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FCW : April 30, 2016
Ines Mergel — a young, smart and productive faculty member at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Cit- izenship and Public Affairs, one of our country’s leading public administration programs — writes mostly about social media and government. She has just published a new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Gov- ernment titled “The Social Intranet: Insights on Managing and Sharing Knowledge Internally.” Opportunities for sharing knowledge are an important reason to put people into organizations in the first place rather than have them work alone. Another important insight: An excellent, last-century technology already exists for sharing information among experts in an organization. It is called an office. Co-locating subject-matter experts with one another cre- ates opportunities for informal information sharing through visits to neighboring cubicles, chats at the water cooler and so forth. When experts work at different locations, Mergel notes, traditional bureaucratic tools for informa- tion sharing often involve email distribution lists that send the same message to preselected groups of recipients. Both approaches have significant limitations. Obviously, when people are physically separated, they have trouble routinely communicating face-to-face. And the hierarchical methods for disseminating information to separated indi- viduals might inadvertently overlook people who would be interested in the information. They also make responding to and updating the information difficult and kludgy. I first became interested in the phenomenon Mergel describes when I was telling my students about the efforts many agencies are making to break down functional stove- pipes, which often involve having functional experts spend significant time in offsite cross-agency teams with col- leagues from other specialties. That approach has a number BY STEVE KELMAN A recent report explores the potential — and limitations — of social intranets for enabling employees to collaborate when they’re not in the same location New technologies for sharing knowledge TheLectern Opportunities for sharing knowledge are an important reason to put people into organizations in the first place rather than have them work alone. 32 April 30, 2016 FCW.COM Ines Mergel Syracuse University 2016 Using Technology Series The Social Intranet Insights on Managing and Sharing Knowledge Internally 0430fcw_032-033.indd 32 3/31/16 10:00 AM
April 15, 2016
May 15, 2016