Wednesday morning, I attended a session entitled "Get Connected! Social Networks and Knowledge Management". I was expecting something about social software but that wasn't exactly the case. It did feature good technology so I stayed put. The speaker was Ted Graham, from marketing firm Hill & Knowlton.
Graham presented ways of discovering the hidden relationships in a work environment. We are used to the hierarchical way of viewing a network of work colleagues; software now permits to see the informal networks and see who is really central and who is on the periphery by doing cluster analysis, for example, on email exchanges and meeting scheduling in Outlook. The idea is then to use the results for strategic relationship and functional relationship building.
Also mentioned were software like TACIT ActiveNet, BranchIT, and LinkedIn to broker relationships - a bit like Friendster and MySpace but for professionals. Hill & Knowlton are also working on a expert database using a product called Knowledge Network in Sharepoint Beta.
Finally, to create more relationships, every Friday at 3PM in the Toronto office, a beer cart makes its way through the cubicles. But that involves another technology all together :)
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