Going beyond the Dunbar’s number

raman wrote this on 29 Oct 2011

Santo, the other day, introduced me to the Dunbar’s number. Applicable to social relationships, Dunbar number tells us about weakening of cohesion between individuals when the number of contacts increase.

When applied to organizations, this means decrease in information and knowledge flow among ranks when the number of employees increase. It necessitates technology interventions for knowledge management.

The Dunbar’s magic number is around 150 and we at Neev have crossed that number some time back.

Sanjeev, Anoop and I decided that we should get a knowledge hub going for Neev. A great fan of social networking that Neev as a company is, we decided to get a social networking platform as knowledge hub. This would also help us in achieving our SEI CMM goals too. We are going in for Elgg. With its support for Blogs, Groups, Wiki Pages and Q & A, Elgg promises to suit us well.

We quickly realised the importance of seeding the platform with relevant knowledge nuggets, without which, it may  die an early death since any knowledge platform without content is not useful. At the same time it is unrealistic to ask people to spend time exclusively on creating content.

We found out that our techies used Stackoverflow a lot to get answers to their immediate issues. Stackoverflow is pretty awesome at providing solutions to our day to day issues with software development activities. So if we could capture  the knowledge gained from Stackoverflow by our developers in a transparent way into our knowledge hub, it would be an effective mechanism to populate our knowledge base with relevant content and at the same time spend no extra effort in the exercise.

So we developed a stackoverflow plugin to Elgg, which provides an interface to search Stackoverflow  (using its api) inside Elgg itself. When we find an useful answer we can post it as a Q&A entry into our site. Pretty neat huh!!  And as we gain from it, we want you to benefit too. So we open sourced it. Get it from Elgg plugins site.

PS: At the time of writing this post, the plugin has already been recommended twice :-)


Visit us at Neevtech.com to know more about our offerings.

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