Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 22 - 2nd April 2002


First Published

April 2002


David Birchall, George Tovstiga, Sheila Moorcroft, Anthony de Mello, Anthony Warren 


RSS; Weblogs

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.


For some time I have known about weblogs or blogs as they are more
colloquially known but for some reason I have ignored them - well until
Martin White of Intranet Focus brought my attention to them that is. So
off I went to trusty Google to learn more and that started me off on an
interesting voyage of discovery.

Many of you will be familiar with weblogs - others will not - but
everyone I have asked so far has not heard of them so maybe I am not the
only one who has been walking around half-blind.

Personally I am very excited by them - particularly as they relate to KM
and personal-learning. I think they could become as popular as e-mail and
instant messaging.

As you will see I have turned over much of this knowledge-letter to the
subject. I hope you find them as interesting as I do!

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

1 - Introduction to Weblogs or Blogs
3 - Blog Products
4 - Looking back helps us see things differently
5 - Blogs and Knowledge Management
6 - Coaching
7 - Building your own Weblog
8 - Review of Future Proofing
9 - Harvard Business School
10 - Anthony de Mello
11 - Knowledge Management Courses
12 - Conent Syndication
13 - RSS Newsfeeds and Weblogs
14 - Gurteen Knowledge-Calendar

*************** INTRODUCTION TO WEBLOGS OR BLOGS ***************

Weblogs have been in existence for 3 or 4 years. But what are they?

A weblog or blog, as it is often called, is an informal, personal journal
that is published publically on the web. It is updated frequently - maybe
a few times a day but at least several times a week.

A simple blog consists of a number of entries or items. Each item has a
title, a short description, a URL, the name of the author and the posted
date. More sophisticated blogs can contain further information such as
categories or multiple links.

The author of a blog is called a blogger and there is even the verb "to
blog" - so you can say "I blogged that idea today." or "I spent a lot of
time blogging this morning."

There are two types of blogs - 'personal blogs' as described above and
'information blogs'. The purpose of an information blog is to comment on
and point to web resources on a specific topic - the topic could be very
specific such as Lotus Notes or more broad such as Knowledge Management.

As well as being personal, you can also have shared blogs where several
people or a team publish to a single blog.

So that's a blog! Doesn't sound that special does it? But you would be
wrong :-) Blogs are a very rich subject and this simple definition in many
ways does not do them justice. To appreciate blogs and their potential to
the full you are going to need to do a bit of reading ...

For a collection of links to useful Blog Resources see:

Or take a look at my new personal weblog:


This is your last chance to pre-book for the Knowledge Management
Conference, Novotel London West, Hammersmith which is now only two weeks
away. This event is a must for business leaders and managers involved in
the knowledge field and this year provides special insights for people
working with knowledge in the fields of IT, the law, the public sector and

+ Ibrahim Gogus of Oracle will explain how one of the world's largest IT
organizations implemented a KM programme across 30 operating regions

+ Ray Jackson of Solcara will lead a panel consisting of knowledge heads
from law firms Macfarlanes, Theodore Goddard and Nabarro Nathanson to
explain the 'knowledge trinity' critical to the legal sector.

+ Chris Hancock is the Director of Knowledge Enhanced Government, based in
the Cabinet Office, and will explain how he leads a cross-government
initiative actively involving every department in the British Government.

+ Jonathan Sage of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bill Hutchison, CEO of
Wordmap will reveal how a taxonomy was conceived, developed and then
integrated with the knowledge and technical structure of a major
manufacturing company.

To guarantee your place at this event, click on the link below. If you add
'DG Offer' to your name when booking for the conference, you will receive
a discount of GBP50.00.

Knowledge Management Conference:

************************* BLOG PRODUCTS *************************

There are a small number of blogging products on the market. One of the
most popular is Radio Userland from Userland Software which allows you to
store your blog on a special website that they provide.

Or if you wish to set up your own website either on the Internet or your
corporate Intranet that you can blog to - they have a server product
called Manila.

Another popular product from Pyra Labs is Blogger. And yet another is

Userland Software:




By Sheila Moorcroft, Business Futures

The British news has been full of the life and times of the Queen Mother
who died aged 101. Looking back is important not only for nostalgia and
remembering or in this case to say farewell, but also in looking forward.

In thinking about the future there is a rough rule of thumb where-by if
you are trying to look forward 5 years, you look back 10. The aim is not
to see the trends that will shape the future, (although some of these will
also emerge) but to remind us of just how much can change in a relatively
short time.

The problem is that we are very good at adapting to change and major
changes become the norm very quickly. Hence we need to look back and
remember. Pick a year and see for yourselves how much has changed - on a
personal, social, market or organizational level.

Sheila Moorcroft:

Business Futures:


**************** BLOGS AND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT ****************

So I had discovered blogs and blogging. Interesting! Fun! But what about
practical business use other than journalism? Mmm ... so back I went to
good old Google and did a search for "blogs knowledge management" - not
expecting to find much - but I hit pay dirt ... 2,500+ hits and the very
first one a hum-dinger!

It turns out that there is a great deal of talk going on about weblogs and
KM that I've yet had time to fully absorb ... but again here a few
resources ... the first article is exceptionally good and relates blogging
to storytelling, while the second points to a Yahoo! Group set up for the
sole purpose of discussing so-called K-Logs (knowledge-logs).

