welcome to AcKnowledge Consulting

This is the blog site of AcKnowledge Consulting and Keith De La Rue.

Main focus: Optimising Sales Force efficiency by effectively managing and delivering the knowledge required to meet customer demands.
How this is done: By building a managed knowledge transfer toolkit.

A Tale of Two Cafés

Keith June 11th, 2011

David Gurteen has recently posted an article comparing his Knowledge Café concept and World Café, which are similar processes, but with “some subtle but significant differences”.

As I have been doing a fair bit of both work and writing on collaboration recently, I have been attempting to sharpen up my own ideas about these techniques and the differences. In practice, I tend to modify the techniques to match the context, rather than necessarily follow a strict format, but it is useful to understand the origins and strengths of the different approaches.

David has spelt out the differences quite thoroughly in his article, but I thought that it may be helpful to put together a bit of a summary here, also drawing on my own experience and observations.

 World Café Knowledge Café 
Started in 1995. Started in 2002.
Community focussed. Business focussed. 
Described in community language. Described in business language.
Used to address social issues and build community. Used to address business issues and build business communities.
Defined structure and process. Structure and process can be adapted to meet business needs.
Uses Table Hosts. Does not use Table Hosts.
The results of conversations are “harvested”. The conversations themselves are important – results are not normally harvested.

 

As David is at some pains to point out, he is not saying that there is anything wrong with the World Café approach – it is just different. Each approach has its place and purpose.

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Information Awareness Month

Keith May 13th, 2011

Later today I’m speaking at Knowledge transfer in a digital age - a free Information Awareness Month event in Melbourne, jointly promoted by a number of organisations in the “records, archives, library and information management community”.

I am presenting an updated version of the Knowledge Transfer Toolkit presentation - read more about the background on this site, including this recently published article. The outline of the presentation is as follows:

Building and managing a knowledge transfer program:

How do you encourage technical experts to share their knowledge with others in the organisation that need it to do their jobs? How do you maintain currency and accuracy? This case study presentation will explain how to build a successful knowledge transfer toolkit.

Topics include:

  • Encouraging knowledge-sharing behaviours
  • Building a program-managed multimedia toolkit, comprising content, communication, learning and social media
  • Governance – keeping content up to date
  • Engaging the target audience in improving content
  • Using social media principles to build trust and engagement

View or download the slide pack on SlideShare here.

Art of Conversation – article edition

Keith May 9th, 2011

Further to previous posts here on the transformative power of conversation – the Ignite presentation at KMLF, and the trampoline presentation - I have now also written an article on the topic, which was published by Thomson-Reuters’ Online Currents last month.

This article has documented in a little more detail the recent research that highlights how conversation can actually make us smarter and more innovative – this research is from:

  • Anita Williams Woolley et al, who found that “small groups demonstrate distinctive ‘collective intelligence’ when facing difficult tasks”.
  • Steven Johnson’s book Where Good Ideas Come From, on cultural progress and how innovation really works.
  • Oscar Ybarra et al, showing that even brief, friendly conversations can improve individual mental function.

This research is summarised and drawn together in the article, along with other thoughts on conversation, change and social media.

Download a copy of the article here.

Wildwood retreat

Keith April 22nd, 2011

So just over a month ago – just after landing back from my few days in Brisbane - I spent a few days down at Wildwood Retreat in Pennyroyal Valley with twelve other people.

We came together to talk about – and experiment with – various tools and techniques of group facilitation.  The retreat was arranged by Viv McWaters (@vivmcw) and Johnnie Moore (@johnniemoore), who had also just flown in from a couple of weeks of facilitation in the Solomon Islands and other places.

As much as it was about learning and doing stuff, it was about relaxing and having fun. I was there as Matt Moore (@engin_eer) had invited me. (Thanks, Matt!) Although I did already know some of the other people there, it was also a great time of meeting new people. It was also the first time that I had picked up a guitar for over a year – Geoff Brown (@geoffbrown3231) very kindly didn’t protest when I borrowed his every time he put it down!

Wildwood was a bit run down, as it was actually on the market, and the owner was no longer resident on site. The catering was excellent, and the location marvellous, but the nights were getting cooler, and the wood fire heating was rather short of fuel. Some of us tracked down some wood, and Geoff kindly wielded the splitter. Given my experience with wood fires at Blackwood, I got the Coonara going on the first morning there, and kept it stoked up for the duration. (For which I was christened “fireguy” by Johnnie.)

One of the highlights was the evening that I was sitting around fiddling with the guitar (or guitaring, I guess), and Johnnie suggested we improvise a song. After a bit of work, we got a chorus going, and improvised as many verses as we could as the others came into the room – and then ran away to the other end of the room as quickly as they could!

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The Art of Conversation – trampoline edition

Keith April 16th, 2011

So today I presented this topic at trampoline.  Trampoline is a “self-organising event for those who find the world interesting, have something to offer and share, and have an inquisitive mind”. I’ve been at some of the earlier trampoline days, and it’s great to get back and get energised again!

