September 28, 2005
The Babson Knowledge Blog
Welcome to the Babson knowledge blog! For those who don’t have this knowledge, Babson College has a research center on knowledge management (the Working Knowledge Research Center, or WKRC) with some well-known researchers and about 25 sponsors who are collectively world leaders in managing knowledge and learning.
We hope to use this channel for a variety of purposes that are different from what we do with our existing ones. First, it’s a nice way to talk informally about knowledge and learning topics—there is a lot that doesn’t fit into a research paper format. Secondly, we hope that a variety of people who are connected to the WKRC will get involved—researchers, sponsors, and assorted friends. We definitely don’t want this to be “The Tom and Larry (Prusak) Show.” Third, it’s a vehicle for getting some of our ideas into the world at large, without being subject to the tyranny of Harvard Business Review or Sloan Management Review editors.
We also hope to explore the role of blogging as a knowledge management medium. Now, maybe it’s just because I’m an old fart, but I have been somewhat skeptical about the business value of blogging in general. I know that not many of them get very much attention, so what’s the point of writing them? And if they do get attention, it may be for the wrong reasons. Most organizations get very nervous about having employees blog about company strategies, products, or services.
However, I was intrigued by something that Bill Ives, a former Accenture colleague, knowledge management devotee, and big blogger, said to me recently. He pointed out that it doesn’t really matter whether anyone reads your blog or not. He views it as a device for personal knowledge management—a way to keep track of ideas that you’d like to follow up on or return to at some point. And if someone else is interested, so much the better.
Blogs also don’t have to go outside the company. As I write this entry I am flying from Australia back to Boston. Sitting next to me is the CEO of an advertising agency. He said that his company uses intranet blogs for internal information sharing. Experts in some aspect of their business—say, search engine optimization—are expected to write blogs on what they know and what they learn. His company is distributed around the world, and intranet blogs have been an effective way to transfer knowledge. By the way, his company bans individual employee blogs. We’re going to see whether we can do a case study on this company’s approach.
Let us know if you like this blog, or if you’d like to contribute something. We’ll also try to let you know about other knowledge-oriented blogs that might be worth perusing. See you in the blogosphere.