Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 85 - July 2007


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 85 - July 2007


  1 Introduction
  2 Conference Conversations
  3 ADVERTISEMENT: Study Knowledge Management in London
  4 How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients
  5 Bob Buckman on Knowledge Sharing
  6 What is a Stammtisch?
  7 How Does a Google Query Work?
  8 Calling all Academics
  9 Interactive Media Design
10 My SE Asia Trip in August
11 Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute
12 Unicom Social Tools Podcast
13 KM Event Highlights
14 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
15 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Last month I mentioned I had signed up to Facebook. Its only since then hat have I come to realize the extent to which this social networking platform has taken off. Almost everyone I know seems to be a member.

At last weeks Unicom Social Tools conference in London, I asked how many people in the room where members and about 30 of the 40 or so people in the room put their hands up. I then asked how many were members 3 months ago and all but one or two hands remained up!

I have also had time to explore more and discover just how rich an environment it really is. So much so I just had to set up a Gurteen Knowledge Community Group and about 50 of you have signed up so far.

To be honest I am not too sure quite how I am going to use it but like most things in the Social Tools world I plan to see what emerges :-) Take a look.

Conference Conversations
I recently chaired Ark Group's KC UK Conference in London for the second year. I wanted to make it as interactive and engaging as possible and so I experimented with a new format.

Each speaker had 40 minutes to present. I e-mailed them all before the event to tell them that I wanted them to only speak for 20 minutes. That I would then give the audience 5 minutes to discuss their talk amongst themselves and then a full 15 minutes for Q&A. Most of the speakers kept close to time though one went to the full 40 minutes!

Quite simply, after each talk, I asked the audience to just turn to each other in twos or threes in their seats and have a conversation about the talk.

You can see the results in this little video clip I shot. Quite amazing, it worked every time and I had some good feedback - people enjoyed it.

I have used the technique at another conference since and it is going to become a standard part of my repertoire.

ADVERTISEMENT: Study Knowledge Management in London
Study one year full-time or two to three years part-time for an MSc in Knowledge Management. Based at Hendon, north-west London. Middlesex University’s course is taught by leading researchers and provides an excellent opportunity to gain contacts within the industrial knowledge management sector.

Find out more at an Open Evening, 5.30-7.30 pm at the Hendon campus on 4 July, 8, 15, 22 August or 5 September. Successful completion provides BCS examinations exemptions and accreditation as partially meeting the requirements for C Eng and C Sci.

See here for more information.

How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients
I have always taken it for granted that people know how to send e-mail to a long list of people but not expose the e-mail addresses of people who may wish to keep their addresses private. Well It dawned on me recently that this was not common knowledge when a colleague asked me how to do it.

As ever, rather than write the instructions myself, although they are simple enough, I Googled the problem and came up with a page that describes "how" in far better detail than I could have managed.

Bob Buckman on Knowledge Sharing
In last month's knowledge letter I included an item on knowledge sharing where I included a link to a post of James Robertson of Step Two Designs who suggested avoiding the term knowledge sharing!!

Bob Buckman contacted me by e-mail to express his experience at Buckman Labs.
David, I was struck by James Robertson's position that 'Knowledge Sharing' should not be discussed beyond the KM team. This is completely contrary to our experience at Buckman. Where we got into trouble was using the term 'Knowledge Management' to describe what we wanted to do. Immediately, everyone thought we were out to manage what was in their heads. 'Mind Control' was one term used.

After a few weeks of trying to get past that initial interpretation, we gave us and never used the term 'Knowledge Management' in the company again to describe what we wanted to do. Instead, we substituted the term 'Knowledge Sharing' and the rest is history as they say.

Frankly, in my opinion, if you cannot get an organization to share knowledge across time and space, then the opportunity for any significant value added for the organization goes out the window.

As a result of that experience, I have always felt that the term 'Knowledge Management' was the wrong term to describe what we were about. But, as you know, I have not had much luck in getting others over to that position.
I am a little split on this. If implementing KM as a strategic knowledge sharing initiative driven from the top of the company then I would totally agree with Bob. If the initiative is however being implemented in more of an operational sense at a lower level in the organization with very specific business objectives then I am more inclined to agree with James!

What is a Stammtisch?
Earlier in the year I was working in the library of the RSA in London and fell into conversation with two people at the same table.

We had to whisper, as after all this was a library, but we got to talking about the fact that although many people used the RSA library and bar and other facilities there was no easy way to meet people and strike up a conversation if you were there on your own.

