Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 16 - 1st October 2001


First Published

October 2001


Sheila Moorcroft

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.


I recently received this little story via e-mail but unfortunately do
not know its source. After September 11th it seems very apt.

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how
he felt about a tragedy.
He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart.
One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one.
The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one."
The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?"
The grandfather answered, "The one I feed."

*************************** CONTENTS ***************************

1 - Theodore Zeldin and Conversation
2 - The terrible blindness of mental models
3 - Gurteen Forums
4 - Lotus Software
5 - Instant Messaging
6 - Written English 8nt what it used to be
7 - Knowledge Enabled Government
8 - KM Events

*************** THEODORE ZELDIN AND CONVERSATION ***************

Judging by the hits on my website and the correspondence I've had -
many of you like me seem to be great fans of Theodore Zeldin. Click
through the link below to find out more about this famous Oxford
historian. Or take a look at an interesting review of his book
"Conversation" by John Shotter. John is a professor of interpersonal
relations in the Department of Communication, University of New

Zeldin's book on Conversation has been a trigger for me to explore
the role of Conversation in KM. It's culminated in a presentation
that I gave on the subject at a KM conference last week and a
half-day work shop planned for a conference in Sydney, Australia in

To my mind quality conversation is the key to sharing tacit knowledge
and making it productive. Expect to see a lot more from me on this
subject - both in this newsletter and on my website but in the
mean-time take a look at the links.

Theodore Zeldin:

Conversation Review by John Shotter:

Sydney Conference on KnowHow:


by Sheila Moorcroft, Business Futures.

War games were the origin of many forms of futures thinking,
especially scenarios. They were developed to think the unthinkable,
to stay one step ahead and be prepared.

In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11th, the intelligence
organisations are being found wanting. They were looking in the
wrong place, they did not have any forewarning. While this may well
in part be due to the enormous skill that went into planning the
events, it is almost certainly also because they were looking at the
world through the wrong binoculars - the leftover mental models of
Cold War concepts. As a result, they were talking about building the
new star wars, the 21st century version of the Maginot line: just as
Hitler’s tanks drove round the edges of that so the terrorists side
stepped all the systems.

It is easy to be wise after the event, but the intelligence agencies
being wrong-footed to such a degree is one of the most profound and
tragic examples we are ever likely to witness of why we have to
challenge our assumptions and say what if?.

In order to learn, and benefit from learning, we have to un-learn
almost as much if not more than we learn. Often, what we need to
un-learn is far less obvious and more intractable because it is
embedded in our very beings, minds and worldviews.

Business Futures:

Mental Models:

************************ GURTEEN FORUMS ************************

I mentioned last month that I would love to see a little more
activity in my KM Forum. Well thanks to all of you who have
participated - in particular Jon Thorne who has prompted some
interesting discussion on the importance of people in KM.

Those of you who have visited my website will know that I have an
e-consultancy link that allows you to post simple KM questions to me.
As I do not have ALL the answers and often do not have the time to
reply to questions in depth - I have added a new forum to the website
called "Any Answers?" Its a forum for seeking answers to your KM
questions. Post a question here and other visitors to my site have
the opportunity to reply to you. If you do not get a response, I'll
try to provide an answer myself or find someone else who can respond.
Take as look and post the first question!

KM Forum:

Any Answers? Forum:

************************ LOTUS SOFTWARE ************************

As most of you are aware IBM purchased Lotus Development in 1995 but
its not until recently that Big Blue has started to integrate Lotus
more tightly into its operations. This has culminated in a new
identity for Lotus.

The company has changed its name from Lotus Development Corporation
to Lotus Software. It has a nice new logo, and the IBM banner now
appears on the front page of its Web site.

It seems that the change is purely cosmetic and doesn't affect any of
Lotus's solutions or product names, nor will it affect customers.
Lotus isn't making any other changes at this time other than to its

For more information on these changes and news of what Lotus is up to
these days especially on the KM front see:


*********************** INSTANT MESSAGING ***********************

According to a recent survey, almost three-quarters of American
teenagers use the Internet and nearly all of them are using
instant-messaging (IM) technology.

