A story of envy, fascination, respect and inspiration … and of course an iPad

Yesterday I came across a piece on Mashable, which in the first instance filled me with envy. Lucky for me fascination, respect and inspiration soon took over as envy is clearly not a healthy state of mind to maintain for long.

A World Without E-mail: One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace’ tells the story of Luis Suarez, the Knowledge Manager, Community Builder & Social Computing Evangelist in the IBM Software Group division.

Suarez seems to be living the KM dream of having been able convince both his organisation and his team of the benefits and superiority of social networking in the workplace.

Granted, IBM is a technology company and seem the ideal fit to lead the social networking revolution in the workplace, nevertheless one can only hope that this recognition of social networking at IBM as a superior communication and collaboration tool will, over time no doubt, spread to other types of organisations, including law firms.

As I read the article and Suarez’s blog, Thinking Outside the Inbox, I found myself moving on from the feeling of envy to:

  • fascination – having found someone with the same views on the usefulness and benefits of social networking in the workplace as myself;
  • respect – given Suarez’s ability at IBM to put into practice his concept and effect a cultural transformation via social networking; and
  • inspiration – to continue working towards achieving the same in my role in KM, given my conviction that social networking has a significant and yet unfulfilled role in the workplace to improve communications, collaboration and productivity.

I can only hope that sharing this article about Suarez, and his blog, will give hope and inspirations to others working in the KM/social networking field in industries and businesses where we can sometime feel that we are fighting an uphill battle to have social networking accepted as a viable and realistic business tool.

To quote the article, ‘“[s]ome people say to me, but you are lucky, you are [at] a big IT company”, concludes Suarez. “It may seem easy for a big company, but with the huge amounts of options we have out there – all the various software tools – there is no longer and excuse.”’

Truer words were never spoken by an inspiring KM professional!

Finally, as a fellow iPad convert over the last couple of months I also recommend Suarez’s blog entry on ‘My top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad’.

I got my iPad a couple of months back and I think it is a piece of technology ideally suited for business and, in particular, knowledge management as it puts the internet and the full range of current awareness and industry resources at your fingertip in an extremely portable, yet useful manner at all times. Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Twitter for iPad – this application was released just a few days ago and it is without question the best Twitter application available for the iPad right now. Now, if you think that Twitter was designed for bored teenagers and the opinionated unemployed activist … you are WRONG! I get live Twitter news push feeds on my iPad from CCH, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Kluwer Arbitration, Harvard Business Review, Boardroom Radio … and the list goes on …, which means that at any given time I am up to date on the latest legal news and updates.
  2. WritePad for iPad – forget lagging around pens and notebooks for meetings. All you need is your iPad. The incredible handwriting recognition of this application (you can use an iPad compatible stylus or even your finger(!) on the screen) turns your notes instantly into typed and spell checked documents, ready to email, Tweet, print or share with another iPad (or other compatible device) within seconds … (and it will even translate it for you into another language!).
  3. GoodReader for iPad – a fantastic document management tool that handles PDF, Microsoft and Mac formatted documents. I keep a library of useful and frequently used legislation, including court rules and civil procedure legislation which is then available to access, email or print at a moment’s notice no matter where I am.
  4. HP iPrint for iPad – automatically detects compatible wireless printers (and scanners), enabling you to print emails, documents, notes on the run … anywhere.
  5. Adobe Ideas for iPad – a sketch pad perfect for brainstorming ideas, drawing quick charts and plans, ready to email instantly.

And of course there is Safari, Apple’s browser, which gives you instant access to the internet on the go in a useful screen size and format. This enables me to have 24/7 access to social networking, news and Google Reader (a free online resource I use to manage all my RSS feeds, including Suarez’s KM Blog), among the myriad of available online resources useful to a knowledge management professional.

… and remember, as Suarez says ‘[e]mail is where knowledge goes to die’.

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