I’ve been thinking a lot about the voting mechanism in Digg, Netscape beta and others that allows users to rate content as helpful or worthwhile. Think of Amazon’s “Was this rating helpful?” mechanism but with the power to literally elevate content to higher visibility.
I think there are some wonderful uses for this type of social voting for the enterprise, and Kevin and others might consider teaming with CMS providers to include this functionality into corporate intranets and KM solutions. Here’s one idea:
In traditional organizations, innovation and idea generation is a top-down exercise. That is, business leaders drive the services and products based on their own analysis of market needs. In addition, corporate policy is determined by the leaders of the organization.
On the other hand, some organizations allow for the bottom-up vetting of ideas. Why not use a voting mechanism like that employed by Digg to allows employees to participate in a “suggestion box” approach – suggestions to better the company – both in terms of corporate policy/culture and the products and services they offer to the customer? Fellow employees can then rate these ideas and the best ideas are vetted to the top. These suggestions then get on the radar of corporate leaders.
Implementing this functionality on corporate intranets seems like a no-brainer to me. Unfortunately, in my experience, only the large organizations really focus on harnessing the potential of their intranets. The new social technologies of blogs, wikis, feeds and the like have a slow mainstream adoption process, but the need for sharing knowledge in the enterprise is great and these tools are inexpensive solutions for building an innovative knowledge-sharing organization.
After doing a little digging (horrible pun), it seems as though the folks at Digg will be releasing a Digg API around the time of the version 3.0 release next Monday:
“We also plan on launching an API after the next major release of digg (v3). The API will provide users with access to digg DB data in which you can build your own digg tools/research projects around.”
Wow, to avoid a dissertation and possible major brain dump in this little box, I’ll keep this brief, well as brief as I can.
Yes, mainstream adoption is slow, but not as slow as one may think. And no, I’m not knocking your perception, but trying to push a little into what is really there and we don’t see it and how potentially take what is already 95% there and push it to the full 100%.
Email, yes email; “labeling” in Gmail, and “folders” in Outlook; it’s already there. We as professionals and personal folk are already doing and we have been doing it for years. Just like when AJAX was first coined, people (mainly us geeks) were all a buzz. Two words: Oddpost and Outlook. Both were online email interfaces that used AJAX and had been around for a while.
This is all inline with the whole Web 2.0 thing. We’ve already been doing it, it’s just now someone has labeled it. The last 5% is the integration and making the usage and findability more public and so private, of course, where doesn’t the line stop and what is considered private not for prying eyes on company equipment?
Now, with all of that said and to avoid more confusion and brain usage of this little comment box, we can continue if you’d like or maybe setup that lunch we had talked about. 🙂
Rob, what seems to be a bigger issue is institutionalizing innovation on a company-wide scale (so that an intranet-based knowledge-sharing solution can then be used to streamline the innovation process). However, an alternative question is the following: can such knowledge-sharing technology be used to help institutionalize innovation?
I would encourage you to read my article on culture change. There’s always a question whether technology can change an organization’s culture of if the culture must first be changed before some sort of technology solution can become accepted.
Frankly, I think either method can work. When I was in charge of a help desk once upon a time, I encouraged staff to enter answers to common questions in a knowledge base. I made this part of the staff’s performance review process, so there was obvious incentive for them.
Many people do not want to share the knowledge that they have – perhaps because they feel that their job depends on it. However, if incentives are used to encourage sharing, then tools such as the example I provide might then have more and more people buy in to a culture of sharing…
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