Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 92 - February 2008


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 92 - February 2008


  1 Introduction
  2 Tom Davenport gets KM2.0!
  3 Lessig on Corruption
  4 Staying in touch with being human
  5 Learning goes social too
  6 Enterprise 2.0 will not happen without culture change
  7 Satisfaction Surveys (Are you satisfied?)
  8 How do edit a Skype message after you have sent it!
  9 Science Cafes
10 Keeping speakers to time at conferences
11 KM Event Highlights
12 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
13 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter


My visit to SE Asia seems a long time ago now but this is my first newsletter since the trip. I gave 20 talks and knowledge cafes in 3 cities and met a large number of people who showed me great hospitality - if you were one of them - a big thank you - I had a great time.

I photo-blog most of my journeys these days and so if you are interested you will find a set of photos on Flickr. If you participated in one of my events - take a look - there is a good chance you will find yourself there.

I particularly like the photos of my Knowledge Cafe in Kuala Lumpur where I tried to capture the intensity of some of the conversations.

I learnt a great deal during my trip, for example, how to tweak my knowledge cafes to work better in the Asian culture and I had some interesting insights on "2.0" that I will write about later.

One of the key things I recall though is the question I was asked time and time again: "How do you create a knowledge sharing culture?" and more specifically "How can social tools help?" and "What are the first steps?".

My response often started along the lines of it "all depends on the context" - your industry, your desired outcomes, your existing culture, key personalities, degree of commitment etc. and I frequently found myself quoting from the Bob Buckman story and referring to his book Building a Knowledge Driven Organization (which incidentally is now available in Chinese). I have many thoughts on this subject and hope to find the time to write about it soon.

Tom Davenport gets KM2.0!

Tom Davenport has grocked that Enterprise 2.0 is the new KM that is KM 2.0. Here is an except from a post entitled Enterprise 2.0: The New Knowledge Management? from his blog in the Harvard Business Blogs.
Still, that E2.0 is the new KM didn’t hit me for a while. But when Andy said the ultimate value of E2.0 initiatives consists of greater responsiveness, better “knowledge capture and sharing,” and more effective “collective intelligence,” there wasn’t much doubt. When he talked about the need for a willingness to share and a helpful attitude, I remembered all the times over the past 15 years I’d heard that about KM.
and later
I admit to a mild hostility to the hype around Enterprise 2.0 in the past. I have reacted in a curmudgeonly fashion to what smelled like old wine in new bottles. But I realized after hearing Andy talk that he was an ally, not a competitor. If E2.0 can give KM a mid-life kicker, so much the better. If a new set of technologies can bring about a knowledge-sharing culture, more power to them. Knowledge management was getting a little tired anyway.
This echos my own thoughts on KM2.0. The concept of KM 2.0 may just be starting to roll.

Lessig on Corruption

Many of you will know of Lawrence Lessig - a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder and CEO of the Creative Commons and like me will be an admirer of his work.

What you may not know though is he recently announced that he will stop focusing his attention on copyright and related matters, and will instead work on corruption in the political system. He explains why in this video interview.

Listen to the interview - this is a fundamental KM issue - we have the knowledge - we understand the problems but we don't take action or we take the wrong action because the system is corrupt. Lessig thinks the solution lies in Commons-based peer production.

This is a man to watch carefully and to support. I am intrigued as to where this heading. As Lessig says in the interview if we are going to solve problems like global warming then we need to fix the "corruption" first.

Staying in touch with being human

Oh well done Patrick. I do love this post on the importance of touch in KM. I always hate it when I hear people say things like you need to be more professional - especially when what they are really saying is that your need to be more distant, more abstract or not involve your emotions. We don't need to be more professional - we need to be more human!

Many people do not understand my Knowledge Cafes and I am so often asked why I don't run them on-line. Answer - they wold not be Knowledge Cafes on-line - they would be something different. Knowledge Cafes are about face to face human contact - they are about touch.

And people don't understand why I run so many Cafes for free. Its my way of meeting people and building relationships. In business terms it is about marketing not through brochures or ads or other traditional methods but simply getting to know people face to face and allowing them to get to know me - even touch me!

