KM on a dollar a day

Musing on knowledge management, aid and development with limited resources

From the archives: New UN knowledge sharing system “Eye leak” announced

with 2 comments

I was looking though the archives of our internal blogs and I found this interesting article (author unknown) – original post date April 1, 2007 prepared as part of our organizational review process. I wonder what happened to this innovative idea.

One of the major challenges in developing an effective knowledge sharing system is  an established mind-set or organizational culture of being unwilling to share information, and the idea that “knowledge is power”.  Traditional transparent, participatory and horizontal KM methods offer much promise in theory, but in practice have produced sub-optimal outputs according to our monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Because of this, much information sharing is done informally though peer to peer  mechanisms based on mutual trust and reciprocity (“you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”). One of the negative aspects to this is that access to information is often incomplete or inaccurate, and the sharing is highly unequal creating “haves” and “have-nots” which is clearly a human rights issue. From an economic point of view it is also highly inefficient, as we are not able to achieve pareto optimal results to maximize the rate of return on the investment in knowledge generation.

Another related challenge is the difficulties staff face in adapting to new web 2.0 technologies. These new technologies can lead to a huge growth in information sharing, but also accentuates the digital divide between the haves (those with Blackberries) and the have-nots (the rest of us). This can inadvertantly lead to loss of important knowledge assets, such as forgetting how to use the handy  “prevent copying” feature of e-mail.

Luckily we have come up with a new Web 2.0 scalable tool based on free market models of information efficiency and integration that addresses the problem of knowledge sharing but in a way that is adapted to the UN’s corporate culture.

We would like to present “Eye-Leak”. This is an E-bay like tool for on-line information sharing that combines the best features of prediction markets and online auctions.

Basically subscribers can anonymously offer pieces of information to share on the online “market”. Other subsribers who are interested in recieveing this piece of information can enter anonymous “bids” consisting of other pieces of juicy information, an “IOU a favour “, or even financial rewards which can be  exchanged in a “barter mechanism.” The offerer can then select the winning bid and transact the exchange via our secure online system which uses double SSL encryption (or something like that – if we told you how we did it we would have to kill you). Those who acquire rumours information can enter a rating to provide quality feedback. Each “information provider” will have an anonymous profile which includes their overall rating (between one and five “Assanges”) and the number of transactions.

We are piloting this tool for the organizational review and the biennium budget process. Participation is open to all staff with series 100 contracts, and consultants and temporary staff who can demonstrate their commitment to the core values of the UN by submission of forms A-111 though Z-999 in triplicate (sorry these are not available online) and a bottle of whisky to the site founder. To request your anonymous profile and start leveraging your intellectual capital please follow this link.


Written by Ian Thorpe

April 1, 2011 at 7:30 am

2 Responses

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  1. As you know, I am not always a fan of new technology, but this is irresistable. Sign me up now and may the whisky roll in

    Mark Hereward

    April 1, 2011 at 7:49 am

  2. At last, a really practical solution to an enormously wicked problem. I know many who will be keen to try it. Thanks for cheering up an otherwise exciting day.


    Mark Addleson

    April 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

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