Google Wave Implications On KM

I have thinking about the implications of Google Wave on KM and enterprise collaboration.  Interestingly, many of them have been propounding the end of
email and the end of IM. And some of them have taken on the new
complexities that real time/concurrent editing can bring in – issues
ranging from the cognitive impact of seeing what someone is typing as
they type it to privacy. It's been really interesting!!

This debate is going to continue for rest of the year as Google prepares to go live with the Wave.

My
interests around Google Wave are from a KM perspective. Will Google
Wave change anything for good in the KM world? I think it holds great
potential to solve some of the fundamental problems inherent to KM as
we know it. Three areas where I believe it will have a positive impact :

Flow Versus Stock

For starters Google Wave blurs the line between what was traditionally knowledge flows and knowledge stocks. As O'Reilly
rightly put it, in the Wave world – "conversations become shared
documents." This has huge implications on enterprise KM. Let me go back
to the Andrew McAfee's SLATES for a minute. The "A" in the acronym
stands for authoring – lowering barriers to authoring is one of the
fundamental challenges in KM and I think by blurring the lines between
conversations and documents, Google Wave goes a long way in enabling
this.

Everything Is Fragmented

That is principle number 4 in Dave Snowden's 7 principles of knowledge management. Here's what he has to say :

We
evolved to handle unstructured fragmented fine granularity information
objects, not highly structured documents. People will spend hours on
the internet, or in casual conversation without any incentive or
pressure. However creating and using structured documents requires
considerably more effort and time. Our brains evolved to handle
fragmented patterns not information.

I believe Google Wave
is closest from a "enabler" perspective to augment this behavior. Would be good if eventually Wikipedia's discussion pages get
replaced with embedded Waves. That could create richer and
far more distributed conversations around articles.

Contextual Collaboration

While
I haven't seen gadgets getting embedded in a Wave in action as yet, it would open up a new range of possibilities to enable contextual collaboration in enterprises. Being able to pull in business data from systems like ERP,CRM, Logistics etc., and being able to seamlessly wrap conversations around it will be a huge breakthrough. I guess the Wave makes it far more seamless while there have been a host of other solutions to this problem.

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3 thoughts on “Google Wave Implications On KM

  1. Interesting post, Dinesh. Google Wave seems to be something might want to follow. Though thought the same about Knol too, somehow am not following too much.
    An interesting thing is what you say about wrapping conversations about business data … something i have been blogging about …
    http://atulrai1.blogspot.com/2009/06/km-solving-business-issues.html
    This is probably a very important part, because this brings the context of the business process to the conversation, and also, this reduces the idea of KM as a separate activity.

  2. We have been working (in stealth) on a Contextual Collaboration product which integrates with enterprise app. seamlessly and pulls enterprise app data to form “contextual” collaborations around it, even before the birth of Google Wave on the WWW
    AJ

  3. Speaking of KM, I guess you would have seen a recent piece about Google Wave was used to collaborate all discussions at an Ecommerce conference.
    I mean, it can be a collaborate note-taking or virtual brainstorming, whichever way you want to put it..

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