Dunno if that’s the right title but it will do for now.

Found this little snippet by Bryan Zilar at WebMonkey, via umm Wired I think.

Heather Gold is the inventor of something she calls Open Source Management. Through her company, Subvert, she stresses the importance of bringing socially open technologies such as wikis and blogs — as well as good, old fashioned face to face meetings — into the arena of personnel management. By using these open source tools, employees get a chance to contribute to the culture of their workplace. They can share ideas, build new relationships, and increase the level of communication across all levels of their company.

I was thinking about how to run forums in a company, and have the employees rate and rank ideas. Sort of “We are beta testing this product and how do you think it would go?” But people are paranoid. Even if you let them create user names like Slacker12 and NotReallyJoe, they won’t participate. Unless its outside of the company.

Then you are looking at a generic company who hosts forums and online communities. Then the bosses will be the paranoid ones – security, what if it got into the press, etc. And Hell have no fury like a flame war between staff. Actually there are ways of handling these managment concerns but it is tricky, no getting away from it.

Helen Gold makes an interesting point in the interview:

The core idea behind my Open Source Management forums is that if a business started to apply some things it likes about its code — inclusiveness, openness, transparency — to its human interactions, people would be happier. The business would be more honest, and therefore more sustainable and productive over the long haul. The goal is for people to be vulnerable with one another.

Vulnerability. Not something we usually associate as a positive in the workplace is it?

A nice question to ask your staff on internal forums is: what part of our business can we ask our customer to do? and how? After the initial response – eh? we get paid to do stuff for them, why would they do stuff for us? for free? – some interesting responses would come in. One guy might know of a customer who created a funny video, another one has an idea for a mash-up, some hyper consumers might like to create wiki-FAQs on your products and services. Something might just come out of it, if you approach it with a sense of humour and respect.

There’s a role in here for the careers.com.au and jobs.net.au. If I had the energy and time, I’d pull in feeds of the job ads and run them with the ability to make comments. Such as “don’t work here, it sucks” and “hey that’s MY job, why are they advertising it???”. I doubt I’d make any money from advertising but gosh, it’d be a popular site! Ah well, maybe careers.com.au could come up with a middle ground – wiki info on the company by staff (the stuff you search for when interviewing, org charts and whatnot) and testimonials by staff? Not sure about testimonials anymore. If someone did create a BitchAboutYrJob site, those ‘testimonials’ would have a higher standing than company endorsed ones. Someone is going to have to be brave here and bite the bullet and open HR/recruitment/job ads into an open forum. Remember, a lot of jobs are made known by word of mouth. That is simply NOT being utilised on the best medium for it – the internet. I think LinkedIn has something like a jobs database, created and managed by the users, with a comments function. Project managers know other project managers, techies know techies… yeah I know, you guys know all this stuff. Funny though, LinkedIn just doesn’t do it for me. I would want a real jobs/careers community to create it, not a faux-network. Others will think otherwise.

BTW I love Bryan Zilar’s little blurb:

Bryan Zilar is a world traveller and technology writer living in Austin, TX. He is currently working on a killer Hollywood screenplay. His primary interest is how digital will kill the video star.

NetStars are about to arise properly (yes I know I’ve been saying it for 10 years but it will happen) – Google Leeeeeroyyyy Jenkiiiins from WoW as an example; they are arising out of MMORPGS (interactive movies, otherwise known as online games) and podcasts. Once they cross over into mainstream media, we’ll have a new set of digerati fashionistas. Digeristas? Fashionatis? *rolls eyes* 10 bucks for a virtual autograph, y’all!

EDIT: Hill & Knowlton BreakfastBytes have a bloglet on moving from ‘old’ knowledge management platforms to ‘new’ collaborative wiki style one. I noticed that The McKinsey Quarterly is looking at software as service, to save CIOs money on the chore of certain common business apps (such as running knowledge management?). Could be an interesting business model there. 🙂

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