Posts filed under ‘Conferences’

Making KM projects work

Before Patrick Lambe (the silver fox) and I launch ourselves into facilitating a panel discussion on 50 years of KM, we hear from David Gurteen. David is being introduced as a “KM legend”. I haven’t seen David for about 4 years, so looking forward to his session.

Wants to pull together his thoughts on what to do in your organisation to make sure your KM projects are a success – not so much focus on KM tools. Says he is not here to give answers but to trigger thoughts.

The potential of KM is enormous but many KM projects have failed to live up to expectations. Why?

  • KM projects are NOT focused on the business
  • KM projects are tough
  • KM project leaders are often inexperienced
  • KM projects poorly conceived
  • Lack of senior management support

Four key things we need to think about:

  • what are the business problems we are trying to solve?
  • how do we ensure support from senior management and how do we sustain that support?
  • how do we engage the people in our organisations?
  • how do we think and learn for ourselves?

In good times, KM means knowledge management; in bad times it means ‘kill me’ (his point being that in downturns, KM staff are often retrenched).

Some thoughts from David:

  • think for yourself
  • no substitute for thinking
  • no recipes
  • no simple set of steps
  • KM is very contextual
  • everyone of us is different; organisations have different cultures;
  • anything could influence a KM project in a negative way

You don’t “do KM” – meaning, you solve business problems and develop business opportunities using KM tools and techniques.  There are no KM initiatives or strategies – there are only business projects. KM people conceptualise the problem and don’t always talk about the business issues. We jump far too quickly to a “solution” without understanding the problem. People will not share their knowledge – this is not a business issue.

These are not business outcomes:

  • doing KM
  • improving K sharing
  • creating a learning organisation
  • creating a K driven organisation
  • setting up communities of practice

David advises – talk to CEO and senior business managers. What keeps them awake at night? Talk to the stakeholders – the sponsor, senior managers, employees affected, KM team. Who are the sceptics and opponents?

Key message – for KM to be successful, you have to work with people and not be “doing things” to people. David says you cannot motivate people to share knowledge; people have to find the motivation for themselves; attempts to motivate or manipulation and people see through it and this results in adverse affect.

What should you be doing instead?

  • listen to people and show respect
  • help them find their voice and have conversations with them
  • engage and trust them
  • given them responsibility and recognition

David says: do not reward people for sharing their knowledge. Research shows that giving rewards actually results in worse performance and undermines motivation. Points us to 2 books: Alfie Kohn Punished by Rewards and Dan Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Always pilot a KM project and adopt iterative prototyping. Learn from small steps. Allow for change and emergence. He leaves us by asking us some questions:

  • is my KM activity focused on the business?
  • have I really understood the problems?
  • are senior managers bought in?
  • are employees and other stakeholders bought in?
  • how do I demonstrate value?
  • am I measuring business outcomes and not just activity?
  • what do I do in place of rewards?
  • am I really thinking for myself?
  • am I committed to my own personal learning and development?
  • am I walking the talk?
  • how can I take an active part in the global KM community?

March 30, 2010 at 8:38 am 1 comment

Leveraging Web 2.0 tools

I’m going to skip the presentations from the Gold Sponsors – interesting as they might be. Up now is Professor Eric Tsui, who I teach with at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I’ve known Eric for over 10 years now – a knowledgeable chap, particularly when it comes to Personal Knowledge Management or PKM. PKM is the topic of his session today.

Opening slide is a tag cloud for PKM, which he calls “bottom-up KM”. You don’t have to be an IT professional to practice PKM. KM tools getting cheaper, free, ubiquitous. PKM has been an under-addressed area up to now. In 2001, Google retrieved a mere 18 searches for “Personal Knowledge Management” and now in 2010 – 39,400 references. Suggests that it might be more popular than KM.

Shows PKM research model – identifies Paul Dorset’s PKM model with its 7 skills (problem solving, communication, creativity, analysis, learning, mental agility, reflection).  His research student did a global survey on PKM and results show PKM skills and awareness plays important role in KM processes.  More focus should be made in “grooming” your knowledge workers.

