Monday, 21 December 2009
I'm currently reading the chapter 'New Approaches to Old Problems'. McAfee presents a very simple model - The Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye - of different types of ties for knowledge workers, which I think is very useful. He goes on to describe how, in complete contrast to many organisations, Serena Software have actually adopted Facebook as their corporate intranet! That's not an in-house, behind the firewall version of Facebook but the out there in the world wide web version. McAfee contends that Facebook has attributes that make it "particularly appropriate for the second ring of the bulls-eye which contains large numbers of weakly tied collaborators".
It was a story I had heard about but McAfee puts the pieces together in a compelling way. And it led me to thinking about the way in which I use SNS (Social Networking Services) tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I was particularly struck by a quote from Serena VP Kyle Arteaga: "At any given time I know as much about my colleagues as they want to share via Facebook ... So now I have a context when I next speak to each of them".
Until now I had - broadly speaking - tended to keep my LinkedIn contacts and my Facebook contacts separate. "LinkedIn is for business, Facebook is for friends and family". My Facebook network of 'friends' has very little overlap with my network on LinkedIn. Which, of course, includes KIN members. When it comes to status updates, I shall continue to make that distinction. I am unlikely to post about work I am engaged in on Facebook. Likewise, I am unlikely to post about the idiosyncacies of my children on LinkedIn. And it is unlikely that I shall start adding many of my Facebook 'friends' to my LinkedIn network. But maybe I'll start adding a few more KIN members to my Facebook friends list to provide me (and them) with that social 'context' Arteaga referred to. To that end, I've just added a link to my Facebook profile on my LinkedIn profile to make it easier for people in my 'professional' network to connect to my 'social' context.
What about you? How do you use these and similar social media tools? What strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Image via Wikipedia
KIN steering group member, Steve Conway, of Leicester University has been looking into this for us and came up with three well-researched papers. Whilst the papers are peppered with words such as 'jocularity', 'parody', 'absurdity' and 'irony', unfortunately none of these describe the actual treatises. The papers are worth a read from an academic perspective, but what I'd really hoped for were some actual case studies on how humour helped workplace communication. Maybe there is some space for research amongst and by practitioners in the use of humour in knowledge sharing?
BTW here are a few things you will see, but never hear at work:
1. Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 5:00pm to give it to me. The challenge of a deadline is always refreshing.
2. If it's really a "rush job," run in and interrupt me every 10 minutes to enquire how it's going. That greatly aids my efficiency.
3. Always leave without telling anyone where you're going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.
4. If you give me more than one job to do, don't tell me which is the priority. Let me guess.
5. Be nice to me only when the job I'm doing for you could really change your life.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Image by dweebydude5 via FlickrI love unusual and obscure words, especially if they are onomatopoeic. I came across 'palimpsest' today and just had to look it up. Now why was 'wiki' (Hawaiian for 'fast') so named, when palimpsest would have been much more fun and appropriate...
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Image by earthhopper via Flickr
I've been doing some work recently for IDeA on their ambitious and innovative 'Knowledge Hub' concept. During the course of talking to various local authorities, I came across the phenomenon of local activists taking 'open' local authority data and doing really innovative things by mashing it with readily accessible external data (eg Google Maps) and making it more relevant and accessible. A great example is Birmingham DIY
This got me wondering what might be achieved if creative, motivated and technically skilled staff in private sector organisations we let loose on their organisation's data, within the firewall, but outside of functional and organisational hierarchies. There is a degree of risk of course, but who knows what patterns and new insights might emerge for the organisation by looking at 'operational' data in a completely new way.
