Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Enforcement or Engagement?

controlImage by secretlondon123 via FlickrEngagement. It's a word that, in most cases, is associated with a pleasant or worthwhile experience. Why is it that so many of our efforts to engage in sharing knowledge across organisations resort to exhortation, pleading or enforcement. 'If you don't do this, this will, or won't, happen'.

Thomas Goetz presented at a TEDMed salon last year and brilliantly illustrated the ineffectiveness of such approaches. The most powerful example, and one I had vaguely heard before, is the change in behaviour resulting from the installation of vehicle-activated 'your speed is...' signs, compared to the universally hated speed cameras*.

Goetz posits that by personalising the information we receive, we are much more open to act upon it. The collection of personal data is now so commonplace and inexpensive, that providing comparatives between individual and aggregate data can be used to call-to-action, much more effectively than generalised edicts.

He neatly inserts personalised data as the relevance engine in his feedback loop. It would be worth stepping back and examining whether the interventions we propose as part of our knowledge sharing stategies, pass this simple 'how is this relevant to me?' test.

Heck, we may even do this at the KIN Knowledge Strategies Roundtable that we are holding on 23rd March.

*According to a 2007 report the reduction in the number of UK road deaths attributed to speed cameras, at a cost of £100m, could have been achieved at a cost of £2m for the equivalent number of vehicle-activated speed signs.
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