W O R K I N G
By Dave PollardI have written beforeabout what I call PersonalKnowledge Management(PKM), which is an attemptto enable workers to do thismore effectively.My problem has been thatPKM is impossible to sell tosenior management, becausethey perceive no value tothemselves.I toyed with the idea of trying to sell it to front-lineworkers directly, perhaps bystarting a magazine called
.The problem with thisis that everyone is at adifferent stage in evolutiontoward PKM, and thereare no standard answersor approaches — we eachhave to muddle this throughfor ourselves, based on ourown “knowledge set” andinformation behaviors.But perhaps if we outlineda future scenario of wherethis PKM trend is headed,we might be able to evolvean approach that wouldaccommodate the needs of both individual workersand the organizationsstruggling to cope with thisphenomenon.To this end, let me startwith a story of a young business analyst named Jon.
Part III: Saving the company
How ordinary smart people will change the organization
This concludes a three-part series on the failures of many organizations to recognize and capitalize on the value of human knowledge. Where those companies still don’t “get it,” the future is in the hands of ordinary smart people.
A compositeworkaround story
Jon spent the ﬁrst week
in his new job with GiantCo. trying to port all theinformation, contacts,subscriptions and softwaretools he had been using in histhree previous jobs to his newcompany-supplied computer.He was stymied at everyturn. He was not allowedto put the tools he wasfamiliar with onto his newcomputer because they were“not supported” by his newemployer.He was blocked by the
security ﬁrewall from usingWebmail in the ofﬁce (“we
consider this to be somethingemployees would only usefor personal non-businesspurposes”), even though allhis business contacts andsubscriptions were on it.He was blocked fromaccessing YouTube (wheremany of the videos he hadprepared for his previousemployers, and someeducational videos he referredto regularly, were stored).He was blocked fromusing IM and Skype, so he wascut off from his global network of experts and colleagues whoused IM and Skype exclusivelyfor instant, free knowledgesharing, advice and quick lookups of useful researchmaterials.He was blocked fromusing Vyew, so instead of being able to call people
outside the ofﬁce for quick,
free conferences with screen-sharing, he had to use thecompany’s expensive pay-per-use audio conferencingsystem (and everyone on thecall had to be pre-authorized),and send a huge deck of screen captures by email toparticipants in advance.He wasn’t permitted towork from home. When heworked on weekends fromhome, his Web access tohis work email didn’t work properly, and because his co-workers didn’t use it, he wastold it would be months before
they would start trying to ﬁx
the problems with it.After a long delay, hewas approved for VPN, butonly on his work computer,so he began lugging it homeevery day, only to discoverthat it degraded performanceso much that even accessingemail with it was agonizinglyslow.His boss dropped into Jon’s cubicle about six weeksafter he had started work,and found Jon workingaway happily. But to the boss’ surprise, Jon had twocomputers sitting side-by-sideon his desk. Jon explained that hiswork computer was connected