Friday, 6 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Image by alles-schlumpf via Flickr
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Rory Sutherland is a larger than life Ad Man, Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy UK and regular columnist for the Spectator. Take a look at his wonderful, erudite and very funny, take on intangible value in this TED.com talk. Those of us struggling to explain the value of 'tacit knowledge' and the need to steward and nurture it can learn much from Sutherland's insights and convincing narrative. In the age of Twitter and unending technology innovations, he finishes with a nice quote from GK Chesterton 'We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders'. Watch out for the Canadian Shreddies advert - pure genius in creating value from absolutely nothing.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Image by geocam20000 via Flickr
This excellent article by Chris Heathcote suggests that the advertising industry has a great opportunity, not yet realised, in using 'presence' and 'sensing' to give a tailored user experience. Whilst utilising innovative technology, in this case outdoor electronic billboards, Heathcote suggests that a more sophisticated, timely and relevant experience can be delivered using 'sensing' technologies. Organisations are already using RFID extensively for operations, phones and cameras are GPS enabled; I vaguely recall that this has already been used to connect individuals and map personal networks at a conference. Is anyone using presence or sensing technology to connect individuals or expertise at work?
Monday, 5 October 2009
Image by jaygoldman via Flickrorganisation by making best use of tools that are available to help people to connect, both within and outside of the organisation. The focus was not just on the tools themselves, but on how to use the tools effectively to maximise the value of the connections made.
As is always the case with KIN events, discussions in the breakout sessions ranged far and wide (not always keeping to the topic in hand). At one point I found myself trying to convince a member of the usefulness of an RSS reader. In a 'aha' moment, she suddenly said "Oh, you mean it's like a CCTV control room for the Web". I thought this was such a nice analogy, I wanted to share it here.
And for those that want to know what all the fuss is about, I'll just refer you to my earlier posting on the subject 'The RSS Evangelist'
Sunday, 4 October 2009
For security reasons, the various intelligence gathering teams were physically separated in huts, known only by their numbers. For example, the codebreakers concentrating on the Army and Air Force cyphers were based in Hut 6, Hut 8 decoded messages from the German Navy and Hut 4 German naval intelligence. Others included Log-Reading, Direction-Finding, Wireless Telegraphy, and the Technical Section. In order to overcome these necessary boundaries and make sense of the whole, ‘Fusion Officers’ moved between the paired huts, looking for trends, sense-making, connecting loose ends and preparing reports.It occurred to me that the huts are analogous of Business Unit silos and 'Fusion Officers' of network or community facilitators or organizational knowledge-brokers.
Allied military intelligence was acutely aware that if information from Bletchley Park analysis were to be intercepted by the Germans, the entire Enigma operation would be compromised. For this reason, agents sent to brief front-line command were only allowed to give verbal briefings; they were not allowed to carry documents, encoded or not. In modern jargon, tacit knowledge transfer.
Graham Robertson of Bracken Associates was kind enough to tell me about this story and point me to the archive of Tony Sale, http://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/ . Tony was founder and first curator of the Bletchley Park Museum
Monday, 21 September 2009
A fascinating Saboteur's Field Manual has been declassified by the US Military. As well as the usual nails and home-made explosives, surprisingly it presents sophisticated methods of disrupting organisational knowledge. A kind of knowledge management, in reverse. Knowledge mis-management?
"A second type of simple sabotage requires no destructive tools whatsoever and produces physical damage, if any, by highly indirect means. It is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt an uncooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit. Making a faulty decision may be simply a matter of placing tools in one spot instead of another".
Sounds familiar? For tools, read documents.
How about: "More important ... would be to create a situation in which the citizen-saboteur acquires a sense of responsibility and begins to educate others in simple sabotage".
And my favourites in relation to Knowledge Mis-Management:
- "When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.
- To lower morale... be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers.
- Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done".
Finally, I couldn't resist this one:
"Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks".
I am indebted to Jenny Ambrozek for pointing me to Don Burke of the CIA who referenced the Handbook in his talk to The Tap Collective
Friday, 18 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Like many, I was enthralled to see Derren Brown attempt to predict the National Lottery numbers last week 'live on TV'. The 'how it was done' follow-up however, looked to me like the very worst kind of pseudo-science. I've always been a fan of Brown, and admired his honesty in admitting misdirection and manipulation. By persuading an open-mouthed audience that it was done with 'automatic writing' and 'The Wisdom of Crowds', he lost all credibility in my eyes. The wisdom of just 24 people, all sitting in the same room?
