Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 35 - 6th May 2003


First Published

May 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.


Well after what seems a huge amount of work my conference has finally
come together and opened for registration just a few hours ago.

It is scheduled for the 18th June in London and Dave Snowden is
delivering the keynote presentation on "Cynicism and Serendipity: a
just in time approach to KM".

I am a great admirer of Dave's views on KM and delighted that he is
speaking. In the first item of this newsletter I have published the
description of his talk - not just to entice you to attend the
conference but because to my mind he makes some extremely good points
about the nature of KM.

For those of you who can make the conference, I think it will be a
great day. I have some really good speakers and have designed the day
to focus on the practical and personal aspects of KM and in keeping
with this allowed plenty of time for personal networking.

It will be great to see as many of you on the day as possible :-)

Once again my thanks for all of you who offered to speak and helped
with suggestions and my apologies to the many of you whom I have not
had time to get back to.

Gurteen Knowledge Conference:

Dave Snowden:

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

1 - Cynicism and Serendipity: a just in time approach to KM
2 - UK Firms unpreperared for flexible working
3 - Knowledge Management Survey
4 - Ross dawson
5 - National Statistics Online
6 - Knowledge management in the NHS
7 - The ELearnChina Conference 2003
8 - An Introduction to Knowledge Management
9 - What gets measured counts
10 - David Pollard's Weblog
11 - CPweek
12 - The Knowledge Café
13 - Communities of Practice
14 - Knowledge-Raffle


By Dave Snowden

Too much KM practice has focused on knowledge as a thing that can be
identified, catalogued and then managed. In practice much knowledge
is intangible, it is created or becomes visible when it is needed and
not before. Managing knowledge is as much about managed channels as
it is about managing knowledge itself.

The most effective knowledge channel in an organisation is the
informal organisation; we trust the trustworthy and
real knowledge flow is always dependent on trust which naturally
exists in the informal but is a rare commodity in the formal.

Idealist solutions to KM attempt to replicate natural informal
practices into the formal community - trust programmes, no blame
cultures, my door is always open; the litany of platitudes is

Pragmatic approaches recognise that the informal and formal are
different and focus on using the natural properties of both to create
a just in time flow of knowledge from the informal to the formal.

The Cynicism of the title is intended as a positive statement. The
ancient Cynics were the pragmatics of their day, they understood
reality and were opposed to idealism in all its forms. This
presentation will take a cynical, but ultimately positive approach to
knowledge management. It will focus on practical tools and practices
that enable managed serendipity - the beneficial coincidence of
events and encounters that is the natural process of human knowledge
exchange. Examples include :

+ How do we telescope five years of accidental networking into five
weeks to create a viable social network?

+ Narrative enquiry, storing and accessing knowledge through stories

+ Linking experts not building yellow pages

+ Creating the conditions for innovation (which should never be
confused with creativity)

Dave Snowden:


The 2002 Employment Act came into force in the UK on the 6th April
2003 and carried with it statutory rights for Flexible Working,
affecting 3.7 million UK employees, with DTI quantified costs to
employers of more than £600 million per year.

This Act means that parents will be able to request changes to their
working patterns without fear of dismissal or other detriment. The
employer will be under an obligation to consider such requests
seriously, following basic minimum procedural standards. Where
requests are not accepted, there is provision for an appeal stage and
recourse to an external dispute resolution stage, such as an
Employment Tribunal.

There are many implications of this Act but it seems to me that as
more and more people work from home and away from the office that
this will have interesting consequences:

+ Corporate intranets will have to make essential company services
available electronically and will have to become more of 'community
intranets' rather than just information portals.

+ Managers are going to have to face up to the problems of managing
people at a distance. They are going to have to delegate work to
people and then trust them to deliver on it.

But more than anything else KM will become more important than ever!

For more information about the Act:

****************** KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SURVEY ******************

If you enjoy KM surveys then see this one:

Knowings is currently performing, for the 3rd year running, a survey
on Knowledge Management. They would be grateful if you could take
some time to participate in their survey.


************************** ROSS DAWSON **************************

I recently met Ross Dawson at a short evening talk sponsored by Dan
French of Intraspect. Ross is consultant, speaker and author. His
most recent book is "Living Networks".

Check out his profile - he's is doing some interesting work
especially in the area of client relationships.

Ross Dawson

Living Networks:

****************** NATIONAL STATISTICS ONLINE ******************

If like me you love statistics then you will find this site
addictive. Check it out!


**************** KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN THE NHS ****************

I trip across some really cool sites linked to my site when I browse
my referral log. A recent find is dedicated to KM in the UK National
Health Service:


and has an excellent KM glossary included:


**************** THE ELEARNCHINA CONFERENCE 2003 ****************

The ELearnChina Conference 2003 in Edinburgh looks like a conference
with a difference.

It is designed to bring commercial and educational organizations,
academics and businesses together from across the globe to discuss
the complexities facing e-Learning and education in China.

The aim of the conference is to establish an understanding for both
the academic and the business arena on the benefits of collaboration
with China.

