Shared meaning is an important goal for any company trying to survive in the slower knowledge economy. With shared meaning, comes easier communication, greater alignment, more profitable identification of gaps, market shifts and competitor strategies, easier cross community sharing and improved awareness.
A key 'affordance' for supporting shared meaning and increasing understanding, is annotation, the ability to respond to written text, critique, amend and anneal. Facile annotation speeds idea cycles, introduces diversity of thoughts, supports & improves knowledge claim validation, creates conditions for synergy and helps with the emergence of new connections and promotes knowledge flow.
Annotation may be a digital Post it Note, a note in the margin, a comment on an instant message log by a 3rd party, a formal critique, comments on a memo, adding new content or correcting someone's spelling errors. What we need is the ability to attach annotations to a wide variety of objects (power point presentations, styled Word documents, discussion posts, chat room logs). Such annotations should be with or without date & time stamps, explicit author or pointers to the source. We should make provision for annotations to annotations as well.
Annotations serve to capture key learnings and to allow the emergence of improved context and meaning. Although the ability to have flexible annotation services is key, it is not the entire story by any means. There must be a culture that supports open communication, a recognition of the value of strong feedback, an acceptance of the key role of validation and critique, before any company will extract value from their annotation services and functionality.
Article based discussions from eLearningpost.com
The irony is bloggers such as eLearningPost do not support easy and intuitive feedback and are mainly a one-to-many broadcast medium or publishing genre. I expect annotation to be a key KM functionality requirement soon. So what role does annotation really play in your organization and the way you work with knowledge ??
Is a guestbook or a comments form sufficient for real 2-way conversations, for relationship building and for enabling knowledge flow?