Many organisations encourage collaboration, communication and innovation, but how many actually put their money where their mouth is? We see wikis as being a great way of nailing all three of these objectives. Below is a list that explains why wikis are a great tool in an organisation. A wiki by the way is a website that allows multiple editors, like wikipedia. In this case I am suggesting that everyone in the organisation is able to access and edit the wiki.
1. Many hands make light work
No one person can build a Formula 1 team. The fastest cars in the world can only be consistently so when people collaborate. Take away the collaboration and they fall behind. The same can be said for organisations. OK you may have the brightest people in the industry working in your team, but if they are not collaborating you are missing a trick. Collective knowledge is better than individual knowledge.
2. A problem shared is a problem halved
A continuation from point one, it's easier to find the answer to a problem when you apply more brains, skills and ultimately people.
3. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy
Work can be fun, and easy. Wikis can promote collaborative working by making the process of working together easy and fun.
4. Employees cherish a sense of inclusion
Wikis can create a greater feeling of common purpose - by, for instance sharing the thinking going into policy creation and encouraging participation. The result is a greater sense of ownership for the work produced. This all brings about a greater sense of respect for the company that they work for and for the work that they do.
5. What's your problem?
Wikis are great for dealing with bottlenecks in an organisation. Social Media guru and Deloittes Director of the Centre for the Edge John Hagel once told me an example of a bus company using social software for dealing with broken down vehicles and locating spare parts. When you think of social software bus companies don't spring to mind yet this was a great example of how social media was applied to a problem area in a "non techy" organisation and delivered amazing results.
6. This I have seen before this I have seen this before this I have seen.
Wikis can enable duplicated work easier to identify and co-ordinate, particularly if wikis have wide accessibility.
7. Who's not looking over your shoulder?
Make the best practice process open and available to all. Why would you want to shut out the extra brain power of your organisation?
8. Team building on the best parts of the team
Create a greater sense of unity within a team or group, or organisation by letting all contribute to creation of documents bringing their particular strengths to bear.
9. That's my idea!
Wikis can enable contributions e.g. seed idea, to be identified and rewarded if that is the culture of the organisation.
10. Reduce time getting up to speed
Wikis can enable faster integration of new people into the organisation and more rapid payback, because they can get up to date information on "how-to" to reduce onboarding time.
11. Reduce travel costs
Wikis enable instant communication via the web. This means that meetings can take place for example of the phone and notes can be captured via the wiki.
12. Know what you are talking about
How many times have you gone into a meeting without knowing what the agenda was. By posting an agenda on a wiki you can get the answers thrashed out before the meeting takes place.
This brief list highlights potential benefits of using wikis in your organisation, and outlines how much of it applies to organisations of any size. We use wikis to work together in our two man band. Arguably the benefits are greater the larger the organisation.
The benefits of using wikis are magnified the more people who have access to them, but of course some risks are magnified as well. The main ones being loss of Intellectual Property and staff thinking that the knowledge gained enables or entitles them to do things they are not qualified to to do. All risks can be mitigated, but that's another topic.
I could go on and on with advantages but I thought 12 is a nice number to digest. What are your thoughts on all of this?