Knowledge Management for Crisis Management

[Deutscher Titel: Wissensmanagement für das Krisenmanagement (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

Michael Fitzgerald
Why Social Computing Aids Knowledge Management
CIO, June 13, 2008

Abstract: Social networking tools promise to help companies harness the knowledge inside the heads of their employees and put it to work for the business.
Hurricanes are hell on knowledge management. Take it from Giora Hadar, a knowledge architect at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
These powerful, swirling storms can wipe out navigational aids, air traffic control equipment and radar dishes that ensure the safety of commercial and private aircraft in the U.S. They can also sever communications and keep critical information from flowing between FAA workers on the ground and those based in D.C. and elsewhere. In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita did all this and one thing more: They spurred the FAA to start developing social networking tools to address communication and knowledge management challenges even during extreme circumstances, such as a Category 5 storm.
At the FAA, hurricanes and other disasters raise a fundamental and urgent knowledge management question: Who’s available to get things up and running again? “We need to reach our people to find out, Are they OK?” says Hadar, who supports the FAA’s disaster recovery efforts. “We also need to know where they are and if they are available to participate in the recovery.” Once everyone is accounted for, the agency needs to figure out which disaster recov­ery specialists will do what, and who their counterparts are at other federal, state and local agencies. The specialists themselves have to track their e-mails and instant messages, voice mails, the documents to bring equipment back online and what they spend.
It’s a perfect situation for taking social computing tools—such as online social networks and group communications tools like wikis and keyword tagging—and putting them to work as a form of knowledge management.

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