The concept of trying to manage knowledge on a corporate level is hardly new. Knowledge management applications have been around in one form or another for years. The trouble was first getting people to populate the application and then actually distributing that information to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, a lot of these applications die on the vine because after a while they become an exercise in managing knowledge for knowledge's sake.
But now we have the concept of collective intelligence, which seems to be a lot more focused on making sense of all the existing available information. For instance, Imaginatik recently released version 10 of its Idea Central platform that borrows a lot of the concepts associated with social media applications and applies them to the process of managing knowledge in the workplace.
But that's only half the battle. According to Imaginatik CEO Mark Turrell, the other half of the battle is to provide the back-end tools that make sense of the mass of information being collected. That means including text analytics, reporting tools, dashboards and communications applications that make it a lot easier to expose the big idea hidden behind a mass of conflicting data. As Turrell puts it, the process needs to have a discernable workflow that is complemented by the equivalent of a business intelligence application designed specifically for managing ideas.
In the not too distant future, Turrell said that Imaginatik will also add mobile phone support as these devices are rapidly becoming the primary tool for generating the initial communications around a specific idea or issue.
There are a lot of approaches to managing ideas and concepts. But when all is said and done, the reality for most companies today is that most of their intellectual capital is wasted for the want of a clear mechanism for sharing ideas and concepts. We may be calling that process collective intelligence these days, but in reality it still all comes back to finding an effective way to manage knowledge.