Web 2.0 influencing PKM models eg blogging, wikis, podcasts. Allow individual knowledge workers freedom to select and configure tools for their content and information and link people together. Shows PKM 2.0 model that covers personal information management, personal wisdom creation, inter-personal knowledge transferring.

Now talking about personal learning environment (PLE) versus traditional learning environment. Universities need serious examination and realignment he suggests.

Some challenges for a PLE:

  • information overload
  • sustainability and quality of contributions (ie into wikis)
  • knowledge classification and navigation
  • content authoring by the masses
  • development and tracking of personal competencies

Now talking about using RSS feeds and tagging to create a co-learning environment. A lot of online content but much of it is static – so how about we configure information to come to us, annotate it and share it. Shows how to use Google reader.

Sustainability of knowledge: shows an experiment with a clustered wiki. 9 or 10 people in 4 groups on Media Wiki – 60% of people in a small group are deemed as active contributors and average 5 edits per page. Smaller groups than Wikipedia.

Quality of knowledge – whether material is quality or not. Significant work still needs to be done.

Using social bookmarking and mashups to enhance knowledge navigation – shows us example of TaxoFolk (a hybrid taxonomy-folksonomy). This project involves inserting tags into site map aka real-time visual tagging of pages.

For massive authoring of material – using RAPIDS for scenario authoring (developed by HKPolyU). Can mix real scenes with imaginary scenes.

  • PKM values and competencies are directly related to organisational performance
  • PKM is rapidly gaining interest but most of existing frameworks based on traditional web
  • Web 2.0 and social software enable KM workers to set up PLE
  • quality of K, sustainability of contributions, mass authoring and ability to combat info overload need to be overcome
  • significant research is still needed for fusing personal and enterprise knowledge

March 30, 2010 at 7:02 am Leave a comment

Managing IC in the proactive enterprise

Karl Wiig up now. I had lunch with him yesterday. He told me he is 76 years old but my goodness, I’ve never seen such a lively 76 year old. And he skippered a yacht to the Caribbean recently. Lovely man. So his session at the 2010 Knowledge Management conference here in Hong Kong is Managing Intellectual Capital in the Proactive Enterprise.  He starts off with a slide about proactive and healthy enterprises:

  • manage IC assets deliberately
  • pursue vigilance to prosper
  • believe in constant preparedness
  • create opportunities
  • focus on priorities – ignore irrelevancies
  • maintain broad and long-term perspectives
  • emphasise critical systems thinking
  • renew goods and services repeatedly

Proactive enterprises are chaordic he says. He has struggled with over the years – learning about the two aspects of any organisation and he quotes Peter Drucker here:

  • societies ARE – subjective world, people interacting, culture, values, opinions
  • organisations DO – objectives and goals, artefacts and technology.

(Love Karl: he reminds me very much of Leif Edvinsson). Organisation DOES and Society IS model that he shows, the two must work together. The problem with KM is that it has consistently focused on what the organisation DOES and neglected the subjective world of the organisation. As a result, there is a dismal record of success in KM because we have ignored the most basic part of how an organisation works – that is, how people work to make the products and services that are delivered.

We need to deal with the dual nature of the enterprise in its social and objective dimensions. We do need to be able to blend these two worlds together in our applications and in what we deliver to the organisation and help it. We must match the business structure, operational practices with the people, culture and social needs.

Now talking on intellectual capital (IC) and how it has focused on structural, social and human capital. There are IC resources to PERFORM. We have been labouring under false assumption that world is stationary and that the knowledge we need already exists. But world is in constant change: and values and understandings we had yesterday, will not be applicable tomorrow. We have ignored a whole set of IC drivers: mindset capital (leadership – where is it that IC or people’s mindsets are taking this organisation?).

We need to introduce enterprise culture as part of IC, that is built through people’s intellectual activities as they work together, establish values systems etc. And it can be changed – if the enterprise culture is not conducive to good performance, you might start thinking about how you can modify the enterprise culture.

