In case the summer doldrums have hit you and you aren’t about to leave on vacation, here’s a story that will give you a mental break and, hopefully, encouragement about knowledge management. Stan Garfield’s Weekly Knowledge Management Blog featured a post by Chuck Hollis regarding KM at General Electric. In his blog, A Journey in Social Media, he tells the impressive story of GE’s SupportCentral, which one commenter described as GE’s best-kept secret. This effort, begun in 1999 before most of us were aware of the possibilities of social media, appears to have reached a level of maturity that most knowledge managers can only hope for in their KM efforts. For example:
But here’s the best part — the part you should really pay attention to when considering the implications of GE’s experience for your organization. Here is what Chuck Hollis believes SupportCentral proves about KM conventional wisdom:
“First, it clearly isn’t a generational thing. If you’re of this view, I now have documented proof that you’re dead wrong. Score one for my generation’s ability to adopt new ways of working.
Second, traditional corporate cultures can’t change. If there was any corporate culture more button-downed than GE’s, I’d like to see it. And it now appears to be completely transformed around social computing.
Third, the assumption that this has to be a top-down mandate. Sure, Mark and his team are pretty senior, but they had to do this the hard way — by convincing hundreds of thousands of people that this was a better way to work.
Fourth, that business justification is impossible. GE’s culture is all about hard savings, and documented value. They routinely discredit soft justification. And they have been convinced in a big way — and for quite a while.
Fifth, that social media is incompatible with business concerns. Their environment is pretty much business-oriented. There’s not a lot of “social” going on the platform — and it works very well, thank you.”
This is something to come back to again and again. What would it take to replicate GE’s experience in your law firm’s knowledge management program?