What’s in a name?

Engineers from Xerox picked up a `knowledge management’ award on Tuesday night at the annual Information Management Awards in London. Among the acronym-heavy software companies represented, Xerox was something of an anomaly. In terms of winning software, it had very little – just a glorified e-mail bulletin board on the company’s intranet. But the company […]

Engineers from Xerox picked up a `knowledge management’ award on Tuesday night at the annual Information Management Awards in London.

Among the acronym-heavy software companies represented, Xerox was something of an anomaly. In terms of winning software, it had very little – just a glorified e-mail bulletin board on the company’s intranet. But the company won because it managed to get an increasing number of its 22,000 field technicians to contribute their accumulated `war stories’ about fixing Xerox equipment to a central database. This has led to significant savings in time and money on maintenance of customers’ equipment.

So what incentives were the technicians given to pool their knowledge in this way? A $25 reward had no effect. Nor did a bottle of champagne.

In the end, adding each technician’s name to his or her comments is what did it: global recognition for a bright idea, with the most useful innovations written into the company’s technical manuals.

There’s something from Xerox that’s clearly worth copying.