Is management the solution or the problem Karl asks (ah, let me guess: management!).  What model should we choose when dealing with management? Discovery model – informally searching for solutions. Planning model – formalising processes. Quest model – unstructured & goal oriented. Science model – operationally efficient. Karl says that management becomes efficient when it is open, innovative.

Back to IC:

  • every IC element affects enterprise performance
  • for best performance the entire IC assets portfolio must be balanced and elements must complement each other harmoniously
  • different IC elements support different enterprise functions – often we find structural capital supports product leadership in terms of R&D; social capital addresses customer intimacy; human capital addresses expertise, knowledge; mindset capital addresses WHERE the organisation should go and WHY.
  • strategy is a contextual vision that should change minute by minute if that is necessary and the mindset of the organisation will direct how well you achieve this.

And here is an issue with KM – KM focus is typically on enterprise IC elements (process capital, practices, IP areas, information capital, R&D programs). Other areas of IC remain untouched by traditional KM – doesn’t address all the things we need to pursue in the organisation.

Managing IC: management of IC touches on every aspect of the organisation; ICM considers strategic, tactical and operational needs; ICM integrates conventional KM and is informed by it.

Chaordic environments: how do we perform better in this environment? 5 different activies that are relevant: innovate, manage change, operate effectively, motivate, facilitate. And which IC elements are being touched on by the need to improve these 5 different areas.

The effective ICM consists of group and individual actions of knowledgeable and motivated people supported by broad capabilities ranging from enterprise culture and management philosophy to infrastructure and technology. Infrastructure is back-bone of behaviour and facilitation within organisations.  You need a thoughtful, energetic, proactive, broad-minded management.

Shows diagram of 119 different countries – you will find a cluster of advanced nations that are very successful innovators (eg Nordic countries, NZ, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands). These countries have opportunity to lead where societies will head.

March 30, 2010 at 4:33 am Leave a comment

Strategy in the age of uncertainty

Now we get to Dave Snowden’s session. I always enjoy listening to Dave. Very measured – theoretical yet practical illustrations. He goes over the 7 basic principles of KM:

  • * knowledge is a voluntary act – cannot be compelled
  • * we only know what we know when we need to know it. We are pattern-based intelligences not information processors. People will know things in the right context but not independently of that context. KM has thought its role is to summarise, aggregate and reduce. But summary etc is specific to your context.
  • in the context of real need, few people will refuse to share their knowledge. But no-one will share it in anticipation of that need. So if you reward, you are rewarding info sharing only.
  • tolerated failure imprints learning better than success. Human brain pays more attention to failure than success.
  • the way we know things is not the way we say we know things. Embodied knowledge of experts is not something that can be transformed into decision rules.
  • we always know more than we can say and we will always say more than we can write down
  • everything is fragmented.  Fragmented micro-narratives. True KM is about creating conditions for messy coherence and not orderly “filing cabinets”. Humans do best when trying to make connections in exciting, novel ways.

Now Dave moves onto – thinking differently and ways we think about our organisations. Talks about S curve – new idea or concept comes into play and gets little traction. Slow acceptance. But then becomes dominant way of thinking before it declines due to excess use. Very few people see the new things until they are already present. First S curve we lived through was scientific management (dominant narrative). Then new paradigm comes in; old paradigm suppresses adoption of new. Organisations that don’t make the switch to the new paradigm never get a second chance. Example: IBM dominated IT then failed to see switch to distributed computing and nearly went down.

Systems thinking 1980s: dominant metaphor being engineering. BPR, Senge’s Learning Organisation. It says things are joined up and connected but we can still understand connections, model them and define where we want to go. This is where KM came from. Nonaka is firmly in this dominant metaphor.

Now moving into third based on complexity and cognition. Future is inherently uncertain. So two or five year organisational plans are useless. We are dealing with a complex ecology – requires new methods and ways of thinking. Technology role = can provide cognitive augmentation, augments human decision-making – does not replace it.

