Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 127 - January 2011


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 127 - January 2011


  1 Introduction to the January 2011 Knowledge Letter
  2 Gurteen Knowledge Community Group on Linkedin
  3 Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds.
  4 Henley KM Forum "Knowledge in Action" Leaflets
  5 The two meanings of Social Business and the future of Knowledge Management
  6 The Law of Unintended Consequences
  7 KM Middle East Knowledge Management Survey
  8 January 2011: Major upcoming KM Events
  9 Hot knowledge tweets: January 2011
10 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
11 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the January 2011 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

I wanted to give some money to charity over Christmas so I decided to make a few more Kiva loans. You can see my loan portfolio here. I have now made ten loans of which three have been fully paid back.

What I like about Kiva is that I get to decide who my money goes to. And if I am lucky I get to see an update on how the money is spent. It's a great idea and makes giving so much more personal and rewarding. The loans and repaid to me without interest and I can then use the money to make further loans. The repayment rate is an amazing 98.94% and 81% of the loans are to women entrepreneurs. Here are the full stats.

I am not telling you this to show how good I am - each loan is only $US25 after all. What I am hoping is that you might take a look and make some loans yourself and help support this way of giving.

Gurteen Knowledge Community Group on Linkedin    (top | next | prev)

Since I made the Gurteen Knowledge Community Group on LinkedIn an open group last month membership has climbed from 1,989 to 2,076 members and activity is picking up.

The major advantage of the group being open is that discussions are now indexed by search engines and anyone on the web can view the discussions. It is also now possible to Tweet interesting discussions which I have started to do.

Here are a few interesting discussions:

You can join LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/reg/join and you can join the Gurteen Knowledge Community Group here : http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=1539

Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds.    (top | next | prev)

So we consider ourselves to be objective - well if not that, at least capable of being objective. But its much harder then we think. I recently tweeted the Wikipedia page that lists our cognitive biases. I am amazed just how many of them there are - maybe a 100 or more. Its a very sobering list including decision-making and behavioural biases, biases in probability and belief, social biases and memory errors.

And then recently I came across this article on How facts backfire.

You would think that if someone had a view on a subject and you set out very clear, indisputable facts that they were wrong, that they would change their mind. Well research shows that many of us don't! In fact, we often became even more strongly set in our beliefs. 

Here are a few quotes from the article:

  • Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds.

  • And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information. And then we vote.

  • But instead, it appears that misinformed people often have some of the strongest political opinions.

  • And if you harbor the notion — popular on both sides of the aisle — that the solution is more education and a higher level of political sophistication in voters overall, well, that’s a start, but not the solution.

Its a rather scary article and demonstrates why change is so difficult. To me, this is part of what Knowledge Management is or should be all about. How do we recognise our cognitive biases when we make decisions and how do we avoid them, if that is at all possible, or at least mitigate them.

Henley KM Forum "Knowledge in Action" Leaflets    (top | next | prev)

I have been a guest member of the Henley Knowledge Management Forum since its inception over ten years ago.

They do some great collaborative research through their working groups, hold several 1-day seminars each year and a two-day conference which is coming up on 16-17 February that is open to non-KM Forum members.

What has long disappointed me is that most of their papers are only available to forum members and are not freely available on the web which means I cannot blog or tweet them. But this is starting to change and they have made a number of Knowledge in Action Leaflets available. These leaflets are only a few pages long but summarise the findings of some of their more interesting collaborative research projects. Well worth taking a look.

The two meanings of Social Business and the future of Knowledge Management    (top | next | prev)

Many of you may have noticed a new term kicking around the Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media space - that of Social Business. Its precise meaning is still the subject of debate - see the discussion on Quora: What are the distinctions between Social Business and Enterprise 2.0? One good definition, that I like, also from Quora is "The application of social principles - transparency, open information access, collaboration, participation, crowdsourcing, engagement - to the conduct of business."

But the term Social Business has an alternative meaning that has been around a little longer than in the Enterprise 2.0 sense.

A Social Business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. This use of the term has grown from the work of people like Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank that he founded to provide micro-credit to the poor, would be a prime example of a Social Business. The measure of success of a social business is not profit but the impact that it has on society, on people and on the environment.

To my mind, we need more social businesses to create a sustainable world. In order to survive: we need to collaborate more, to make better decisions and to be more innovative. This to me is what Knowledge Management is about and is its future. It’s Social Business in both senses of the term.

The Law of Unintended Consequences    (top | next | prev)

It is far too easy both in business and in international development to be armchair philosophers. We so often think that the world's problems are simple and that we have the answers to them.

But the evidence shows otherwise. We live in a world of clouds not one of clocks.

There are always unintended consequences of our actions. Sometimes these are beneficial or a minor annoyance but often they are worse than the problem we are trying to solve.

Konrad J. Friedemann defines the law of unintended consequences as “the proposition that every undertaking, however well-intentioned, is generally accompanied by unforeseen repercussions that can overshadow the principal endeavor.”

The list goes on ... in complex world we must always stop and think and anticipate the unintended consequences of our actions. It always makes sense to talk and take advise and to conduct small pilot experiments, to probe and observe before committing to a major change.

KM Middle East Knowledge Management Survey    (top | next | prev)

I will be giving a keynote talk at KM Middle East in Abu Dhabi, 15 -16 March.

Paul Corney of Sparknow has created a KM questionnaire to better understand the take up of KM in the Middle East. Here is his invite:

Knowledge Management is beginning to attract attention in the Middle East. But how many organisations have set up a programme to make better use of their knowledge to gain a business edge. We invite you to help us find out.

In advance of the 2011 event Sparknow has developed a short, simple and anonymous survey that we'd invite you to complete in the next few weeks. The results will be made available at KM Middle East blog and published on the Sparknow website afterwards.

January 2011: Major upcoming KM Events    (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.

3rd Iranian Knowledge Management Conference
08 - 09 Feb 2011, Tehran, Iran
I will be speaking at this conference in Tehran

Knowledge Cafe with Richard McDermott on Retaining and Developing Expertise
15 Feb 2011, London, United Kingdom

Henley Knowledge Management Forum Annual Conference
16 - 17 Feb 2011, Greenlands, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

Storytelling for Business Leaders
16 Feb 2011, London, United Kingdom

4th Annual Learning Summit
23 - 25 Feb 2011, Singapore, Singapore

Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession
28 Feb - 01 Mar 2011, Sydney, Australia

KM Middle East 2011
15 - 16 Mar 2011, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
I will be giving the keynote talk at this conference.

Online Information Asia-Pacific 2011
23 - 24 Mar 2011, Hong Kong, China

APQC’s 16th Annual Knowledge Management Conference 2011
12 - 13 May 2011, Houston, United States

KM UK 2011
21 - 22 Jun 2011, London, United Kingdom

i-KNOW 2011
07 - 09 Sep 2011, Graz, Austria

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM2011)
12 - 14 Sep 2011, Amman, Jordan

Hot knowledge tweets: January 2011    (top | next | prev)

Here are some of my more interesting Tweets for Dec-Jan 2011. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts. And if you like what you see then subscribe to my Tweets.

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

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