If you are interested in attending then the organizers have offered a
discount price of £750 to readers of my newsletter for this 3-day

The ELearnChina Conference 2003:



If you are new to KM then this rather good primer may be of interest:


KM Resources:

******************* WHAT GETS MEASURED COUNTS *******************

By Sheila Moorcroft, Business Futures

A short report on the early morning UK radio news programme made me
stop and think about the old adage what gets measured, counts.

The item was discussing the increased targets for landfill reduction
in Europe, and the need to increase UK recycling to 45% of waste
disposal in order to meet them. (This alone made me stop and think -
like how are we ever going to achieve that one!) A key factor was the
need to reduce the creation of rubbish in the first place. Producer
responsibility was highlighted as critical in this - i.e. that
producers should be responsible for all the costs associated with
their products.

Meanwhile, elsewhere ... Whole Life Costing is a growing aspect of
the construction industry, and while the concepts are still far from
widespread there is a growing interest in and emphasis on it.
Basically whole life costing looks at all the relevant costs
associated with ownership of an asset - i.e. a building etc. so that
the cash flow of the projected and existing costs of the building can
be examined. Ideally this should be done early on in the design

But to return to my early morning musings, how many of us know what
it costs to dispose of our waste, or indeed how much waste we produce
each year? While we may stop and think a little about the running
costs of various cars when we buy them, how many of us know what it
would cost to dispose of it if we were not selling it. When it comes
to the takeaway or the ready made meal packaging, we certainly don't.
Soon we may have to, or certainly manufacturers will on our behalf.
WE may need to change our ways not only as consumers but as
designers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers ... In fact the
whole production chain. Once we have to pay, we may of course take

For more information on Whole Life Costing see http://www.wlcf.co.uk
where a new web based tool can also be used to assess specific

Sheila Moorcroft:

Business Futures:

******************** DAVID POLLARD'S WEBLOG ********************

There are an increasing number of good weblogs on business/KM.

A particularly interesting one from David Pollard is :


There are articles there on:

+ The Weblog as Filing Cabinet
+ Weblog-Based Content Management
+ Reinventing KM
+ Why complex intranets don't work and 'libraries' do
+ Building an adaptive enterprise

Weblog Resources:

Gurteen Knowledge-Log

**************************** CPWEEK ****************************

CPweek is the annual worldwide summit of CPsquare, an emerging,
international community of practice on communities of practice
founded by Etienne Wenger.

Both the conference and the CPsquare websites are well worth a look
if you are interested in CoPs.



Communities of Practice Resources:

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

By Anna McAvoy

"In a rapidly changing world how do we make the right decisions, set
the right objectives, and how do we best organize ourselves to
achieve them?"

This is the question, which prompted David Gurteen to establish the
Knowledge Café - a meeting point and talking shop for those with both
an interest in the expanding world of KM; and a recognition that
different ways of working and thinking are now required by both
individuals, and businesses, to better cope with, and harness the
opportunities presented by the 'new economy'.

One of the most effective 'real-time' mediums of communication is
conversation. In the 'meeting of minds with different memories and
habits' (Theodore Zeldin) fresh perspectives, and new ideas, are
sparked: this is about knowledge creation. And as David continues,
'with increased observation and reflection comes understanding and
only with understanding comes change'

For those attending the Knowledge Café, the best benefit is a basic
life skill: the ability to engage in quality conversation - open,
communicative, and reflective. Quality conversation is increasingly
recognized as a vital medium in business; and of course, in all the
other aspects of our lives. It is in fact one of the best learning
tools we have.

Our world is complex, and undergoing some fundamental changes.
Whether we look to the changing nature of the internet-dominated,
networked, global economy evolving from the earlier industrial model:
From capital to virtual. To the impact of technology on the way we do
business; work and live, it is far reaching - the days of computing
power 'on tap' like a utility is dawning, and business users now seek
to drive the technically translated business processes negating the
dominance of the IT department. Technology itself has created a
'demanding' world and change will only flow faster as a result.

Both from the perspective of the individual seeking to find work, and
personal fulfilment, to business seeking competitive advantage there
is much with which to come to terms. We all need the ability to see
the greater picture, and through conversing, and collaborating, as
individuals, we are better able to place our own 'piece of the
jigsaw' as David describes it, into a fuller, and more valuable
picture of the world around us. Into better knowledge, and ourselves,
as a result, into better 'knowledge workers'.

Knowledge Café home page:

Next Knowledge-Café (22 May 2003)

The Gurteen Knowledge Café: A conversation with David Gurteen:

******************** COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE ********************

On 23 May, I am chairing a Unicom conference in London : "Communities
of Practice in the Public Sector and NGOs".

This seminar is part of a week long series of KM events (see link
below) and Unicom are offering a 20% discount to readers of my
newsletter for any one of these events.

Unicom Seminars:

Communities of Practice in the Public Sector and NGOs

Communities of Practice:

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

Holger Sbrzesny of Deutsche Telekom has won the recent raffle for the
book "The Future of Knowledge" by Verna Alle.

The current raffle item is the book "The New Knowledge Management" by
Mark W. McElroy.


The New Knowledge Management:

***************** THE GURTEEN KNOWLEDGE-LETTER *****************

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based knowledge
management 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. It is
produced in association with 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 the following copyright notice is included
intact: "Copyright 2003, David Gurteen, All rights reserved."

David Gurteen
Gurteen Associates
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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