3 ways of thinking: deductive (scientific mgt, control of function); inductive (systems thinking, control of information); abductive (complexity and cognition, cognitive augmenation). Abductive processes facilitate novelty.

Question for organisations: will you continue on an upturn or will you fall down because you dominate? New way of thinking now: natural sciences, complexity.

Uses example of London taxi driver – novice spends 2 years of life driving around streets of London until he knows name of every street. In exam, has to describe London street by street, landmarks etc on a given route. There is a 40% pass rate. This two to three year process changes structure of the brain. Then we have a map of New York – public transport system –  codified knowledge and deeply symbolic. But map didn’t tell Dave that muggers and whackos lay along the route he was taking. But everyone who lives in the area knew not to go where Dave did. So….the narratives that people tell are important.

Now Dave goes through his projects:

  • cultural mapping – micro-narratives of day to day living
  • Inzalo in South Africa- education – learning diaries and look at patterns of behaviour based on day-to-day and not on questionnaires.
  • understanding customers – real time feedback and disintermediation
  • staff engagement in strategy – micro-scenarios, real time construction
  • decision-makers need to sense/see patterns as early as possible
  • ethical and safety auditing in South African mines – attitudes to safety, moving from compliance to attitudes.
  • innovation across silos – gathered stories about what people like about their gardens, lights – 5 new service offerings. Brought knowledge together in real-time.

Key lessons for management:

  • technology and original vision of KM are now aligned. And technology is largely free, low cost. You change your software to match your needs.
  • applications co-evolve within architectural constraints with changing software components in varying forms to adapt but also exapt
  • constraints are key, shift from compliance to attitude and from outcome to impact
  • context is everything – it’s the big word that everyone forgot in KM
  • risk and outlier detection – most risk is assessed on Bell curve. Everything else is an outlier I can ignore. Problem – this is an abnormal distribution. What happens in nature is Pareto distributions. So Bell curve is crap.
  • our ability to detect failure early is paramount and a resilience strategy is necessary.

Another great Dave Snowden talk.

March 30, 2010 at 2:37 am Leave a comment

Managing knowledge strategically

So here I am at the Langham Place hotel in glittering Hong Kong. About to start the 2010 Knowledge Management Conference: Making KM Productive. I’ll also be tweeting using the hashtag HKKMS10. I’ll be live tweeting – I’m @kimmar or you can watch the live tweets on the right hand panel of this blog. So far I’ve met up with various KM luminaries – Dave Snowden, David Gurteen, Max Boisot, Karl Wiig and the “silver fox”, Patrick Lambe (since I last saw Patrick, he’s sprouted a rather spiffy beard thingo and has very distinguished silver grey hair).

First up, in the speaker line up is Max Boisot – opening keynote – his topic is Managing Knowledge Strategically: The Challenge of Selectivity. He’ll be followed by Dave Snowden (I always enjoy meeting up with Dave – although he’s a bit miffed that the Welsh didn’t do well in the Rugby Sevens).

He will look at 3 questions re KM aims to help organisations make good use of their knowledge assets;

  • how does an organisation discover which of its K assets are strategic?
  • how should an organisation then deploy its strategic K assets?
  • how might an organisation then extract value from its strategic K assets?

Boisot presents a conceptual framework. There are 3 types of knowledge: experiential, narrative and abstract symbolic. You move towards abstract symbolic representations to speed up K sharing. Abstract symbolic = codified & abstract. We can own it, sell it, store it – but you lose the context that formulated the message.

Knowledge flows and it evolves as it flows. Shows knowledge creation cycle –

  • proprietary knowledge (codified and abstract)
  • public knowledge
  • common sense
  • personal knowledge (uncodified and concrete)

Scanning is process of picking up available data; problem solving process works it up into something structured; diffuse and internalise. Once it’s internalised it is knowledge.

How do we extract value? it’s not just utility. Knowledge becomes more useful when it is codified and abstract.

