Friday, 30 March 2012

Exploiting Knowledge in Networks

Description: Social Networking Source: own wor...
Description: Social Networking Source: own work Author: koreshky Date: 12/10/2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had a very good turnout for the KIN Masterclass 'Exploiting Knowledge in Networks' on Tuesday 20th March at pwc in London.

The enormous growth of social media tools and social/professional networks over the past few years has created new opportunities and new challenges for people and organisations who want to embrace this dynamic world of social interaction and fluid knowledge flows. However, It is not widely recognised that collaboration and knowledge sharing and use of social media tools are skills and practices that rarely get taught. It's something we may learn on the job in a hit or miss fashion. Some people are natural at it. Others struggle to understand it.

This Masterclass - led by Stephen Dale - provided a practical, detailed and hands-on introduction to social media and social/professional networking that will enabled delegates to have a greater understanding of their context for use and deployment within their organisation and for personal and professional development.

Details of the Masterclass content can be found (by KIN members) here

I came away with a long list of new things to try - and it sparked some thinking about the uses and potential benefits of content curation.

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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Do you know how are you doing?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mention health checks and most people would think of cholesterol levels or cardiograms. This week KIN held a 'Health Checks' Roundtable event to look at how member organisations judge the health of their organisational learning programmes. In this case, by 'health' we mean impact, penetration and vitality.

The first thing to emerge was the variation in how KIN members go about this. Practice ranged from a formal evaluation, with rigorous empirical evaluation based on the 'Maryland Scale' for research evidence, user surveys, the creation of 'knowledge maps', to an evaluation of online community vitality.

One of the main conclusions was that however you go about it, the measurement of the effectiveness of your interventions and support is critical. It seems that the most credible evidence, typically combines both anecdotal and empirical evidence. How you communicate the impact is equally important for buy-in and further investment (assuming that it is positive!).

KIN will be holding a further related event, under the aegis of the 'Management Buy-in' special interest group, later this year. This will look at return on investment, stakeholder engagement and change management. This will be followed by our Winter Workshop in November on the topic of 'Knowledge and Productivity'.

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Thursday, 1 March 2012

"Maybe you wait a little longer..."

English: A Buddhist monk فارسی: یک راهب بودایی

I came across this interesting article, written 2 years ago, on digital overload. Nothing new in that. However, one phrase really resonated with me "Maybe you wait a little longer before answering a question".

This refers to a neurological experiment, where a group of scientists were taken to a retreat in the desert, with no access to electronic devices. After 3 days a feeling of tranquility descended.  The participants self-observed their behaviours and feelings, one of which was expressed in the quote above.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a senior manager at BP a few years ago. He put 2 hours  aside in his diary every Friday afternoon to do nothing. This time was inviolate. He simply spent this time thinking. He was convinced this time for reflection made him a significantly better manager. Not many of us have the luxury of clearing a chunk of time for meditation, but have we really tried to reflect more?

Earlier this week, Liz Nottingham, HR Director of leading ad agency Starcom Mediavest (SMV) gave an inspiring talk to KIN about talent management and knowledge transfer. SMV have won the accolade of the Sunday Times 'Best Companies to Work For'. Liz has achieved this by putting a lot of emphasis on culture and collaboration. This includes sending staff on retreats to Marrakesh for reflection and energising. As she puts it "it may be mad, but at some point I really want to employ a Buddhist monk here".

Marrakesh and monks may not be achievable in your organisation, but how about giving a little thought to the lost art of reflection? I'm going to try something else too. I have an email 'drafts' folder; I'm going to park immediate responses there for a couple of hours and re-read them before sending.
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