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.

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, including 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. The book can be ordered on the TIMAF site. 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.

The Art of Conversation

Keith January 20th, 2011

Some recent research has highlighted the transformative power of conversation. I presented on this topic at the Melbourne KMLF last night. This was one of three “Ignite” format presentations done on the night. This format requires twenty slides, timed at 15 seconds each. Total time per presentation – 5 minutes, plus discussion.

The slide pack, including speaker notes, is available at SlideShare. A list of references is also included on the Notes page of the last slide.

The main ideas drawn on for this presentation are as follows:

We also discussed the pros and cons of the format, with mixed results. I think that it is a great format, provided that it can lead into further discussion as required. We have just started using MeetUp for managing Melbourne KMLF events, so expect further discussion on the MeetUp post.

Info Mgt Clinic & ECM Survey

Keith December 16th, 2010

In late March 2011, Matt Moore of Innotecture and I will be running an Information Management Clinic in Melbourne. This is a session focused on information “pain relief” and practical problem solving.

In conjunction with this event, we are running an Enterprise Content Management maturity assessment survey based on the open source ECM3 methodology. It should take you 10 minutes and you will be in the running for some nifty Apple technology. Summarised results will be available under a Creative Commons license. So please take the survey and let us know what’s going on!

More information on the clinic will be posted here and on the Innotecture site as it is developed.

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.

CPA Congress – Navigate the New

Keith October 6th, 2010

I will be presenting two sessions at the CPA Congress in Melbourne next Monday. 

Congress

The Slide Packs are now available on SlideShare – they are:

Knowledge Transfer Toolkit Program

This case study outlines how to capture knowledge from a team of experts and make it available to a non-expert target audience.

A managed program approach is used to bring together all of the (traditionally separate) threads of content management, communications and learning to form a coherent, flexible knowledge transfer toolkit. A key element in putting this program into place is to encourage the required behaviours of all participants, including promoting knowledge sharing.

Using social media as a business tool

Topics covered are:

  • Trust and openness –the new paradigm for engagement
  • The importance of people and personality
  • Evaluating the benefits, risks and challenges
  • Existing channels and new strategies
  • Practical examples of social media

Presentation – The Idea Monopoly?

Keith June 25th, 2010

“Nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives.” – IBM, 2008.

Why does this happen? As many working in Knowledge Management and related fields understand, it’s all about people and complexity. Organisations are increasingly dependent on people and what they know in order to operate successfully in today’s environment. It is no longer sufficient for organisational change to be driven by a small handful of people – there is no monopoly on ideas.

This is the topic of the presentation I delivered last Wednesday night at the Melbourne KMLF.  The slide pack is now available on SlideShare.

I have posted on this topic here before, and delivered an earlier version of the presentation at trampoline.  

Key points in this presentation are:

  • Recent insights into effective organisational change.
  • The impact of complexity and the importance of engaging people. 
  • Creativity and the wisdom of crowds. 
  • Social Media – the power of trust and openness.

For more background on the topics covered, here are some links to the material referenced:
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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.

Madras Olives

Keith May 21st, 2010

Pound to a smooth paste 1 oz. butter, 2 hard-boiled yolks of eggs, 4 washed and boned anchovies or ½ oz. anchovy paste, with 1 tea spoon Madras Chutney, salt and Cayenne to taste, and spread on to fried croutons, raising it in a dome shape, and smoothing over with a warm, wet knife.

Have ready some stoned olives, filled with stiffly-whipped cream flavoured with Coralline pepper, and put on the top of each little mound a little round of egg white encircling each olive.

From the Wool Wool Cookery Book, 1903.

Is it just me, or have tastes changed somewhat in the last 100 years?

Culture, knowledge sharing and the Ocker

Keith May 7th, 2010

As part of some training material I have been writing for a client, I have revisited some related work I was engaged in some years ago.  One of the other authors I was working with then wrote a chapter on culture.  This work quoted a piece called Cultural variations in the cross-border transfer of organisational knowledge: an integrative framework, by R S Bhagat and others, from a 2002 edition of the Academy of Management Review.

This work describes national cultural patterns, and how they affect knowledge sharing.  Here is a simple summary diagram I have put together of the four basic types they described:

Culture & Knowledge Sharing

Both types of culture in the left column are independent and individualist, and predominantly Western. 

The top left quadrant is the domain of the rugged individualists.  They are mostly found in France, Germany, the UK and USA.  These people see each other as unique, and accept inequalities.  Thus they can naturally accept a social class structure.  They tend to hoard knowledge, and see this knowledge hoarding as power.  They like theoretical analysis.

The horizontal individualists in the bottom left domain see themselves as equal in status with each other.  Bhagat et al state that they also have “a relatively high tolerance for ambiguity and complexity”.   They are mostly found in Denmark, Sweden and Australia.  This is of particular interest, and will be discussed further.

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