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The Next generation of personalization

1 August 2014
designers at work

A recent trend that is here to stay is personalized knowledge access (usually in an organizational or professional portal). There are several ways to personalize knowledge access. These methods differ in their level of personal adaptation and users' activeness in the personalization process.

Before we introduce the "next generation" of personalization, we must first review its past:

Each organization chooses which of the several knowledge personalization methods suits their organization's resources, organizational culture and business needs.

There is usually a positive correlation between level of personalization and the costs of technological development; most organization give up from the start. Furthermore, the more users are required to actively participate in the personalization process the more organization are hesitant to adapt the method due to fear of lack of cooperation on behalf of their employees or worse: losing control over the pushed content and their website's display.

While I understand these fears and have myself taken a more conservative stance only few years ago, I believe it's time to face it: the world has changed, and so have we. Whether it's the rapidly developing technologies or the unbearable knowledge overflow, the digital age involves us (whether willingly or begrudgingly) more active when managing our own knowledge.

One common web phenomena which is the "next generation" of personalization is Content Curation. Two leading social networks that implement this approach are Google+ and Pinterest. Content Curation is a process involving collecting, organizing and displaying content relevant to a certain topic or interest performed by its user. The users' activeness is therefore very high as is the level of personalization.

This might sound familiar. It should indeed, since Content Curation is practically an amalgam of all previous methodologies.

Well, you might ask, so what's new about this solution? Mainly the responsibility for Knowledge Management. The responsibility for Knowledge Management has been shifted to the users: "if you won't collect knowledge, you simply won't have knowledge". This approach implements an active learning process for employees searching for knowledge and generates organizational involvement.

How can this work in an organization?

The organization offers a uniform design frame in which users (considering some limitations) organize their content.

The organization offers the user content "Lego blocks", yet the construction is left in the users' hands. Organizations control the contents yet not their consumption. Consumption of varied content is encouraged, however, via various marketing elements meant to attract users.

No more complex characterization, sophisticated templates, notification components, Favorites lists, etc. Everything, in this sense, will be simplified.

I wish you luck.

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