Looks at Boston Consulting Group business strategy framework – how competitive you are compared to competitors. How do I allocate scare resources to compete in business?  He suggests that we look at the knowledge base that underpins the business. Let’s call codification and abstraction the “attractiveness” of the business. The extent to which knowledge is diffused defines my competitive position.

Lots of talk in business of core competences. Can we identify that kind of knowledge in a firm that defines competitive advantage? Core competences are hard to imitate – so it’s uncodified and concrete.

Key takeaways:

  • map/represent knowledge assets that are strategically relevant
  • decide what to sell, licence
  • within the knowledge assets, identify your competences and gaps
  • identify where you have learning strengths & weaknesses
  • use the maps to build external value-adding networks
  • map is a guide to strategic use of your knowledge base
  • examine how cultural processes blocking the learning cycle – this cycle needs to move faster than your competitors.

March 30, 2010 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

Off again

So at the end of March/early April, you’ll find me in Hong Kong again speaking with the luminaries of the KM world – Dave Snowden, Max Boisot, Karl Wiig and David Gurteen. 

This year, I’m speaking on something a little different though – Design Thinking and its impact on KM. I’ll be speaking with design strategist, Rui Martins (who’s also an architect), and we’ll be doing a workshop as well. There will also be a session on the early history of KM that I’m looking forward to. So if you’re in Hong Kong, check out the brochure for the conference below or contact Les Hales on

You can download the brochure here. I must say that my hair isn’t quite THAT orange (reminds me of Lucille Ball) and I seem to have been spread sideways a bit. I hate my photo being taken and that one is particularly dodgy as it was a “posed” work photo taken for an internal KM campaign. Note to self: get a newer, better photo.

I’ll be live blogging from the conference, so will bring you all the fabulous sessions and juicy bits and pieces. And I’ll be live tweeting using #HKKMS10 (no doubt my tweets will also include things like “Managed to avoid The Brands at Harbour City”).

So mark Tuesday March 30 in your diaries as KM Day with Kim.

March 9, 2010 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Tweeting behind your back

ShadowChiefTech alerted me to this.  I should preface what I’m going to rant about by saying this – a couple of years ago, I decided not to speak at conferences or run as many workshops for conference companies. A couple of reasons dictated this decision. Firstly, I was getting cranky with how conference companies think they’re doing YOU a favour, getting you to speak for free. And an overseas conference I spoke at earlier this year – well, they expected me to cough up taxis fares to and from the airport (a considerable expense) without being compensated. And I was also tiring of the usual suspects on the conference circuit, including myself.

But it seems there’s something far more serious to worry about with conferences these days. Forget the parasite conference companies or whether you’re recycling your presentation for the hundredth time. Now….you have to factor in an angry, critical or plain nasty audience.

This seems to be what happened to Danah Boyd.  Danah is a US academic and social media researcher. She’s written some great stuff on social media, so make sure you check out her articles. She recently spoke at Web2.0 Expo in the US.

Danah presented a 20-minute session entitled “Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media”. What should have been a fairly pleasant 20 minutes engaging with an audience turned into a nightmare. You can read Danah’s description of what happened here but briefly it seems:

  • she couldn’t have her laptop on stage with her;
  • the lectern she had to use was not angled, which meant her papers had to lie flat and would be harder to refer to;
  • dazzingly bright lights were used so she couldn’t really see the audience and was pretty well blinded by the lights; 
  • there was a live unfiltered Twitter stream on screen behind her, which she couldn’t see; and
  • all of this drama forced her to read the paper, rather than relax.

A speaker puts a lot into a conference session. There’s preparation, rehearsing, timing, voice modulation blah blah. I am pretty particular about the set-up. I like to use a lapel mike and I don’t like the lectern business, which makes you look stiff and uncomfortable. I like low lighting but I want to see my audience so I can gauge the nodding or shaking of heads. I’m a naturally fast speaker, so I like to pick up cues from my audience that help me to pace myself.