This article from a member of the British Psychological Society neatly captures the essence of crowdsourcing 'The group must be independent and diverse, with members having unique insights into the problem at hand'. The article perfectly sums up why this was a missed opportunity to explore to a proven and useful phenomenon.
As it happens, the KIN Members' Winter Workshop on 2nd December will include an examination of Prediction Markets. This takes Surowiecki's principle examined in his book the Wisdom of Crowds and applies it to a commercial context. With the help of Jed Christiansen, we will look at several case-studies that have successfully been undertaken. Snake oil will not be available.
Friday, 28 August 2009
My first video camera, bought when my son was a baby, was a miracle of engineering in its day, but its analogue tapes consigned to the recycling bin a while ago.
We all know that things are most memorable if you can capture a spontaneous moment. For knowledge capture, a photo is a good reminder, but you can't beat video for context and nuance. I've played around a bit with the video facility on my phone, but it is a real pain to set up, the controls are unusable and quality lousy. I've just ordered one of the new Flip Mino soild-state video gadgets. Incredibly, these 2GB miniscule devices have now come down in price to under £95! For only slightly more you can get 4GB HD version, though this is unnecessary for the quick video grabs I'm going to use it for. With these things the size of a box of matches, controls as simple as pressing a red button, and uploading consisting of not much more than pushing the flip-out USB into your PC, knowledge capture just got easier.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Image by National Media Museum via Flickr. (See Kin Tags and Bookmarks)
But I've been in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to whether or not to Bookmark individual Blog posts. I bookmark Blogs which I read (regularly or occasionally) which I think would be of interest to KIN members. But should I bookmark individual Blog Posts? By their very nature, many (but not all) individual blog articles can be somewhat ephemeral and transitory in nature. So if I am using the Diigo group to see what has been shared on a specific topic (using tags), would I want to see a bunch of short, ageing blog posts which may or may not still be relevant. Well, it's a judgement call. There will be some Blog posts which are so good that they 'deserve' to be bookmarked and I will do so. But what about those posts where I think, 'that was good - other KIN members might also like to read that' but which I don't feel warrant bookmarking?
For posts such as these, I've decided to make use of a feature of Google Reader (my RSS reader of choice) which allows you to easily share blog posts that you find. I've set up a page in the KIN memberspace called Phil's recommended reading with three sections: a) Blog posts of interest to ET SIG members, which is a subset of b)all Blog posts I share and (for good measure) c) all my Diigo bookmarks (whether shared to the KIN Diigo group or not).
So are there any other KIN members who would like to share the blog posts they find with everyone else but are not sure how? Reply to this post and we'll try to find a way to get you started.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
For those who aren’t familiar with the character of Dr. Gregory House, he is the cantankerous diagnostician of the eponymous television medical drama. He limps along with a cane and pops Vicoden as if they were Skittles. Each episode features a baffling medical case that endangers the life of the patient. House’s staff wrestle with the problem, proposing and rejecting diagnoses until House, having heard enough, insults them, correctly identifies the malady, prescribes a treatment, and saves the patient’s life.
So what has House to do with KM. Well there are two basic tenets I was introduced to when I was learning about KM that it appears to me are at the heart of each programme.
'None of us are as smart as all of us'. Despite House being 'a genius' and tending to believe that he is always right, the fundamental process at the heart of the series is 'differential diagnosis' involving all members of the team including House where they participate in essentially brainstorming all the possible causes of the malady affecting a patient. Bouncing ideas around the team is seen as fundamental to the diagnosis. In one episode House was seen to reject a possible recruit to his team because he thought too much like House himself and House recognised that the value of the process was having a variety of thought processes (avoiding groupthink)
Learn Before, During and After
Like all good physicians, the characters in House rely on taking a patient history and reading their charts - learning before. As each episode unfolds, they uncover new symptoms and reconvene as a team to review their differential diagnosis before moving on. Learning during.
Where they appear to fall down (or maybe it just doesn't make good television) is on the 'Learning After'. I've yet to see them get together at the end of an episode and say, 'ok, what did we learn. How can we do better next time'. There was even one episode where it was made plain that House had not been updating his patients charts because that was not as interesting to him as moving on to the next case. (Sound familiar?)
So if I were so bold as to offer a suggestion to the script writers it would be that perhaps they should consider having House's team conduct an After Action Review once in a while.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Image via Wikipedia
Here's one for a Friday afternoon. I was having a drink with some friends the other day and one was asking me why can't enterprise search be like Google. I started rattling off a bunch of reasons and thought that perhaps I ought to capture these thoughts so other's asking the question (and I am sure there are some) could see the answers. When I wrote them down, it seemed like a bunch of excuses so I have tried to add some learning points so that anyone reading it might feel a little more informed how to do things better.
I don't suppose that this is uncommon in our organisations and thought that together we might be able to contribute more/better points and then have them available to all.
So, here is my starter for 10 (well a bit more, I have already had a few comments and some is prompted from similar articles - of couse found through Google ).
Of course, what I would really like to be talking about is findability, no one wants to search, just find - that is a whole other debate.
1. Search Engine Optimisation
Many millions, if not billions of pounds are spent by marketing departments ensuring that their service or product appears in the first few results. In the enterprise, the attitude of publishers is that once they have 'put it on the intranet' the job is done. There is little thought on how the user might then find that information that has probably had quite a lot of effort spent in creating it. If only a fraction of the effort spent on the creation was put to the task of ensuring the content was findable (through many, many routes, not simply search) then the intranet would work better.
Learning point: Publish the rules by which the search engine works (link to go here). Encourage people to 'game' the results. Teach them that the value is in people using their content, not simply creating it. There is perhaps also a role for social or enterprise bookmarking tools - although not strictly search, these tools provide users with another means of finding material, in a way that isn't dependent on content publishers. As I sometimes say when delivering our portal maintenance courses, "don't put up with being a putter upperer" make sure you are given the opprotunity to ensure your site and content does the job not simply exists.
In all the years that I have been involved in enterprise search no-one has offered me even a penny to ensure that their content is top of the search results list :-(. Compare that to the millions/billions spent on advertising with Google. Remember that the advertised results are not just the ones on the Right Hand side, in many cases the first few 'normal' results are also there through advertising.
Learning Point: Consider how you can put in place a process (and promote it) to enable people to have 'best bets' so that their important content is very explicitly linked to prominent results.
3. Enterprise search is based around document silos and a number of fairly independent web sites.
Google has got to the lead in the internet search engine space partly due to its patented PageRank algorithm. This algorithm uses the fact the web sites link to other web sites and those that are the most useful have most links to them. Google is effectively harnessing the power of us, the users, and our intellect to determine the best links. Although this is a little simplified it is mainly true and does not reflect the typical intranet in an enterprise.
Learning point: ????Perhaps some things are just different.
4. THE one or ANY one?
In many cases when looking for content in Google the user just needs a web site for their holiday, DVD, opinion etc. In the intranet it is one single specific instance of a thing that they have in mind and nothing else will do.
Learning point: ?????Again, perhaps some things are just different
5. Missing Content.
Once our intranet search got past the stage of people feedback little niggles about features, the single largest reason for people clicking the 'Dissatisfied - help us improve' link was for content that did not exist. Even the best search engine in the world cannot create links to content that is not there.
Learning Point: After all else, a real person with a very good knowledge of the organisation is best placed to put the requester in touch with the likely sources of information. In this regard an enterprise is in a much better place to react than 'the whole world'. Again, there may be a place here for some of the more "Web 2.0" tools, allowing users to find not just content but also individuals with relevant expertise, or communities with related interests - as always this would require both good tools and a significant change in behaviours!
Friday, 14 August 2009
They "...offer services to companies looking to make use of tools such as wikis and blogs, and websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. Collectively we call this Social Computing. We believe there are huge benefits to be gained for companies who are using this technology and we want to assist those who would like to engage and who feel that they are being left behind."
Like any self-respecting internet consultancy business, they have a blog, they're on LinkedIn - they're even on Twitter (FWIW!). But the other thing that really interested me was that they also share their bookmarks using Delicious.
Since the subject areas of interest to them are of interest to me also, I have added the RSS feed of their Blog and their Delicious bookmarks to my feedreader. If you also have an interest in these topics, you might want to do the same. But you can be assured that anything they bookmark that I think is relevant to KIN members I will also bookmark using Diigo and they will appear in the KIN memberspace, here and relevant blog posts will appear here.
Friday, 7 August 2009
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Friday, 31 July 2009
Erica Hurley and I ran an 'innovation visioning' workshop for a KIN member organisation this week. The organisation is faced with a number of significant new external finanical and regulatory influences and constraints. This means that delivery of their services to the cost and quality required will require a radical rethink of the way they operate. The emphasis of the workshop was creating an innovative culture and climate, where ideas can flourish, be evaluated, nurtured and implemented. We were doing some post-workshop feedback which resulted in an 'aha' moment from one of the participants; 'I get it; innovation is not a noun, but a verb'. This neatly sums up what we were trying to do - create the conditions in which people can do smart things differently.
Monday, 20 July 2009
I was looking around the websphere for inspiring case-study examples of product and service innovation. I came across the following interesting examples of approaches to product innovation:
BMW's blurb is certainly hyperbole “We have created the perfect synthesis of architecture and process-oriented thinking”, but you've got to hand it to them when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is. I'm sure it's a terrific R&D facility, but I wonder if it does truly create innovative products? Their Open Innovation facility may do so but is not very 'open'. See their paper here
More inspiring is this 3 part McKinsey video presentation on product innovation at Italian design house Alessi; as you would expect, it is superbly well designed. Most impressive is the third segment, where founder Alberto Alessi explains why and how measuring the success of innovation is so important. His 5 measures, combining form, function and commercial metrics are really interesting.
OK, so there's lots out there on product innovation, but where's the equivalent for service or management innovation?
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
We had an ambitious agenda but just about managed to get through it all.
This meeting took place at the Swan at Streatley the day before the KIN Summer Quarterly workshop.
Scott Gavin was our guest speaker. Some of you may be familiar with Scott's work in the 'Meet Charlie' series of Slideshares - I've certainly used them at a couple of meetings I have run and if you haven't seen them and have an interest in things 'WEB 2.0', you should.
At this meeting, one of our activities was to define what technologies we want to focus on. It was emphasised that Enabling Technologies are not 'just about the Technology' but have People and Process aspects also. So we won't be just talking about the technologies themselves, but looking at the pragmatic issues around their implementation and effective use.
I found this little clip which helps illustrate the issue!
We started the process of constructing a map of the technologies that KIN members are using (of which just the central part is shown here. This will be expanded over time so that KIN members will be able easily to identify who to talk to if they want advice and expertise from other KIN members in the use of any given technology.
We developed a draft 'charter' for the SIG to clarify it's purpose, scope and objectives:
The purpose of the SIG is to share Knowledge and Experience to enhance members' ability to select, implement and support enabling technologies in their organisations taking into account people, process and culture implications
IT Tools to facilitate and enhance the KM processes of Location, Collection and Connection within organisations
- To enhance awareness of what's available by mapping what KIN members are currently using and/or have considered using.
- To add to the map other technologies/tools that might also be considered
- To use results of the mapping exercise (and other feedback) to drive focussed K sharing events between member organisations and acquisition of K from expert
- To develop an ET 'toolkit'
Following on from Scott Gavin's presentation where one of the things he talked about was the benefits of tagging and social bookmarking, I continued to encourage SIG members to try out Social Bookmarking both as a benefit to KIN and to look for the value such a tool could bring to their own organisation. To help anyone who would also like to 'have a go', I've adapted two presentations I found that shows you how to get started.
And a simple demonstration of just one of the benefits of using Diigo (there are many others - but one step at a time!)
All the web resources referred to at the meeting can be found in this list.
And Finally: A look at how the future was expected to look in the 60's. Interesting that the 'people aspects' were probably more inaccurately foreseen than the technology itself!
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
There is a fascinating article in this week's New Scientist about Ralph Guldahl, the PGA champion of 1937 and 1938. There is a story that after writing a step-by-step guide for golfing beginners, he completely lost his mojo and his ability to win. The suggestion was that by 'capturing' this knowledge he lost his natural golfing ability; was he thinking too much about what he had previously done instinctively? A cautionary tale for those of us in the knowledge transfer business? No. It seems Guldahl, having a young family and being fed up with life on the road just got bored with that life. Getting an expert to describe what they do is not risky, just difficult.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Note to self - stop answering the phone with 'greetings, welcome to the dark side' .
Friday, 29 May 2009
Recently, I was asked about the rationale behind posting some things on the KIN blog vs posting in the KIN discussion forum. The distinction I make (and I freely admit it's a bit fuzzy) is that I see the discussion forums as a place to ask questions (and hopefully, get answers) of other KIN members and to make short snappy announcements about things that may be of interest to KIN members. I see the blog as a place to make longer, more thoughtful posts about things of interest to KIN members. I definitely see the Blog as an extension of the KIN memberspace and would recommend that all KIN members subscribe to the blog much as they would subscribe to the KIN memberspace (you can subscribe for email alerts or use a reader - see panel on the right of the blog). Also, the blog is public and visible to non-members. So it does provide a public view of some of the thoughts of KIN members and an indication of some of the activities we undertake which is a potential marketing tool for KIN.
I would remind all KIN members that member contributions for the KIN Blog are welcomed. Any KIN members that would like to participate in adding entries to this blog, just email me and I will set you up as an author.
Any KIN confidential information - including individual members' names - will only be posted in the KIN memberspace and linked to from the blog. KIN members posting comments - which we encourage you to do - will be moderated to ensure they do not to include KIN confidential information.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
My hope was that this would be leading the way for a semantic engine to make sense of the deep web and linked data, as Tim Berners-Lee has predicted. This may still be the case; the issue is not what it does, but what data it makes use of. It is therefore deeply unfair to position Wolfram Alpha as a 'Google Killer'. It is not using the web as it's information source. The data, unlike Google's raw material is well researched and verified and therefore bounded. I have no doubt that Wolfram is looking at both how to apply Alpha to the web, and also how to monetise it. When he figures that out, Google will be worried. When Wolfram Delta 'Corporate Edition' is available, connecting knowledge across the organisation becomes a reality.
Friday, 22 May 2009
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
Having met with a few organisations that are interested in joining KIN, I was struck by the absence of the term 'Knowledge Management' in our discussions. Whilst all these firms are doing interesting and innovative things around organisational learning and knowledge sharing, none of them have 'KM Teams' or 'KM Programmes'. I discussed this with two organisations that I met recently; one a top recruitment consultancy (no, I was not going for a real job, though it did cross my mind) and the other an international NGO/charity. Both confirmed that knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer and other related techniques were central to their collaboration and change programmes. It was the 'KM' term they had problems with. One told me " 'Knowledge sharing' is something everyone here has an immediate and common understanding of. 'Knowledge Management' is a much more obscure concept, is interpreted in a variety of ways, or even worse associated with a failed information database project".
I absolutely agree with Nick's Milton's premise that knowledge can be managed. Techniques and interventions for transferring and sharing knowledge are well proven. However, Nick's considered blog postings on coming up with a common definition for Knowledge Management underlines the problem for me. If someone can't envisage what you mean without a formal definition in front of them, you are starting with a handicap.
A KIN member organisation that I was with today has a sophisticated knowledge sharing programme underway, simply but effectively 'branded' as SHARE. They are considering dropping the term 'knowledge management' as the sub-brand as they realise it simply didn't add anything.