Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 118 - April 2010


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.

Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 118 - April 2010


  1 Introduction to the April 2010 Knowledge Letter
  2 Life is just about doing stuff!
  3 Lectures, lecterns and bullshit
  4 How vunerable is our high-tech civilisation to black swans?
  5 iPad danger: app v. web, consumer v. creator
  6 No more targets please!
  7 Are You Using the Wrong Leadership Competencies?
  8 Light the fire within!
  9 Blogging and tweeting from the recent HKKMS Conference in Hong Kong
10 Thinking traps!
11 Conversational lessons from Jakarta
12 KM Event Highlights
13 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
14 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the April 2010 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

Last month I told you about the email alert services I provide through my website but I also have a range of RSS feeds to help you keep up to date with what is going on in the KM World.

I am still surprised just how few people are familiar with RSS feeds and readers. Its the perfect way of subscribing to your favourite blogs and newsfeeds and having the latest items pushed to you. You can learn more about RSS here. But why not just get started with Google Reader.

I use Google Reader myself and an iPhone app called Byline. This synchs Google Reader on the web with my iPhone. What I love about Byline is that it works off-line (having downloaded my latest subscribed feeds when I am connected to the web via WiFi or 3G) and I can catch up on my professional news anytime, anyplace.

The first thing I do in the morning when I wake is to catch up on the news on my iPhone. I do this via ByLine for my RSS feeds and then via news apps such as the Guardian, the Telegraph and Sky News.

My iPhone, is my prime source of information these days. I now rarely watch the TV news or buy a daily paper.

Here are my main RSS Feeds:

Life is just about doing stuff!    (top | next | prev)

This comment from Steve Jobs (via my friend David Pottinger) in a great article by Stephen Fry on the Launch of the iPad: “I don’t think of my life as a career. I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career — it’s a life!” really resonates with me. I like the concept of just "doing stuff" - love that fuzzy word "stuff".

People are always telling me that if I wish to build a business I should do "x, y, z" and I reply "I am not looking to build a business I am looking to do stuff that I enjoy and earn a living in doing it".

To my mind, life is not a career, its not a business, its not a profession - its just about doing fun worthwhile stuff!

Lectures, lecterns and bullshit    (top | next | prev)

Jeff Jarvis does not like the one-way lecture format of the TED conferences. He thinks it is bullshit and of course I totally agree!

It reminds him of the classroom and the industrial age educational system where the one and only right answer comes from the lectern which I would like to see burnt!

Read the comments on his post, most people agree (but not all) and despair of the educational system!

There are many ways of breaking the "chalk-and-talk", "sit-and-git", "death-by-power-point", "preach from the lectern" paradigm of the "industrial age classroom". But a simple "no-brain" start is to turn them into a Knowledge Cafe format. Cut the speakers speaking time and then follow with a period of conversation around the speakers theme and finally Q&A. This is easy to do in most contexts and if you are the speaker you need no permission to do it.

How vunerable is our high-tech civilisation to black swans?    (top | next | prev)

Ever since the recent global financial crisis, my reading of the Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and my attention drawn to the book The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter by Clay Shirkys recent article The Collapse of Complex Business Models. I have realised that our civilisation is incredibly fragile and we are living on a knife's edge. So much could happen to destroy the global economy overnight and put us back in to the dark ages.

Only last week I was pondering what would happen if all global flights were suspended for some reason for several months. What would be the impact on the global economy? Would we cope? Or would it be disastrous? Just how fragile is our high-tech civilisation? I pondered what might cause this? Maybe a solar storm wiping out all GPS and communication satellites (and our electricity grids) or a major volcanic eruption grounding flights across a large part of the globe.

And then what happened only days later - the Icelandic volcanic eruption. I still cant believe the coincidence in my thinking. I really hope our governments have thought these sorts of scenarios through and have contingency plans.

But the long term solution is to recognise our vulnerability and build more adaptable, less interdependent systems. What would happen if air flights were grounded for months or maybe even shipping? What would happen if we lost all power for as little as 2 weeks? What would happen if all our communication and GPS satellites were wiped out overnight? Could our civilisation survive? My best guess at the moment is no!

Earl Mardle has some thoughts on this also Now THIS could be a Black Swan.

iPad danger: app v. web, consumer v. creator    (top | next | prev)

I love my iPhone and would be lost without it but increasingly I feel I have made the wrong long term choice. Apple has done an amazing job and I am sure the iPad also will be a huge success. But I hate the fact that the Apple products are closed and how Apple is using its power to crush Adobes Flash.

I think Jeff Jarvis hits it right on the nail in this recent article iPad danger: app v. web where he says that "The iPad is retrograde" and that "Google is competing with openness, Apple with control". I have no doubt that openness will win in the long run but the Apple products are so good that could be several years away. In the meantime I still might buy an iPad but there will be a big part of me trying to resist.

No more targets please!    (top | next | prev)

Many of you are familiar with my views on Measures,Targets and Rewards so you will understand my pleasure at discovering the work of John Seddon. Just take a look at this talk of his entitled Cultural change is free. Its almost one hour long but I would strongly recommend you watch it.

Targets and all other arbitrary measures make your system worse - always - you can't do the wrong thing right - there is not a good way to set a target.