Can you imagine poor Danah’s predicament? She ended up blaming herself. In her words:

“Unfortunately, my presentation at Web2.0 Expo sucked. The physical setup was hard and there was a live stream behind me. I knew something was wrong because folks started laughing in the audience. Unable to see anything (the audience, the stream), I found myself closing down. And so I collapsed and read the whole thing, feeling mega low on energy and barely delivering my points. Le sigh. I feel like I failed the audience so, if you were in the audience, I’m sorry. But hopefully you’ll get more out of reading the presentation than I got out of giving it.”

I have no idea why Danah is saying sorry. The conference organisers IMHO should be doing the apologising. But it brings to light the dark side of social media doesn’t it.  There’s a fragility about conference presenting. You are up there on stage, for all to see, for all to cast judgement on your presentation, how you deliver it and how you look. Even the most naturally confident person can suffer from stomach butterflies.

But if there’s also a Twitter stream cascading on some giant screen behind the speaker, then what do you think the audience is going to focus on? Danah couldn’t see the stream and even if she could, how on earth do you read fast-paced 140 character Tweets and at the same time concentrate on what you have to say?

You can’t. And it seems that just because Danah was a tad nervous (due to the horrid set-up) some Twecklers in the audience turned nasty and spewed a flow of criticism and there was even some laughter going on. This is just disrespect. Conference speakers usually are not paid and present because they have something they wish to convey and like to engage with an audience (at least this is my motivation). We don’t expect to be humiliated by a Twitter back-channel or mob mentality with idiots vying for the wittiest or most razor-sharp tweet.

I’m not sure what was going on in that audience. Danah is a scholar so perhaps she was presenting to a bunch of troglodtyes who considered her an outsider. She is probably the most outstanding researcher and thinker in the social media field, so maybe the audience was not at her intelligence level. I note from her talk (read the paper here) that she covered power issues – maybe a few turkeys in the audience decided to demonstrate power by engaging in a nasty Twitter stream. I don’t know.

What I do know is that conference organisers should not allow this sort of thing to happen. Why wasn’t the Twitterstream filtered by the organisers? Why wasn’t Danah fully briefed about the stage set-up, lighting and the presence of the Twitterstream behind her? Why didn’t the conference organisers put in the conference pack some guidance on Twitter etiquette?  Why didn’t those who weren’t behaving badly try to moderate the Twitterstream by tweeting “shut up and listen to Danah”.

Personally, I think conference organisers need to do a whole lot of thinking about conferences. I hardly go to any these days because the format is tired and dated: usually 40 minutes or 1 hour of presentation after presentation, with the occasional panel discussion, debate or interactive exercise thrown in. For conference organisers to think that by throwing in an unfiltered Twitterstream is somehow hip and groovy is nonsense. Not when it leads to humiliation and tweet-slapping.

End of rant.

December 3, 2009 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Leif: please blog!

Well, dear reader, back from my sojourn in Hong Kong. A wonderful time: speaking at a KM conference with the glittering gems of the KM universe, Dave Snowden and Patrick Lambe; running tutorials for students at Hong Kong PolyU; and delivering a full-day public workshop on knowledge sharing techniques, followed by an evening public lecture. Phew!!  You can read all about the conference proceedings on Dave Snowden’s blog. And speaking of Dave: aside from his truly wonderful conference session, I did think I’d come back home to find myself well and truly roasted by Dave for a slight mistake I made on the topic of his birthday. But since he hasn’t raised it, it’s a secret!

So onto the subject of today’s post – Leif Edvinsson. Unless you’ve been hiding on some remote island, you’d know that Leif was the director of Intellectual Capital at Skandia in Sweden; he’s a former Brain of the Year; he is a Professor of Intellectual Capital at the University of Lund, Sweden.  And of course, author of this great book on Intellectual Capital. I was aware of Leif’s work for years but did not have the pleasure of meeting him until last year when I spoke at the 2008 KM Conference, held by the Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society. Leif said he was inspired by my conference talk (seriously kind man!) and I went on to set up a blog for him because I believe he has some very important things to say.