A little taste from Patrick's blog:
We are, for example, much more comfortable thinking and talking about touching things (to control them), than we are about touching people. Touch screens, touch pads, excite our enthusiasm. Talking about touching our colleagues is deemed improper, inappropriate even.

But we touch each other all the time, within the boundaries of our cultural, religious and instinctive rituals and rules around touch. There’s the playful tap when scolding someone half-seriously. The hand on the shoulder when sharing something, or on the arm to get someone’s attention in a crowd, or to convey assurance. The comforting hug when something terrible happens. The awkward embraces at farewells. The ritual handshakes at introductions and to signify agreement.
Patrick is right we should pay far more attention to touch!

Learning goes social too

I have been talking recently about KM going social and the concept of KM2.0. Well its not only KM that Web 2.0 tools and technologies are impacting - its learning too. This is really not too surprising as "learning" is one of the main objectives and outcomes of "knowledge sharing" and at times the two concepts are synonymous.

Ray Sims recently blogged on this and quoted from a paper by Mohamed Amine Chatti, Matthias Jarke, and Dirk Frosch-Wilke.
To have a chance of success, LM and KM approaches need to recognize the social aspect of learning and knowledge and as a consequence place a strong emphasis on knowledge networking and community building to leverage, create, sustain and share knowledge in a collaborative way, through participation, dialogue, discussion, observation and imitation.

I have recently updated the Learning category page on my website to include a tentative definition of Learning 2.0 adapted from a blog post by Denise Withers.
Learning 2.0 is an emerging approach to learning that turns away from teaching as something that is “done to learners” - and instead, embraces methods in which learning becomes “an on-going and participatory process of transforming information and experience into knowledge".

Credit: Adapted from a definition by Denise Withers.
Another guy you might like to check who has a lot to say about this is Stephen Downes. And take a look at this blog post from Dina Mehta on Social Learning.

This is why I attach so much importance to conversation and my knowledge cafes?

Enterprise 2.0 will not happen without culture change

I agree with Gautam Ghosh here: Enterprise 2.0 will not happen without culture change.

But it's not that cultural change needs to precede Enterprise or KM 2.0. They are intertwined. As early adopters start to use social tools and adopt "2.0" thinking they will slowly influence the culture of their organizations and as they do more people will see the benefits and become involved and in turn exert a stronger influence on the culture. And through this iterative process things will change.

The pace will quicken if some proactive initiatives are undertaken - especially to create Managers 2.0 but slowly but surely I believe the culture will change hand in hand with the evolution and adoption of the tools.

Satisfaction Surveys (Are you satisfied?)

I was delighted to see this recent post of Dave Snowden's where in his usual colorful well he attacks satisfaction surveys and explains his thinking.

I have always had a dislike of satisfaction surveys and have loved it over the years at conferences hearing Dave let rip into them. In fact when people ask me about Dave's work with narrative I often use his alternative narrative based approach to surveys as an example.

Most surveys I see fall into the same traps that Dave describes - especially all the KM surveys I am asked to fill in by students. To my mind they are an utter waste of time in that they are meaningless or worse that they produce misleading results. By and large I always decline. Like Dave I so much want to answer so many of the questions with the phrase "well it all depends".

Thank you Dave!

How do edit a Skype message after you have sent it!

Every so often I come across a simple tip that someone has shared on the web that is so useful I am compelled to share it in turn. And one person I have learnt so much from and who has connected me with so many of the best social media tools at an early stage in their evolution is Robin Good. Robin is colorful character and the work he does is fantastic.

So take a look at this little video of him explaining how you can edit a Skype message after you have sent it. And then browse his site a little - for some more fascinating material!

Science Cafes

One of the things I love about a conversational cafe is that it is a very flexible format and can be adapted to different purposes. I recently discovered Science Cafes and Cafe Scientifique via an article in Wired Magazine.
Science cafés involve a lively conversation with a scientist about current science topics. They are open to everyone, and take place in casual settings like pubs and coffeehouses.

At a café you can…
learn about the latest issues in science
chat with a scientist in plain language
meet new friends
speak your mind
talk with your mouth full
Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.
Why don't you start a cafe of your own?

