Good morning Dylan,
my name is Ginetta and I am an information and knowledge manager and I can share with you a specific experience I had with a small association as Knowledge Coordinator.
This was the situation at day 1:
- huge repository with lots of documents (even for trainings) that needed to be classified and organized in a way that everyone could find what they needed quickly and efficiently;
- employees preferred to create a document from scratch, instead of performing a search in the db,
- folders were unstructured (no logic, no taxonomy, etc.),
- no budget for buying a platform.
What did I do? Very briefly:
- 1-2-1 talk with all employees to understand their needs, frustrations, expectations and mindset logic,
- creating with each head of dept. and his/her team specific dept. knowledge maps,
- thanks to the knowledge maps, we were able to restructure each dept. folder in subfolders with a shared logic and way of thinking,
- once the steps 2 and 3 were completed, I set up a meeting with the rest of the team and asked them questions like this: "If you had to look for document X (or data Y, or information Z), where would you look? Each employee had to point the finger to the related dept. and folder(s) where s/he thought to re find that info. We had several surprises...
- based on step 4, each dept. map (and related folders and subfolders) had to be reviewed and aligned by following a common & shared logic between a specific dept. and the others,
- all the work was literally attached on the office walls so that employees were forced to see them every day. They maps were removed from the walls, when I realized that the structure was 100% in their minds,
- I created digital documents replicating what we drew, of course, and in parallel, I was also looking for an IT provider of a KM platform for a potential second phase. The purpose was moving the folder logic we agreed on, to the new platform ;-).
Thanks to these activities, the teams (among the others):
- discovered that the 88% of their files were redundant and/or obsolete and/or inconsistent and/or irrelevant -> they were cancelled,
- were able to re find documents easily -> no frustration anymore,
- did not do the work of others -> efficiency increased.
My suggestion is: try to involve your colleagues as much as possible. It is together that the new structure will be really useful to them and your effort appreciated. The structure must be the personification of people mindset and work, only in this way (I think) they will be more open to invest on a more sophisticated tool.
I am available to have a call with you, if you want. In the meantime, you can watch the seminar I did with John Hovell about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0lCB2VPAso
Last but not least, on a personal note, even if this is not what you normally do, I am positive that the task will give you an incredible exposure and you will know much more than anybody else, and this is an asset in KM. I speak by experience ;-)