What It Means to Be Part of a Knowledge Community

Part of a Knowledge Community

I woke up early this morning with an odd but very pressing awareness: GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) has no high-quality counterpart.

Most of us are familiar with the very real rule-of-thumb of GIGO, either conceptually or – far worse – on a first-hand, been-there basis. In other words, putting flawed information into an otherwise process just isn’t going to generate anything useful.

But where’s the acronym describing the input of worthwhile, valid information to yield a beneficial product? As a member of the Glass Half Full Society, I hereby propose a new concept – VIVO: Value In, Value Out.

And right there, in a nutshell, we have captured the most essential characteristic of community-based knowledge sharing.

The Value-In, Value-Out Cycle

When smart, experienced practitioners of their craft contribute first-hand insight, with the understanding that they are sharing that knowledge across the community, everyone is enriched.

Consider the 451 Alliance, a think tank of IT decision makers and end users who offer observations about their enterprise technology experiences.

As part of the 451 Alliance membership team, I have the privilege of conducting in-depth phone interviews with select members. When these members talk to me, they exemplify that old community spirit.

Their insights help 451 analysts construct an accurate picture of the usage, opportunities, pain points, and plans for enterprise technology.  Our conversations span topics like storage hardware and software, compute platforms, and information security tools, as well as tech applications like cloud computing and IoT. Those pictures, in the form of weekly reports and biweekly newsletters, are in turn shared across the entire 451 Alliance membership.

The result: all members derive an exceptional return on their investment of a little time and knowledge shared. It’s VIVO in action.

Intellectual Philanthropy

What drives members to participate like this? What keeps the VIVO engine running?

Call it an intellectual philanthropy of sorts, where contributors make a donation of knowledge and receive both the satisfaction derived from the act of giving and a whole bunch of topical and timely insight from their peers. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

If you’d like to share your end-user knowledge as part of the 451 Alliance’s qualitative research program, please contact me by email or at (978) 204-0004, and I’ll be happy to tell you about our current and upcoming studies.

Andrew Cranin is the manager of member services for the 451 Alliance, a knowledge-based community of 451 Research.