This area is worth spending time investigating and I will be reporting
back in more detail next month.

Grassroots KM through Blogging:


Could Blogging Assist KM?

*************************** COACHING ***************************

By Anthony Warren

Once the preserve of the only the highest captains of industry, coaching
is increasingly being used at all levels of business and not-for-profit
organizations. Many people are also finding it turning up in their job
descriptions to coach their teams.

Coaching is much more than the latest trend or just giving common-sense
advice and being a good listener. When done effectively, the coaching
permanently helps the person grow in vision, communicating capability and
effectiveness. Coaching can therefore greatly augment the results of
Knowledge Management initiatives.

Coaches often work alongside consultants. Sometimes this is called adding
the "Who" to the "What" of process and consulting.

In the same way as Knowledge Management is helping organizations utilize
skills and knowledge that is not only explicit but implicit, coaching
focuses on bringing out people's strengths - often surprising the person
being coached.

In some companies, a young Maurice Green would be worked on by traditional
development methods to overcome his weakness as a poet, frustrating all
round. Whereas, in a company where coaching is understood, he would be
identified as a strong runner and coached to be the world sprint champion
as he is today - a much more effective approach.

For a free information file on executive coaching (under 10 pages) email
Anthony Warren at
mailto:[email protected] (Anthony's site
http://www.anthonywarren.com is being revised).

An interesting site on coaching by one of the leading coaching schools is:

******************* BUILDING YOUR OWN WEBLOG *******************

If you run a website or an Intranet site - you may like to develop your
own weblog capability. The basic technology is exceedingly simple.

I added a basic weblog feature to my website in under two hours and have
started to publish to it - take a look - but I'll warn - it looks like a
"blog on blogs!" at present - though you will find a large number of
useful links.

I am very excited about the prospects for weblogs and KM and I am actively
looking for a client or two who feel the same but are in need of help. If
you are interested - give me a call on +44 (1252) 812 878.

David Gurteen's Weblog:

Building your own Weblog:

******************* REVIEW OF FUTURE PROOFING *******************

As I promised last month here is a fuller review of Future Proofing By
Sheila Moorcroft.

Future Proofing by David Birchall and George Tovstiga is one of 100 books
in the ExpressExec series. The aim is to give the reader the essentials on
a topic, fast. This, the book certainly achieves. It is a whistlestop
tour of a selection of current thinking on futures tools and concepts
including scenarios, technology roadmapping gap analysis, and trend
analysis. There are also plenty of references and resources for those who
wish to pursue a particular topic further and some practical examples from
specific companies.

I had a couple of minor complaints when reading it – which, I must
confess, could have as much to do with my reading it late at night when
tired, as the fault of the book. The first was the small format, which
results in rather dense, small print which is not particularly inviting.
The other complaint concerned the diagrams, which could have benefited, to
my mind, from a little more explanation at times. Diagrams are after all
meant to clarify and improve understanding: these made this reader work a
bit too hard at times.

All in all though, a useful overview quoting many very recent works.

Future Proofing:

David Birchall:

George Tovstiga:

******************** HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL ********************

I've just overhauled the Harvard Business School links on my website ...
there is some really good material on these sites ... from the Harvard
Business Review archives, to the Harvard Business Publishing webstore and
of course the HBS Working Knowledge KM website. Well worth a browse!

Harvard Business School:

Harvard Business School Publishing:

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge:

*********************** ANTHONY DE MELLO ***********************

I know that many of you love the work of Anthony de Mello. If I had to
rate all of my books - his book Awareness comes out top - ahead of Stephen
Covey's Seven Habits and Scott Peck's - The Road Less Travelled,

Anyway I have just come across a site by his brother Bill de Mello who has
written a wonderful tribute to his life (Anthony died in 1987). It is
beautifully produced - complete with a number of family photographs. I've
added the link to Anthony's profile on my website.

Anthony de Mello Profile:


***************** KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT COURSES *****************

I have recently added a page to my website for listing KM courses such as
degree courses or summer schools.

KM Courses:

********************** CONENT SYNDICATION **********************

If you have visited my site recently you may have noticed the little pink,
green and blue headed panels down the left hand side of most pages.

These are 'content channels' that I have under development but are not
quite ready for external release. I have a Daily Quote, a Daily Event and
a Daily Tip (with more to come) ... they are updated each night by a
scheduled agent.

Once complete anyone who would like to incorporate these items on their
own websites will be able to do so. All it will require is to embed a
single line of HTML code in your web page.

I also have a number of similar XML based feeds under development that
conform to the RSS newsfeed standard.

******************* RSS NEWSFEEDS AND WEBLOGS *******************

As well as exploring blogs and content syndication, I have also been
exploring RSS newsfeeds.

Rich Site Summary (RSS) is a simple XML format designed to let content
providers share headlines and content with other websites. RSS defines key
data about a story including its headline, the URL, and a brief summary.

RSS is used to make news items and stories available on other people's
websites. But also importantly it can make weblogs available too.

Take a look at the newsfeeds I am experimenting with below. I have written
an agent that runs once a day and pulls these newsfeeds into my site -
notice that two of them are weblogs.

Once again this is very powerful but relatively simple technology - just
the kind I like :-)

Resources on RSS Newsfeeds:

Some sample RSS newsfeeds:

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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