Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 33 - 3rd March 2003


First Published

March 2003

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.


As many of you know, I am slowly transforming my website into a
'global knowledge community'. With over 700 visitors a day to my
website and almost 8,000 people worldwide receiving my
knowledge-letter this should not be too tall an order although it is
a lot of work for one guy!

As part of building this community I am exploring the possibility
with Bizmedia of running a one day conference in London in early June.

It would help tremendously if you could let me know if you are
interested in participating in this conference. You may like to
attend, you may like to speak or facilitate a session or you may be a
vendor interested in participating in some way. Who ever you are -
just drop me an e-mail. Suggestions and ideas for the day are also
most welcome.

I am hoping there is sufficient interest and excitement to make this
day a huge success. So please, I need your help :-)

Gurteen Knowledge Community:

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

1 - The Death of Documents
2 - Knowledge Seeds
4 - The Knowledge Café
5 - Action Learning Questionnaire
6 - Its not just about technology
7 - KM Made in Europe: 30 terms for 30 countries
8 - David Bohm and David F. Peat
9 - The importance of saying "I don't know"
10 - Knowledge-Raffle
11 - Prisoners' dilemma to the rescue?
12 - Unicom KM Seminars
13 - The New Cass Business School Building

******************** THE DEATH OF DOCUMENTS ********************

I recently stumbled across this article by David Weinberger (one of
the authors of The ClueTrain Manifesto) from 1998 on "The Death of
Documents and the End of Doneness". This is how the article ends:

The cards are stacked against documents. We are seeing a massive
cultural shift away from the concept of done-ness. The Web allows for
constant process and enables open-ended groups of people to be
invited into the process. Things on the Web are never done, and the
damn "under construction" sign is implicit at every site. Why should
anything be declared "done" when that means taking responsibility and
arbitrarily picking a place to freeze a process in a context that is
always always always changing? Documents are things that are done.
That is why the Web will kill them.

Its a great article and a penetrating insight into how the web is
changing and will continue to change business life!

The Death of Documents and the End of Doneness:

David Weinberger:

The ClueTrain Manifesto:

************************ KNOWLEDGE SEEDS ************************

I have added a new feature to my website. It is a tool to help you to
become more focused or mindful of the things you might like to
achieve during the day or little tips or ideas that you may like to
take on board.

Go to the Knowledge Seeds page on my site (see below) and you will
find full instructions. But put simply: Click the "Knowledge Seeds"
button. A small window will pop up and after a few seconds a 'seed'
will be written to the window. This 'seed' may be a quotation from my
site or it may be a 'tip' - a suggestion for action or an idea.
Occasionally it will be a book.

You may then minimize the window. Sometime later, a short musical
note will play and a new seed will be written to the window and you
can pop it back up to read it. This process repeats itself throughout
the day.

Clearly this tool only makes sense for those of your working at your
PC for long periods of time with a permanent Internet connection. But
take a look - its fun!

Knowledge Seeds:

==================== A D V E R T I S E M E N T =====================

Intraspect has developed and implemented a practical approach to KM
that delivers real benefit & ROI because people actually adopt it!

By combining the best of KM thinking, collaborative working,
behavioural psychology, the central role of email and the idea of
embedding KM in real work processes, organisations of the scale of
ATOS KPMG Consulting, Barclays, Sun Microsystems and Siemens through
to small businesses such as Burns and RADTAC deliver operational
efficiencies and cross-functional effectiveness by exploiting what
they already know and already do.

For a free white-paper on practical KM, email your details to
[email protected]

********************** THE KNOWLEDGE CAFÉ **********************

The last Knowledge-Café was held on the 4th February in London. The
meeting was facilitated by Malcolm Allan and Niclas Ljungberg on the
theme of "How can Knowledge Management best help create, develop, and
apply intellectual capital of significant value?".

About 36 people turned up and I felt the meeting was a great success
with a good deal of interaction and discussion. Malcolm has written
up some notes from this session and you will find a link to them

A big 'thank you' to Malcolm and Niclas and to TFPL for hosting the

The next Knowledge Café will be held at the Kensington Close Hotel on
Thursday 20th March 2003 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Unicom Seminars are
our host. They are running a Managing Knowledge Conference that week
and have arranged a free room for us with the hotel.

