Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) and the social intranet

Patrik Bergman (Axis)

Late in the afternoon it was time for Patrik Bergman from Axis to enter the stage. His presentation focused on Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM), a method by Harold Jarche, which helps you take control over your personal development and keep you connected in the digital workplace and social intranet.  

Patrik Bergman is the global intranet editor at Axis Communications – meaning getting global content into our intranet, making everybody contribute, and being the product owner. Since a few years back, Axis has grown extremely rapidly from 700 to almost 2000 employees. And there are a lot of things going on in the company.

Social intranet! Well, maybe.

Since six months back, Axis uses SharePoint 2013 on premise. Patrik explains that the brochure said that SharePoint 2013 would solve many problems and that the users would love it. Some things were true, such as the search engine, while others didn’t really take off as expected. For example, many employees were hesitant regarding the social functionality. To get a better understanding of how the employees perceived the intranet, Axis performed the WIC-survey. And when the employees got the chance to write whatever they wanted, they were very open about the intranet. Regarding the social functionality, several explained that they didn’t need yet another channel. They already had chat programs, e-mail and more. The fact that 25 percent of the employees are Linux workers can also create challenges. Basically, SharePoint works best for Windows users.

Personal Knowledge Mastery

In parallel to this, Patrik took a workshop in Personal Knowledge Mastery, a method developed by Harold Jarche. The formal definition of PKM is: A set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world and work more effectively. Patrik explains that PKM involves three different processes. The first part is all about seeking (on Google, Twitter etc.). After that, you start making sense of it by relating what you’ve found to the challenges you face internally. Lastly, you bring something new to the table by sharing. The great thing about PKM, according to Patrik, is that you’re allowed to take some time to reflect. He explains that what he’s seen from using SharePoint 2013 is that it emphasizes the sharing part so heavily. We might actually be missing the first two steps in order for people to share something that they think is valuable. A bigger focus on Seek and Sense might also do the trick.

PKM applied to a social intranet

  • Seek: Pull and push.
  • Sense: Make personal via reflection.
  • Share: Add value via new ideas.

The idea is basically to throw something out to the world and hear what people think about it. Then you get it back and have time to reflect before throwing something new out to the world. The main goal: To create a better workplace.

Social or intelligent intranets?

According to Patrik, the social intranets are emphasizing sharing too much. In his opinion, we should therefore do something else and make people good at sharing. The fact is that by only sharing, you actually can become more noise than signal. So just introducing a social intranet without aligning it with people’s needs, can make it rather noisy. On the other hand, based on the real business needs, a social intranet can be awesome. Patrik explains that a big potential with social intranets is to increase insights, which is related to PKM. Therefore, it might be a good thing to find tools to increase the insights by using the social functionality. A process in which PKM can play a great role.

How do we support learning?

Something that is always important to bear in mind is how people learn in organizations. Patrik explains that we’re often talking about the 70 – 20 – 10 perspective. 70 percent of what we learn is via tough jobs – we bump into challenges every week and learn from them. 20 percent is via feedback and communities, and the last 10 percent is via courses and formal learning. The big question we need to answer is: How do we support the informal 90 percent? A good step in the right direction is to support Seek and Sense. According to Patrik, one idea could be to integrate the seek part via tools that people already use. Instead of only having a news feed, you should also let the intranet support you in the first two parts. Twitter, for example, could very well be connected to the intranet in order to make it easier for people to use it.

Vision: A more humane workplace

Patrik explains that what he’s striving towards is a more humane workplace. We should never forget why we’re working with intranets and why we’re gathering there. It’s not only about tools, but how we can help each other. In his opinion, PKM can help us bring something new to the table on how intranets can bring value to a company. Patrik ended his presentation with his four steps to create an intranet that people will use:

  • Set a vision in line with the business goals.
  • Create a business plan based on people’s needs.
  • Prepare for a long, hard journey.
  • Do your best at work. Relax at home.

Biografi Patrik Bergman

Patrik Bergman arbetar som global redaktör för intranätet på Axis i Lund. Han ansvarar för att intranätet når de ursprungliga målen, att det stödjer företagets framtida mål, och att det motsvarar användarnas förväntningar. För att genomföra detta konkret omvandlar han användarnas önskemål till use cases, som övergår i konkret utveckling varje iteration. Patriks bakgrund är som infomaster och produktchef på Aspiro, doktorand på Malmö Högskola, samt manusförfattare och instruktionsdesigner på AcadeMedia och Axis. Privat är han familjefar, och gillar att läsa Dostojevskij de minuter som blir över.