Archive for the 'Collaboration' Category

Knowledge Transfer and Collaboration

Keith July 10th, 2009

How do you go about transferring knowledge from one part of an organisation to another? For example, from a technical product management group to a business-to-business sales force? This is the topic of my new article published in the May/June issue of IDM Magazine. See a copy of the article on this site: Foundations of Knowledge.

This article effectively serves as a White Paper on the work that I have done in the past on a Knowledge Transfer Toolkit, and the related consultancy service now offered.

The Australian Collaboration Software Report

Are you currently using collaborative software, or are you planning to acquire it? Would you like to benchmark your experience against that of others? Are you based in Australia? Please fill out the survey at http://tinyurl.com/ozcollab now!

Matt Moore of Innotecture and I are researching the use of collaboration tools in Australia. “Collaboration” is a buzz term at the moment, and we want to get behind the hype to discover how organisations are selecting and implementing tools and whether they are benefiting from them. If you have experience with selecting, implementing or maintaining a collaboration tool within the last 12 months then we would like you to take part in this survey. 

Read more about what’s in it for you at: http://ozcollab.com/.

Twitter and the challenge of openness

Keith June 8th, 2009

I have posted on this blog about Twitter a number of times, and also written about it in one post at Digital Ministry. But as I foreshadowed there, there was one other aspect of Twitter that I intended to say more about – and that is the use of Twitter as a great tool for “open note taking”.  I have held off writing more about this, and I guess in some way I was looking for more to say about it. I have recently got the spark of inspiration that now prompts me to get back to the blog and get this all down…

First, back to the Digital Ministry article:

I like to record notes when I attend seminars.  For some time, I have been taking notes on a PDA rather than on paper, as the notes are then synchronised with my PC, and available for blogging or other reuse.  This is great for me.

But with Twitter, I can take notes in just the same way, and everyone “following” me on Twitter can choose to tune in if the topic is of interest.  The notes are necessarily brief, which helps to keep them focused.  Some of the feedback I have received from this has been overwhelmingly positive, with some stating that it is just like being there themselves.

The “tuning in” is done with the use of a “hashtag” – a word relevant to the title of the conference, preceded by a “#”, added to each tweet.  The attendees at the conference can immediately see each other’s tweets by searching for the hashtag, as can all of their followers not at the conference.  (It’s also a great way to connect with people with similar interests.) The Twitter stream provides a great summary after the conference for everyone. You can do this in Twitter search (which can be a bit slow and flaky), or through any of a number of other sites that access Twitter, such as #hashtags.

Since writing that, I have seen this practice grow. As there are more and more people using Twitter at conferences, the richness of the conversation has also grown. It has been great to see people unable to attend conferences actually joining in through Twitter. This is greatly facilitated by mobile Twitter interfaces or clients (dabr is my interface of choice). You can pick a Twitter-aware conference organiser when you see the hashtag put up on the screen at the beginning of the conference!  This saves any hassle in getting an agreed tag going.

Regular meetings may have different hashtags for different dates, or just re-use the same tag. For instance, at the monthly Melbourne KMLF meetings, we tend to stick to the same tag each month – #kmlf.  You can see some of our recent conversations (before, during and after the actual meetings) on #hashtags.

There’s more to be said about Twitter at conferences – but see Olivia Mitchell’s blog posts How to Present While People are Twittering and  8 things I learnt about using twitter as a participation tool for a great insight into fairly serious Twitter use at presentations.  (By the way – if you want to put up a live Twitter display during your presentation, go to Visible Tweets and enter your hashtag.) 

There are three particular points I would like to make on this topic:

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Capabilities

Keith April 7th, 2009

How do you define what you do? Particularly when the main thing you do is something as potentially nebulous as “Knowledge Management”?

In order to clarify the consultancy services that AcKnowledge Consulting is offering to the market, I have drafted a collection of Capability Statements. A Capability Statement is normally a fairly straightforward document, outlining a technical function that can be delivered by an organisation – particularly one operating in an area like IT outsourcing. This is fine where the technical capability is readily understood by all concerned.

The main area  of this consultancy service is Optimising organisational efficiency by effectively managing and delivering the knowledge required to meet business demands – with a particular focus on meeting the demands of a sales force. This could be summarised as “Knowledge Management for Sales”, but the term “Knowledge Management” can mean many different things. Accordingly, I have developed a slightly different format for my Capability Statements, as follows:

  • The Business Situation – an outline of the needs of a particular function or group within an organisation.
  • The Challenge – some specific issues in this area that require attention, or that are presenting a problem.
  • Where AcKnowledge Consulting can help – an outline of some of the specific ways that AcKnowledge Consulting can address these issues.
  • Why AcKnowledge Consulting? – some supporting information on relevant experience that can be brought to bear in this situation, including testimonials from clients as appropriate.

