How do you best manage corporate memory when company size exceeds tribe level?
At Zipp we are crossing that threshold where personal contacts, passage talk, and informal communication no longer work. Our tacit knowledge is not openly visible, we are re-inventing key stuff, vital lessons learned are falling through the cracks and new insights are not being effectively integrated. We find new employees starting from scratch with little access to corporate lore, no way to ask the right questions or find the people who may 'know'.
We have tried wikis, threaded forums, public folders, a home-grown CMS using MySQL and comments within our ERP system - all with little sustained success.
In common with others, we have key insights locked in e-mail threads, useful ppt presentations and Word docs hidden on multiple hard drives, process dos and don'ts that are not updated, useful heuristics that walk with staff turnover, business intelligence that is gathered but not sifted, collated or dispersed, vendor and customer feedback that gets lost or never relayed.
I'm thinking we need to tighten up on documentation, agree on a corporate taxonomy, apply meta-data, tag key files, make related content visible via maps and browsing aids, move away from keywords to essential meta-concept tags, enable & allow object annotation, notification & alerts, promote PKM and 'voicing', encourage and capture dialog, listen & report weak signals.