Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Don't KO the kHub

Last Friday an email was sent stating “the LGA are proposing to close the Knowledge Hub facility” and over the weekend the vultures started to circle announcing the death of the platform.

It’s "rubbish and unusable" came a response from one person who doesn’t actually use the platform. It needs “a change of technology, a new business model, and some great community management” were the comments from another proposing to take it on.

I’ve also seen the kHub referred to as “failing” despite its 150,000+ users and I wondered what these comments were based on, other than personal user experience.

Monday was a Bank Holiday and as news started to filter through on Tuesday, many more of the kHub’s community managers and users started to voice their opinion and the picture seemed a little different.

“This has become a powerful tool for the users and is a perfect way for us to share best practice” said one community manager, in fact every post I’ve seen on the kHub, by kHub users has been positive towards the platform. Other comments talk of “so many examples of real collaborative working” and that “the KH is incredibly useful as the cheapest way of networking and learning from other professionals”.

I know from personal experience its worth, having started a community a couple of weeks ago (and a couple more over the past year) which is already resulting in collaboration between around ten councils, and listening to actual users, the kHub is far from being “rubbish and unusable” and already has some great community management going on.

I’ve no doubt that the current power grab will continue until the fate of the kHub is decided. I also know that the kHub can be improved, but let’s not throw away something that clearly does work in favour of something that might.

You have to ask yourself, why haven’t any proposed solutions already been developed if they’d be so much better than the existing kHub, but let’s use the current discussions as a catalyst  to help improve what already works for tens of thousands.

If you’re a kHub user, when more details of the consultation appear I urge you to make known your feelings about it to the LGA.
This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.