But….Leif is a busy man, whizzing around the globe and alas has had no time to blog. So when I caught up with him again at last week’s conference, I put the pressure on him. His conference session started off with ginger essence being sprayed around the room and he went on to talk about some amazing stuff he’s been involved with and some great illustrative photos:

  • in the Skandia Future Centre – old technology (typewriter) is displayed as a conversation piece;
  • a globe of space triggers discussion around what is the shape of space (I could literally spend hours thinking about this!)
  • clocks showing different time zones (suggesting that you and your organisation may not be in synch).
  • a large chair with a computer integrated within it so it’s like a cocoon allowing for personal reflection and isolation from disruptive noise.

He asked some great questions along the way:

  • how do we reshape spaces for the flow of our thoughts?
  • how do you shape space to add energy?
  • how do we create healthy spaces that add oxygen?
  • how do we create spaces that are about mind satisfaction and not mind control?

A question I keep asking myself (and Leif and I had a quick chat about this) – how can you take the concept of poché and carve space that facilitates knowledge flow? In architectural terms, poché refers to solid, dense structures that can be shaped into meaningful space. And even more interesting, is the concepts of positive/negative space (positive being solid structures and negative meaning areas around and behind the positive spaces) – how can they be combined and what is the result?

Leif’s session was so jam packed with goodies that I found it hard to take notes and not just drool over the photos he was showing or the seriously interesting questions he was asking. He talked about the Ice Hotel in Sweden (I find this fascinating) – it melts every summer and so has to be rebuilt. It is recycled into different shapes and rooms but lots of knowledge tools are embedded within this concept.

So…I found myself telling Leif “you must get your blog going” and I promised him it is a painless procedure. He doesn’t need to churn out long essays like I do. He can do a quick blog post of a few hundred words, once a week. As conversation starters, to whet the appetite, to disrupt normal patterns of thinking, to simply show how Leif thinks and asks such stunning questions.

And so here are the top posts I would like to see Leif blog on – I promised I’d send them to him but better yet, why not blog on it here on ThinkingShift and REALLY put the pressure on! So here Leif are the themes to kick-start your blog, in no particular order, but they are concepts or questions I think people will find truly intriguing:

  • the concept of the knowledge cafe, the Vienna cafes and origins in the Muslim world
  • trust as the bridge on which knowledge travels in between people
  • the concept of “knowledge cities” – an overview
  • Nordic Leadership program
  • a number of posts about the shaping of space, for example, the design of a chair (without arm rests) and its impact on knowledge exchange; the colour green and its roots going back to 1490.
  • specific examples of psycho-social landscapes – Dialogue House, Mind Lab, floating centre in Denmark
  • a blog post about why the Swedes are so creative (your answer to that was about knowledge importation, which was extremely interesting)
  • how do we nourish smell and sound?
  • the notion of “contactivity”
  • the health space terrace concept
  • mind zone – how do we shape from an architectural perspective?
  • the Ice Hotel and knowledge tools
  • Japan and next generation of knowledge workers
  • Intelligent regions

This will give Leif 14 posts to kick off with – once a week. And I’m sure you’d find what he has to say as fascinating as I do. Once he gets going, I’ll post a link to his blog. So Leif: please blog!

April 7, 2009 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Hong Kong redux

Well, I’m off to Hong Kong again. I cannot believe it’s nearly a year since I was last there visiting my students at Hong Kong PolyTechnic University. I teach in the KM Masters programme and this year I’ve had the pleasure of teaching along with Professor Eric Tsui, KM colleague and friend, in the Knowledge Communities course.  And I’ll also be catching up I hope with gentleman and scholar, Patrick Lambe, legend and all-round genius, Dave Snowden and Leif Edvinsson – as I’ll be speaking along with them at  this conference (presented by the Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society and the Knowledge Management Research Centre of HK PolyU). Last year, I was made an Adj Professor, which I totally forgot to blog about dear reader! Prof Tsui and I will also be running a one day workshop on practical knowledge sharing techniques, which I’m very much looking forward to.

