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Virtual Discussion Summary

1 January 2011
Dr. Moria Levy
Virtual Discussion

A joint discussion with Dr. Asher Idan, Director of the Social Media Futures Management Program in the Faculty of Management at Tel Aviv University. Lecturer on management and business intelligence in social networks in the Department of Information Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Advisor to management and R&D centers. Summary: Dr. Moriya Levi.

The Media

A virtual discussion is a fascinating experience. The debate held on 12/27 at the initiative of the Knowledge Management Forum in Israel was undoubtedly such an experience. Dr. Asher Idan was the expert guest who led a discussion on knowledge management in an organizational social network as a tool for exponential acceleration in innovation. The debate was conducted through a variety of synchronous and asynchronous channels. The lecture opened as a virtual discussion on the forum site and incorporated a presentation that formed the basis for questions arising before the meeting began.

Some of the answers were given on-site; sources and elaborations will be provided by Asher later through the forum. In addition, a discussion opened on Go-meeting, hosted by the Open University, which was conducted both as a joint discussion and with many side chats between pairs of people who were happy to meet at this festive event. This multi-channel activity certainly reflects the essence of the WEB. Everyone is talking to everyone, in many ways, with a lot of mess, but in the end, with a message. As Dr. Asher Idan said, the medium is the message. Moreover, knowledge sharing and social media are like a glove for a hand and a lid for a teapot. The main message of social media is sociality.

Using Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is used in organizations for various purposes. Six primary purposes for which success has been recorded:

  1. Research and development...factors of 10x or more

  2. Customer service (e.g., Best Buy)...50% savings in expenses

  3. Listening to employees

  4. Identifying experts, expertise, and knowledge (e.g. British Petroleum)

  5. Recruiting employees (e.g., Deloitte) and subsequently, more investment hours and less turnover

  6. Implementing the management's strategy (e.g. Bank Leumi, Bezeq)

Other organizations with Web 2.0 solutions include Sephira Medical Center, IBM, the University of Haifa Library, the College for National Security, Partner, Amdocs, HP, Yamin Orde, and others.

Measurement and Effectiveness

One issue that preoccupied everyone was the measurement and effectiveness of this type of solution. Wikipedia is undoubtedly an example that is not necessarily representative (effectiveness of 100x), but organizations also benefit from the effectiveness of sharing. The sharing is of different types, for example, an organization connecting itself to customers and employees, a site where customers can answer each other's problems, thus saving the company time, work, and money, companies that involve users in software development, and more. How do you measure? Differently.

  1. It must be understood that every member who joins the network adds many connections, so the number of connections and potential contributions grows exponentially (a lot in mathematics...) as more members are added.

  2. Measure the sum, not the individual.

  3. Look into the distance, including qualitative aspects such as employee loyalty, innovation, and level of connection with potential customers, as well as quantitative factors such as sales, customer retention, and more.

Web 2.0 enhances the power of the organization in many dimensions: it increases dialogue, awareness, passion, and trust. Several Web 2.0 principles are the key to successful implementation. If they are not appropriately implemented, it can explain why organizations fail:

  1. Transparency

  2. Listening to customers

  3. Freedom is the future

  4. Empowering the individual beyond the walls of the organization

Why is it so successful?

To understand the depth of the idea behind Wikipedia in particular and Web 2.0 in general, we must ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. Why is it free?

  2. Why is it everywhere?

  3. Why can any layperson write in Wikipedia, yet the level is very high: quality versus control?

  4. Why does Wikipedia generate 100 times more knowledge than the latest methods?

  5. And...what organizational structure creates Wikipedia, blogs, YouTube, and Linux?

And if we understand these, we will realize the success and the factors behind it.

And with all the success...

2010 was the year organizations in Israel entered social media with a marketing orientation. Managers in Israel are still terrified of entering internal organizational social media with a research orientation or an orientation of listening to employees. We will need to be patient.

Summary and Thanks

And another personal note in conclusion: Me (Moria) and I saw that Mili (Dr. Mili Feri, OBU) also expressed herself similarly. It's still more fun when all the senses are working, and you can also hear the discussion, not just read it. For people like me, it enhances the experience. It will be interesting to see what our children will think about this issue.

I want to thank Dr. Asher Idan, OBU, and Amdocs for the sponsorship and the members of the Knowledge Management Forum for the barrage of questions.

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