Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 133 - July 2011


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 133 - July 2011


  1 Introduction to the July 2011 Knowledge Letter
  2 On Cafe Conversations; Connections and Collaboration
  3 When you think you control something, you're wrong.
  4 Are conversation, appreciation and understanding innovation?
  5 Implementing Knowledge Cafes for business purpose
  6 Video of Gurteen Knowledge Cafe at KM Egypt 2010
  7 You don't need the threat of a speeding ticket to make you slow down
  8 Some notes from KM Australia
  9 If you are a scientist, you make predictions
10 Demystifying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
11 Video of Gurteen Knowledge Cafe, National Australia Bank, Melbourne, October 2010
12 Major upcoming Knowledge Events: July 2011
13 Knowledge tweets: July 2011
14 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
15 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

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

The major news of the month has been the beta release of Google+. I managed to get an early invite and have been playing with it for some time now. I won't attempt to explain it or review it ... a thousand others have done a much better job than I could ever do. Here is what Techcrunch has to say and here is a guide from Mashup.

I like Google+ a great deal, even though I still don't think I have quite my mind wrapped around how circles work. Its certainly a more complex but more powerful model than Twitter or Facebook. Unlike Wave or Buzz, I think Google+ will be a big success. It does not replace Facebook or Twitter or blogs or discussion groups though its functionality overlaps with them all. I will still be using all these social tools.

My main challenge will be figuring out which tool to use for what. I tweet a lot and have things configured such that my manual tweets and automated tweets from my website (via RSS feeds) get pushed through to LinkedIn and Facebook.

So how does Google+ fit into all of this? Does it make sense to feed my tweets into Google+ as well? Or should I feed my Google+ posts into Twitter? Or neither?

There are a number of emergent tools to do this type of thing but I have yet to get my head around them and figure out which works best for me. One thing I do like though is the ability to create an RSS feed for my Google+ public posts.

I will let you know how I get on and I am sure I will meet many of you in Google+. Here is my Google+ profile page.

I gather that Google+ will go fully live at end of July but if you would like an invite drop me an email and I will invite you.

On Cafe Conversations; Connections and Collaboration    (top | next | prev)

Earlier this month I ran one of my London Knowledge Cafes that was mainly aimed at people who had not experienced one before. EC Harris were the host and 40 people participated. I have posted the photos to Facebook

The Cafes always go well, people love free flowing conversation but occasionally one or two people in the group really do not "get it" -- they want the session to be more controlled with agendas and summarisation and outcomes. But this is just what the Cafe is not about!

On the other hand, every so often one person really "gets it" and sees through the simplicity of the process and recognises its power. In this Cafe, Andrew Armour was one of those people, this is an excerpt of a blog post he wrote after the event.

Fortunately, the session lacked squeaky marker pens and there were thankfully no mind maps, lumps of blu-tak and the divvying up of tasks.

Gurteen's Knowledge Cafe concept is a smarter, quicker and potentially far more productive way to encourage creative discussion. Like other good things, from espresso to the first Porsche -- its success is based on functional simplicity and speed.

Take a question, divide into groups, discuss the question, then move into a new group and keep the conversation going -- sharing and discussing as you go. Unlike the traditionally tortured brainstorming (notoriously ineffective, see my blog post on this) -- and the dreaded 'group planning away day' workshops -- the aim of the Cafe is not to appoint group leaders, debate and create instant solutions.

But rather to promote a conversation, explore the ideas and share the knowledge. It's not a pitch, debate, negotiation or a challenge. Neither a platform, seminar or lecture from senior management. Nor a soap box or stage for show offs.

After 60 minutes of speedy, varied conversation across groups and tables everyone stands in a circle to quickly share the new insights and thoughts they've gained.

With business life often dominated by jargon, complexity and often jumbled communication the direct and focused approach of the Cafe is a refreshing change.

It's a short, sharp Arabica compared to a tepid mug of Nescafe. It blends the human art of conversation with the science of business thinking.

And it works. How so?

Firstly, it's very hard for one person to dominate because the group composition continually changes. The lack of agenda and pressure to develop a unified solution prevents closed thinking.

And as a bonus, it raises a few laughs as well -- which cannot be a bad thing. The cafe technique highlighted to me the importance of a collaborative dialogue in partnership development and marketing innovation.

We know that connections and relationships are at the heart of creative thinking and commercial innovation (see my previous blogs discussing Matt Ridley and Stephen Johnson etc.)

But a smart business connection will not evolve into a true collaboration without a conversation and dialogue.

Unfortunately, many brands and organisations are often dominated by strong individuals driven by their own agendas, an over confidence and need to shine and win in the spotlight.