My major task will be to stay away from The Brands. Regular readers will know that last year, I gave up buying brand name stuff and have been going pretty well actually. My Plan of Attack this year is to buy myself a macro lens for my beloved Nikon D40 and roam around Hong Kong taking photos. Yes, I know that Nikon is a brand name but unless someone knows of great “no name” cameras and lenses, then I have to stick with my Nikon. Mind you, a chap at work has been telling me all about lomography and the Diana camera – I am planning to check this out. If you know anything, leave a comment please!

I will have to scrupulously avoid going near any MAC cosmetics counter – the tantalizing Hello Kitty! collection of lipglosses and cosmetics has been released (kitty kouture!). I had to run fast through a Sydney department store the other day to evade any form of temptation from those cute kitties.

I am wondering if I’ll evade the bomb testing at Sydney airport. In the last few weeks, I’ve been to Melbourne and New Zealand – three times I was hauled aside for bomb testing. I asked one dude why and he said “because you look innocent”. So if anyone knows how to make me look not so innocent, also leave a comment.

So probably less posts over the next week but, then again, I might surprise you!

March 27, 2009 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Google world

Revealed by you.

Well, I’m back from a lightning visit to New Zealand where I gave an international address at the 7th Annual Information Management Summit in Wellington (not sure I can be classed as an international speaker when I’m an NZ’er).

I spoke about Google and privacy and Google and trusted information resources. I used a series of images rather than “death by powerpoint”, so they wouldn’t really make much sense if I showed you (especially given a photo of a rough collie was a prominent slide). But here’s the gist of what I ranted and raved about:

  • a quick history of Google – original logos and original name of Google (which was BackRub. We are so used to saying “Google it” that “BackRub it” doesn’t sound quite right does it!)
  • a quick look at Google apps like StreetView, Google Maps,  Google Latitude.  And even Google Electricity. What next? Google Water – don’t laugh, it’s possible. So it’s the world according to Google.
  • which implies points of tension/danger – I talked about the privacy implications of Google Health. And a case study example of what can happen when we rely on Google and news aggregators for accurate information and US $1 billion gets wiped off a company’s share value in minutes. I took a quick swipe at the profession of journalism (the journalist should have checked the facts).
  • along the way, I couldn’t resist carrying on about the Facebook debacle and how a company – which let’s face it is a money making venture – could conceivably turn around and say “we own your information”. And for those who’ve emailed me, nope I still don’t have enough trust in Facebook to reinstate my content.
  • but…it’s not all doom and prophecies of darkness. We don’t have to see the world according to Google.
  • I talked about the amazing power of social networks. When you have trusted relationships, you learn to rely on the credibility and accuracy of a given source or person. And with RSS feeds, you can toss out sources if you find them to be inaccurate or biased – you can alter the knowledge flow to suit your needs.
  • I ranted a bit about the loss of critical thinking in a world dominated by Google, where we find it easier to Google it than research it. I questioned whether, in an information world that is saturated and noisy, natural curiosity has been stifled.
  • I then did a quick rant about how Facebook and social networks are seductive and we perhaps give away more information about ourselves than we should. And what can happen to you if you share too much about yourself. So better to be prudent than sorry.
  • I realised along the way that Michael Sampson was live-blogging me. You can check out what he said here.  Good to catch up with Michael – don’t know how he keeps up his pace given he and his wife are about to have their ninth child!

It was also good to finally meet Keith Delarue and also catch up with someone who used to work with me, Kevin O’Donnell, who has made the move from Ireland to take up a KM role at Kiwibank.

I did have a chuckle over something though. One of the speakers was talking about “the temporary knowledge organisation”. And made the comment that the concept was probably dreamed up by some pointy-headed academics. Well, one of those pointy-headed types was in the room – me!

Rui Martins, a Lecturer at University of Newcastle, and I wrote a paper in 2003 called “The Temporary Knowledge Organisation as viewed from a complexity perspective. An enrichment of the traditional organisational project management paradigm“. It was published in a book and you can also read it here.

March 6, 2009 at 3:23 am 1 comment

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