Thursday, 26 March 2009

Expertise Identification within KIN

Scott Gavin's post It’s more important than ever to identify subject matter experts in your company makes interesting reading. It chimes with thoughts I've been having recently about KIN and the wealth of expertise which is available within the Network. One of the things, I think, that KIN excels at is providing the opportunities for the individuals within the member organisations to connect, network and exchange ideas and expertise. However, I think we could do even more.
In his article, Scott says that subject matter experts are identified by "... a mix of self declaration, identification by others and by the real life information someone interacts with."

So where could KIN add more value?

Well the KIN facilitators already do quite a lot to help match members' needs with members who have some know how (identification by others).

Where I think we could do more is by facilitating more of the 'self declaration' and 'the real life information members interact with'.

Self Declaration.
A number of members are good attempting to answer questions on the KIN discussion forums (self declaration). And as I noted in my making connections post, "if we think we know someone who might be able to contribute, we will normally alert them to the posting"
Another provision for self-declaration is the Member Contacts List which allows for members to list their expertise and experience. However, I suspect that few members a) maintain/update the information in this list and b) use this list to identify who knows what. The problem is that these days there are so many places we maintain profiles, this is just one extra chore. People are much more likely to maintain and keep up to date profile information which has multiple uses and in which they have a real investment.
I would suggest, therefore, that members profiles on LinkedIn are much more likely to be up to date and relevant. David Gurteen noted recently that "LinkedIn is slowly moving away from being a static depository to store your CV and connect to close professional colleagues and is starting to become a more interactive and participatory place. And I am starting to use it myself more and more"
KIN has a group on LinkedIn specifically for KIN members. If you aren't already a member, you may well receive an invitation soon!
The limitations of the above are a) they list what people say they are interested / expert in - this is not always borne out in practice.

Information members interact with.
A better way of identifying what people are really interested in / knowledgable about is to see what they do and say. As KIN is by its very nature spread across a number of organisations, this can be tricky. The discussion forums are as good a starting point as any. Then there are members' Blogs. I've started a list of members' blogs and will add more as and when I become aware of them. And if anyone wants to contribute to this blog, they would be more than welcome.
Another possible way of identifying knowledge networks is by what people bookmark. Which is one of the reasons I have started (see this post) the KIN Diigo Group as an experiment to see if there is value to be gained here as well.

So what other ways are there that KIN should try to help its members?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Social Bookmarking - Take 2 (Pt3 - Some Results)

(Number 3 in a series of posts - see also part 1 and part 2)

I've only been playing with Diigo for a few days and I'm starting to see how it can be used to benefit myself and KIN.

Firstly, I have created a Diigo KIN Group. As I bookmark things, any that I think are of interest to KIN, I add them to this group. Now in itself I think this is useful. Where it has the potential to be really useful is if other KIN members also start to add bookmarks to this group.

The bookmarks in this group can be seen here. Note the Tag Cloud in the panel on the right.
I have embedded the 'Tag Cloud' for the group links in the ET SIG Home Page, here and below.

I have created a list of bookmarks relating to the recent Wiki roundtable event and embedded this list in Memberspace.

I have tagged some bookmarks 'Prediction Markets' and embedded these links in the Winter 2009 workshop site (bottom right). The bit that's really cool - I think - about this one is that it has an RSS feed so those of you using feed readers can pick this list up directly!

I'm experimenting with what else I can do on the ET SIG site in 'Resources Pages'.

Key Advantage
In all of the above, the lists as seen in memberspace are not static. i.e. if I add bookmarks that meet the criteria, the lists as viewed will change.

Minor Disadvantage
Using the standard Sharepoint Link Lists, you can set up an alert to be notified of any additions to the list. Such alerts will not work for these lists.

Personally, I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. What do you think?
Does anyone else use Diigo, and what features do they like best?

Social Bookmarking - Take 2 (Pt2 - Why?)

I want to share things I find on the web that I think will be of benefit/use/interest to KIN members. Easily.

Unfortunately, the KIN memberspace is not ideally suited to this. As you probably know, the KIN memberspace is a Sharepoint site. Sharepoint allows you to create lists of links. So why don't I want to use these?

Sharepoint Link lists shortcomings

  • Which link list should I use ? There is one (sometimes several) on each Quarterly Workshop event site (example). There is one on each SIG site (example). So if I have found something that is of interest to more than one Special Interest Group and relates to a Quarterly Workshop, where should I post it? Should I post it more than once? Too many decisions, too much effort. (Not to mention what about links that relate to specific Roundtables or Masterclasses).
  • Adding to the Link List is 'out of the flow'. So I've found something of interest. Now I have to open Memberspace, navigate to the Link List I've decided it should go in, click on add link and fill in a Sharepoint form. Again, too much effort.
  • How can I see all 'my' links? With links scattered over several Link lists, how to I keep track of 'my' links and avoid having to duplicate effort by creating my own bookmark list?
  • What, no tags? Sharepoint (at least the version we are using) does not provide for 'tagging' so that links that are related are easily found.
So will a Social Bookmarking tool help? I think so.
The tool I've decided to try (this time) is Diigo.

Diigo Advantages (vs Sharepoint Link Lists)
  • I have a single repository for all my (tagged) bookmarks. And there are multiple ways to view this list.
  • Bookmarking is done 'in the flow'. I can bookmark, tag and comment on my bookmark without leaving the page I am bookmarking.
  • There is the facility for 'Community' tagging. I can (and have) set up a 'Diigo Group' for use by KIN members.
In addition to the above advantages which overcome the listed shortcomings, it is also possible to display Diigo bookmarks in Sharepoint such that as I add bookmarks, these additions automatically appear in the KIN memberspace. This can be done in various ways: by tags, by group, by lists (see my next blog post in this series of three - part1 is here).
And as I explore Diigo further, I expect I will discover other advantages. I'll let you know.

Social Bookmarking - Take 2 (Pt1)

Last year I started an experiment with Social Bookmarking (see this blog entry). I have to admit that it never really took off. I know people had some difficulties setting up accounts on and although I had an account the process of creating bookmarks didn't really seem seamless.

But I remain convinced of the potential benefits of using a Social Bookmarking tool for myself, for KIN members individually and for KIN members collectively. (If you aren't sure what Social Bookmarking is or how it might be usefule to you, see Social Bookmarking in Plain English).

So I've decided to try again. This time using Diigo which is a tool that Steve Goodwin put me on to. I believe the most popular social bookmarking tool is Delicious but the last time I looked it didn't appear to have a feature that I wanted and that is for a self-contained community such as KIN to be able to share their bookmarks amongst themselves. That said, I plan to try Delicious at some point in the future and compare it with what Diigo offers.

That's it for this post. This is the first of a series of three. The remaining two are:

Social Bookmarking - Take 2 (Pt2 - Why?)


Social Bookmarking - Take 2 (Pt3 - Some Results)

What, if any, social bookmarking tool do you use?