Wiki = better corporate culture and customer experience?

Previously I noted in passing about the article in the New Yorker about Wikipedia–great stuff that has received a lot of attention and brought Wikipedia into the mainstream. Love to know what Wikipedia’s metrics for the last week have shown regarding that attention.

Anyway, I’d also noted that Digital Universe offers a very different approach to collaborative knowledge, social networking etc. As I’m trying to apply the wiki concept to the knowledge management of a global company with extreme complexity, a lot of questions come up regarding the two approaches, one being more or less a self-governing free for all, the other being a collection of portals maintained and controlled by subject matter experts as gate keepers.

Of course the global company in question would prefer the controlled model, it makes them feel much more secure that all hell won’t break loose and it suits their command-and-control style of management to a tee. So at first, I was leaning towards the Digital Universe model, but now…in fact, I’d really like to see them give the wikipedia model a try for these two reasons:

Those using the knowledge base are also those who interface with customers. They know what the most current problems are, what the work-arounds are, what’s needed, what works. They know it like the back of their hand. As Peter Drucker pointed out often enough, the frontline workers are the keepers of truly useful knowledge. They have every reason to make sure the knowledge they have at their fingertips is the best, most correct and most useful. They have every reason to make sure their co-workers also have that information so they don’t have to clean up the mess left behind by someone who did the job poorly the first time. They also have every reason to want the recognition they deserve for the knowledge they’ve acquired. In all of these cases, a wikipedia answers the call.

Further, the customer would prefer that frontline worker have as much useful, applicable and timely information as possible, as quickly as possible. That would mean a quick answer to their problems and that’s pretty much all they want.

So, none of this is rocket science but to get a large, entrenched company to recognize the worth and value of this radically new frontier of shared knowledge and JIT publishing…now there’s some magic.

How threatening is a many-to-many publishing? Maybe pretty dang threatening, it could be a game changer. But in exchange, you’d have fresh energy, real motivation to “get it right,” and direct relationship with excellent frontline customer experience.

11 responses to “Wiki = better corporate culture and customer experience?

  1. Interesting post.
    Based on my experience, I believe that efficiency of a shared knowledge xholly depends on spontaneity. The main obstacle to shared corporate information is the principle of authority and control as it has been looked upon so far.
    Free information exchange within the firm does not mean anarchy but a new approach to management. A priority, according to me, is to take into account the notion of corporate unconscious. The english version of my blog is still recent, but more will be added on the subject.

  2. Absolutely.
    Thank you for this comment.
    You are perfectly right about Google. There comes a time when the firm sees its initial business model challenged by its environment. When the founder is still in command, he usually copes by instinct. It is much more difficult for his successors. For them this capital is not natural. This is what I consider as the corporate unconscious.
    I have described this process through two different cases : one is Renault, the car producer, the other is Fnac, a french distribution company. But they are in french.

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