Smartphones: The new Knowledge Management Tool?

Mobile technology is everywhere; in fact,  its also increasing and everyone wants in; There are over 1.08 billion smartphone users around the world, out of which 91.4 million are from the United States. 89% of users actively use their smartphones throughout the day. Here´s a nice infographic from GO-Gulf.com that shows some of the smartphone user statistics and facts.

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Phones are no longer used to carry out simple tasks such as messaging and email. Now through the use of personalized applications we keep control of various aspects of our life including health routine checkups that allow you to check your heart rate, calories,  weight, etc any time, anywhere. We can also find apps that allows to maintain a better control of our  financial statements, and just about everything from shopping to checking out the local news, including programming the best route to take to work in order to avoid traffic and other hazards.

There is an opportunity to consider the use of specific apps in order to promote knowledge transfer in organizations. The use of smartphones is also something natural and doesn´t require us to teach people how to use them. Many people have already embraced them and the younger generations can´t live without them.

So why not start designing apps that can be used by organizations to promote social networking, learning and knowledge transfer? Something that can be used without breaking information policies and security barriers.

For example:

-Imagine going to work in the morning and finding a poster or banner that promotes new learning tools or recently published information such as books, norms or manuals and  with our smartphones we scan a bar code and it immediately directs us to the information or connects us with an expert that has more information on the matter.

-Reading tweet-like feeds regarding new products or serviced acquired by the organization.

-A subject matter directory that allows us to find an expert taking into consideration our location

The fun part is that all this can be done while “we are on the run”, so it doesn’t matter if we are heading to a meeting across town or happen to be waiting for the bus to get back home. Through the use of these devices we help to reduce unproductive hours and allow workers to gain access to critical knowledge in “a teachable moment”. As I mentioned in my previous blog, this refers to the moment when a person is more receptive towards learning something new.

Its all about using tools that we already understand and embrace. Why try reinventing the wheel? This doesn’t mean that we shouldn´t pay attention to content: on the contrary; any knowledge management tool must have community approval; if they feel that they have been left out they won’t adopt it. This is a general rule for Knowledge Management: make people part of the initiative; let them define what it means to them and allow them to shape the organization´s knowledge model. Organizations that do this prove to be more successful in Knowledge Management.

Coming back to the point of mobile technology, don´t see it as something farfetched. A communication revolution has already begun and these devices are spearheding a cultural change. Don´t steer way from the current; embrace it. There are many interesting ways of promoting knowledge acquisition and transfer and this is one of them.

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