The Need to Share: Find It, Exercise It

Via Michael Idinopulos this New York Times article is not only a good story of wiki adoption (in the US State Department) but it also has this great two-liner:

“The decision to embrace wikis is part of a changing ethic at the department, from a “need to know culture” to a “need to share culture,” said Daniel Sheerin, deputy director of eDiplomacy, which was created in 2003. “This is a technological manifestation of a policy difference,” he said, a change he dated to when Colin L. Powell was secretary of state.”


(1) Find a need to share: what are you duplicating across silos that would save time money and accuracy by consolidating?
(2) Show people how to use the tools to share and create some seed content (we’ve talked about wiki raids before; Tim Kannegieter recently reported on actKM a very similar idea using bulletin boards/forums for a project team – they posted their questions and ideas into the forum during their kickoff meeting, they were shown how to set up their email alerts, and then used it as a continuing sharing resource)
(3) Create rhythms and habits of sharing – it takes time for people to acquire new habits, so use natural rhythms like regular meetings, broadcast reminders to encourage people to get into that habit.

Not everyone will fall in (you don’t need everyone) and you have to be careful not to make contribution mechanical. Your aim is to create sufficient, good, seed content that it becomes an attractor, and to nudge folks with potential to fall into a new mode of sharing.

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