Archive for the 'Conversation' Category

Making Collaboration Happen

Keith November 16th, 2010

I presented on this topic at Ark Group’s Collaboration Site Visits event in Sydney on 8 September.  The Slide Pack is now available on SlideShare here.  This was a half-day workshop, and it was delivered in three parts.  The title was, of course, intentionally misleading – the whole point is that you can’t really make collaboration happen – you need to set up the right environment to support it.

The first part  addressed the dynamics of collaboration and CoPs – a discussion about community.  This is built on articles I have written previously, one of which is discussed on this site.  This also refers to Stan Garfield’s Communities Manifesto.

The second part provided some of the outcomes of the work Matt Moore and I did in our survey and report OzCollab – Collaboration Software in Australia. We then broke into a collaborative exercise, using another card game involving Patrick Lambe’s KM Method Cards.

The final part of the session then addressed the approach to participative change that has also been discussed here before – The Idea Monopoly.  This highlights the need for creativity, trust and openness in today’s complex organisations, and draws on the Cynefin model and other recent research.

Tool Time

Keith June 18th, 2010

I wrote here some time ago (almost two years!) about Patrick Lambe’s KM Method Cards.  This is a pack of quick reference cards covering 80 approaches, methods and tools that can be used in Knowledge Management planning, assessments and implementations. You can get the cards from the Straits Knowledge online store.

I finally had a chance to use them in a guest lecture I delivered recently at Victoria University (where my son was doing a KM unit as part of his business Master’s degree).

In essence, it was used to support a presentation on KM technology, tools and techniques.  The full slide pack for the lecture is on SlideShare.

The first part of the lecture gave a general overview of KM tools and a case study scenario – an outline of the environment and cultures of a business where a KM program was introduced.  The students were then split into four groups, and cards were distributed to the groups.  Each group was then asked to select the approaches, methods or tools that they considered would be the most appropriate to address the case study scenario.

After the selections were made and presented, the choices were then discussed.  The remainder of the lecture covered the tools actually used in the case study, with further discussion of how the students’ choices matched the real-world example.

Of course, there are no absolute “right” or “wrong” answers in this exercise – it’s the conversation that is most important! The main point is for the students to become more familiar with KM approaches, methods and tools, and to think through which would be most helpful in a given scenario.

For the full details, see the description on the wiki.

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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Podcasting – and learning

Keith June 20th, 2008

Just back from working with Dan and the team on the Kokoda Pathways blog.  Finally got PodPress under control last night – it’s all taking shape!  Just waiting for iTunes to set up our feed, and James and Jess will be full-time on interviewing, editing and uploading next week.  Good fun!

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Last week I had the opportunity to meet Jay Cross – thanks to an invitation from Shawn.  Jay and I share some views on the role of learning in today’s organisation.  My main view is that making distinctions between learning, communications and content/knowledge/information management is an entirely archaic device intended to protect some people’s individual empires.  (Read more on my view here.)

Jay wrote back, directing me to one of his blog posts.  The salient point here is:

KM & training both suffer from corporate Alzheimer’s: the inability to read the handwriting on the wall. The future is bottom-up, open, networked, and more complex than we’ll ever understand. Deal with it… Isn’t it time for a requiem to these “solutions” to yesterday’s problems? Old-style KM and training don’t work in today’s egalitarian, networked world. 

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Challenging how knowledge is created

Keith June 12th, 2007

I went to a seminar about wikis organised by education.au a while ago (27 April), where Jimmy Wales, the “father” of Wikipedia, presented.  Another key speaker was Mark Pesce.  It was a great learning experience. 

We heard a lot about Wikipedia (a non-profit organisation), and Jimmy’s other organisation, Wikia, which provides wiki platforms on a for-profit basis.

One important learning from Jimmy’s experience is that it is possible to set up a sustainable wiki with as few as 5 to 10 dedicated people.  There is even one case of a successful wiki started by a single (very) dedicated person.  Jimmy referred to Wiki as a “return to folk culture”.  It is all about a group of individuals each doing their own bit.

It’s all about accountability, not gate-keeping.  Anybody can edit – the default position is to trust people.  This has also been my experience with our iStore here at Telstra over the last seven years – trust people to share their knowledge openly and easily, and in the vast majority of cases, your trust will be honoured.  The more you “lock up” your knowledge sharing with controls, the less likely it is that people will share.

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