Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 90 - December 2007


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 90 - December 2007


  1 Introduction
  2 KM goes Social (KM 2.0)
  3 Don't let the IT department stifle Social Computing as they did Lotus Notes!
  4 Death to the Syllabus!
  5 What does the Future of Management look like to you?
  6 A summary of Dave Snowden's recent work
  7 Dave Pollard on changing the world!
  8 Guy Kawasaki on Kiva
  9 A robot playing "Pomp and Circumstance" on the violin. Never!
10 Has Facebook got a place in Business?
11 Photos from KM World 2007
12 Dave Pollard on KM 0.0 (aka KM 2.0)
13 KM Event Highlights
14 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
15 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter


Well Christmas is almost upon us and I am busy preparing for another SE Asia trip to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok for almost the whole of January.

The main reason for my trip is to give a keynote talk on KM and Social Tools plus a Knowledge Cafe to explore the opportunities, challenges and risks of Social Computing at a series of IBM workshops in all three of these cities to help their customers understand the issues of implementing IBM's new integrated social software product Lotus Connections. I am in a unique position to do this, given my knowledge of KM, my own use and understanding of Social Tools and almost 20 years working with Lotus Notes!

As ever, I am making the most of my trip. I hope to run an open Knowledge Cafe at the Multimedia University in Kuala Lumpur in partnership with The Knowledge Management Centre of Multimedia University and KMTalk; give a talk/mini knowledge cafe at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Malaysia and at the National Library Board in Singapore and possibly a KM seminar for Bangkok University. Plus a few other pieces of work, events and meetings!

I still have some spare time and if you live in the region and would like to meet with me - even just for a coffee - drop me an e-mail.

And finally, I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a merry New Year. I will back next year when in May 2008 this knowledge letter will be 9 years old!

KM goes Social (KM 2.0)

At Online Information 2007 in London on 4th December, I gave a keynote talk entitled "KM goes Social" where I take a brief look at the history of KM and where it might be heading given the impact of Social Tools. Other people you might wish to read on this subject are Dave Snowden and Dave Pollard but also see Delicious and Technorati.

I am not overly keen on the KM2.0 label (Dave Pollard actually dubs it KM0.0 ) or the term Social KM but it does not matter what we call it too much right now - the fact is that Social Computing will have a huge impact on the way we practice KM and its future evolution.

Here are the slides; an audio interview with Dick Kaser of Information Today and the paper that went with my talk.

Don't let the IT department stifle Social Computing as they did Lotus Notes!

Ten years ago or more when I was working as a Lotus Notes consultant and developer, I saw IT departments effectively emaciate Lotus Notes by insisting that Notes applications be developed by a centralized team and driven by a rigorous functional specification. This was not the way to develop Notes applications - it curtailed its widespread use and ensured the development of unusable applications. I wrote about an alternative to this back in 1998!

Its still my belief that it was the IT departments that effectively stifled Lotus Notes. IT would bar users with technical skills from developing their own applications though they did not prevent them from developing Excel spreadsheet applications that would have been better implemented as a simple database or a Notes application. I can recall several occasions where I turned a complex, bug ridden Excel spreadsheet that had taken weeks of development into a simple robust Notes application in a couple of hours. And then everyone with appropriate access rights could effectively share the application on a central server rather than share it in turn on a shared file drive or by passing the Excel file around by email!

So this blog post by Lee Bryant although not focused on IT development as such caused me not only to smile but to remind me that given their way most IT departments will try to kill social computing in the same way they did for Notes. Here is the passage of Lee's that got me chuckling:
The same IT folks who rail about the "risks" of sharing and online social networking are also responsible for creating systems so unusable and inflexible that they lead users to dump entire databases onto CD and lose them. I think it is fair to argue that IT systems that do no understand people are a bigger risk than human-scale web computing that treats people as adults.
It reminds me also that the main feature of a Wiki is that documents can be edited online by multiple people. This causes some people a lot of heartache as no one person is "in control". And causes IT departments more heartache than most. Lotus Notes first shipped in 1989, almost 20 years ago and one of its major features was the ability to edit shared documents. The "problem" is not new! In fact its not a problem at all - its the major benefit!

Death to the Syllabus!

When people tell that they are returning to college to earn a further qualification, I am always pleased for them but at the same time shudder a little inside as I could never ever do it myself and the whole idea fills me with foreboding. When I study a subject I want to be free for the learning to take me where it leads me - to follow an emerging path to make new connections and actually create new knowledge. I would hate to be restrained by a syllabus.

And so, although horrified at the extent to which some educational establishments take the syllabus, I was rather pleased to come across this article on the subject as it means some educationalists are well aware of the problem and are working to change things.
The implicit message of the modern course syllabus is that the student will not do anything unless bribed by grades or forced by threats.
Alfie Kohn had a lot to say on this subject in his book Punished by Rewards and I have written a great deal on it too.

