April 2015

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 Self-Learning Knowledge Sharing Platforms

How internal company Wikipedia and other virtual knowledge sharing platforms allows Creating Self-Learning Cultures which attracts self-learning assets.

Founder, Owner, Publisher AutomatedBuildings.com

New Products
Control Solutions, Inc
Site Search
Securing Buildings News
Past Issues
Secured by Cimetrics

I am virtually working as their newest employee to better understand the evolving Self-Learning Knowledge Sharing Platforms of a young consulting company providing engineering consulting services related to building energy efficiency.  http://sesconsulting.com/about/

I am hoping that I can learn to think younger, learn to try to think like them. Here are some of my first thoughts about this journey.

First Day in a New World

Reliable Controls My first impression and the hook that would make me work for this company came from their "Compass" a statement of their culture and beliefs.

A values driven company. Any future direction must take these values into consideration and ensure that they continue to be the basis of our culture and how we do business with our clients.

●    We practice environmentally friendly behavior, both professionally and personally.

●    We always “do what we say we will do” or renegotiate terms if we cannot.

●    We will always strive to Reach Higher.*

●    We provide a place that allows people to have great careers balanced with great lives.

●    We maintain professionalism in our work and a casual family atmosphere in the office.

●    We encourage a culture of learning, innovation, collaboration, and teaching.

●    We give back to our community with 10% of our profit and a portion of our time.

Very different than the culture and goals of companies of the past.

This culture coupled with this commitment; We are currently in the progress of improving our approach to staff training and development. We work with all of our employees to understand their career development goals, and develop a plan for getting them there, including determining what support might be required to help get you there. That support can take on many forms, from assistance with formal education opportunities, to mentorship and informal learning opportunities. We are building a strong culture around knowledge sharing and self learning, and you will have access to our extensive and ever growing library of resources that will help you further your knowledge in this area.

Made me say Wow! I want to work here!  I am an attracted self-learning asset.

So I virtually took the job.  My first contact was an email with an attached word file with instructions and introduction to staff I would work with.

Ken Sinclair - Training Outline

Welcome to the team!  In this document we’ve outlined what you need to know over the first few days and weeks in order to get you rolling.  All of the items in this outline are paired with a detailed training module on the training wiki, which can be accessed in the following ways......

Simple instructions and I am quickly connected to their online anywhere, anytime, company culture from the comfort of my chair in my present location using any of my BYOD devices. This is very different than any jobs from my past.

The word file goes on with a good description of my first few days training goals linked directly via hypertext, to company resources on the training Wiki.

I'm extremely impressed with the concept of an in-house Wiki as it seems to be the logical way to keep everyone in communication while building a internal self-learning culture.

It is interesting in discussions about the use of an in-house Wiki with anyone under 30 years old, they ask how else would you do it?  Most folks over 50 ask what is it?

Hummmm..... Is it possible that us old guys are a big part of not understanding how we need to bridge the skills gap?

Yes indeed. How would one create a self learning company culture without an internal Wiki?

If you Google "how to create company Wiki" you will get insight as to why this is a good way to do this.  It starts with us old guys getting a better understanding of what a Wiki is.

Wikipedia Background;   If you’re new to Wikipedia, here is what you need to know.  Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.  But it’s a lot different than the ones that you probably had in your high school library. Wikipedia doesn’t hire writers to create any of its content.  Instead, they rely on the general public to write and edit posts.  Anyone can do it.However, Wikipedia uses strict editorial guidelines to ensure that no one abuses the online encyclopedia

As I poked further into the Wiki site I learned to think differently. Concepts such as Free and open-source software (FOSS).

Wiki has many layers I never knew about. I was always just pleased that it provided extremely valuable information on everything, never thought much about how that information got there or how I might use it internally.

Many layers and many flavors.

https://www.dokuwiki.org/dokuwiki# DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in access controls and authentication connectors make DokuWiki especially useful in the enterprise context and the large number of plugins contributed by its vibrant community allow for a broad range of use cases beyond a traditional wiki.

The internal Wiki reflects the online Wiki but lives only on the company server and is available only to company employees. It is built... no it grows by the complete participation of the self learning culture of the company.

As I continue the first days of my self-learning journey my mind is blown as it expands, quickly grasping many new concepts.

I like that the staff is introduced and how I contact them all.  Almost the answers to everything I need to know in the first few days is in this searchable database.  The ability to explain how the company uses Software as a Service (SaaS) and links to the respective web page and services used by the company is brilliant. The best feature is that SaaS can be changed and everyone will be instructed on the new service.  A very important piece for the self-learning, self-evolving company.

I love the way Wiki gives me the information about scheduling the  boardroom and connects me to the SaaS App that does that. The reality that everything can be done from a cell phone is expected and is a requirement for those young minds, but is a surprise for us old guys.

What better place for concept collision to occur to create change while forcing collaboration than an internal company Wiki.  This is the place and one of the company platforms where the complete company culture can see what is the combined collaborative thinking and the documented evolutionary path to agreed solutions.

In future reviews of my journey I will include a bit more about some of our other knowledge sharing platforms beyond the Wiki. Although Wiki is probably the most robust one, they also have discussion boards, google+ page, and you tube channel. Admittedly, they don't have this knowledge sharing thing fully worked out, and they are trying hard to find platforms for different media that people will actually use.

I am very impressed with the growing nature of their learning platforms this is a great example of some of the though from their training manager that is required to build a successful knowledge sharing platform.

We have the option of adding a comments section to the wiki pages.  I'm not sure if this would add benefit or subtract from the collaborative nature of the resource building project. I'm satisfied to simply observe the behaviour or a while and then make some strategic decisions about how to increase participation.  Some people are driven to collaborate, others are not.   I don't contribute to Wikipedia or Youtube but I certainly use them on a day to day basis.  Some user participation is crucial, but 100% participation is not.

One initiative is to explore how we can create a single search box for all SES resources.  We can start to push all of our PDF resources to the wiki, and then any time anyone wants reference material they will be funneled through the wiki search box, this will bring up internal and external resources all in one list (possibly even google search results if we like).   My hope is that this further increases the building of our resource 'cloud'.

This is all great stuff and I hope to also gain ideas from my readers on LinkedIn and Twitter and get the industry talking about the struggle to create these extremely necessary knowledge sharing platforms.




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