In the 80's and even in the 90's, a lot of the issues we had with computers were about lack of memory as we stuffed our computers with new and more capacity-consuming apps and content.
Today, we don't have to bother much about that. Today, our issues with computers are more human, related to how we use our computers and the digital information that we find, keep and consume using computers.
- On a personal level, we might feel stressed over the amount of time and effort we need to spend on finding, keeping and consuming digital information to be able to carry out our work.
- On a corporate level, worris are more about the effects on productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation, security and compliance from how good (or bad) we are at managing and using information.
So, we all know that information management is key to resolve the issues and problems we have and to achieve the goals we set up. We are now pretty good at improving and streamlining transformational and transactional processes with the use of information technologies and information management. The challenge now is that we haven’t become good enough at improving knowledge work with the same means. Of cource, we are quite good at cutting down on administrative tasks and reducing headcount: But leveraging worker productivity and fueling innovation in knowledge-intense and highly collaborative work environment is a completely different thing.
What we need to accept is that most of the theories, strategies and practices we have learned for Taylor, Deming and others are not helping us very much here. We need new ones. We to try them out and gain new experiences. But first we need to understand the nature of what we are trying to improve. We need to understand the situation of the knowledge worker and the nature of knowledge work.
One of the first lesson that we should learn is that knowledge work is very collaborative. It is about people communicating, interacting and doing things together. Knowledge work is social.
We also need to understand the environment where the work is carried out and the characteristics of that environment. Today, that environment is to a less or greater extent digital.
That is why we can learn a lot from the nature of the social web and how it is used. That is also why Enterprise / Web 2.0 has become a melting pot for different disciplines (KM, BI, PR, management and so on) that need to upgrade their theories, strategies and practices from a 1.0 world to a 2.0 world. It is a very interesting place to be as a professional working with improving businesses with the use if IT and Information Management.