Archive for the ‘Intellipedia’ Category

Email Versus Wiki Collaboration Graphic a Big Hit

April 8, 2008

Pretty cool, the Wikinomics blog posted a blog about a graphic we (Intellipedians) have been using in the government to represent the comparative differences and advantages of wiki collaboration over email. 

Although the blog states Chris Rasmussen from the National Geosptatial-Intelligence Agency created the graphic, I created this graphic in a PowerPoint brief back in June 2007 to senior leadership at the United States Central Command to demonstrate how wikis could be used to more rapidly draft contingency plans, which Chris kindly noted in a later comment on a second posting about the graphic.

Several of us Intellipedians use the graphic when briefing and introducing new users to Intellipedia.  We find it useful for visualizing the inherent inefficiences of email when collaborating on a document since this former process creates multiple copies of a document which are normally edited separately.  This often causes headache when it comes time to integrate all the different edits contained in multiple versions scattered in one’s email inbox or finding the most current one if done sequentially. 

I am interested in what a more detailed visualization of document collaboration would look like if a formal graphic based on system dynamic modeling were used.  It would also be nice to compare Google Docs to a wiki, which has been suggested by others.  Anybody feel like creating one?

Email versus wiki collaboration




July 16, 2007

Intellipedia is a wiki launched by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It is used by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and other national security-related organizations, such as combatant commands. Three versions exist on each of the networks by classification: Top Secret (JWICS), Secret (SIPRNet), and Sensitive but Unclassified (Intelink-U/NIPRNet). Unlike Wikipedia, all edits are attributable. It was launched with the intent of helping the entire Intelligence Community share information, collaborate, and integrate their knowledge dynamically into issue-based articles – essentially becoming a “community of analysts.” It has grown tremendously since I began using the tool in November 2006.

I have pushed very hard getting co-workers to use Intellipedia and adopt it into their daily practices, helping develop training courses, training users, and developing methodologies to use the tool for formal planning purposes. Suprisingly, I have had great success in getting intelligence planners to use it for formal planning efforts, such as developing requirements and CONPLANS. Slowly the national security community is beginning to use this tool and beginning to transform some of the ways business is done using it.

Originally, I was more active on the unclassified version, and recently became an Intellipedia Administrator. I have begun to use the higher class versions more which, oddly, remain far more robust.

Briefing and advocating its use to colleagues and senior leadership has had surprising variances in feedback. Colleagues are prone to the typical responses due to the culture shock asking:

“How can you control “your” page so others can not view or edit it?”; “Anybody can edit any page…what if somebody posts bogus information?”; “What about need to know?”; etc.

But surprisingly, many are embracing its use, particularly as the new “need to share” and “responsibility to provide” mantra, being advocated by the Director of National Intelligence, begins to trickle down. Also surprising, is higher-level leadership tend to be the most open to its use and understand its potential value in enabling the community as a whole to share what they know and discover what they don’t, and integrate and interlink their collective knowledge. To a larget extent, I believe this stems not only from their understanding of what our current collaborative capabilities lack, but also their closeness and greater familiarity to these higher-level policies demanding a more collaborative community.

A critical danger is that other agencies have begun to launch their own wikis. While among enterprises multiple wikis may potentially serve a purpose, no such rational exists for creating organization-centric wikis among the security community. This brings us back to the same stovepiping problem and detracts from the value of integrating knowledge from the entire community into a common wiki platform.

A number of security professionals, including myself, are beginning to tackle what and how exactly these Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs should be used for. We are asking the question, “What processes should they complement, supplant, or rid entirely?” “Should they be used for formal and informal efforts, and if so, in what way?” Defining this will be critical to getting more users to adopt these tools and more effectively achieve their mission.