Intranets 2.0

Posted by  Daryl Cook —September 27, 2007
Filed in Collaboration

harbour bridgeLast week I was lucky enough to go along to the Intranets ’07 forum in Sydney and had the opportunity to see what a number of organisations in Australia are doing in this space.

One thing that really struck me is that most organisations seem to view wiki’s and blogs (and all things 2.0), to be a natural extension to their Intranet projects. The pressures to adopt the latest trends are certainly there, and doing something inside the firewalls seems to be on people’s agendas, so it makes perfect sense to use the teams and infrastructure that are already in place.

However, I’m not sure that they know what they’re getting themselves into. Adopting these new collaborative and social tools will require a paradigm shift from the current thinking. Let me explain …

In my notes, I wrote that there seemed to be a real dichotomy in the language being used. On the one hand speakers when describing their Intranets were talking about standards, compliance, custodians, approval, reviews, structured, efficiency, control, and ‘single source of truth’. Yet on the other hand, they mused that intranets were about ‘people, people, people’ and that they were trying to improve collaboration, increase knowledge sharing and foster networks.

I put this down to what appears to be a lack of or poor understanding about the differences between information and knowledge. It seems that many organisations still have a mindset that knowledge management is about trying to codify explicit knowledge – finding it and sticking it in a database, which will in-turn improve sharing and collaboration. However, in doing so, they are ignoring tacit knowledge and the social aspects of learning. Organisations face big challenges to bridge this nexus, and to do so they will need to also consider the ‘human’ aspects of social software – that it is enabling, empowering, emergent, organic, action-oriented and open. I’ll end with a quote, which I think sums it up pretty well …

” … viewing knowledge as a duality means that both perspectives are needed and both must be taken into account in any attempt to manage knowledge.” 1


1. Hildreth, P.J. & Kimble, C. (2002). “The duality of knowledge”Information Research, 8(1), paper no. 142 [Available at]

About  Daryl Cook


  1. Richard Hare says:

    I’m part of a community of intranet managers in London. At a recent meeting, some members were talking about the need to “police” forums and blogs. I found it very difficult to get a satisfactory answer when I questioned whether this was necessary or desirable.

  2. Daryl says:

    Thanks for sharing this Richard. Not to make light of your predicament – but you’ve made my day!
    with empathy — Daryl

Comments are closed.