The basic point of the article is that Blogs, Wikis, RSS, tags, etc. - basically Web 2.0 tools - is going to:
supplant other communication and knowledge management systems with their superior ability to capture tacit knowledge, best practices and relevant experiences from throughout a company and make them readily available to more users.The discssion that has followed asks the really important question:
Will these tools really be adopted or is this going to be similar to other Knowledge Management efforts with lots of hype and poor results?
There is a fair amount of research on technology adoption and I think we can also draw upon personal experience and what it tells us is that there is a basic formula at work:
Adoption Rate = Perceived Usefulness (PU) * Perceive Ease of Use (PEOU)PU is “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance” – software that is perceived to be useful gets adopted at higher rates.
PEOU as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free from effort” – software that appears easy to use gets adopted at higher rates.
One of the reasons that there is great excitement around these new technologies is they definitely are easy to use (have a high PEOU). In fact, once most people have experienced the tools, I would claim that their perception of ease of use quickly becomes higher. I would suggest that many KM tools in the past, the opposite is true.
So, yes, these tools are easy to use, which leaves us with the important question: "What's the PU?"
I personally find that most people will evaluate PU on compatibility and immediate personal value. Compatibility looks at how the software fits the user's values, beliefs, and ideas as well as the tasks that it will support. Immediate personal value is a question of whether you derive real value from the software early on.
Many past KM systems were predicated on "come put lots of your information in" ... "we'll get value later." That just is not going to get adopted.
McAfee points primarily at the lower PEOU:
"The good news is that the new technologies focus not on capturing knowledge itself, but rather on the practices and output of knowledge workers."
But I think the argument:
Things like del.icio.us bookmarks and Flickr picture uploading are driven by personal convenience and value (easily accessed bookmarks or a place to share pictures with friends and family).
In the Enterprise, will employees get value from these tools? I would suggest looking at my article: Personal Learning for Learning Professionals - Using Web 2.0 Tools to Make Reading & Research More Effective
In this article, I'm talking about using these tools not to help other people, but to do something better that will help me. In particular, Personal Research / Personal Learning. I get value whether or not others adopt the tools.
I don't see adoption as a slam dunk here, but I do see that the higher PEOU and higher PU multiplied makes significant adoption significantly more likely.