I talked about some of my conference ideas such as wearing a badge that said "talk to me" or even creating special tables where people could sit with the expectation of talking to strangers. And we discussed what a great idea it would be if the RSA had something like this.

It was then that one of my new acquaintances told me about the German concept of Stammtisch!

I had never heard about it before but when he explained the concept I immediately fell in love with the idea. A Stammtisch is a table in a pub or restaurant reserved for regular customers or alternatively outside of Germany a table reserved for people who would like to meet to practice their German.

But I like the idea of bending the concept a little further and creating tables in bars, cafes and large conferences etc where people can sit if they wish to have conversations with strangers. Many people just need a little bit of an excuse to start up a conversation and this would provide it but maybe it needs a new label - a "knowledge table" or "conversation table" maybe :-).

How Does a Google Query Work?
Thanks to Euan Semple for this fascinating article on how a Google search works. The user experience is simple enough - what goes on under the hoods though is downright amazing.

Calling all Academics
The response to the call for papers for the European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM 2007) this year has been very good. As a result the Programme Committee are in need of a few additional reviewers to assist in the double-blind review process.

If you are interested in the subject and would be prepared to review a paper or two please fill out the form on their site and your details will be provided to the committee.

Interactive Media Design
My son Jonathan has just completed his degree course in Interactive Media Production at Bournemouth University and he and a friend are looking for work. This is what they say about themselves:
Resolve media are two media design graduates from Bournemouth University. After 3 years of hard work and studying we are looking to branch out into the industry and start selling our work. We specialize in web design though we also offer services surrounding animation, graphics and print.
They have also created a website Resolve Media where you will find examples of their work.

Well if I can't help promote my own son who can :-)

My SE Asia Trip in August
Well my trip to SE Asia is at last starting to come together. I will be visiting Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok. These are the dates I will be around.
  • Kuala Lumpur Thursday 9th - Saturday 11th August.

  • Singapore Monday 13th - Saturday 18th August.

  • Bangkok Monday 20th - Friday 24th August.
I have a busy schedule that I have posted on-line to help organize my meetings. If you would like to meet with me either for business or socially then do drop me a line.

And note there is still time to register for my Knowledge Sharing Masterclass in Singapore on the 14th/15th August.

Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute
If you are running an on-line forum and wonder why people in your community are not participating as much as you would expect then see this article Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute from Jakob Nielsen.
  • 90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don't contribute).
  • 9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.
  • 1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions
So if you have less than 100 people in your community - the forum may simply not be viable.

A big thanks to Ed Mitchell for making me aware of this document.

Unicom Social Tools Podcast
At the Unicom Social Tools conference last week my old Lotus colleague Adrian Moss audio recorded most of the speakers and created a page to hold the material.

Take a look - you can play the talsk online or download them all as a podcast. Its a great way of capturing an event though I think the podcast is of most value to people who attended the conference and wish to more closely listen again to a specific speaker.

For example, I recently recorded a talk of Dave Snowden's on my iPod and played it back on the train on the way home. The great thing about it was that when ever he said anything thought provoking or controversial I could pause the playback and think long and hard about the point he was making. I don't think I ever did get to the end of the playback!

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.

KM Australia
25 - 27 July 2007, Sydney, Australia
The programme includes a Gurteen Knowledge Cafe facilitated by Helen Paige who is the regional director for the Gurteen Community in Adelaide.

Establishing a Knowledge Sharing Culture 14 - 15 August, Singapore
I will be running this workshop in Singapore for the Ark Group.

ECKM 2007: The 8th European Conference on Knowledge Management
06 - 07 Sep 2007, Barcelona, Spain
I hope to be attending - so long since I was last in Barcelona.

The European Knowledge Management Thought Leaders Forum
19 -20 Sep 2007, London, United Kingdom
Great event - wil be the 3rd year that I will be atetnding and will br running a Knowledge Cafe to round off the second day.

actKM Conference 2007
22 - 23 Oct 2007, Canberra, Australia
I will be giving the keynote at this conference.

AKEA Conference
27 - 28 Oct 2007, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

KM Asia 2007 29 - 31 Oct 2007, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be running a Knowldege Cafe and a workshop at KM Asia this year.

KMWorld & Intranets 2007
06 - 08 Nov 2007, San Jose, United States
I wil be running a Knowledge Cafe at this event and more. This will be my first time at KM World!

Online Information 2007
04 - 06 Dec 2007, London, United Kingdom
I will be giving a talk and running at least one Knowledge Cafe at this event.

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 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 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.

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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