Archive for October, 2008

The child inside

Keith October 31st, 2008

“We go on being children, regardless of age, because in life we are always encountering new things that challenge us to understand them, instances where a practiced imagination is actually more useful that all laboriously acquired knowledge.” – Milan Kundera.

This is quoted from an essay by Shaun TanPICTURE BOOKS: Who Are They For?

C S Lewis has also written (in the Narnia chronicles) on the importance of retaining a child’s view of the world.  (Not to mention the biblical injunctions.)

I have recently completed the StrengthsFinder assessment.  The accompanying book by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton provides a brief description of how the human brain develops.  We are born with “a hundred billion neurons”, and we keep “about that many up until late middle age.” More importantly, these neurons form connections – synapses – with each other.

By the age of three, “each of your hundred billion neurons has formed fifteen thousand synaptic connections with other neurons.”  But from this age, these connection start to fall into disrepair.  “… between the ages of three and fifteen you lose billions and billions of these carefully forged synaptic connections.  By the time you wake up on your sixteenth birthday, half your network is gone.”

This may not be final – there has been some recent work on brain plasticity (by Norman Doidge in The Brain That Changes Itself) – but it appears that in general the connections within our brain do not change appreciably after that age.

However, Buckingham and Clifton state that our effectiveness depends on how well we capitalise on our strongest connections; the point of the book and assessment.

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Effective organisational comms

Keith October 31st, 2008

I delivered a half-day workshop at the 2008 CPA Congress on Friday last week on Effective organisational comms – Blending traditional and Web 2.0 techniques.  The slide pack is now available on SlideShare.

This workshop was all about developing a toolkit approach to organisational comms, with an emphasis on social media. Includes engaging and collaborating, segmenting the audience and putting it all together.

You can also see other slide packs on my SlideShare, and a full list of published documents on the Docs page on this site. 

If you would like a presentation or workshop on any of these topics delivered to your organisation, please contact me to arrange.

Free advice for new Knowledge Managers

Keith October 29th, 2008

Several attendees at the actKM conference were interviewed about what advice they would give to people new to the field of KM. You can now listen to their advice on the actKM site!

Matt Moore interviewed several people: Mark Schenk, David Gurteen, Arthur Shelley, Graham Durant-Law, myself and Cory Banks.

My favourite comment in these interviews was from David Gurteen, paraphrasing: “There is no KM strategy; only business problems that we can use KM tools to solve.”

My advice (at 5:58 into the recording) is about the “middle-out” approach that we used for developing our KM strategy at Telstra.

Self-promotion in 140 characters

Keith October 25th, 2008

Problogger has asked for readers to write about their own blogs – in the character limit of a Twitter message.  This is running as an experiment over this weekend, and the messages are being posted as comments on the post.

Here’s mine:

Knowledge, communication, storytelling, language, learning, social media; with a dash of Zen. Oh, and consultancy and a big black cat.

If you are here because you read this, then you can read about the big black cat here.

You’ll find the Zen posts here.

Paycheck

Keith October 23rd, 2008

US researchers said they are able to selectively erase memories from mice in a laboratory, raising hopes human memory afflictions like post-traumatic stress syndrome can one day be cured. 

An initial step has now been taken towards the ability to erase memories.  This takes us one step towards the scenario in Philip K Dick’s story – now also John Woo movie, starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman – Paycheck.

In the movie, this capability is used for less altruistic purposes. 

Even though most science fiction writers deny that they predict the future, it is always interesting to see life imitating art…

Clancy of the Knowledge Flow

Keith October 21st, 2008

One of the highlights of this year’s actKM Conference was the Collaboration Cabaret. This is well documented on Serena Joyner’s site.

My contribution to this was a musical item.  It was introduced something like this:

Australia actually has a long history in Knowledge Management.  Over a hundred years ago, we had two key practitioners in the field – ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Henry Lawson.  They did some ground-breaking work in conveying knowledge of life in rural Australia to the emerging urban environment. 

They collected knowledge using Anecdote Circles (around the campfire) and delivered it as Springboard stories, often published in a major Knowledge Management publication of the day, The Bulletin magazine.

Tonight, we will look at one of Banjo’s key archetypical characters, Clancy of the Overflow.  Clancy works in an ideal environment as a drover.  The Narrator is contemplating his lot in his “dingy office”. 

We are updating the story: how would these knowledge workers fare in today’s collaborative environment?

To find out, read the full lyrics.  Breaking news: The video is now on YouTube here.

Managing Knowlege for Competitive Advantage

Keith October 13th, 2008

On my way to this year’s actKM Conference.

Should be a fun couple of days!  While I am only booked in to this one as a regular attendee, I am also taking part in the activity on Tuesday night – the “Collaboration Cabaret”.  All will be revealed in due course!

I expect that I will be tweeting at the event – tag will probably be #actkm08.

The Twitter Agency

Keith October 2nd, 2008

@SilkCharm (aka Laurel Papworth) has picked up on a certain organisation that is about to spend a large amount of money on marketing.  This led her to the idea of establishing The Twitter Agency.

SilkCharm has 1,670 followers.  That makes a pretty powerful, well connected agency!  (Hey – I have 59 followers myself!) :-)

So there are now at least thirty of us contributing to the joint effort.  I have absolutely no idea where this is going, but it looks like fun!

Breaking News: Read the full story here.