The "not invented here" thinking is symptomatic of this -- its more monologue, than dialogue. A conversational approach is different.

Thank you Andrew, I could not have put that any better myself. This is the heart of what my Cafe process is all about.

When you think you control something, you're wrong.    (top | next | prev)

I like this post by Leo Babauta on the illusion of control. It recognises that in a complex world we cannot predict cause and effect. If something happens the same way twice its by chance not because of some underlying "cause and effect" logic. It also ties in with my mantra of stop doing things to people. And it ties in with Snowden's views on not focusing on outcomes but on impact.

Here are a few things that Leo suggests for a completely different way of living:

  • We stop setting goals, and instead do what excites us.
  • We stop planning, and just do.
  • We stop looking at the future, and live in the moment.
  • We stop trying to control others, and focus instead on being kind to them.
  • We learn that trusting our values is more important to taking action than desiring and striving for certain outcomes.
  • We take each step lightly, with balance, in the moment, guided by those values and what we're passionate about ... rather than trying to plan the next 1,000 steps and where we'll end up.
  • We learn to accept the world as it is, rather than being annoyed with it, stressed by it, mad at it, despaired by it, or trying to change it into what we want it to be.
  • We are never disappointed with how things turn out, because we never expected anything -- we just accept what comes.

  • I am drawn to this way of thinking but I struggle with it. I need to have some goals and to do some planning but not to be overly tied to those goals and my plans; to not be too hung up on the how, where or when.

    Dave Snowden sums it up nicely for me when he says this (my slight modifications):
    Knowledge Management We should be focused on real, tangible intractable problems not aspirational goals. It We should deal pragmatically with the evolutionary possibilities of the present rather then seeking idealistic solutions.

    Credit: Dave Snowden

    Are conversation, appreciation and understanding innovation?    (top | next | prev)

    In this short video Bill Doty reflects on how the search for "big innovation" might keep us from making small acts each day to change the way we live and work.

    Are conversation, appreciation and understanding innovation?

    I have long believed this. Take a look at these video clips of an interview with me a year or two ago on Innovation.

    What do you think?

    Implementing Knowledge Cafes for business purpose    (top | next | prev)

    Over the last few years I have run a large number of Knowledge Cafe workshops all over the world but always in partnership with another organisation but on September 13 at the RSA in central London, I will be running one entirely organised by myself. Its a good six weeks away and I already have six people signed up, so things are looking good.

    If you have experienced one of my Cafes and would like to learn how to run them yourself or you are curious how then can be put to good business purpose then take a look here where you can learn more an register for the event.

    Video of Gurteen Knowledge Cafe at KM Egypt 2010    (top | next | prev)

    This video was taken at KM Egypt in September 2010 where I was invited to run a Knowledge Cafe.

    It is probably one of the best videos that not only describes my Knowledge Cafes but where you also get to see it in action and hear some of the insights from the people taking part. Be warned though it is over 50 minutes in length.

    Note: the room and the tables are not the ideal setting for a Knowledge Cafe nor is the reporting back process but often the Cafe needs to be adapted to fit the room and the number of participants.

    You don't need the threat of a speeding ticket to make you slow down    (top | next | prev)

    This is an excellent article on Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops. In it the author explains the success of getting motorists to slow down in school zones by the use of "dynamic speed displays" that simply show a driver his or her speed on a large display by the side of the road.

    What I find interesting is that everyone seems to be surprised that this works. Why would drivers slow down without any threat of a speeding ticket or other form of punishment?

    I don't know about you, but I don't find this surprising at all. When driving, like many people, I do speed at times, mainly when the road is dry and clear and more often on motorways. In built up areas and near schools however, I try to keep to the speed limit but at times my speed creeps up and I don't notice even though I have a speedometer.

    I don't need to be fined or punished for this. If I am reminded by a radar controlled sign that am speeding I inevitably slow down.

    It comes back to my recent post on Stop doing things to people. We need to start to work from the assumption that people are responsible but that they are also fallible human beings that we need to work with and not against.

    Its very simple really. I am not at all surprised by the figures on reduction in speed.

    Some notes from KM Australia    (top | next | prev)

    I chaired KM Australia last week though on reflection, I don't like that old fashioned word "chaired". Lets say I facilitated it.

    I did not sit on stage. I briefly introduced the speakers. I did not read out their full bios. I kept them to time as best I could. I did not give lengthy summaries after their talks - that time was better given over to conversation. And I encouraged, supported and facilitated conversation and Q&A around their talks.

    I really enjoyed the conference and felt the conversational format worked well and from the feedback I have seen so far the conference participants (note I try not to use the word audience) did too.

