You probably know what a democracy is, or even what it means to “democratize” something—but what does “democratized knowledge” mean? The concept of democratized or public knowledge is an essential idea that is responsible for many of the technological breakthroughs of the past decade.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know—from the definition of democratized knowledge to how your company can start putting this concept into practice.
What does democratized knowledge mean?
What does it mean to “democratize” something? The simple definition is to make something (more) democratic, i.e., give more people a voice or make it available to more people. Politicians may speak of democratizing repressive governments, while a company’s executives often seek to democratize management by soliciting employee feedback.
Given this definition, what does it mean to democratize knowledge, in particular? It is nothing more than to improve access to knowledge by making information available to a broader population.
Democratized knowledge is an abstract concept that can apply to a wide range of situations. Thanks to tools such as open-source software and open-access scholarly journals, knowledge is now available at an unprecedented level in human history.
In the world of business, however, the term “democratized knowledge” describes the information that everyone within an organization has access to, no matter their specific role. You can think of democratized knowledge as precisely the opposite of “data silos,” which are information repositories that only a single team or department has access to.
What is the advantage of democratization of knowledge?
Now that we’ve answered the question “What is democratization of information?”, what are the benefits of this practice? Below are just a few reasons why democratization of knowledge is a good thing for businesses:
- Greater trust: On a purely philosophical level, democratizing knowledge “feels” right—just look at the success of Wikipedia. If you trust your employees to use this information wisely, there are few reasons not to make more information available to more people.
- Stronger company culture: When people share information in pursuit of the common good, it strengthens their relationships and the company culture as a whole. Employees feel motivated to contribute to a cause greater than themselves and can learn from their peers’ expertise.
- Less duplicated effort: If your employees aren’t aware of what other people in the organization are doing, they may duplicate work that has already been done—but that they simply don’t have access to. Democratizing information ensures the spread of knowledge throughout the company, boosting collaboration and eliminating wasted effort.
- More innovation: Some of the greatest ideas in history were born when a fresh pair of eyes looked at a problem in a new way. Giving employees access to more data offers more opportunities to spark ideas and innovations.
What are examples of democratization of knowledge?
For businesses, democratization of knowledge involves creating a centralized, easily accessible resource that all employees can view and contribute to. Below are some ways that this idea works in practice:
- Knowledge sharing by creating a hub or intranet where people can share ideas, make connections, and ask and answer questions.
- Democratizing insights by making the results of reporting and analytics workflows available to more people in the organization.
- Creating a 360-degree customer view of each of your customers that everyone has access to, uniting information from across the enterprise (purchases, customer support transactions, social media interactions, etc.).
How does your company democratize knowledge?
Nearly everyone can agree that democratized knowledge is a net benefit, but not everyone knows how to put it into practice. Just a few quick suggestions for how to make your enterprise data more democratic can include:
- Creating a search tool that lets employees find the files or resources they’re looking for (or using pre-built collaboration software with such a tool, like Microsoft SharePoint).
- Publicizing the results of your user research tools, sharing information about website bugs or optimization tweaks so that things get fixed more quickly.
- Establishing a knowledge base where employees can access valuable data about compliance regulations or safety procedures, thus reducing your business risk.
How to get started with democratized knowledge
The benefits of democratized knowledge are obvious—so how can you start applying this concept within your organization? A good place to start is through democratization of user research and sharing your testing results with a wider range of teams and departments.
WEVO is a powerful next-generation user experience (UX) research platform that makes it easy to get started democratizing your user experience research. Using the WEVO platform, businesses can easily obtain cutting-edge web analytics insights, seeing how effective your website is for accomplishing the tasks that users want to achieve. Employees from across the organization can then understand and apply these breakthroughs to build a better, more performant final product.Ready to learn more about how WEVO can help your company’s UX efforts? Get in touch with our team today to schedule a chat about your business needs and objectives.