Trends in Knowledge Management

Traditionally, KM was more often than not a top-down driven approach. For example, document taxonomies and knowledge sharing procedures were defined; identified experts shared their knowledge in defined communities.

Today, we can identify six strong trends that lead into new concepts of knowledge sharing and collaboration:

People are inherently curious for more based on their interest: a) Social media allows us to discover new content which is shared by our peers, friends, etc. b) Social computing empowers people to access information that is related to their interests and scope of work. These services support employees gain faster a deeper and broader expertise complementing classic (expensive) training. This open doors to informal and contextual learning; a more costs effective training.
Two very recent examples of semantic explorations are Facebook Page Suggestion; Google Reader Play.

The semantic web – aka Web 3.0 – is built on the idea that not only humans but also machines can understand information. Enterprises can benefit from semantic web services by defining company-wide meta-data on all forms of knowledge and improve coherence and consistency in classifying content which will lead to more accurate search results.
Examples I would like to mention are Aardvark a “social search engine” and SwiftRiver aiming to “distill wisdom from crowds”.

Enterprise 2.0
This trend is about empowering employees; providing them an open platform to express opinions and share expertise. Corporate counterpart to Web 2.0. Enterprise 2.0 builds on management to pass some control on to the network; they empower the knowledge workers to work and act autonomous. Based on loosening the control, Enterprise 2.0 will allow information to flow more directly from originator to recipient, and therefore enables faster knowledge sharing and innovation.
A very recent summary on Enterprise 2.0 suggest the the new trends are processes integration, reduction of information overflow, and integrating tools into a few applications.

Many have realised that facts-oriented information needs to be placed in a context. The success of social networking confirms the trend to more people-centric knowledge sharing. People are engaged in new conversations which are enriching the daily work and increase the effectiveness of information sharing.
A McKinsey Quarterly article on knowledge workers’ productivity suggest to overcome contextual barriers by rotating employees across teams and divisions; this allows specialists in different areas to learn about one another’s work.

In today’s information age we are confronted with an information overload. Visualisations allow a more efficient knowledge transfer. Graphic representation of data is already very common in financial applications, referring to e.g. balance scorecards. Further, connection and networks within information and between people could be visualized, which allow faster knowledge monitoring & absorption.
Here some more examples for visualisation of data and information: The economics of Star Wars, visual complexity, The Visual Wiki, and ManyEyes.

This is a general trend in business and society. Mobility creates new opportunities for knowledge sharing initiatives to exploit areas which has been out of reach before. Providing mobile solutions will allow decision making faster and more accurate.
The mobile web influences the trends above: