Thursday, 25 June 2009

Enabling Technologies

Last week we held the first non-specific Enabling Technologies (ET) Special Interest Group (SIG). It was, I think, a success!
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.

Get Started with Diigo Pt1 - Set up your account

Get Started with Diigo Pt2 - Using Diigo

And a simple demonstration of just one of the benefits of using Diigo (there are many others - but one step at a time!)

Diigo vs adding links manually

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Thinking about the mojo

As an expert in something, have you ever been asked 'just how do you do that' and not being able to really say how? Working in knowledge transfer, it is sometimes better to just observe expertise rather than get the expert to try and describe what comes naturally to them. Have a go at writing down how you tie a shoelace. See what I mean? This is why video is such a great medium for conveying complex or technical processes for knowledge transfer.
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

KIN vs Orks

'Greetings, welcome to the High Elve's Citadel' is not the normal salutation you receive at any large corporation's reception desk. On the other hand, the Games Workshop is no ordinary company. We spent the day touring the impressive facility as part of the KIN Innovation special interest group. Having missed 'Warhammer' as a spotty teenager, I was completely unaware of the parallel universe that millions of afficionados, or 'hobbyists' as learned to call them, inhabit. Our introduction revealed that the Games Workshop has an enviable 86% market share of the table-top gaming market (worth approx £60m). With a presence of that size, we were keen to hear how the Games Workshop innovated without putting such a market presence at risk. As it was a KIN network visit, I shan't go into details here, but suffice to say they nurture and value their company memes in much the same way they develop their Warhammer and War of the Rings mythology. As one of our KIN members observed 'They seem to carry their creativity and transfer their knowledge in their bones'. Design, marketing, toolmaking, manufacture, packing and distrubution are all done on the same site, with a large chain of own-brand stores. This vertical alignment seems to have tangible benefits for knowledge transfer through the value chain, with any individual able to see the impact they have and easy connections between functions and individuals. A very successful and enjoyable KIN site visit.
Note to self - stop answering the phone with 'greetings, welco
me to the dark side' .