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The E-coach Blog
Infolust? Information In Organisations Not Always So Lustful
By Alison Bickford on September 23, 2012
We are all consumers, and most of us use the internet without fuss to find the information we need to make decisions, and to keep abreast of our interests and friends. As consumers, we inherently know the power of information to help our problem-solving. So, why do most of us not engage with information in the same way at work? Why is ‘Infolust’ felt so little by our staff?
I’m sure the answer to this question is complex; linked to culture and climate, motivation and so on. But some of the answer lies in the way we ‘do’ information management in organisations.
Last week in my Connect Thinking blog I explored what we can learn from content marketing about information writing and distribution. Below is my attempt at examining the differences between online content at home and at work.
If we start to write and treat online content as if we were internet marketers, it would go a long way to ‘enabling’ staff to use information to make informed decisions, problem solve and develop mastery.
Some organisations do this well; in particular IT-based organisations and R&D organisations who have understood the value or accessible content for a long time. But many are so far behind in content management that it’s a significant impairment to staff capability development. One way to ‘litmus test’ where organisations place the value of accessible content is by taking a look at their intranet.
Seven years ago I developed a synchronising searchable job-aid app for field laptops, long before smartphone apps were invented. As a learning practitioner I was criticised for introducing content management to my role. I think learning practitioners have every reason to be at the forefront of content management. Let’s see if we can build the ‘Infolust’ felt by our staff. Let’s empower our staff with accessible content. This would be a significant contribution to workplace learning.
4 Responses to “Infolust? Information In Organisations Not Always So Lustful”
Alison Bickford said on September 25th, 2012 at 5:51 pm
Thank you to Mark Vickers, one of Bersin and Associates L&D analysists and blog writers, for noticing this blog post and expanding upon the themes. Please see Mark’s blog post titled Satisfying “Infolust” with On-Demand Learning: http://blogs.bersin.com/blog/post/2012/09/Satisfying-Infolust-with-On-Demand-Learning.aspx
Bob Finley said on September 26th, 2012 at 3:04 am
Alison, I feel very sorry for companies that have the structure you describe in the right hand column…so Orwellian.
Think of how much creativity is stifled by limiting people’s ability to access content.
BTW, here is a nice article that suggests some broad-ranging sources of information. At least once a week, I try to hit all of these:
Ryan Tracey said on September 30th, 2012 at 11:55 am
Alison, I think you hit the nail on the head when you recognised that in the workplace, content is highly restricted. Unfortunately this content is accessible via clunky systems, that only a few special employees have authority to access anyway. Combine that with a lack of motivation among said people to share the infirmation with their colleagues, and the rest of us are left in a state of learned helplessness. I am perplexed as to why so many organisations withhold resources from their own staff!
Thanks for your comments, Ryan. I appreciate your comment re the role of ‘learned helplessness’ in all this. I too am perplexed about the withholding of information. Is it an issue of trust? Is it a parent/child dynamic between the organisation ‘system’ and it staff?