daily. You can reduce email clutter by using a feed reader rather than receiving emailed updates to your already clogged inbox. (This was the prime motivation for me to start using RSS!) At a glance, you see what's happening all over the Web on topics that matter to you, without having to give up personal information or remember a load of URLs.Some examples of sites that may be of interest to KM practitioners that have RSS feeds: To pick just 5 sites at random from my own feed list.

Enterprise Use

How do you keep up to date with HR Policies and Practices? What about the CEO blog? And the company bulletin board? And changes your community space? Do you have to visit mutliple sites? Or are you lucky enough to work in an environment where all of these things come to you courtesy RSS ? Are there any KIN member organisations out there that are already using RSS to push information to their employees? If so, it would be interesting to hear from you about your experiences.

So what is RSS, how does it work?

Some of you, I know, have seen this before. Even if you are already an RSS user, RSS in Plain English from the Common Craft show explains it well!

"There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start." BlipTV

OK, I'm interested - what 'Reader' should I use?

As I understand it (and I'm not an expert) you have three basic choices:
  1. Use the Feedreader that comes built-in to your browser (if it has one)
  2. Use a Web based reader
  3. Use a standalone program.
Which you choose will depend on a number of factors. I don't propose to examine the pro's and con's in detail in this post - (I will look for something posted by someone who knows much more about it than I do. But for what it is worth, this post looks at what other people use/think are the best readers available. I use the Web based, Google Reader (which seems to be a pretty popular choice) which I highly recommend. I like its interface and speed. Although it is Web-based you can use it offline courtesy of Google Gears. There are also some other neat features not least of which is the ability to easily share with others the posts I find that I think are worth sharing with other people in a separate web page (for the non-RSS users out there).

And Finally...

I have an ulterior motive for encouraging RSS use by KIN members. At the start of this article I mentioned the recent WEB 2.0 rountable event and one of my conclusions on reflection after that meeting was that it might be useful and helpful to start a Blog. So, as an experiment, that is what I am doing. And the best way for members to follow the blog... is by using RSS.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

My 'KIN Blog


We recently held a WEB 2.0 roundtable where a number of different tools and technologies were discussed. I wrote:

"I found myself in a bit of a quandary as to the best way to document the session. Having spent the day discussing a number of very interesting WEB 2.0 tools, I couldn't help feeling that there ought to be a better way than simply creating a document and posting it in the memberspace or in the discussion forum. However, for the time being, that is exactly what I am doing. In the end it is, perhaps, simplest to use the tools that are known and accessible to all KIN members, regardless of any of their shortcomings."

The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that as KM Evangelists (we are all KM Evangelists aren't we?) we ought to be making full use of the Knowledge Sharing technologies available to us. So, since that event I have fiddled around with various options but the one that seems to fit the need best (I'm open to alternatives) is a Blog.

My KIN Blog

So here it is. My first attempt at a Blog! Initial thoughts are Blog about things I think are relevant to KIN members:
  • KIN events
  • Non KIN Events
  • articles I find on the WEB
  • general topics of interest
I'm open to other suggestions. As I say, this was inspired by the WEB 2.0 roundtable event. It is fair to say that I am likely to post quite a bit about WEB 2.0 and other 'Cool Tools' because they are a pet interest of mine. I can (and will) 'tag' my posts with (what I think) are the appropriate tags. Blogger also allows you to display RSS feeds in a separate panel. So on the right of this post you will see a list of Blog items I have tagged 'share' using Google Reader (see my post the RSS Evangelist ) I am using 'Blogger' and as far as I can see, that will allow me to invite others to also submit Blog posts. So if you would like to contribute, email me and I'll add you as a contributor. Blogger has many other features as well which I will be exploring as I go.


Although this blog is KIN related, it's visibility is not restricted just to KIN members. So any KIN confidential information (including individual members' names) will only be posted in the KIN memberspace and linked to from the blog. KIN members posting comments (which I encourage you to do) should also take care not to include KIN confidential information.