What would you prefer: People or Content?

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The People part (~tacit part): This requires that we know what other people know and who other people know. (Challenge in a global/distributed organization is, how do we keep track of this?)

The Content part (~explicit part): This requires content management systems, search, navigation/taxonomy, metadata etc.
We can also assume content as a surrogate for people – as it represents the knowledge of the people submitting it.

Now imagine the following scenarios:

  • You are creating a proposal and need inputs on a critical area of the proposal? What would you prefer? Just a piece of content that you can plugin to send the proposal or access to the person behind that piece of content? What about, if you got access to 4 more people who had different/additional viewpoints around that content?
  • You are writing a piece of code and get stuck with a difficult to solve problem. What do you prefer? an exact solution (content) that answers your query or access to people who have faced similar problems in past and also access to people who helped resolve such problems?
  • You are configuring a piece of software and for some reason it doesn’t work on your machine. What do you prefer? Access to people or a ‘how to’ document?
  • You are starting a new project and you need to find out if we have worked on a particular tool/technology before. What would you prefer?

What’s your viewpoint and thoughts on this subject?Any more scenarios, similar to the above mentioned ones, that you can share?

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