Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 100 - October 2008


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 100 - October 2008


  1 Introduction
  2 Invest in a girl
  3 The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination
  4 Tell stories to hear stories
  5 The State of Location-Based Social Networking On The iPhone
  6 If you want to learn, take notes
  7 Could you stop using email?
  8 Is it ethical? Are you manipulating?
  9 Social Media in Business
10 The digital company 2013: Freedom to collaborate
11 Passworded people
12 KM Event Highlights
13 My Upcoming Activities
14 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
15 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction    (top | next | prev)

I have two anniversaries to celebrate this month. First, it is my sixtieth birthday and second this is my one hundredth newsletter. I was born on October 1948 and my knowledge letter started in May 2000. I can't believe either myself or my newsletter have survived so long!

I can look back over more than 50 years of my life. As a child, growing up in the fifties, it was a very different world. A few key memories from my first 20 years:
  • My father was one of the first to have a car in our street, about 1955.
  • As a child, holidays were caravan holidays in South Wales.
  • We had our first TV for the launch of ITV in the Midlands in 1956. So I was 7 years old at the time. I remember it well. Those of you my age, living in England, may well recall Andy Pandy, Rag Tag and Bob Tail and more!
  • The first satellite, Sputnik was launched in October 1957 when I was almost 9 years old and stimulated a life long interest in science and technology.
  • I had one of the early consumer reel to reel tape recorders (Phillips Stella) in about 1962. And back then there were no electronic calculators: slide rules and log tables were the norm - a mechanical calculator if you were lucky.
  • The first computer, I ever saw was at Rutherford Labs circa 1965. It was valve driven and water cooled!
  • As a teenager: no phone, no internet. I walked half a mile in all weathers to the nearest red public phone box to phone my girlfriend.
  • Books: you borrowed them from the library. You did not buy them and of course no Amazon.
  • First manned Moon landing in 1969!
I am amazed how much has changed. What changes will I see in the remainder of my life time?

Invest in a girl    (top | next | prev)

Change starts with a girl!
Why Girls?

Because there’s poverty, and war, and hunger, and AIDS, and because when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities, countries, and even the planet.

But while those 600 million adolescent girls are the most likely agents of change, they are often invisible to their societies and the world.

So what can you do about that? Help make girls visible. Tell the world that you think the 600 million girls in the developing world deserve better – for themselves, and for the end of poverty.

That’s a start. Ready to learn and do more? Head over to girleffect.org.
This seems to be building on the philosophy of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank in lending primarily to women as women are far more likely to spend the money wisely on their family then men ever are.

I love the concept but I need to figure out how best to personally take action though lending some money to Elitza Naidenova to buy a cow a while back was one teeny-weeny contribution.

There is a Facebook group and you can make donations at Global Giving. And see the YouTube girleffect Channel.

The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination    (top | next | prev)

I recently tweeted this talk of J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivering her Commencement Address, The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Its a great address and I had several people who commented how much they enjoyed it. It was brought to my attention by Heather Davis - thank you Heather. Here is a quote from the transcript that Heather sent me:
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.

Credit: J.K. Rowling
Enjoy the video!

Tell stories to hear stories    (top | next | prev)

Like Patrick Lambe, I loved this story of telling stories to hear stories. Only wish I had thought of it when my children were younger. It's a great technique - well actually its not a technique at all - that would soon be seen through and is manipulative. What it is really about, is treating the person you are talking to with as an equal; not talking down to them or patronizing them. When you do that then you can have a conversation of equals.
When I see my teenage daughter after school I would often ask how her day went, whether anything interesting happened at school, and the standard response is often monosyllabic: yep, nup. In fact the more questions I’d ask the shorter the answers. So I changed tack and rather than ask questions I simply recounted something that happened in my day. I would launch into something like, “I met a bearded lady today. This morning I drove down to Fitzroy to run an anecdote circle for …” and immediately my daughter would respond with an encounter from her day. A conversation starts and it’s delightful.

Its also what I try to do in my knowledge cafes - ensure that everyone is an equal - there are no table leaders; no people nominated to report back. Everyone has an equal voice and this helps free up the conversational flow.

The State of Location-Based Social Networking On The iPhone    (top | next | prev)

I am not all that hot at predictions but the one thing to me that does seem obvious is that as more and more devices such as laptops, digital cameras and of course mobile phones such as the Apple iPhone have GPS and Wi-Fi built in, we are going to see some interesting applications.

I am looking forward to the day when most people have GPS enabled devices.Unlike some, I would like others to know where I am in real time and have the ability to connect with me though I also like the idea of being in control and having the ability to "hide" at times.

This article from TechCrunch takes a look at the The State of Location-Based Social Networking On The iPhone

If you want to learn, take notes    (top | next | prev)

Note-Taking: A Fundamental Skill of the Independent Learner via Stephen Downes.

Some time back I wrote about the importance of note taking - Simplest KM Tool - in a Gurteen Perspective article for Inside Knowledge magazine. So I am delighted to see that others recognize the importance also.

I find it odd that so few people take notes. At an academic KM conference recently, I looked around the room of maybe 120 people during the opening key note talk - I noticed only one lap top open and just a hand full of people taking notes - most just sat and listened and the audience was mainly students and academics. I was also the only one taking photos and video. It was the same throughout the conference.
I don't care how you take notes. Use the computer, like I did today. Use paper and ink, like I did at the collaboration workshop last week. Take photographs, as I do when I travel. The main thing is, if you want to learn, take notes. Learning is not a passive act; it is an act of engagement, where you involve yourself physically and mentally, where you struggle to understand and integrate the material. Note-taking is your contribution to what is a two-way communication with the source of the learning. Maybe you'll review them again, maybe not. Keep your notes in good order, just in case. But the main this is, that you take them.

