Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wiki, wiki, you're so fine...for spies?

I swear, this is not from the Onion: Gov’t launches a "top secret" Intellipedia system.

I see this as somehow reinforcing the use of wikis; albeit, a little scary when it comes to national security, but cool. Over the last few months I’ve attempted to spread the wiki cheer around the office. And, there have plenty of soap box moments—a little embarrassing in hindsight—but I get pretty excited over this stuff.

I think there is great potential for wikis in the workplace. Good god, with the amount of document trafficking we all do, wouldn’t it be nice to receive just updates? As well as cut out all the useless emails—I think 25% of my day is spent hitting the delete button.

Fortunately, I think some of it may be sticking. Every April, for the last 20+ years, American Rivers releases a report titled, America’s Most Endangered Rivers. It’s a big time suck for us, but an endeavor well worth our effort. Basically, it’s our trump card—we generate (and get) a lot of attention when the report is released. It has essentially become our biggest branding opportunity too. We see 5x as much traffic over a few days and reporters—not to mention groups too—can’t wait to get their paws on the names of the rivers before the report is released. Confidentiality, to say the least, is huge.

In fact, I just received the folder of the rivers who made the first cut, and it’s marked with a big CONFIDENTIAL stamp. After the proposals are scrutinized, the selection committee will narrow the list to eventually 10 rivers.

After that, we work extensively with our partner to gather more information, e.g. text, photos, graphics, etc. And thus, the challenge for us, is managing the flow of information. And all of this has to be done in complete secrecy.

How do we manage this process? We went around with a few ideas and wikis made it to the top the list, for now. Of course, when I saw an opening, I started pushing for completely opening the communication channels and creating a blog. Easy cowboy. Not smooth, so I decided to give it a rest for the last couple of weeks. But, I’ve decided to hit the war path again.

I’d like to lay on the offensive for creating 10 private wikis, one for each river. There are a couple of candidates, (we’re currently using a private wiki internally for our department), (just bought out by Google), and (just learned of it today).

Not sure what the best fit for us will be, but I’d love to test it out…like this blog, it’s somewhat of an experiment.

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