In our last post, I wrote about why team information is so hard to organize and how note apps can make the problem worse. In Flowdex Beta, we're introducing a new way of organizing your notes that we call Knowledge Flows, or just Flows for short.
Go with the Flow
A Flow contains a stream of notes on a topic, kind of like a Slack channel, but for notes instead of chats. Keeping your notes in a stream rather than in a folder can help keep your team more organized, connected, and in the know, so you can be more focused on things that matter.
Flows were inspired by teams who use long, running documents to manage recurring meetings, where every time they meet, they just append more notes to the document. These docs are great because they contain all the information history for the meeting in one place, but over time, they grow unwieldy, difficult to manage, and they silo information, making it difficult to use or link to your knowledge in other work contexts.
Flowdex solves these problems by introducing two new ways to create structure inside your Flows: dynamically linking Flows together through entity detection, and surfacing information inside your Flows using smart annotation.
Here's how it works.
Dynamically Linking Flows by Entities
Flowdex uses AI to automatically detects the people, companies, projects, and places that your notes are about. Once we detect these entities, we use them to dynamically link your Flows together, giving you superpowers for filtering and surfacing information that break your information free from silos.
The stream of notes in a Flow contain a mix of things you manually put in there, and notes that are linked from other Flows. Let’s say you want to take notes about something that spans multiple topics. Instead of having to choose which Flow to put your note, you can make it appear in more than one place using dynamic linking. Effortlessly create a link from one Flow to another Flow just by typing the Flow’s name in a note. When you do that, the note automatically appears in both Flows. That way your information is easier to find when it's not siloed in one place.
In contrast to the sea of connected pages that make up graph-based note tools, in Flowdex, it’s the streams of information that get connected, not the individual pages. This makes it easier to collect information by topic, and much easier to make sense of all your connections.
Our initial steps at automating knowledge organization through entity detection open the door for much more powerful automations down the road, like auto-organizing by topic, concept, or other hierarchical ontologies.
Surfacing Information with Smart Annotations
Dynamic linking makes it simple to see the connections across your Flows. For extracting information inside a Flow, we invented a new kind of smart annotation for effortlessly bookmarking important things that you want to get back to later. With smart annotations, you can quickly bubble up important information inside a Flow with just one click. That way things like followup items, or important decisions your team made don’t get lost into the void.
Today, Flowdex Beta has designated annotations for todos, decisions, and things that are important. And we have corresponding filters at the top of every Flow that let you extract matching lines from notes you previously annotated. But we're really just getting started with this feature. Over time, we'll let you customize the annotations you want for each Flow, letting you develop specific annotations for specific scenarios. We'll also let you group your annotations into families, letting you create stateful annotations that enable entire automated workflows built around your many streams of knowledge.
There are so many transformative directions we can go with these building blocks in the coming months. We hope you’ll join us for the ride. But, buckle up, because we’re just getting started!
Knowledge Streams are Everywhere
Flows are optimized for capturing and connecting streams of knowledge from recurring work processes. Knowledge streams are everywhere in collaborative work. From recurring meeting notes to research paper summaries, people sourcing and lead generation, or the information scraps you gather in content creation, knowledge work is built around recurring processes.
If the industrial revolution taught us anything, it's that isolating and optimizing recurring processes can unlock enormous productivity. And yet, why are we so bad at realizing these efficiency gains in knowledge work? At Flowdex, we believe rethinking how teams capture streams of knowledge is the first step towards an industrial revolution in knowledge work.
Besides, shoving your meeting notes into the bottomless depths of your folder system or a chaotic jumble of your team wiki is a guarantee no one on is ever going to find them. If knowledge is generated in a stream, it should be captured in a stream too.
Where are we now?
Right now, Flowdex is in open beta. That means there are a lot of features still in the works. There’s no mobile app yet. We don’t handle images or other file attachments. It's not very customizable. And there aren't any integrations yet either. We’re moving really fast, and these things will all come, but it’s going to take a little time.
Despite being early, we can confidently say that Flowdex is the best place to see connections and find important information buried in streams of knowledge. If that excites you, we want to hear from you. We’re looking for eager teams and individuals to help us change the future of connected knowledge. Try Flowdex now for free!
Follow us on Twitter at @FlowdexApp or LinkedIn for updates!