E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Needed: Enterprise Strategies for Innovation, Content Management, and Social Media Infrastructure – Through the Usage of Communities

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox)

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Goodness ! I cannot believe it has been over a week since last time I created a weblog post over here. Has it been that long? WOW! I guess that between work and a whole bunch of other things happening at the same time days have gone by without me noticing much about them. I suppose that time flies when you are having fun, eh?

I have actually been following up on a number of different topics most of them related to Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Communities and Social Computing and they have kept me busy during all this time. The immediate consequence, of course, is the fact that I now have got a whole bunch of interesting stuff to share with you all, which I suppose would be a good thing as it would keep you busy reading for a while at the same time that it will give you a chance to chime in as well because some of those topics are actually quite engaging. But let’s just start with one step at a time.

Check out the recent weblog post that Dennis McDonald shared over at ALL KIND FOOD where he is actually pondering a number of interesting, and thought provoking, ideas around the subject of innovation and how social media and collaboration tools may actually influence how knowledge workers get to innovate without perhaps focusing too much on location (Like Jeffrey Phillips seems to suggest over at Innovation Location). It surely makes for an interesting read. You can find it over here: Needed: Enterprise Strategies for Innovation, Content Management, and Social Media Infrastructure.

While I was actually reading though both weblog posts, I just couldn’t help thinking about a recent featured article that IBM has published over at ibm.com around this very same subject: how innovation is actually shaping up, changing our daily lives over the course of the next few years and without focusing too much on location. And over there, in that particular article (Five innovations that could change your life over the next five years) you would actually be able to see how such an incredible event as InnovationJam, a worldwide event conducted by IBM last year with customers and business partners, managed to prove successfully how innovation is no longer very much based on location, but rather on something much more interesting and engaging. Read on

That is right, if you get to read Dennis weblog entry you would be able to read some of that with really good gems, such as this one:

"[…] the more it reinforce my strong belief that social networking and social media tools within an organization need to be thought of as part of the overall communication and information management infrastructure. That is, such tools should be universally available to all so that, when new groups and projects form there are no artificial barriers raised to interconnection and integration"

Or this other one:

"[…] corporate management needs to understand both how innovative practices spread throughout an organization at the same time it plans for an enterprise content management and communication infrastructure that provides the needed tools to workers where and when they need them."

I must say that I certainly agree with Dennis on this one. Not only because he approaches boosting innovation following two different options, bottom-up and top-down, but also because he strongly believes that social media and collaboration tools have got a great deal to do with the fact that they can help increase innovation big time and regardless where you are, specially nowadays that we are all working in such a distributed environment.

Oh, yes, that is just so right. But I am actually going to venture and take things further into one step higher and that is to mention that social computing, along with collaboration, tools break the location barriers because of this particularly interesting aspect: knowledge workers gather together around a particular topic, have got a common tools suite within the social software and collaborative spaces and they are more than willing to share their knowledge, collaborate and innovate.

That is correct. To me, everyone is, or can be, an innovator, whether you have got the right attitude for it, or whether you have got a good team, or, even better, a community you are a member of, that keeps you motivated to keep it going that is another matter. But certainly location is no longer a restriction to innovate. That is something from the past, from the last century. Nowadays knowledge workers are starting to realise how important and crucial it is to go out there and share what they know and collaborate with others as part of a larger group (A community) in order to keep innovating, not only because of how exciting the whole exercise can be, but also because there is a new generation of emerging technologies that makes all that collaboration a lot easier to happen since you no longer focus on the fuss about learning how to use tools, you just use social software for that and focus on what you need to focus: innovate by collaborating with others regardless where they may well be.

Yes, I can certainly understand how some folks are actually going to say that this is perhaps a bottom-up approach towards fostering innovation within the enterprise, but I must say that you would actually be surprised to find out how many corporations are realising lately that innovation can take place much more efficiently and effectively as part of a community program. That is right, more and more businesses are starting to realise that by having a robust and lasting community building program they are actually allowing knowledge workers be part of those communities and help them innovate, no matter where they may well be.

That is why, like Dennis mentioned over at his weblog post, IBM is also going very strong in this area by launching different social computing offerings like Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 or Lotus Notes 8, amongst others, so that the different community building programs currently available inside (and outside of) IBM would empower knowledge workers to forget about the different complexities of the tools and just focus on what really matters: sharing knowledge, collaborate and, of course, innovate (Both internally with their peers and with customers)!

Perhaps, over the next few weeks, I will be expanding some more on this particular topic as well as I feel that it makes a nice connection with some of the different topics that I get to discussed over here. Thus stay tuned ! More to come …

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