Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 189 - March 2016


The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.

Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 189 - March 2016


  1. Introduction to the March 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. How to Have a Good Conversation
  3. Time Chasm
  4. How to disempower people
  5. Do we make people dependent?
  6. A Cafe Debate is a powerful way of triggering deeper conversations
  7. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2016
  8. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  9. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  10. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the March 2016 Knowledge Letter

Not the best of days today as I have a terrible head cold and am doing my best to work from bed. My first priority is to complete and distribute this knowledge letter and then if I still have the energy turn my mind to my blook.

I am still looking for examples of how the Knowledge Café and World Café have been adapted to various ends. Please, if you have any stories do get in touch.

How to Have a Good Conversation

I am not a great fan of "10 ways to do something". The items are far too often, trite or just plain wrong.. But take a look at this TEDx talk from Celeste Headlee (@CelesteHeadlee) on How to have a good conversation. It's quite good.

In it she quotes from an article My Students Dont Know How to Have a Conversation by Paul Barnwell (@MindfulStew):

"Conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students."


"Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain confident, coherent conversation?"

Do you agree with Paul? If it is not conversation, what are the most important skills we sholud be teaching?

Time Chasm

My good friend John Hovell popped around for a cup of tea the other day and during our conversation explained a fascinating concept of his that had been lying dormant in his head for the past few years. Our conversation reawakened it and having walked home he shot a little video where he describes it.

It's a strange two-by-two matrix for reflecting on the world in the context of time, where both axes are on the surface identical, that he calls Time Chasm. It takes a little bit of getting your head around. Take a look and see what you make of it. The video is only 5 minutes long.

How to disempower people

When we try to empower people - do we inadvertently disempower them?

Just a thought :-)

Do we make people dependent?

I was talking to someone recently and they told me that although people engaged enthusiastically in the workshops that they organised that when they returned to the office they fell back into their old ways of working and failed to collaborate.

Someone had suggested to her that they did not have sufficient motivation or lacked the time or that it could just be weight of habit and of culture.

But an alternative explanation occurred to me - when you organise events for people - they will usually take part, engage and enjoy but they will never learn to do it for themselves. You make them dependant on you.

I think we need to organise more open space type events where people get to determine what is important to them, what they want to talk about and what they want to do. They take ownership.

We should then join in as an equal participants or get out of the way!

A Cafe Debate is a powerful way of triggering deeper conversations

Although the context for a Knowledge Café conversation is usually set by a single speaker giving a short talk and posing a question there are a number of other approaches – a Café debate is one of them.

In a Café debate, the context is set by two people (or more) debating opposing views on a topic – the motion of the debate - that also forms the Café question. The Café then proceeds as normal and concludes in a vote being taken.

This goes a little bit against the philosophy of the Café as some people may hold on to fixed views in order to “win” the debate but this style of Café can be great fun if people do not take it too seriously and are prepared to “win” or “lose”.

The value is not in the outcome but in the conversations that are held at the tables and the insights into the issue that are gleaned by the participants.

I have run Cafés like this in the past but more recently I ran one at an open Knowledge Café at BAE Systems in Farnborough and I am hoping to run one at KM Legal UK 2016 in London in May. I just need to find a hot topic and two good debaters!

They work well - see here to learn more about the process.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2016

Here are some of my more popular recent tweets. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

Upcoming Knowledge Events

Here are 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 Middle East 2016
30 - 31 Mar 2016, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

APQC's 2016 Knowledge Management Conference
25 - 29 Apr 2016, Houston, United States

KM Legal 2016
18 - 19 May 2016, London, United Kingdom

eLearning Africa 2016
24 - 26 May 2016, Cairo, Egypt

KM UK 2016
15 - 16 Jun 2016, London, United Kingdom

Theory and Applications in the Knowledge Economy
06 Jul - 08 Feb 2016, Aveiro, Portugal

3rd European Conference on Social Media ECSM 2016
12 - 13 Jul 2016, Caen, France

Knowledge Management Australia 2016
02 - 04 Aug 2016, Melbourne, Australia

17th European Conference on Knowledge Management
01 - 02 Sep 2016, Belfast, Ireland

13th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning
14 - 15 Oct 2016, New York, United States

KM World 2016
14 - 17 Nov 2016, Washington DC, United States

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

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

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 Henley 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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