Gen y has triggered off a new set of concerns regarding knowledge management.

Right now we are still at a crossroad where culture is a high priority issue but on the other hand we have a young group of professionals also known as gen-y who have revolutionized communication methods and made social networks a catalyst for knowledge generation and sharing. For some this translates into an uncontrolable grapevine that’s time wasting and doesn’t generate value. However, social media has already redefined many things. Like it or not, it’s here to stay.

Trust is no longer an issue. Gen Y wants to be heard. They want a place in center stage. Empathy , sharing and co creation are the new values of Gen Y.

For KM this means that we have to start thinking differently. A new generation of KM is already on the way and it’s not just about adopting social media. We have to learn to listen and understand how Gen Y interacts.

Some new aspects regarding the new age of knowledge management are:

Communication competencies (both online and offline): engaging gen y will depend on our ability to adapt and construct learning environments that suit their communications styles and are readily available to them. We will have to work on developing a new set of competencies in order to strengthen knowledge sharing in such a manner that context and critical knowledge is not sacrificed as conversations become largely digital than face to face. In fact kmers might have to start thinking seriously about becoming digital analysts.

Content quality: turning digital may prove to be difficult if we let conversations take their own course. We will need to start thinking about developing community managers who will have the role to steer conversations towards business objectives and facilitate critical knowledge capture through social media. He will have to ensure quality in order to avoid missing important elements that will guarantee that a knowledge artefact will be fit to be reused at some point in the future.

Culture: we will not longer be concerned about shaping culture as “sharing becomes the new code”. co creation is an essential ingredient in Gen Y interaction and we will have to focus on providing them with the right tools and mechanisms in order to promote knowledge transfer. In this sense we have to ensure that the company reflects an open environment and promotes a sense of trust at all levels. A good way to start is to analyze what companies are doing right now in order to promote open innovation. I think there are many lessons learned that will be usefull and will guide us towards shaping the right culture for Gen Y.

Communicate value preposition: we need to start looking at KM as if it were a new product that’s about to come out in the market. Gen Y love to hear what’s good about a brand and how it will shape their lives. How did Apple find a place in the heart of millennials? Why does somebody choose an iPhone over a Galaxy?

Unfortunately I think many kmers have locked away their marketing chip and failed to express value in due time. This hurts the KM program as people don’t feel that they connect with it and express their feelings through comments such as “what’s in it for me”

Social media combined with a clear business strategy and communication methods that engage Gen Y will spark off a new wave of knowledge generation . We can’t look backwards now. The future is being shaped as we speak and social media is revolutionizing knowledge transfer everyday. Social media alone cannot do the job and that’s the main reasons why kmers must stand up to the challenge and position social media as a  learning catalyst.

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