I'm a lawyer. Attended BU law school in the early 1990s
One class I took called real estate development law, actually focused on numbers behind investing in real estate and less on the law. So I had to learn Excel as part of that class. I'm going to date myself and point out that having your own computer was not expected. law students were just learning to use word processing documents. Excel was not a typical technology in a law student's toolbelt.
It was good economy when i graduated and I got a good job at big Boston law firm.
A lawyer in 1995 knowing how to use Excel was unusual. So I got labeled a tech-savvy lawyer and got involved in many of the firm's technology related projects.
One of these was the knowledge management project. At its core law firms sell knowledge. So the thought was to devote some resources to managing that knowledge.
One part of my knowledge management role was responsibility for the firm’s intranet. For the third generation of the intranet, we went with the concept of a portal. At that time, Microsoft had just come out with a new product called SharePoint that had a lot of tools that seemed to work well with what we wanted from the intranet. We ran that happily for several years.
Then along came SharePoint 2007. This version included these things called blogs, and wikis and RSS feeds. Things that at the time sounded more like a Dr. Seuss book than tools for a law firm or knowledge management. But I did some research and they sounded interesting and promising for knowledge management. But I would have to wait a year plus for the team to implement this latest version of SharePoint to start using these tools. Or would I?
It turns out that two of my colleagues in the legal knowledge management community were publishing blogs on the internet. (I thought they were just websites.) They collected all this great information and made it available. They were doing externally what I wanted to do internally. So I decided to try it out and set up my own blog. I set aside an ENTIRE afternoon for the Herculean task. Of course, it took only minutes and I had the rest of the afternoon to figure out what to do with it.
That was the start of KM Space. This is my first blog post I ever made. I focused on knowledge management for lawyers.
That blog was to the gateway drug into web 2.0 or social media or social networking or whatever you want to call it.
In 2008, I left Goodwin and knowledge management and went into the world of compliance for a real estate private equity firm. Beacon Capital is one of the world's leading real estate private equity firms, owning commercial office buildings in cities with knowledge based economies: here in Boston, NY, DC, Chicago, LA, SF, Seattle, London and Paris
For anyone who knows me it comes as no surprise that I set up a blog to address compliance and business ethics
Along the way, I also got picked up as a contributor to Wired's GeekDad.
Take a minute to tell me your name. Also let me know what is the most interesting aspect of Web 2.0 that you have encountered.
finding and managing knowledge is the most interesting thing for me. My jobs have been knowledge and information focused. Trying to find the answers to questions is a big part of my job.
What is knowledge management? In the interest of Web 2.0 I turned to the collective wisdom of Wikipedia to see what the crowd has decided for a definition. creating and capturing the information you need to get your job done. Classroom v. Work Here in classroom the information you need is already identified. In the workplace, you have enormous set of information to deal with.
One of the biggest knowledge management organizations? Google
Its embodied in Google's Mission. Their mission for the world's information. For an organization, it's to organize the information and make it accessible and useful.
Let's look at Wikipedia as an example of knowledge management in practice. People have contributed an enormous amount of content The downside to wikipedia is that it relies on altruism. An issue with first generation of KM. All you get is self-satisfaction. Maybe it will help you show some expertise, but it is hard to see contributes what. It has a big scale that you knowledge management does not have inside an enterprise.
Altruism is generally an ineffective way to motivate people to do something. This is a core problem with many Web 2.0 business plans. It's a neat idea, but why would anyone keep at? What's in it for me?
In Working Knowledge, Davenport and Prusak point out that people rarely give away stuff for free. People are not going to give away their knowledge for free. Lots of early generation knowledge management systems looked to the effects of altruism. Contribution was good for the enterprise.
The extension of that concept is what Davenport and Prusak call a marketplace for knowledge. Knowledge is exchanged, bartered, bought, found and generated throughout an organization. But the revelation for me came when I was thinking about this marketplace concept.