    Some great tweeting went on and even some Google Plussing.

    A few little things stood out for me. First, Peter Williams, CEO, of Deloitte Digital, during his talk said this about innovation : "Innovation is not about defining it, it's about doing it." This resonated strongly with my own view on KM. "KM is not about defining it or arguing whether it is dead or alive, its about doing it."

    Second, what was interesting, in the conversations, someone made the point that we really needed to agree a common definition on KM if it was to have any future. Now, if you have been around KM as long as I have, you will know that agreeing a common definition is as far away as ever and may never be achieved. So I asked the conference participants what they thought. Overwhelmingly they thought it was not an issue. Thank God that I am not the only one who does not think this is a problem!

    Thirdly, another conversation that stood out for me was one around the skills that we felt were needed today as knowledge workers. I noted down the items suggested. And then did a very rough and ready poll on the top three. This was the result:

    • leadership
    • influence
    • flexibility/adaptability

    The ability to lead and the ability to influence. Interesting. Well worth reflecting on.

    Finally, given all the challenges that Knowledge Management faces, I concluded the conference with my favourite quote from Ghandi.

    We must become the change we wish to see in the world.

    I enjoyed the conference so much, I must try to talk the Ark Group into inviting me again next year even though it rained almost all day, every day for the week I was in Sydney.

    If you are a scientist, you make predictions    (top | next | prev)

    This is a really good idea from Seth Godin.

    Scientists make predictions, and predicting the future is far more valuable than explaining the past.

    Credit: Seth Godin
    "If you are a scientist, you make predictions!"

    You might call this a form of personal knowledge management.

    I'll make two public predictions. Over the next twenty years:
    • KM will not die.
    • The KM name will not change.

    What are your predictions? Will Google+ be a success or failure? Will the world economic system avoid collapse during the next 20 years?

    Demystifying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)    (top | next | prev)

    I have never been a big fan of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as I feel too often it is nothing more than a form of greenwashing.

    On the other hand, many companies do take their social responsibility seriously, so maybe I should not be too sceptical.

    What prompted me to comment on CSR? Well this guide on the subject How to profit using corporate social responsibility from Jim Craig - an old friend and colleague from my Lotus Development days. Request your free copy if you wish to learn more.

    Video of Gurteen Knowledge Cafe, National Australia Bank, Melbourne, October 2010    (top | next | prev)

    This is short video of a Knowledge Cafe that I ran for the National Australia Bank in Melbourne, Australia in October 2010.

    The session was captured on a flip cam without the use of a roving mic, so the sound is not clear and has had some extensive editing to fit into a short learning piece, but it gives a good idea of what the Cafe is all about.

    Major upcoming Knowledge Events: July 2011    (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 Singapore Conference 2011
    31 Aug - 02 Sep 2011, Singapore City, Singapore
    I will not be at KM Singapore this year.

    12th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM 2011)
    01 - 02 Sep 2011, Passau, Germany
    I won't be attending this event this year.

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

    Workshop: Implementing Knowledge Cafes for business purpose
    13 Sep 2011, London, United Kingdom
    Yet another opportunity to learn how to run and apply Knowledge Cafes.

    KMO 2011 (Sixth International KMO Conference)
    27 - 28 Sep 2011, Tokyo, Japan

    13th KnowTech 2011
    28 - 29 Sep 2011, Bad Homburg, Germany

    KM Brazil 2011
    05 - 07 Oct 2011, Sao Paulo, Brasil

    International Conference on Knowledge Economy (ICKE2011)
    24 - 28 Oct 2011, East London, South Africa

    8th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2011)
    27 - 28 Oct 2011, Bangkok, Thailand

    KM Asia 2011
    08 - 10 Nov 2011, Singapore City, Singapore
    I will not be at KM Asia this year.

    Knowledge tweets: July 2011    (top | next | prev)

    Here are some of my more interesting Tweets for May - July 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.

    • The Master of Fine Arts is the new MBA. http://read.bi/rmlVuv
      2011-07-24 16:06:09 UTC

    • I don't think of work as work and play as play . It's all living. Richard Branson http://bit.ly/2MucTo
      2011-07-22 12:43:05 UTC

    • RT @TheE20Trap: Yammer or SharePoint? The Deloitte Experience #KMAUS http://trap.it/cALrRg #e20 #socbiz
      2011-07-21 14:50:58 UTC

    • If You Want to Kill Innovation, Reward It! Alfie Kohn http://bit.ly/1f2aZr
      2011-07-20 20:26:02 UTC

    • Is our civilization is in its final century, and is there is nothing we can do to prevent its collapse? http://bit.ly/rdWwT5
      2011-07-20 13:06:50 UTC

