One of the activities I’ve been in discussions about lately is capturing knowledge from individuals. I’ve mentioned Compass as a technique HP labs has been looking at to derived networks within organizations and use analytic techniques to understand their affect.
It’s clear we live in a technical world that is undergoing constant change and one of the key skills technologists have to have is understanding, managing and keeping up with change. Technologists can either do this directly or by having access to a large, inter-disciplinary network of individuals with diverse skills.
Organizations don’t always realize that when valued technologists leave, the network they have cultivated can dissolve and various branches (that no one knew existed) can die. People are not fungible. Unlike the formal organizational structure, these interdisciplinary networks are never written down. Technology needs to have a role in understanding and even documenting these relationships.
The skills of collaborating and supporting others should be one of the key selection criteria for technologists within larger organizations. The importance of this skill is right up there with analytic and creative skills. Its importance is another example of why diverse skills within an organization are so critical to facilitate an innovative culture. It is probably not limited to technologists either, here is a post Internet Evolution that shows team building right at the center of the CIO skillset.
Some people question, others observe or experiment but networking is the one skill I see that pulls the organization together into action.
That makes me ask as we start to look at an individual and their impact on the organization: What is the depth and breadth of the network they developed?