The theme of this meeting will be "What types of business problems
can KM help solve?" and it will be facilitated by Jon Thorne of Team
Performance Ltd.

The meetings are free. If you would like to know more - see the
links below:

Knowledge Café home page:

Last Knowledge Café - Tuesday 4th Feb 2003

Next Knowledge Cafe - Thursday 20th March

***************** ACTION LEARNING QUESTIONNAIRE *****************

The Evans Institute For Action Learning & Research at the University
of Salford are conducting research into action
learning (AL)in the UK.

As part of this research they wish to estimate the growth of AL and
the varieties of AL practice in use. The survey is aimed at all
practitioners, be they participants, facilitators, designers or
commissioners of AL.

If you would like to help them by filling in a simple questionnaire -
you can download it at the link below.

They would like the forms back by Friday 28th March.

AL Questionaire download:

***************** ITS NOT JUST ABOUT TECHNOLOGY *****************

The IT world seems to be slowly waking up to the fact that installing
IT systems is as much about people as it is about technology. In a
recent UK edition of Computer Weekly two articles make this point.

The first article by John Riley entitled "Cultural barriers hinder
sharing of patients files" starts:

"The main challenge to achieving the sharing of accurate protected
yet accessible patient medical information by 2005 is not technical,
but cultural, institutional, managerial and political according to
draft recommendations from IT Parliamentary group Eurim."

And the second article from Daniel Thomas entitled "Change management
is crucial to CRM success, says Gartner" starts:

"Customer relationship management systems will continue to disappoint
users during 2003 unless companies address change management issues
more closely GartnerG2 warned last week."

How anyone can implement a CRM system without thinking about the
cultural issues amazes me but I suspect many organizations still fail
to address the issue.

Its not just about technology:

********* KM MADE IN EUROPE: 30 TERMS FOR 30 COUNTRIES *********

The monthly Theme on KnowledgeBoard for March is titled 'KM made in
Europe: 30 terms for 30 countries'. It
is dedicated to investigating and defining KM terminology.


***************** DAVID BOHM AND DAVID F. PEAT *****************

I love the work on Dialogue by David Bohm. One of my favorite books
of his is "Science Order and Creativity" that he co-wrote with David

So I was delighted recently to receive an e-mail from David Peat
(David Bohm died in 1992) telling me about his own work and pointing
me to his website.

Take a look at David's two websites - his personal website and the
"Pari Center for New Learning" - he is doing some fascinating work;
there are a number of published papers and courses that you may find
of interest.

David Bohm:

David Peat:


************ THE IMPORTANCE OF SAYING "I DON'T KNOW" ************

As most you know I am an advocate of the role of conversation in our
business lives and this is one of the main reasons for setting up the
Knowledge-Café. After the last neeting I received this e-mail from
Sam Bonner of Askhow2 that for me summed up so much of what I am
trying to convey. Sam agreed that I could share it with you here:

Hello David

Thanks to you and Malcolm for an interesting evening last night. For
me, the ultimate purpose for meetings such as these is to explore
ideas rather than arrive at solutions too quickly that may prevent
further learning.

It was apparent to me that the area of knowledge management with all
of its surrounding sub-sections and the questioning that it provokes
such as how to value it creates frustration in many ways.

Frustration comes from a desire to understand and give credibility to
something, so it is an important part of learning in my eyes. I
think Malcolm and Niclas' approach to the meeting, by breaking groups
up and giving different subjects to discuss was very good and they
did admit that they included many subjects for discussion for each
group to see how wide we would take the conversation.

I don't think they could 'guess' how this would go, but as a result,
I think the most common question raised was 'What is it and why
should we bother?' I'm grateful for the honesty that people express
when they admit what they don't know and don't want jargon and can't
get to grips with the subject. This helps me to break down what we
are talking about to the simplest level.

