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Business, Featured - Written by on Friday, July 11, 2008 10:37 - 6 Comments

Guest blogger Stewart Mader on Wiki ROI #2: Collect and Refine Tacit Knowledge to Improve Efficiency

Editor’s note: this is the third post in a multi-part series from Stewart Mader, author of Wikipatterns. You can check out some of his other work at Grow Your WIki, and the first two parts of the series can be found here and here.

When an organization has a wiki at the center of its operations, people can gather and share the kind of information that others need – including everything from projects, products, initiatives, strategies, and other pieces of the big picture, to the everyday: how to process an expense report, access an office’s network, get business cards printed, or reserve a meeting room. On a wiki, this information can be gathered by the small efforts of many.

Let’s look at an example – the expense report. It’s a standard process, with a common form that people need to access, complete, include receipts, and submit for approval.

If the organization’s accounting office uses a wiki, a staff member can add a page, explain the process for filling out an expense report, attach the blank report template, and make sure the page can be viewed by employees logged into the wiki. That staff member might also decide to make the page editable, so that others can refine the instructions based on their experience. Another option is to restrict direct editing of the page, but enable comments so that people can leave feedback and notes in addition to the instructions. The accounting staff can then update the instructions and procedure based on comments, and leave reply comments to let people know that their feedback has been incorporated.

Either option is more participatory than a static page, and more efficient because people throughout the organization can add useful knowledge where it makes the most sense – on the wiki page, in context, instead of cluttering email inboxes with messages that will be mostly ignored.

But what’s really important about the wiki is not just that one example of the expense report, or even that the report itself is available on the wiki. It’s the idea that employees are working together to put the information they’re carrying around in their heads on the wiki, where others can more easily access it, use it, edit it, and improve it. That builds a culture where all employees can become contributors – both to the goals of the organization, and the evolving knowledge about how to reach those goals.


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Wiki ROI #2: Tacit Knowledge is Key to Improving Efficiency
Jul 11, 2008 17:55

[...] where a wiki can help, and it’s the subject of the latest article in my series on the Wikinomics Blog: A wiki is more participatory than a static site, and more [...]

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[...] Mader from Grow Your Wiki is guest posting on Wikinomics and his lastest post is on the effectiveness of wikis enabling tacit [...]

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