There is a systemic relationship between purpose measures and method .... when you impose arbitrary measures into a system like targets you create a de factor purpose which is "meet the targets" and you constrain method. On the other hand when you derive your measures from the purpose of the service from the customers point of view and put those measures in the hands of the people doing the work you liberate method, innovation occurs.

Credit: John Seddon

Via: Ron Donaldoson on Why oh why do we still have target and additional comments from Johnnie Moore on the The care is rotten and the stars are good.

I so like John's criticism of targets and ISO 9000 which I have long found abhorrent that I have created a John Seddon page on my site.

Are You Using the Wrong Leadership Competencies?    (top | next | prev)

I very much like what Stephen Billing has to say in this post Are You Using the Wrong Leadership Competencies?

First I like his suggested skills for managers. Clearly I like his last two items regarding conversation.

  • Self-reflection
  • Noticing what is going on
  • Facilitating free-flowing conversations
  • Articulating what is emerging in conversations 

And his concluding paragraph:

The competencies in competency frameworks do not acknowledge the interdependence of human beings and the importance of context. If you are using competency frameworks, it is likely then that you are using the wrong competencies and you should therefore limit the importance you place on such competency frameworks. 

Worth a read and reflecting on.

Light the fire within!    (top | next | prev)

You may recall my recent post on Are traditional rewards as effective as we think? and my broader views on Measures,Targets and Rewards and on motivation.

Well here is a ten minute video: What Drives Motivation in the Modern Workplace? from PBS News Hour that draws some of the strands together.

Blogging and tweeting from the recent HKKMS Conference in Hong Kong    (top | next | prev)

I recently spoke at the HKKMS Conference in Hong Kong. Kim Sbarcea did a great job of blogging the conference and caught most speakers including my talk Making KM Projects Work. You can find my slides here.

Dave Snowden also posted an item on the conference and there was a lot of good tweeting going on mainly from Bill Proudfit. I also ran a post-conference Knowledge Cafe Masterclass - slides here and photos here. I am getting better all the time at capturing "people in conversation" but I really need to get a better camera that works well in low light conditions.

All in all, a very good conference with some excellent speakers but like most conferences I attend, it was no where near as interactive and participatory as I would liked to have seen it. I would love to see my "20:10:10" format as standard, that is 20 minutes presentation; 10 minutes conversation and 10 mins Q&A rather than 40:1 i.e. 40 minutes presentation and 1 minute for one rushed question and answer else the conference will overrun!

Thinking traps!    (top | next | prev)

One of the major objectives of Knowledge management is improved decision making and so anything that helps us think better about a subject to me is KM. Take a look at these ten thinking traps (part 1) and ten thinking traps (part 2) and how to avoid them.

Via: Ron Donaldson

Conversational lessons from Jakarta    (top | next | prev)

I was recently in Jakarta to run a 2-day workshop for KM-Plus - Learning Lead. One of the challenges of such workshops is the language barrier. Although everyone can understand English and speak it quite well - it is not their native language and so me talking in English all day is huge a strain on people.

It also makes interactive sessions difficult to run as clearly the conversation with me is not so smooth flowing and it makes sense for me to allow conversation at tables in Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). But of course this means that I can't listen in and get a sense of what is being said.

At an earlier event in Jakarta I ran an "Introduction to KM" workshop for a large Indonesian Bank and although going fine the language barrier was clearly an issue. And so my host Alvin Soleh stepped in and we modified the day's format on the fly. I would present for about 20-30 minutes and then Alvin would run an interactive piece in Indonesian.

We carried this format through to my main two day public workshop and it worked well.

During Alvin's sessions I had time to observe and reflect and I came to the decision that I was never going to speak for more than 20 minutes again (well 30 minutes at most) before turning my talk or that part of my talk in to an interactive session of some description.

At the very least and at its simplest I will do what I often do and that is come to the end of my "chalk-and-talk", pose a question relating to my talk and then ask the participants to have a conversation at their tables. Optionally asking each table to report back to the group and for me to take questions.

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.

KM Egypt 2010
20 - 21 Apr 2010, Cairo, Egypt
I will be speaking at this event. My first trip to Egypt! This has been postponed!

Driving Business Performance
26 - 30 Apr 2010, Houston, United States

5th Knowledge Management International Conference
25 - 27 May 2010, Terengganu, Malaysia

Global MAKE Conference 2010 Brasil (GMC 2010)
25 - 27 May 2010, Săo Paulo, Brasil

Third International Congress on Knowledge Management
03 - 04 Jun 2010, Bogota, Colombia
I am looking forward to this conference. My first trip ro Colombia.

KM UK 2010
15 - 16 Jun 2010, London, United Kingdom
I will be giving a keynote talk at this event.

World Library and Information Congress
10 - 15 Aug 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden

11th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM 2010)
02 - 03 Sep 2010, Vila Nova de Famalicăo, Portugal
I will be attending this event for the seventh year in succession.

7th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2010)
11 - 12 Nov 2010, Hong Kong, China

KMWorld & Intranets 2010
16 - 18 Nov 2010, Washington DC, United States

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.

Gurteen Knowledge
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

Follow me on Twitter

How to contact me

My Blog

Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community
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.
Knowledge Community


request help
visitor book
Thursday 25 July 2024
04:03 AM GDT