Human Centricity, Social Media and the Knowledge Enterprise

A defined path for content management is still needed, but the raw material feeding it becomes assembled using collective approaches a bit at a time. White papers would still get generated based on defined templates, but what would feed it is an increased understanding and availability of thoughts assembled by people in the organization, which is done through a continuous organic movement.

Centrally created taxonomies will be driven by facets and roles of people, and classification through individually generated tags will supplement the organizational view. Providing alternative means for navigation will be necessary. Personalization and customization will become strategically important in this human-centric approach, and any assessment of technology deployment will necessarily require give higher weight to these features. Teaming and collaborative software will have to be deployed allowing people to connect with respect to their project, their job, and their passion.

Beyond this, to get maximum impact from knowledge management, the leadership of a knowledge enterprise will need to shift its mental model and start thinking from a sociological and anthropological viewpoint. They will need to observe and perhaps even conduct ethnographic studies to understand the emergent ways of working that humans in self-organized teams have realized. This is especially needed if there are generation gaps between the leadership and the rest of the workforce.

To enable higher levels of innovation, organizational-level knowledge processes will need to be deployed to pickup ideas and opportunity identification arising out of community activity. The knowledge harvesting process will go beyond lessons learned and get focused on sensing trends to become a forward-looking enterprise. Over time, as communities mature, decision-making also will increasingly be delegated to them, and pertinent issues will get funneled to them spontaneously for handling. This will result in more agility in sense-making, decision-making and responsive action.

The enterprise will need to be thought of as a set of social networks both formal and informal, both intentional and emergent, which interact with each other to create organizational capability. These networks will also interact with the outside world over time and create innovation capacity. This is a powerful picture of the future and all that is needed to get started is to think of the human being.

Raj Datta is VP and chief knowledge officer at MindTree with global responsibilities for all aspects of innovation, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and reuse. Raj has established KM as a key global strength for MindTree, and is credited with creating one of the most holistic approaches to KM. He has built MindTree’s knowledge ecosystem with many socio-technical platforms, which has been awarded the NASSCOM Innovation Award 2007 and the MAKE Award multiple times.

Raj has an M.S. in computer science from Lehigh University, an M.Eng. in operations research from Cornell University, a B.S. with double majors in electrical engineering and operations research from Cornell University, and a B.A. with double majors in computer science and mathematics from Cornell University.