"I don't know" is not something we hear a lot these days. I think
we've forfeited experience with retaining as much information as
possible in order to blind with science and come across as an
expert. No-one wants to feel foolish, so we will not put ourselves
comfortably in to a position where we feel it, but last night was a
safe forum to admit we do not know. For me, currently the questions
that are raised are more important than any answers.

Thank you once again for the meeting.

Kind regards, Sam Bonner


Knowledge Café

*********************** KNOWLEDGE-RAFFLE ***********************

Over 200 people entered my raffle for Mick Cope's book on "Personal
Networking"! This response was so good that Mick has agreed to make
3 copies of the book available. The names of the winners will be
posted on my site.

Currently in the raffle are the books: "The Innovation Superhighway"
by Debra Amidon; "The Future of Knowledge by Verna Alle and a free
place on a Unicom Managing Knowledge seminar.

Take a look - its free!


*************** PRISONERS' DILEMMA TO THE RESCUE? ***************

By Sheila Moorcroft, Business Futures

The game prisoners' dilemma (where participants succeed by
collaborating rather than competing) came to mind the other day when
I came across two unrelated articles summarizing recent research.

The first, by Xerox, declared that successful employees are more
likely to share knowledge than unsuccessful ones AND that the use of
the word knowledge rather than information was also an important
factor. The report concluded that examining the language of
prospective employees was therefore an important interview strategy.
(Computing 21.11.02)

The second, by Bain & company, highlighted the strategic importance
of innovation but that more than two thirds of executives were
dissatisfied with their companies performance on innovation. The
financial pay back on R&D in increased profit and turnover was also
shown to be significant. The biggest obstacle to achieving lower
cost, higher quality innovation? NIH - Not invented here syndrome.
(Computing 12.12.02)

The question at the individual level is perhaps whether success
follows knowledge sharing or precedes it. Whether it is about
personality or process, attitudes or aims or more about the potential
to see connections and possibilities to be willing to be wrong – some
of the time, but to have the confidence to try nonetheless.

These are not the skills of analysis and being factually right –
which are fostered in school, university and most companies, but of
being able to think differently, to explore and open up. It is not
that either are wrong, but that both are needed.

Sheila Moorcroft:

********************** UNICOM KM SEMINARS **********************

During the week starting 17th March, Unicom Seminars are running a
series of KM events in central London.

On the Thursday evening they are are hosting my knowledge-café and on
the Friday I am chairing the Building Dynamic Communities of Practice

You can also win a place on one of the seminars during the week by
entering my knowledge-raffle.

Unicom Seminars:

Knowledge Café

Knowledge Raffle:

************* THE NEW CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL BUILDING *************

Last week I attended a CoffeeMachine event where we were given a tour
of the new Cass Business School building in the city of London.

Follow the link below to take a look at the building - there are lots
of photos. But in particular take a look at professor Clive Holtham's
article under News & Views on how the building was designed to
facilitate collaboration. In Clives's words:

"A fundamental aspect of the design of the new school was to seek out
every opportunity to create spaces for informal collaboration and
even for accidental meetings. The circulation routes within the new
building have been designed especially wide, enabling a considerable
amount of informal space. The landings on staircases have been made
slightly larger than normal, again to enable both seating and data
points to be placed there."

It was the first time I had ever looked around a building with a view
to assessing how it had been designed to facilitate knowledge work.
It was a fascinating experience and although I could see and
appreciate how the building itself had been designed for this, I
could still scope for improvement e.g. more easy chairs, tables,
white boards and other fittings that would support informal
collaborative work.

But to be fair the building was only recently opened and a lot of the
furnishings and fittings are still not in place. I'd love to return
in six months time during the day when the building is complete to
assess again just how well it all works.

But take a look around your workspace. How do you think it might be
improved? And what could be done for a minimum of cost?

Cass Business School New Building:

The Coffeemachine:

Clive Holtham:

Knowledge Space:

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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The Gurteen Knowledge Community is a global learning community of over 21,000 people in 160 countries across the world.

The community is for people who are committed to making a difference: people who wish to share and learn from each other and who strive to see the world differently, think differently and act differently.

Membership of the Gurteen Knowledge Community is free.
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