Credit: Amran Noordin

Could you stop using email?    (top | next | prev)

I held one of the most energetic knowledge cafes for a long time in London recently. It took place at the end of the first day of a Unicom Web 2.0: Practical Applications for Business Benefit conference that I was chairing. (Sue Charman-Anderson blogged the conference). The speaker was Luis Suarez of IBM (whom I got to meet for the first time after many years of cyber-contact) who spoke on the subject of email overload and proposed the question "Could you stop using email?".

As you can imagine, a lively debate ensued Several folks have blogged the Cafe in a little detail see Nick Bush and Jon Mell. And also the Gurteen Forum.

So could you stop using email?

Is it ethical? Are you manipulating?    (top | next | prev)

When I run my knowledge sharing workshops - one of the sessions is about networking and more often than not the question of ethics is raised. Some people falsely see networking as unethical as they seem to think that networking is about making friends with other people for personal gain - they don't quite understand that although its possible to behave like that - genuine networkers approach networking with a mindset of "mutual advantage" - they as much want to help the other person as they wish for help from them.

The question of ethics also gets raised in other KM settings. Storytelling is one of them. Is it ethical to use storytelling to say sell an idea to another person? Another might be is it OK to reward people with tangible rewards such as money or intangible rewards such as praise to get them to do what you want.

It seems to me that we all have agendas; we all have the need, for good or for bad, to influence people; to get their buy-in on an idea or to obtain budget or resource from them. If we wish to get things done in life then we need to be good at gaining the support we need.

But is persuasion or influence, inherently manipulative and unethical? Well of course not; so much depends on the intent. `But what is the yardstick? How do you question yourself to determine if you are being unethical or not?

The test in this blog post seems a good stating point: “Would it lose its power if people knew exactly what you were doing and why?”

Take a look at the post and the comments. What do you think?

Social Media in Business    (top | next | prev)

People are always asking me for good examples of how social tools are being used in business. Well here is A List of Social Media Marketing Examples. Enjoy!

Thanks go to Nimmy for advising me of this list.

The digital company 2013: Freedom to collaborate    (top | next | prev)

I was recently interviewed for a report The digital company 2013: Freedom to collaborate. being written by Kim Thomas for the Economist Intelligence Unit. Key findings:
  • Technology knowledge will permeate the enterprise.
  • Social networks will be common in the workplace, like it or not.
  • Beware information paralysis.
  • Digital tools will democratise access to information.
  • Digital tools provide employees with greater control over the information they can access.
  • IT will also need to loosen the reins.
  • Ceding technology control will be good medicine.
You need to look hard to find the quote from me LOL!

Passworded people    (top | next | prev)

Someone told me recently of a person they had met who had given them his business card and suggested that she called him to talk further but had also given her a password. He explained, that when she phoned, her call would be answered by his secretary and unless she quoted the password, his secretary would not put the call through to him!

I guess one good way to prevent "sales calls" but I am not so sure i like it!

KM Event Highlights    (top | next | prev)

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.

actKM Conference 2008
14 - 15 Oct 2008, Canberra, Australia
I will be participating in this conference again this year.

An invite to a Knowledge Cafe with David Gurteen
16 Oct 2008, Melbourne, Australia

The Gurteen Knowledge Café Workshop
21 Oct 2008, Christchurch, New Zealand

The second annual Education Leaders Forum
22 - 23 Oct 2008, Christchurch, New Zealand
I will be speaking at this event.

ICKM 2008: Fifth International Conference on Knowledge Management
23 - 24 Oct 2008, Colombus, Ohio, United States

The Gurteen Knowledge Café Workshop
24 Oct 2008, Wellington, New Zealand

KM LatinAmerica 2008
27 - 31 Oct 2008, Buenos Aires, Argentina

KM India 2008
05 - 06 Nov 2008, Mumbai, India

Braintrust International 2008
18 - 20 Nov 2008, Orlando, United States

KM Asia 2008
25 - 27 Nov 2008, Singapore City, Singapore
I spoke at this conference and/or ran a workshop in 2003, 2006 and 2007 but will not be attending this year.

Online Information 2008
02 - 04 Dec 2008, London, United Kingdom

My Upcoming Activities    (top | next | prev)

This section of my Knowledge Letter highlights my planned activities over the next six months or so. Its prime purpose is to allow you to know where I will be and to contact me if you would like to meet. I also use Dopplr to allow people to track my travlels more closely and to potentially meet up with me. You can see a list of my immediate activities below or a full list here.

actKM Conference
14 - 15 Oct 2008, Canberra, Australia
I will be giving the keynote talk & running a workshop

KM RoundTable Knowledge Cafe
16 Oct 2008, Melbourne, Australia
I will be running a knowledge cafe

An invite to a “Knowledge Cafe” with David Gurteen
16 Oct 2008, Melbourne, Australia
I will be running a knowledge cafe

Knowledge Cafe Workshop
21 Oct 2008, Christchurch, New Zealand
I will be running a half-day Knowledge Cafe workshop

NZKM Meeting
21 Oct 2008, Christchurch, New Zealand

Education Leaders Forum
22 - 23 Oct 2008, Terrace Downs, New Zealand
I am helping to facilitate this event with a series of mini knowledge cafes

Knowledge Cafe Workshop
24 Oct 2008, Wellington, New Zealand
I will be running a half-day Knowledge Cafe workshop

NZKM Meeting
24 Oct 2008, Wellington, New Zealand

NZKM Meeting
25 Oct 2008, Auckland, New Zealand

South Africa Trip
15 - 22 Nov 2008, Cape Town, South Africa
I am planning a trip to South Africa, the week of the 15th November

Subscribing and Unsubscribing    (top | next | prev)

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    (top | next | prev)

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 the Henley Business School, 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
David Gurteen

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