I like the recommendations in this article about creating a successful corporate Wiki.
- start threads around everyday work processes with entries related to agendas, meeting minutes, daily tasks and short term projects
- include content that will grab the attention of some technophobic senior managers with entries including things like sales progress reports, revenue updates, and other critical business metrics
- include social elements as well as work information – sports, activities, etc.
- use traditional IT tools (like email) that employees are familiar with to guide employees. You can add links in the email to the section of the wiki that has more detailed information.
- keep it open
Bryan Chapman has a recent post about the use of Wikis for the purpose of learning. He links to this article and concludes “it is the design or the creative process…not the technology that makes a learning program successful.” How true.
The article Bryan point to says…
If your corporate wiki is not as full as you would like, don’t blame the tool. Content and knowledge management have never been about tools and technology; they’re about people and processes. ..The magic [is] in the social network of individuals…
So, how do you give your wiki legs? Make it about people and processes, and make it social.
For one-time events, like the past two workshops I’ve facilitated, I’ve set up pages ahead of time for each attendee to take notes in. I put a couple of starters in there. Nearly all have used them in the workshop, in part because they start their pages out with an entry about themselves and build on it from there. I pre-populate a main page with all workshop materials, additional resources, etc. I suggest they use the wiki to work on something real – apply ideas to what they’re doing now. I have seen workshop-related links, videos, resouces, notes from others, along with information about the locale of the workshop, sports team, post-workshop activites, etc. In the past, when I’ve just made the wiki ‘available’ (and demonstrated how to use it) it hasn’t been used. Giving someone something to do ‘gives’ them the wiki.
In support of a project management class I’m taking now, the team is using a wiki for various deliverables. We had started on the school’s LMS – Blackboard – but it’s not friendly for collaborative writing. Plus, it’s super funky in Firefox actually transposing URLs when I open a new tab to browse. moc.llah-nodnarb. WTF?
Anyway, the participants of the workshops and the class had never used a wiki previously. They are now using them because they own them. And some of them are now using them at work. Cool.