I started thinking about a marketplace for One. Each of us are are the biggest consumers of your own knowledge. Whenever we are converting some of knowledge into an explicit form or manipulating our existing chunks of explicit knowledge, we are rearranging our own stores, our own marketplaces of knowledge. If I’m going to invest my limited time and energy, I want a direct and immediate benefit.
When I talk about Web 2.0 sites, I'm looking at ways that they can help me organize my stuff. That it benefits anyone else is just a side benefit. This a concept labeled personal knowledge management. Ways to manage the fire hose of information being sprayed at you to catch the good stuff you need to do your job.
Let me use LibraryThing as an example. Its an online application that allows you to catalog your books. You can add books from their database to your collection. And, if a book is not in their database, you can create a new entry in their database.
I've got a 1200 books in my library. A couple hundred of those are antique books. My great aunt was a librarian and I ended up with her books. About half of those books were in the LibraryThing database. I manually entered the other half. Those other half were entered by someone else. But I go the benefit of their work. The other half I entered, and others who come after me will have the benefit of that work. But I did the work for me. Largely to deal with my compulsive side to fully document my library.
Another example. Delicious. Why bother? Can't I just use my browser's bookmarks
It doesn't scale. The web browser bookmarks can't handle an enormous quantity of bookmarks. I've got over 1400 bookmarks. I tag items for later reading or just to store if I think I might need to go back to it. In exchange, in the marketplace of information, i get this tremendous tools to store information. The marketplace, the providers and others get the benefit of me highlighting good stuff. Anyone can search among this subset of webpages, that people have highlighted as good, and added more information about those sites.
One of the keys is that it is as easy to bookmark in delicious as it is to bookmark in my browser
There is a little browse addin that creates the buttons that make it easy to create and access the bookmarks.
The centerpiece for me i s my blog. capturing the stuff I need to know Writing about it makes it sink in. Get input from peers on what is important and interests them
Up to now, I've been talking about connecting to the information you need to do your job. The other side is connecting to the people you need to do your job. Or get your next job. Or to get that next piece of business.
You need a network of people, friends, co-workers, peers, clients and potential customers.
That's the idea behind these social networking sites. Helping you stay in touch with your network and capture information about the network.
Just a throw a little theory at you, in analyzing social networks, you can generally put the network connections in two groups: strong ties and weak ties.
When you look at these it turns out that the most job opportunities and sales opportunities come from these weak ties.
Professional focused social networks keep popping up. These are five specific for lawyers. It still needs to compete with LinkedIn
These social network sites have some specific hurdles in order to be successful. first fax machine as more people use a communications tool, the more useful it becomes.
Related to Metcalfe's law is Reed's law. That for social network's you get an exponential growth in usefulness when you get enough people using it.
Professor McAfee, coined this term Enterprise 2.0. He was looking at how these web 2.0 tools when brought inside an organization has some transformative powers and offered some great lessons and goals for organizations.
The vast majority organizations do not have something like Google for their information. For those that do have some sort of internal enterprise wide-search, it probably works poorly. As you go web-based, the unique features of google start working.
L is for links Tying things together. This internal wiki had links to relevant stuff. Your regular word document just sits in isolation its not going to lead you to other useful information.
A is for Authorship When you go to a blog or wiki, you want to know who made the content. For a wiki, that lets you decide whether that is good information. It also starts showing expertise.
You can get a different dimension to the organization and more detailed organization But what he is really talking about is the ability of multiple people to tag information. Let them organize the information in a way that makes sense to them. Example Metadata Wrapping more information around the information
E is for extensions Filter the information to make see emerging patterns One example of this Web 2.0 is the trending topics in Twitter. The most popular terms are highlighted
S is for signals You want to let people know that a change has occurred. For a blog it’s the subscription. The system will alert you when there is something new. You do not have to come back to check
Web 2.0, Knowledge Management and Professional Development Doug Cornelius ComplianceBuilding.com CS299
A range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice.
What is Knowledge Management? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_management