Wiki, what a funny word: it has rhythm, it has rhyme! Wiki, wiki wiki! When I first heared it, I wouldn’t imagine the importance that it has nowadays for the smooth flow of information. Wikipedia, the biggest ans most popular encyclopaedia and is a wiki.
So, what’s a wiki anyway?
Is a website where multiple people could collaborate to produce documents that all of them could read, looks simple but powerful. Check out this video a for simple explanation.
Wikis could be used from a small number of friends arranging a holyday to multinational companies that would like to use it as a repository for their processes as explained by Dicky Chiu in his blog.
Let’s focus in a specific application that I am interested in: the interlacing relations between employees of a company.
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is the organization that has the lease over the Brisbane Airport for 49 years; this lease was granted by the Australian government for 1.4 billion dollars.
Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of the Brisbane Airport, I’m going to state some facts:
- It has an extension of 2700 hectaers, roughly a square with sides of 5 km.
- BAC is responsible for maintenance and bulding of infrastructure, such as sewers, water, roads and power and communications in the precinct.
- The Airport accomodates over 420 businesses that service in different industries that range from freight and aircraft handling to leisure and retail.
- All this businesses employ more than 19,000 people.
But the surprising fact is that BAC has only 300 hundred employees to handle this monster! So each of the employees is a valuable assett and BAC has to treat them like that. What better way to create a great work environment to strengthen the bonds in the work force community.
Wikis are just great to achieve that end! What about a Wiki categorised by hobbies where all the employees could enter information about their leisure activities and share them with their peers. The employees would get to know who are the people in the company that they could hang out with to share their interests, several clubs could be formed out of that such as: bands, cooking, photography, fishing and running groups, amongst others. This interaction promoted through a social media tool would create strong emotional links that are essential to the smooth operation of such a relatively small but important bunch. An example of that is how Atlassian uses their own wiki product Confluence to achieve these social activities in the enterprise, as Sherif Mansour (Technical Product Manager at Atlassian) says in the Digital Orgs interview (21:55).
Wikis are relevant for any group activity, where everybody could input and feed from the general output. Of course, media policies are important to keep the activity under certain control, but as said by Sherif Mansour in the previous interview, people tend to behave well when they know that they are identifiable and that they are writing for the whole group.
Wikis have a great deal of applications, this is just one, but the sky is the limit!
BAC – Our Company
BAC – People and Culture