Second day of stakeholder interviews.

Near the end now of another long day of interviews at the Area Health Service. I've now talked with everyone from the senior executive, through admin and lower management, to clinical staff (doctors, nurses, and allied health). What is interesting is that, despite the hugely different roles, responisibilities and working environments, some key themes are turning up again and again. These include: Everyone wants to know what is generally happening within the organisation, such as building works, restructures, and the like. Even if they are located in rural areas. No-one seems to want to receive news about social events, preferring

First day of stakeholder interviews.

Well, I'm very tired now, having completed 5 hours of stakeholder interviews, with 30 minute gaps in between. Overall, the questions held up pretty well. I haven't been successful in determining social networks, but the information gathering behaviours have been clearly identified. As hoped, we have also identified a lot of other issues that are prventing wider usage of the intranet (primarily around availability of PCs, culture and available time). One idea that occured to me after the first interview was to start documenting soundbites. These are brief verbatim comments from users about specific issues. I now have over a

Stakeholder interviews.

I'm back working with the Area Health Service tomorrow. The next three days will consist entirely of stakeholder interviews, finished up with a day of information architecture activities (card sorting). We've taken a different tack with the interviews than previous approaches. In the past, focus groups were convened to discuss how the intranet is used, and what changes could be made. This time, instead of focusing on the intranet, we'll be investigating what information is needed by staff. To this end, we'll be asking a range of questions: nature of the staff person's job key activities information needs current information

Refocusing an intranet.

I've just finished another two days of work with the Area Health Service, and I'm back in Sydney. The review of existing documentation and reports is now complete, as is the expert review of the current intranet. Overall, the current intranet scored high marks. It is consistent, fairly well structured, and the majority of the content is well-written and to-the-point. There is a lot of good information on this intranet. And yet, looking at the web usage statistics, it is clear that the intranet is not being used by most staff. The question is: why? Unlike most intranets, it's not

History of a health intranet.

Just got back from the initial meeting with the Area Health Service. I spent most of the day finding out more about the history of their intranet, the challenges of their culture, and their future plans. Overall, I was very impressed with how far they had managed to get, considering that they have had essentially no budget, and the intranet is just one year old (next week). The intranet was initially created by a single person within Public Affairs, and there are now just two staff dedicated to managing the entire system. They have implemented a simple distributed approach, with

A rose by any other name….

I received a comment today from Donna Maurer, who said: "Everything you do under the heading of 'knowledge management' is similar to a lot of things I do as an 'information architect/interaction designer/user-centred designer'" She then went on to say that she tries to avoid having a title, as it only causes confusion for her clients. Instead, she just explains we she does, and how it's useful. I couldn't agree more. This highlights one of our key challenges as a field: our identity. This is a two-edged sword: Many people now avoid using terms like "knowledge management" or "information architecture",