Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 108 - June 2009


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 108 - June 2009


  1 Introduction to the June 2009 Knowledge Letter
  2 On idealistic solutions
  3 Google Wave - an email killer?
  4 Dave Snowden on the seven errors of goverment
  5 ADVERTISEMENT: A graphic design agency who produce great marketing and brand material
  6 KM Singapore 13-14 August 2009
  7 Tweeting Thoreau
  8 Bing - a new search engine from Microsoft
  9 KM Asia, Singapore, 24 - 26 November 2009
10 KM Event Highlights
11 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
12 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the June 2009 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

I enjoyed chairing KCUK2009 this year and there were many good presentations but the one that inspired me the most was a talk by Dr Bonnie Cheuk, Global Head of Knowledge and Information at ERM.

Bonnie's talk was on "Supporting the business: Redesigning and improving your intranet" but it wasn’t only the content that impressed me – it was her approach to KM – one that I have long advocated.

Her goal was to place KM on the centre stage of the business and to do this she repeatedly asked the question "What keeps the CEO awake at night?" In adopting this approach and responding to these issues she had clearly built up a strong working relationship with the CEO and had indeed made KM central to the success of the business. Something most knowledge managers would die for!

“What keeps your CEO awake at night?” Do you know?

On idealistic solutions    (top | next | prev)

Dave Snowden said something recently that typified my approach to everything that I have done in life over the last 10 years or more.
Knowledge Management should be focused on real, tangible intractable problems not aspirational goals. It should deal pragmatically with the evolutionary possibilities of the present rather then seeking idealistic solutions.

Credit: Dave Snowden
And then I saw these two posts A Deficit View of the World and Three Questions for Opening Up Possibility from Stephen Billing where he makes a similar point and draws from Patricia Benner’s The Primacy of Caring.

Stephen concludes his post thus
Benner suggests that decreasing your reliance on a preconceived end or means of getting there can offer a new point of departure for new possibilities that were not previously available. To me, this applies as much to individuals in their personal lives as much as it does to people in organisations.

And then yet again I got to build on Snowden's original statement with this quote from John Deway that I found in the comments to the above post.
The ideal of using the present simply to get ready for the future contradicts itself. It omits, and even shuts out, the very conditions by which a person can be prepared for his future. We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future. This is the only preparation which in the long run amounts to anything.

Credit: John Dewey

Google Wave - an email killer?    (top | next | prev)

I hope you caught the announcement of Google Wave. Google Wave is "a personal communication and collaboration tool" announced by Google at the Google I/O conference, on 27 May 2009 and is expected to be released later in 2009.

This looks an amazing new collaboration tool (I'd even go so far as to call it a KM tool!) - see the complete guide from Mashable or the Google introductory video And aslo see the Wikipedia entry.

Google would like the Wave protocol to replace the 40 year old e-mail protocol and so are open sourcing the protocol and the source code. People have been predicting the death of email for some time and Google Wave might just precipitate that!

It's only too easy to get over excited by a new product but Google Wave looks like a major innovation and its development is worth following closely. Sign up here to be informed when it is ready.

And an interesting post from on Google Wave Implications On KM from Dinesh Tantri.

Dave Snowden on the seven errors of goverment    (top | next | prev)

I have long heard Dave Snowden at KM conferences and workshops espouse his views on some of the serious mistakes that he feels governments make and I have always agreed. You only have to look at the disastrous consequences that measures have had on the National Health Service in the UK. The government 48-hour target of a few years ago which stated that patients should only have to wait 48 hours for an appointment to see their doctor was a prime example of one that back-fired.

And this is just one of many such targets. You will find another good example here: A&Es 15-minute ambulance target .

Well Dave has recently starteed to document some of these mistakes. Here are his seven errors of governemnt - each one is explained more fully in his blog post.
  1. You get what you measure, so if you set a target humans will achieve the target at all costs, ignoring context or the unstated goals that the outcome based target was attempting to achieve.

  2. Outcome based measurement can make people far too comfortable. It's all to easy to achieve an explicit target, especially if you can turn off an empathy (or at least suppress it).

  3. A mechanical approach is by its nature dehumanising in its effect on people and inhuman in its impact on society.

  4. You waste an awful amount of resource just managing the measurement system.

  5. We try and solve issues with idealistic fail-safe designs rather than allowing systems to evolve.

  6. Re-organisation is a disease and an excuse. It's the knee jerk reaction to any failure that ends up breaking your jaw with the recoil.

  7. Communication is all up and down the chain, ironically this mediates information to senior decision makers so they are immunised from the real data they need, and also from the consequences of their actions.
He also makes the point that this all comes back to one fundamental error, namely we are treating all the processes of government as if they were tasks for engineers rather than a complex problem of co-evolution at multiple levels (individuals, the community, the environment etc.).