Keeping speakers to time at conferences

I was at a conference recently where I heard that a speaker in one of the streams had so over run their allocated time that a subsequent speaker whose time had been eaten in to protested by refusing to give his talk. Now although I felt this churlish I had a lot of sympathy with him.

At the same conference in a 3 speaker stream in which I was the first speaker, the second speaker although scheduled to speak for only 20 minutes ran to 40 minutes. This not only reduced the time that the third speaker had available to talk but ensured that there was no time for discussion or questions.

It easy to blame the speakers for overrunning their time but many speakers do not have a lot of experience of talking on stage and are nervous and simply lose all track of time. I have seen even experienced speakers do this.

To my mind, the responsibility for keeping the speakers on time rests firmly with the chairperson. As a chairperson myself I have a simple method: I give the speaker time warnings; maybe a card; maybe just a verbal reminder (my preference) but when they come to the end of their allocated time I simply stand up and if need be walk over and stand close to them. If they still don't get the message and stop of their own volition - I intervene to stop them.

It may seem a little harsh and controlling and may annoy the speaker but the alternative is far worse.

Here is the email template I use to brief speakers.
Hello Everyone,

May I introduce myself - my name is David Gurteen and I am chairing the upcoming XXXX conference

I would like to explain the format of the event as it is a little different from other conferences. You each have 40 minutes in total; 25 minutes for your actual talk and then a FULL 15 minutes allocated to discussion and to Q&A.

A few things for you to note:
  • Please keep strictly to your 25 minutes. This is really important. It is totally unfair on the audience and the speakers that follow you if you take your full 40 mins or more and leave no time for discussion and questions. I emphasize this as at every conference I chair as there are at least two or three people who over run - how ever much they agree not to!!

    I will give you a warning as your end time approaches but after 25 mins I will stand up. This will be my signal to you to STOP.

  • Twenty-five minutes is not long - if you can manage it without Powerpoint slides (or keep to just a handful) and make your talk more informal and 'entertaining' that would be great!!!

  • Don't worry about whether there will be enough questions to fill the time or not - that is my problem :-) I will facilitate the discussion.

  • At the end of each session I will ask the participants to turn to each other at their tables and discuss the talk for 5 mins before opening things up to questions to you and a wider conversation within the room.

  • I do not plan to read out your FULL bio as many chairmen do. My intro will be brief and I am much more likely to ask you a question or two i.e. to make the introduction conversational. So be prepared!
My aim is to make the 2 days as informal, interactive, engaging and as conversational as possible. Anything that you can do to help me facilitate this would be welcome.

Please drop me a line or give me a call if you have any thoughts or comments.

I look forward to meeting you and helping to make it a great conference!!

Regards David

KM Event Highlights

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.

The Effective Knowledge Worker
04 Mar 2008, London, United Kingdom
I am running this one-day workshop for Unicom.

Web 2.0 and Beyond
05 - 06 Mar 2008, London, United Kingdom
I am chairing this 2-day Social Tools conference for Unicom.

KM2.0: What will be the impact of Social Tools on KM?
05 Mar 2008, London, United Kingdom
One of my London Knowledge Cafes. This one should be fun with over 80 people signed-up.

4 Congreso Internacional de Gestión del Conocimiento y la Calidad
13 - 15 Mar 2008, Bogota, Colombia
KM Conference in South America.

Buying & Selling eContent
13 - 15 Apr 2008, Scottsdale AZ, United States
I will be facilitating a Knowledge Cafe at this conference.

Library + Information Show 2008
23 - 24 Apr 2008, Birmingham, United Kingdom

APQC Knowledge Management Conference 2008
28 Apr - 02 May 2008, Chicago, United States

KMICE'08: Knowledge Management International Conference and Exhibition 2008
10 - 12 Jun 2008, Langkawi, Malaysia

Special Libraries Association Annual Conference
15 - 18 Jun 2008, Seattle, United States
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe at this event.

KM Australia 2008
21 - 23 Jul 2008, Melbourne, Australia

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 Knowledge Management Forum of Henley Management College, 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.

David Gurteen
Gurteen Knowledge

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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