IM allows you to quickly exchange messages with your online friends.
Unlike email, instant messages appear as soon as they're sent. You
even get to know which of your friends are online.

According to IDC, AOL was the IM leader in July, with 27.3 million
monthly users, followed by MSN with 20 million users, Yahoo! with 14
million users, and Lotus 2.7 million users. Gartner predicts the
total number of IM users to grow to 180 million worldwide by 2004 and
that 60 percent of all real-time online communication - voice or text
- will be driven through IM technology.

On the Internet you can download IM software from one of the service
providers such as Microsoft and Yahoo! for free. Or if you want the
capability on your corporate intranet you can buy a product like
Lotus Sametime that provides additional security features and online
meeting capabilities.

The problem though with these different systems is that they do not
talk to each other. An AOL user cannot talk to a Yahoo! user for
example but this is set to change as a new IM standard called
"Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence
Leveraging" (SIMPLE) is adopted. If you are a techie see:


If you have not learnt about IM yet - maybe its time you did. Go to
one of the service providers sites and download their free software.
I'd recommend Yahoo!. To my mind - it is by far the easiest to use
and unlike say the market leader AOL supports voice and video. It is
also nicely integrated with their chat-room facilities. If you are
then looking for someone to talk with - try me. In the bottom right
hand corner of each page of my website is a presence indicator that
shows when I am online. If I am - click the button and we can chat!


************ WRITTEN ENGLISH 8NT WHAT IT USED TO BE ************

On the subject of instant messaging - I recently forwarded a bunch of
jokes by e-mail to my 16 year old daughter Sally. Here was her reply:

Im not actually expected to laugh at these am i?!! DAD! Neway Im at
college right now and bored cuz I have to w8 around for bobbie to get
outta philosophy. Spent my free period wiv fit boy, mwah! just too
superb baby! Neway, hope ur havin fun workin, spk to u soon
Love u lots sal. x x x x x

As you can see her "text messaging" habits from using her mobile
phone have spilled over into her e-mail!

Can you make sense of ALL the abbreviated words? It took me a minute
or two.

neway = anyway (N + E + way)
cuz = because (easy)
w8 = wait (w + eight)
outta = out off (easy)
mwah = no literal translation but you'll get the message once you
know that "fit boy" is a new boy she has met at 6th Form College -
LOL - damn I'm slipping into it now!

Although text messaging via mobile phones and instant messaging via
PCs is most popular among teenagers - it's rapidly invading the
business world, airlines are using it to relay flight information to
checked-in passengers, and it is being used by police. So maybe as
adults we not only have new technologies to learn but also a new
language :-)

BTW, what does W84ME mean? LOL!

Want to learn more see:


***************** KNOWLEDGE ENABLED GOVERNMENT *****************

Last week, I spoke at an IIR conference entitled Knowledge Enabled
Government in London.

To my mind it was a very successful conference. Two things impressed
me. The first was the extent to which the UK Government are taking KM
seriously with excellent work going on in such organizations as the
Cabinet Office, the DTI, QINETIQ (formerly DERA) and the Inland
Revenue. More impressive was the focus on people rather than
technology. Second the extent to which Lotus Notes/Domino was being
used in public sector organizations.

Here are two KM sites I learnt about:

U.S. Government KM Site:


Knowledge & Modernisation Unit of the UK Department of Trade &
Industry (DTI)


What I particularly like about this last site is the design of the
KMU team personal webpages (click "KMU TEAM") that describe the
interests of individual members of the team. The information headings
on these pages are excellent. I also love the comment from Pat
Langford (Head of KM) under her "What I do know" section on her
personal webpage - "My approach to KM is that it is primarily about
creating the right environments, opportunities and motivation for
people to meet or talk and transfer knowledge in context. I think it
is very important to distinguish this from Information Management and
retrieval systems." Spot on!

Also take a look at:




IIR Conferences:

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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