ADVERTISEMENT: A graphic design agency who produce great marketing and brand material    (top | next | prev)

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KM Singapore 13-14 August 2009    (top | next | prev)

I am looking forward to participating in KM Singapore this year (13-14 August 2009) where I will be running a workshop. I have attended this conference twice in recent years and its always a very engaging interactive event. You may like to watch this video of a short introduction that I gave to the Case Study Cafe at the conference in 2007 - to help position the participants for reflective dialogue.

This year the conference also features Etienne Wenger and Steve Ellis.

I plan to spend a week or more in the region and may also be running a workshop in Jakarta or Bali - so please get in touch if you would like to call on my services or simply meetup for coffee, lunch or dinner. Those of you who know me - know I love to meet new people and to network.

I will also be attending KM Asia in Singapore in late November.

Tweeting Thoreau    (top | next | prev)

I love all the little conversations I inadvertently have in Twitter - many of them via Facebook. They engage me and open my eyes to the world and help me realise that not everyone sees things as I do - either because they actually have a very different perspective or because a little bit of information or context is missing. Here is one example.

I recently re-tweeted a quote from Henry David Thoreau "David Gurteen RT @ThoreauPage: I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad."

To which I had a reply in Facebook (my Tweets automatically update my Facebook status) from Stuart Keeble an old friend of mine from my Lotus Development days: "I don't like this - but FB doesn't give me a simple button to press so I have to comment. Where's the challenge to humanity to leave a better legacy to our children?? Or do we suddenly lose interest in green ideals, in a sense of community and appreciation of diversity??!! "

This was my reply: " Stuart, how familiar are you with the works of Thoreau - if you are - read the quote again and think about what he really means and you may see it differently. If you are not familiar with him and you have the inclination, read Walden Pond and I think you will see it in a new light :-) And see http://www.walden.org or http://www.ti.org. Thoreau was THE original environmentalist :-)"

Hopefully, Stuart learnt a little about Thoreau here but more often or not it is the other way round and I do the bulk of the learning :-)

Bing - a new search engine from Microsoft    (top | next | prev)

You might like to road-test Bing - a search engine from Microsoft that was unveiled by Steve Ballmer on May 28, 2009 at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego. Bing is a replacement for Live Search

Or take a look at Microsofts video guide to Bing or what they dub a "decision engine" .

According to Forester Bing Will Change The Face of Search as "Bing focuses on delivering answers, not Web pages" and "helps consumers make decisions, not just to catalog content."

I am going to start to play with it on occasions where I am looking to make "consumer decisions" and compare it to Google.

KM Asia, Singapore, 24 - 26 November 2009    (top | next | prev)

I will be attending KM Asia in Singapore this year (24 - 26 November 2009). I will be in good company with
  • Dave Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd
  • Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director, Knowledge and Library Services, Harvard Business School
  • John Girard, Associate Professor, Minot State University
I will be busy ... not only delivering a keynote talk but also running a workshop and facilitating a reverse brainstorming cafe. The theme of the reverse brainstorming cafe will be either "How do you utterly, totally destroy openness and transparency within an organization and ensure that people won't collaborate or share their knowledge?" or "How do you totally decouple KM activities from the real work of the business and ensure that senior managers kill off KM and that others in the organisation despise you?" (Get the idea of the reverse thinking LOL!) I am hoping we will go with the second question as I feel this represents one of the greatest challenges that KM faces today!

I plan to spend a week or more in the region - so please get in touch if you would like to call on my services or simply meetup for coffee, lunch or dinner.

I will also be attending KM Singapore in Singapore in August.

KM Event Highlights    (top | next | prev)

This section highlights some of the major KM events taking place around the world in the coming months and ones in which I am actively involved. You will find a full list on my website where you can also subscribe to both regional e-mail alerts and RSS feeds which will keep you informed of new and upcoming events.

KM Australia 2009
04 - 07 Aug 2009, Sydney, Australia

KM Singapore 2009
13 - 14 Aug 2009, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be running a workshop at KM Singapore this year.

10th European Conference on Knowledge Management
03 - 04 Sep 2009, Vincenza, Italy
I will be attending this conference.

KM Brasil 2009
16 - 18 Sep 2009, Salvador, Brazil

International Conference on Knowledge Management
21 - 23 Oct 2009, Kampala, Uganda

KM LatinAmerica 2009
26 - 30 Oct 2009, Buenos Aires, Argentina

KMWorld & Intranets 2009
17 - 19 Nov 2009, San Jose, United States

KM Asia 2009
24 - 26 Nov 2009, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be giving a keynote talk and running a workshop and a reverse brainstorming cafe at KM Asia this year.

Subscribing and Unsubscribing    (top | next | prev)

You may subscribe to this newsletter on my website. Or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter or if you wish to modify your e-mail address or make other changes to your membership profile then please go to this page on my website.

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM newsletter for Knowledge Workers. Its purpose is to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management, Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet technology. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

It is sponsored by the Knowledge Management Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. And if you have any queries please contact me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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