These documents are written on a single page for each capability.  For an example, see the Knowledge Transfer Capability Statement.  The current list of capabilities and statements is available on the About page on this site.

I welcome any feedback or comments on these statements, and how useful you may find them for understanding the services described.

Gearing up for Knowledge 2.0

Keith April 3rd, 2009

How are companies dealing with the KM challenge in the Web 20.era? … Reports of the demise of knowledge management sound somewhat exaggerated to the large number of Australian professionals working to implement KM strategies at large and small organizations across the country.

I contributed to an article in IDM Magazine some time ago; I have now been able to load a copy of the full article on this site.

The article includes interviews with a number of Knowledge Managers: Margaret Williams, Knowledge Manager at Gadens Lawyers; Linda Bevin, Information and Knowledge Manager at the Australian Wine Research Institute; Nerida Hart, Director of Knowledge at Land and Water Australia and Luke Naismith (then) a knowledge, foresight and change project leader with Contax, operating in the Middle East.

My contribution was based on my experience with the “KM Toolkit” at Telstra. (I had just left the organisation by the time the article was published.)

The Art of Business

Keith March 24th, 2009

I delivered a presentation yesterday that I really enjoyed putting together, and it was great fun to deliver!

The brief was a keynote presentation for Panviva’s annual SupportPoint User Conference.  SupportPoint is a “Business Process Guidance” system.

The brief was to deliver a Keynote presentation, and to set the theme for the conference: “Communication and Collaboration”.  The underlying theme that I used to couch this on was Creativity, and the importance of creativity in both leadership and knowledge work.  The slide pack is available on SlideShare.

I have used this as a good opportunity to shake off (at least some of) the shackles of PowerPoint – by using lots of pictures, and a lot less words.  Some of the photos are mine, and most of the rest are Flickr “Creative Commons – Attributions” licensed photos, all with links on the relevant slides.

As there are lots of pictures, some of the slides may not be clear without the voice over (which maybe I’ll add to SlideShare later).  The initial point is explaining my initial perceptions of creativity – influenced by the paintings of both my mother and my sister.  (See the post “Moving mountains” on this site for more of this story.)

The next section refers to the material in this post on creativity in leadership, and briefly touches on my thoughts on Change Management. I then go over some of my past experiences with a Knowledge Management Toolkit, and how we went about developing it.  The final part of the presentation picks up on a recent post on story at Anecdote, which includes a link to the story of “the one-armed boy”.

With that explanation, I hope it all makes sense, and that you enjoy this as much as I did!

The theory and practice of communities

Keith March 8th, 2009

Without clear thinking, valuable work may grind to a halt

The following is the introduction to an article that I wrote, published in the November/December KM Review.

Despite everything that the modern KM practitioner knows about communities, collaboration and technology, communities of practice (CoPs) often fail and collaboration often breaks down. In order to establish an effective CoP, it’s necessary first to think about the nature and structure of a community and recognize that it’s an entirely different entity from a work group or a project team. As such, it must be treated differently, too. In this article, author Keith De La Rue examines the pitfalls associated with CoPs and why helping them to grow and flourish requires a better understanding of three words: “community”, “practice” and “technology”.

Read the full article.

We are the champions

Keith November 6th, 2008

I am apparently now a “Digital Ministry Champion“. I have just posted my first article: To tweet or not to tweet.

This article is a summary of several previous posts on this site:

You’ve read about Social Media. You may have dipped a toe in the water here or there – or you may be up to your armpits. But have you tweeted yet? What’s all the buzz (or should that be “chorus”) about Twitter? Scared about making the commitment? I was not long ago, too… View full article

Also new to this article:

I have also found [Twitter] to be an amazing way to engage in “open note taking”.  I like to record notes when I attend seminars.  For some time, I have been taking notes on a PDA rather than on paper, as the notes are then synchronised with my PC, and available for blogging or other reuse.  This is great for me.

But with Twitter, I can take notes in just the same way, and everyone “following” me on Twitter can choose to tune in if the topic is of interest.  The notes are necessarily brief, which helps to keep them focused.  Some of the feedback I have received from this has been overwhelmingly positive, with some stating that it is just like being there themselves.  (This is something I will blog about later in more detail.)

… watch this space!

Clancy on video

Keith November 5th, 2008

Well, as promised threatened, a video of “Clancy of the Knowledge Flow” is now available on YouTube. (If you want to skip the introduction, the music starts at 1:40 into the video.)

Read more about this on the previous post here, or go directly to the full list of the lyrics.

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.

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