    • The ubiquitous piece of software can leave one feeling grumpy and passive and in no frame of mind for proper work http://on.ft.com/nxxKbb
      2011-07-18 12:50:46 UTC

    • RT @RobinGood: A must-watch presentation: Ten Technology Trends That Will Change the World http://slidesha.re/oslyNr
      2011-07-17 12:27:17 UTC

    • RT @johnniemoore: @DavidGurteen thanks for excellent link on Wired/Khan Academy. I blogged a few thoughts here http://bit.ly/oh4tPO
      2011-07-17 11:08:55 UTC

    • How Google+ Works http://bit.ly/rfTLzt
      2011-07-17 11:06:04 UTC

    • Google+: The Complete Guide http://on.mash.to/o5tOQb
      2011-07-17 08:28:44 UTC

    • The Future of Knowledge Management http://bit.ly/p9kWhg video talk from David Griffiths
      2011-07-16 14:54:21 UTC

    • What is a Knowledge Cafe? - David Gurteen video - a Prezi from @karentoittoit http://bit.ly/oa4uFl #KCafe #KM
      2011-07-16 14:37:54 UTC

    • The Knowledge Café to address a PowerPoint aversion http://bit.ly/no1etl #KM #KCafe
      2011-07-16 14:35:50 UTC

    • TED talks on Social Change http://bit.ly/mQFlic #SocialGood
      2011-07-16 14:32:31 UTC

    • Cats Against Climate Change http://bit.ly/nLy1oG #SocialGood
      2011-07-16 13:37:04 UTC

    • Weeding out students who look great on paper but haven't developed people or communications skills http://bit.ly/rsvdsu /via @andrewarmour
      2011-07-13 09:53:42 UTC

    • RT @Yunus_Centre: Yunus: social business will impact the world http://bit.ly/r3M4w2 #Social Good
      2011-07-13 07:31:41 UTC

    • What the catalysts are for “good” conversations http://bit.ly/nviRxq #GoodToTalk
      2011-07-12 07:24:07 UTC

    • You can experience emotional states without knowing why, even if you believe you can pinpoint the source. http://bit.ly/mYd0YA
      2011-07-12 07:14:32 UTC

    • Why 'Social Business'? http://bit.ly/rmfPRh /in the Yunus sense of SB #SocialGood
      2011-07-11 16:23:33 UTC

    • Using Social Tools to Open Up Conversations within the Enterprise http://bit.ly/pz2Cpr #GoodTotalk
      2011-07-11 07:38:19 UTC

    • The transformative power of conversation http://bit.ly/nUAw5Z from @kdelarue #GoodToTalk
      2011-07-10 10:07:47 UTC

    • Brainstorming - it is possible to have lots of ideas and for everyone of them to be fatuous http://bit.ly/nteUrG from @andrewarmour
      2011-07-10 09:27:08 UTC

    • RT @1cheerfulman: @DavidGurteen Our family has been looking after a child in Kenya; anyone can sign up here http://bit.ly/nRmXzn
      2011-07-10 09:08:53 UTC

    • Knowledge Cafes are about "letting people think out aloud and be who they are in a safe setting" http://linkd.in/roVuxR #KM #KCafe
      2011-07-10 09:04:43 UTC

    • In Uganda, American Becomes Foster Mom To 13 Girls http://n.pr/jU91Uv /another @maggiedoyne - we need more :-) #SocialGood
      2011-07-10 08:36:36 UTC

    • What does it mean that the sea is dying? That it is being killed, by us. http://bit.ly/o2tzfB
      2011-07-09 09:29:15 UTC

    • What would worldwide Balkanization and tribalization mean for globalization? from @davepollard http://bit.ly/onx8zx #EndOfEmpire
      2011-07-09 08:41:12 UTC

    • The Ideas sausage machine, or the ideas conversation? http://bit.ly/p6bYuS #KM #GoodTotalk
      2011-07-08 06:54:35 UTC

    • On Cafe Conversations, Connections & Collaboration by @AndrewArmour http://bit.ly/rrZqJx #KM #KCafe
      2011-07-07 10:19:34 UTC

    • A Thousand Days to Reinvent Capitalism? http://bit.ly/ojh110 #ReinventCapitalism
      2011-07-06 20:34:17 UTC

    • A Liquid Café is a hybrid of World Café and Open Space http://bit.ly/j1HVKP #KCafe
      2011-07-05 12:25:20 UTC

    • Forrester's Five Stages of Social Media Maturity http://bit.ly/kzqUqL
      2011-07-05 09:10:46 UTC

    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
    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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