@kdelarue on conversation #trampoline

photo: thesquigglyline

This morning, I presented on the same topic as my last KMLF presentation – see this post for the details.  This time, I have tweaked the presentation a little, and had the luxury of enough time to get the audience engaged in the conversation. Since the KMLF presentation, I have also  written an article on this topic for Online Currents, which is being published this month. A copy of the article will be posted here a little while after the magazine is out.

The new slide pack is now up on SlideShare.  One thing that has emerged from this work that is added to this version of the presentation is my proposed Innovative Meeting Test:

  • Have we all been introduced?
  • Is everyone open and willing to change?
  • Are we all taking equal turns?
  • Is the talk friendly and constructive?
  • Do we have sufficiently diverse viewpoints?

Two events with Matt Moore, 11 April – “Followership” and Information Governance

Keith April 1st, 2011

Matt Moore, the chair of the NSW KM Forum, and I will be facilitating two Knowledge Cafés on 11 April, one on each of these topics.

These events will be taking place at the Abbotsford Convent. Information Governance will run from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Followership from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Booking is required for these sessions – entry is only $20 for each.

Information Governance: How do we manage this flood of “stuff” that we have created as individuals and organisations? More information here; Book now.

Followership: We hear a lot about leaders, but what about followers? Some more background at the Followership Centre; Book now.

Matt Moore is Director of Innotecture. He has over a decade’s worth of experience working in knowledge management, learning and development, internal communications and community development with PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Oracle and the Australian government. See more info at http://innotecture.co….

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else that may be interested in attending.

What’s a KM guy like me doing in a comms place like the IABC?

Keith March 21st, 2011

I have just written a guest post for the IABC Vic Chapter blog. It summarises why I see a strong connection between KM and communications, with a bit of history on my membership of the IABC.  It also touches on why it is important to maintain an interest in fields outside your own core expertise. Have a read.

Info Management Conference

Keith February 28th, 2011

On Tue 15 Mar, I’ll be speaking at the Queensland Joint Information Management Conference for Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia. The topic is a familiar one – Building and managing a knowledge transfer program.

rimpa-logo

This will be similar to earlier versions of this presentation, but will have a little more stress on the use of Social Media principles in this work.  The outline is as follows:

How do you encourage technical experts to share their knowledge with others in the organisation that need it to do their jobs? How do you maintain currency and accuracy? This case study presentation will explain how to build a successful knowledge transfer toolkit, covering aspects such as:

  • Encouraging knowledge-sharing behaviours
  • Building a program-managed multimedia toolkit, comprising content, communication, learning and social media
  • Governance – keeping content up to date
  • Engaging the target audience in improving content
  • Using social media principles to build trust and engagement

See you there?

Building and Maintaining a Knowledge Transfer Toolkit

Keith February 23rd, 2011

Many large organisations have subject matter experts with a deep knowledge and understanding of business-critical information. This knowledge needs to be conveyed to a target audience in another area of the organisation, mostly comprised of staff with a lower level of technical expertise. In traditional organisational structures, content management, intranet, communications and training are often located in separate silos. Yet all of these areas provide tools that assist in knowledge transfer – the desired end result is an informed audience.

This splitting of functions can lead to inefficiency, duplication of effort, confused messages and errors. Other critical factors impacting effective knowledge transfer are maintenance of the currency and accuracy of content, as well as the problem of knowledge hoarding.

In this article, a strategy for building a complete knowledge transfer toolkit will be described. This toolkit includes a range of individual elements, comprising content management, communications, learning and multimedia elements, coordinated as a managed program. Approaches to maintaining the currency and accuracy of content, dealing with knowledge hoarding and the relevance of social media principles will also be addressed.

I have written here many times about the “toolkit” approach we used in my work at Telstra (2000-2008). This has been covered in a number of presentations that I have delivered, most recently at the 2010 CPA Congress. I wrote an article about it in 2009, and it was originally documented in a Case Study by Andrew Mitchell, also available on this site.

I have now published a more detailed article on the toolkit, chapter three in the book: TIMAF Information Management Best Practices – Volume 1, issued in November 2010. A copy of my article is now available for free download from this site here.

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Communities and collaboration

Keith February 20th, 2011

We know all about explicit knowledge – it is visible and tactile, and has been recorded in libraries since Sumerian times. Tacit knowledge, however, is somewhat harder to tie down. This is the knowledge inside peoples’ heads. We often attempt – with varying degrees of success – to convert it into an explicit form so we can better measure and account for it. However, one of the best ways to handle tacit knowledge is for people to simply work together with it, and talk about it. This article investigates one of the most effective ways of dealing with tacit knowledge in organisations – Communities of Practice – and why helping them to grow and flourish requires a better understanding of the words “community” and “practice”, as well as an understanding of the place of technology.

So begins the latest version of my thoughts on Communities of Practice – this time, in an article in the Thomson Reuters publication Online Currents. A full copy of this article is now available on this site.

This extends the ideas in my earlier article The theory and practice of communities.

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