What does the Future of Management look like to you?

Thanks to Chris Fletcher for pointing me to this blog posting of Gary Hamels where Gary asks What does the Future of Management look like to you?.

I have enjoyed Gary's thinking on the future of management and organizations and in particular the increasing power and influence of the individual ever since I read his book Leading the Revolution in 2000.

There are some clear implications for KM if Gary has got these predictions right as I feel he has. The most obvious two are:
"Restricted, controlled flow of information shall be the most antiquated feature."

"The need for large, expensive & highly trained information technology departments will have disappeared because reliable, robust & highly configurable solutions will be available via the Internet."
The control and flow of information and knowledge will be set free from the tyranny of IT, IS, corporate librarians and management who wish to censor and control it and put it in neat little boxes! Its slowly happening and its mainly social tools such as Wikis and Weblogs that will make this a reality.

But take a look at the comments on Gary's posting. Event if you don't agree with them all - they are rich food for thought - most of them inspiring but some of them scary!

A summary of Dave Snowden's recent work

It was Dave Snowden in his blog that pointed me to this wonderful roundup of his recent blog posts and podcasts by John Tee in his Library clips blog.

To my mind one of the best summaries of Dave's thinking round - though I should warn you its not that short - especially if you follow the links and listen to the mp3 audio files but it is all in one place!

Dave Pollard on changing the world!

Dave Pollard in his weblog How to save the world remains convinced that:
Whether you want to change the political or economic system, save the whales, stop global warming, reform education, spark innovation or anything else, the answer is in how meaning, and understanding of what needs to be done, emerges from conversation in community with people you love, people who care.
And I totally agree. Its one of the driving motivations behind all the effort I put into my Knowledge Cafes and working to introduce more conversation into our working and personal lives!

And this is what Dave says about KM
KM is simply the art of enabling trusted, context-rich conversations among the appropriate members of communities about things these communities are passionate about.
Yet another definition of KM! But one I like - remember one of the opening remarks from the Cluetrain Manifesto
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter -- and getting smarter faster than most companies.
It really is all about conversation

Guy Kawasaki on Kiva

I recently wrote about how I had made a small loan through a website called Kiva to help a young woman in Bulgaria buy a cow.

Well Kiva is getting a lot of attention. Guy Kawasaki has just blogged about the Lessons of Kiva having read an article in Stanford Magazine - Small Change - Big Payoff.

The founders of Kiva, Matt and Jessica Flannery, like Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank got a lot of advise that their microfinance idea would not work but they pushed ahead anyway despite all the hurdles. This is an inspirational story of how two young people are making a difference in the world.

And talking of making a difference the Stanford Magazine article ends with the wonderful Starfish story that I posted a version of on my website way back in 2001.

A robot playing "Pomp and Circumstance" on the violin. Never!

Well this is one thing I never ever thought I would live to see - a Japanese robot from Toyota playing Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" on the violin.

Has Facebook got a place in Business?

If you think that Facebook does not have a place in business then read this story that has been blogged by Bill Ives about how Serena Software is using Facebook as a front end to its intranet and think again.

Photos from KM World 2007

A photo slideshow from KM World 2007 in San Jose, California from various photographers though mainly Mark Goldstein. The photos have been merged to create a single slide show by using an agreed tag. In this case "kmwi07".

And a great photo of me with Dick Kaser.

Dave Pollard on KM 0.0 (aka KM 2.0)

Dave Pollard and I have never been far apart on our views on KM. In my recent talk at Online Information I talked about KM 2.0 or Social KM. Dave prefers to call it KM 0.0 for good reason!
What some have called KM 2.0, I prefer to call KM 0.0, because it's getting back to the roots of why and how people share what they know. It could also be called PKM -- Personal Knowledge Management -- because it's about self-managed content and peer-to-peer connectivity.
So close to my views in my article!

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.

1st Middle East Knowledge Economy Conference
12 - 13 Jan 2008, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
A major Arab World conference.

McMaster World Congress
16 - 18 Jan 2008, Hamilton, Canada

Facilitating Knowledge Transfer and Retention in the Modern Workplace
18 - 20 Feb 2008, Melbourne, Australia

Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum
19 Feb 2008, Sydney, Australia
Looks like a great event from my good friend Ross Dawson.

4 Congreso Internacional de Gestión del Conocimiento y la Calidad
13 - 15 Mar 2008, Bogota, Colombia
KM Conference in South America.

KMICE'08: Knowledge Management International Conference and Exhibition 2008
10 - 12 Jun 2008, Langkawi, Malaysia
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this event.

Special Libraries Association Annual Conference
15 - 18 Jun 2008, Seattle, United States
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe at this event.

The Knowledge Forum 2008
No date yet but likely September 2008, Tokyo, Japan

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

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The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM 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. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

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. And if you have any queries please contact me.

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
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