Back in July, I encouraged readers to contribute to a survey on wiki use in business being conducted by Penny Edwards for her MBA dissertation at The Open University Business School. The results of that research are out now in Managing Wikis in Business, on Penny’s blog. The wiki where she has documented the research is worth a look as well. It even has a page on Wiki Patterns, and cites a book called Patterns for Effective Use Cases that calls patterns a sign of quality: “a pattern expresses what is present in a well-formed example” and a sign of strategy: “a pattern names a way to deal with conflicting pressures.” These are excellent terms to describe patterns, and good reasons to use them to help start or grow your wiki. After all, who wouldn’t want to use tools that signify quality and strategy?
This quote especially stood out for me in the report: “Given the relative newness of many wikis, the responses suggest that wikis and capabilities regarding their use/management are still being developed internally before being extended outside the organization, where important collaborations lie with customers.”
That’s the next great step. Once you get comfortable with a wiki inside your organization, there’s immense potential waiting to be tapped when you use it to interact with customers and give them a place to share knowledge and strengthen the community around your products.

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