In the post on immersive performance I began to speak to the issue of people knowing what they don’t know, knowing how to find what they don’t know, and knowing how to learn from a variety of sources when it’s going to take more than basic information to get the job done. A friend and colleague, Ted Cocheu of Altus Learning, recently posted on video knowledge management, and this reminded me of the value of video, and how limited most of our use of video is.

I’m not talking about the latest viral video on YouTube. (You looked, didn’t you?) I’m talking about using video (and audio) for knowledge transfer – and how to take a cut out of the $65-80 billion in direct costs Ted cites as being wasted by looking for information we don’t find. We give presentations. Hopefully we give good ones that provide knowledge that will be helpful to others. Trouble is, not everyone who needs the information can attend, not everyone who does attend needs the information right now, and even those who attend and learn from the process are likely to forget most of what they saw.

Ok, so why give the presentation? Wouldn’t it be better just to keep working and not stop to prepare and present? You give the presentation to better understand the issues yourself, to better format them for long-term use, and to kick-start new ideas through the ensuing discussion. However, you better do more if you want to get full value out of the process.

Video the presentation and discussion (ironically, it’s more crucial to have high quality audio recording than it is video, but I expect the video still provides value unless the presenter is a monotonic talking head). Save the video with any of the accompanying material (slides, handouts, even links to raw data). Hopefully you’re saving it somewhere it can be found and interacted with. Ted’s company, Altus Learning Systems, provides enterprise-appropriate technologies for this, but maybe you can create a duct tape and twine approach if you really must. Key is to (either now or later as technology gets better) transcribe or otherwise annotate the presentation and discussion. You could ask people to “tag” the material, but will they, and will they in ways that will remain useful as ideas in the organization evolve? Transcription gives you the ability to find the material at the level of the spoken word.  This means that the replay can jump to the topic you’re looking for, which probably comes up in minute 37… rather than starting at the beginning and making you watch 36 minutes of material you don’t need (which you won’t do). Duct tape and twine solutions won’t get you to this level of usability, but enterprise tools will, and who knows what the future will bring.

I do know I can show the money for companies that have taken this route (percentage increases in customer satisfaction where each point is worth millions in revenues) – and these data are from a setting with a very limited implementation effort. The engineers had access to the tools and largely spread the word informally. Think about the possible outcomes from more engaged implementations and customization.

Have you found a way to gain value from video or other rich forms of knowledge capture, ideally in ways that are relatively passive in terms of the extra work required for storage and access? Have you evaluated the direct and opportunity cost benefits?