Friday, December 09, 2005

"Wiki Wiki" business plans

I believe a new innovation comes along every so often that transforms the way we communicate and do business -- the wiki page is that innovation.

"Wiki wiki" means quickly in Hawaiian. It was used for this technology because of the quick ability to learn, use it, and create web pages. I have been teaching high school students of various abilities, and have yet to find a student who could not "get wiki!" (See my teaching blog about this experience.)

Wiki pages came to the forefront of knowledge with the use of wikipedia on the Internet. This online encyclopedia uses wiki pages. Anyone can join and edit.

There is an article in entrepreneur magazine that has my interest. I'd like to quote this article:

Alan Flohr, senior vice president of sales and business development with Informative, a Brisbane, California-based customer influence management company, got firsthand experience bringing wiki into a business when his CEO asked him to give it a try. "We're in a cutting-edge area of marketing. We deploy technology that helps our customers get closer to their most influential consumers," Flohr says. "We use wiki [internally] to help speed our time to market and to communicate with our team."
Wiki's are a cutting edge tool for cutting edge companies or companies that just want to be extra competitive in a tough world.

What can I do with a wiki?

Using this technology, a business can take documents or projects that require group editing, collaboration, or feedback, and make a central place for the editing of the document in an easy manner. The document can link to other documents in house or link to resources or newspaper articles on the web.

Users can comment to each other in a private place behind each page as they discuss items on the page.

Its usefulness and ubiquitous availability have made it an excellent collaboration tool for small entrepreneurial companies where key decision makers are constantly out of the office. Using the wiki they can update marketing plans and collaborate with advertisers, update business plans and collaborate with financiers, plan complex events, and more. Their uses are as varied as the pieces of paper in an executive's inbox.

But, I don't want my private information available to the public.

Wiki is the technology, it can be hosted for public or private view. -- the service that I use allows users to pay $5/month for a private wikispace. For my classroom space, I have it for public viewing but have restricted it to private editing (my students and I.)

But, brightidea guru, I'm technologically challenged.
When I say it is easy -- I mean opening a gallon of milk easy. The first couple of times you open a gallon of milk, you have to learn the technique for getting the little plastic ring off, but once you've done it -- you don't think twice!

Where should I start?
  1. Make a list of the most common documents that require group input and cooperation -- this not a tool for personal letter writing, use MS Word for that -- business plans, marketing plans...
  2. Make a list of the most common events/ activities that require collaboration internally and externally -- advertising, marketing, customer mailers, new construction jobs, new product launches...
  3. Pick one item that needs to be done "wiki wiki" and involves several people.
  4. Select a wikispace (you can start with a free one) -- have your technologically inclined person or yourself go through the tutorial and give the others a 5 minute "how to." (Literally -- 5 minutes.) Remember, to keep it private, subscribe to a private space.
  5. Begin. Use it. Evaluate.
Get ready to move "wiki" fast!

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