Our team at Bloomfire spends a lot of time thinking about how sharing and discovering knowledge impacts work. Knowledge is mission critical to all organizations, and as the volume of information available to organizations grows, the ability to manage knowledge effectively is more important than ever. We’re certainly not the only ones who are paying attention to the role of knowledge in the workplace, so in 2019, we launched our Q&A series The Future of Knowledge at Work to allow leaders across different industries to share their thoughts on how knowledge management is evolving.
We spoke to a wide range of thought leaders, including a Director of HR, the CEO of a customer success software company, and several market research experts, and it was fascinating to see each different perspective— as well as several common themes that emerged.
Now that 2020 is underway, we thought it would be a good time to look back at some of the highlights from the first year of our Future of Knowledge at Work series. Check out some of our favorite quotes below.
Nine Energy’s Jeff Miller on the Fear of the Unknown
One of our favorite topics at Bloomfire is change management— many of our customers are adopting a knowledge sharing platform as part of a digital transformation initiative, and one of the biggest challenges they face is employees’ resistance to change. Jeff Miller, Director of HR at Nine Energy, spends a lot of time thinking about this as well. He told us:
“One big challenge is overcoming people’s natural tendency to want things to stay the same. The current system or process may not be efficient or even effective, but at least it’s known. Fear of the unknown can sometimes keep people from moving forward and doing things differently.”
Jeff also offered several pieces of advice to overcome this challenge, including this:
“Engage people who are open to trying new things. They can be your internal ambassadors as you share the benefits of doing things differently. Often people are more inclined to listen to peers than an ‘outsider’ from a different department.”
Research Consultant Steve Portigal on Accessible Research
Knowledge silos are another topic that’s near and dear to our hearts at Bloomfire (or at least the act of breaking down knowledge silos is near and dear to our hearts). And silos are a major pain point for market researchers— if their research remains siloed, then stakeholders across their organization miss out on valuable opportunities to apply new insights to their decisions.
Research consultant Steve Portigal spoke to the importance of democratizing research and insights in his Future of Knowledge at Work interview:
“The need is evolving from sharing results and archiving to really building up a collection of data and knowledge that can be revisited. Siloed research and repetitive research are inefficient and hurt the cause of bringing research into every part of the organization. The more the work of researchers (from data through results) can be made accessible and reusable, the more impact research can have inside the organization.”
Innovation Expert Andria Long on Eliminating Bias
Steve Portigal wasn’t the only interviewee who addressed the importance of making research and knowledge accessible. CPG growth executive and innovation expert Andria Long pointed out that when stakeholders can easily access data and results from research projects, they’re less likely to make decisions based on a gut reaction. Andria told us:
“I think capturing knowledge where someone can access it is the piece that’s often missing. In an ideal situation, you could just search your database and get the top three data points and different ways of answering your question in real time. Then there’s no distortion of knowledge based on memory and belief. It helps take the bias out of knowledge sharing.”
Market Research Advisor Annie Pettit on Tapping into Existing Knowledge
There’s a lot that young professionals in any field can learn from accessing their peers’ existing knowledge and their company or industry’s historical data. The challenge is knowing what to look for. This is something that Annie Pettit has thought about in her career as a market research advisor. She said:
“People get excited about new labels and don’t realize they can access a wealth of existing information if they simply knew the old label for it. In general, we’re learning and moving forward, but we need a better way to connect new entrants in our industry with the existing knowledge base.”
One way we’d recommend organizations address this challenge? By using a knowledge sharing platform to capture both explicit knowledge (e.g. process documents, research reports) and implicit knowledge (e.g. best practices shared by experienced team members).
ChurnZero CEO You Mon Tsang on Information Overload
You Mon Tsang, the CEO and Co-Founder of customer success software company ChurnZero, sees the sheer volume of information now available to us as both a blessing and a curse. In his Future of Knowledge at Work interview, he told us:
“I think technology has both hurt and helped knowledge management. We generate so much more information than ever before and we have so many more communication options. Knowing where to ask, what to ask, and how to find information is an essential challenge for new companies. We know more than we ever did, but we also miss more than we ever did.”
CloudApp’s Joe Martin on Choosing the Right Tools for Knowledge Sharing
And finally, CloudApp’s GM and VP of Marketing, Joe Martin, sees the challenge of information overload as something that we can overcome with the right set of tools and training. According to Joe:
“In the modern workplace, it can be easy to get confused as an employee on what is expected of you for knowledge management and communication. The right onboarding information, tools, and training on how to use them are key to ensure what you are spending money on is actually resulting in productivity, improved management, and collaboration.”
We’d like to thank all the subject matter experts who participated in our Future of Knowledge at Work series in 2019. We know that the need for fast access to information is imperative and that the ways we search for and find information are rapidly evolving, and we’re excited to be a part of the conversation around modern knowledge sharing. We’re looking forward to getting more great insights from industry leaders as we continue our interview series in 2020.