Personal Information Management

May 6, 2009

At our first ever SIKM-Boston face to face meeting in Feb I had the opportunity to meet Bill Ives. The conversation around the table turned to ‘how do you write your blog posts?’. The answers from around the table:

  • I use the built in WordPress editor
  • I use Word and copy/paste to my blog editor
  • I use Outlook email to craft the entry and copy/paste to my blog editor
  • From there the conversation went to ‘Well how do you keep track of information?’. the replies (greatly simplified):

  • I blog about my ideas and useful information, my blog becomes my online resource for keeping track
  • I write an email, or file my emails into folders in Outlook and use Google’s desktop search
  • I keep a Word doc with interesting bits of information
  • I write down on paper what I need to remember and what I find interesting
  • So here we have a diverse group of KMers who each have individual methods to capture, share and reuse the information they come across. My point is that KM is always focused on ‘how can we take all of this information’ and then get it into the heads of our employees. The reality is we spend little time on helping our employees manage their information.

  • If I am unable to keep up with my email, I’m sure not going to go blog about something.
  • If I am unable to search for a document within my company, why should I contribute to our collaboration space? No one will find it.
  • If I can’t find a document on my laptop, how can I share it with my team mates.
  • In the corporate world we get inundated with information through email, phone calls, F2F meetings, company town halls, more email, RSS feeds from blogs, wikis, Word docs, Powerpoint files, still more email, texting, IMing, Yammering, Twittering, Skyping, conference calls, Webex-es, webinars, Podcasts, Videocasts, and on it goes as technology marches on. Just like the ‘last mile’ is often neglected, the ‘last foot’ between the employee and computer is also neglected and overlooked. In building KM systems, processes and embedding those into business processes, yet not taking into account the diversity of information, information sources and tools to manage and consume the information we end up hurting the employee rather than helping.

    I am curious if any of you have focused on helping employees to become better consumers and producers of information as part of your KM program.