Wiki Tricks

There have been some nice practical suggestions lately about how to roll out wikis in a way that supports their usefulness and adoption (and eminently transferable to other enterprise 2.0 tools). From Industry Week (via Maish) there’s some sensible advice about integrating wikis into the business activity and essentially creating macros or templates for commonly anticipated tasks (eg minutes of meetings).

This advice chimes perfectly with a felicitous distinction made recently by Michael Idinopulos and amplified by Andrew McAfee: Idinopulos said that the reason why many enterprise 2.0 initiatives fail (and actually also why most KM initiatives fail) - is because they are pitched “above the flow” of normal work. Ie they are construed as extra activities “giving back” to the organisation like a kind of tax on work. Where they offer most promise is where they are integrated “into the flow” of normal work. This is a really nice way of putting it, and it complements by adding a process perspective to our idea of information neighbourhoods that are contoured to the shape of localised work practice.

Idinopulos then followed up with some specific advice for wikis (he hasn’t been blogging long, but he’s blogging powerfully): he suggests that wikis often fail because they start off being “supply-led” – ie a dumping ground for content that rapidly gets out of shape and out of date so enthusiasm and use quickly fades away. He proposes that wikis should be launched as “supply-led” ie satisfying known needs with a simple process and structure for getting them into the right shape to meet that need:

“1. Get a small group of core community members to whiteboard a high-level information architecture in the form of a few categories (not more than 4-8) and subcategories (not more than 1-2 levels deep)
2. Create a series of blank pages or “stubs” hyperlinked to reflect the category structure
3. Assign each category to an individual member of the group to flesh out
4. Reconvene in 1-2 weeks to review what everyone has done, share learnings, and revise the category structure

Once those steps have been followed, you’ll have a structured wiki which people will want to read. You’ll have a core group of champions personally committed to the wiki’s success. And you’ll have a structure that encourages organized, thoughtful participation in line with the wiki’s strategic business objectives.”

I’ll be adding this to our arsenal along with the wiki raid.

And just to round the smorgasbord off, prompted by Simon Goh, Scott Gavin has published a series of suggestions on how to market and launch an enterprise 2.0 initiative in your company.

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