Archive for the 'Knowledge Mgt' Category

Connect, develop, contribute

Keith August 13th, 2008

“Social media has enabled me to feel ahead, not behind as I return to work after 2nd baby.”
 - Serena Joyner (on Twitter

While preparing for my workshop for Key Forums on Friday – Using social media to harness knowledge within an organisation: Addressing the challenges – (breathe in now) I read this great tweet from Serena Joyner on the benefit she has found in Social Networking tools as she returns to work after her second baby.

Serena then directed me to a longer blog post that she has written on this topic, which was inspired by a similar blog post from “wonderwebby” (Jasmin Tragas), who I have only met recently via Twitter.

They each have a number of points to make about the the benefits of social networking, and wonderwebby has a number of additional ones from others as comments on her post.  In brief summary, these points (which I have now added to Friday’s slide pack) are:

  • Personal development.
  • Providing a “virtual water-cooler” – a looser network than the face-to-face one, but a network that includes thought leaders, and is “warmer” than the community provided on a (more traditional technology) listserve. Continue Reading »

Diversity, creativity and innovation

Keith July 31st, 2008

“Every really good creative person in advertising whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First there was no subject under the sun in which he [sic] could not easily get interested – from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all fields of information.”
 - James Webb Young in A Technique for Producing Ideas (1965)

There have been a number of discussions on and off about what makes a good knowledge manager.  In various discussions, I have always been interested to note the amazing range of backgrounds people come from – and usually a somewhat chequered career path – to get to this point.  Personally, I have come via an IT degree, Project Management, Telecoms Consultancy, with a dash of adult learning and communications thrown in.

As “knowledge management” is such a broad church, there are a range of disciplines such as librarianship, information management, content management and IT that you would expect to see, but why are there so many zoologists now working in KM?  I must admit that I haven’t met too many in the field from an advertising background (as per the quote above – highlighted in actKM a while ago), but these fields may well share a preference for diversity – and creativity. 

Continue Reading »

Event afterwords

Keith July 29th, 2008

A number of other bloggers have been writing about the KM Australia conference.  I have posted links to a couple on the Melbourne KMLF blog, and Ark have now posted some more links – see the following:

  • Martin Dart has a few quite detailed posts on his blog.
  • Shawn has put up a post that includes the results of the dotmocracy exercise on “Trust creating behaviours”.
  • Cheryl Doig posted on “The Importance of Trust“.
  • Anthony Coles posted his thoughts: “There were more cliches and acronyms than a orthodontists convention…”
  • Che Tibby, vising from NZ, has posted this so far.
  • Gene Smith posted before the conference here and here – I expect that there may be more to come.
  • Jeff Kelly also posted before the conference here.

(For all posts on this topic here, see the KM Aus 08 category.)

Regarding the KMLF session – a bit hard to say more than Frank has already written at VPS-CIN!

Hit me again, dealer!

Keith July 25th, 2008

card.jpg 

Patrick Lambe has produced a fantastic little resource for KM practitioners – a pack of KM Method Cards.  This is a pack of quick reference cards covering 80 approaches, methods and tools that can be used in KM planning, assessments and implementations. You can get the cards from the Straits Knowledge online store.

The cards give neat, useful summaries of “KM approaches (eg CoPs, Information Literacy, KM Champions), methods (eg AARs, Pre-Mortems, Anecdote Circles) and tools (eg Wikis, Taxonomies, Competency Frameworks)”. Patrick’s team at Straits Knowledge has already been using them “in a variety of activities with our clients, often in helping them to visualise and plan how they are going to operationalise their KM strategies. Our clients have used them to provide quick reference guides to their KM activists and champions, and also to identify training and competency development needs.”

They are really neat, easy to carry around and use, and give a really good snapshot of all the topics in a form that can be very quickly read and digested!

Zigging and tagging

Keith July 22nd, 2008

“It has always surprised me how little attention philosophers have paid to humour, since it is a more significant process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perceptions, but the humor process is involved in changing them.”
- Edward de Bono

The last presentation at KM Australia last night was from Gene Smith. This was one of my favourite types of presentation – wide-ranging, interesting, mind-expanding and minimal text on the slides.

The main topic was the future of information architecture. Among other things, Gene talked about the following:

  • Twitter search – compared to Google, this adds the power of mining conversations, as well as content.
  • Microformats – DOPPLR uses microformats to import your Twitter contacts. (Guess I’d better try this…)
  • Somebody during the afternoon – I think it was Gene – mentioned the Semantic Web in the same category as time machines: “not practical”.
  • Tagging – particularly social tagging (delicious, etc). He also mentioned ZigTag, which offers “tagging with semantic context.”

Continue Reading »

Silver bullet?

Keith July 21st, 2008

The debate question: “Technology is the silver bullet for knowledge management.” The final vote result: overwhelmingly opposed.

Even the team arguing against freely admitted that technology is an important enabler – we aren’t Luddites – the argument is that it’s first and foremost about people.

Arthur asked another question – how many people changed their mind as a result of the debate? Only two.

Rumours of the death of KM exaggerated

Keith July 21st, 2008

This will be the first of a few posts directly from the floor of Ark Group’s KM Australia 2008.

(For all posts on this topic, see the KM Aus 08 category.)

The show started on a good note. Arthur Shelley asked for a show of hands from the audience to indicate all those from organisations that are increasing their investment in Knowledge Management. Over half of the audience of around 150 put up their hands.

This is definitely good news!

Sad news from Ark, though – Kylie is moving on! (Good news for Kylie, though – congratulations!)

Interesting keynote from Hideo Yamazaki. Japanese companies previously had very effective social networks, but the focus on efficiency in the 1990s destroyed this. This loss of “shared feelings” has destroyed trust, and thus reduced knowledge sharing.

The current awakening in the west to the importance of networks and trust means that we all now need to go back to where Japan already was for hundreds of years…

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!

———————-

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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Lost in translation

Keith April 16th, 2008

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

There has been some discussion on actKM about language translation.  It has been suggested that it is possible to decide that a particular translation can be said to be “correct”, or that one translation can be actually measured and rated as “better” than another. 

The argument has variously referred to single words or whole texts; poetry has also been referred to. 

Is it possible to say that even a precise, simple, factual statement is accurately translated?  Maybe, but I am not convinced.  However, when it comes to translating “knowledge” – any piece of text that is in any way context-dependent, then I must side with David Snowden’s view that “knowledge is closer to poetry than a factual statement.” 

Poetry tends to be strongly context-dependent.  There is no way that a translation of a poem can be judged to be “correct” in any completely objective or absolute way (or thus, by the above argument, knowledge).

Continue Reading »

A new journey begins

Keith April 7th, 2008

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  – J. R. R. Tolkien

Where does the KM function ideally belong in an organisation?  This is the topic of a recent discussion on actKM.  I have been working in KM in Telstra for about eight years.  The role of my team is to make it easy for our business sales people to access the knowledge they need to sell our products, services and solutions.  Over this time, the migration of the team through the organisation has been as follows:

  • Sales (in a specialist sales/technical area)
  • Marketing
  • Sales (in “Sales Programs”, with the communication group)
  • Marketing (with the Campaign Build function)
  • Business Operations (for six months, where I was the only member of the original team remaining)
  • Sales Excellence (with the Sales communications, training and other support groups)
  • Enterprise Learning (over the last six months or so)

Continue Reading »

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