Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 137 - November 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 137 - November 2011


  1 Introduction to the November 2011 Knowledge Letter
  2 The notion of an emerging global one world classroom
  3 Dont do KM in the Middle East
  4 Going off topic in a Knowledge Cafe
  5 Plaudern wie im Pub (Like a chat in the pub)
  6 Social Media versus Knowledge Management: A false dichotomy
  7 What is the function of KM?
  8 Podcast: Knowledge Cafes: A conversation with David Gurteen
  9 Major upcoming Knowledge Events: November 2011
10 Knowledge tweets: November 2011
11 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
12 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

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

So much has been written about Steve Jobs since his death in early October.

What I have enjoyed the most is his sister's eulogy for him.

As you might expect it is about Steve Jobs - the man. If you have not read it - take a look - it shows him in a different light to all the other articles.

The notion of an emerging global one world classroom    (top | next | prev)

I wrote recently about flip teaching and even flip conferences that have been inspired by the work of Salman Kahn.

If you don't know about Salman Kahn and the Kahn Academy here is your opportunity to learn more about him and his work in the TED video Salman Khan: Lets use video to reinvent education.

Towards the end Sal talks about "the notion of an emerging global one world classroom" (watch from 15:47 on). What a concept! Knowledge sharing, learning, peer to peer tutoring, coaching and mentoring on a global scale. Its early days but this has got to play a major role in the future of education.

Dont do KM in the Middle East    (top | next | prev)

I have just posted a video of my keynote talk earlier year at KM Middle East 2011 in Abu Dhabi entitled Don't Do KM.

I said this in an earlier post on the topic:

So often when people start a so called KM initiative they ask the question "How do we do KM?" and "What are the benefits?". To my mind this is the wrong place to start. We should start with the question "What are the business problems we are facing and how can KM help." This ensures a sharp focus on business outcomes. The benefits? - well they are your desired outcomes. Simple really! Hence "Don't do KM!"

I will be speaking again at KM Middle East 2012 again in Abu Dhabi but this time on "Conversation for Empowerment" and running a half-day seminar on "Conversation: Your most powerful KM Tool". I also hope to run an open Knowledge Cafe in Dubai on the Sunday evening before the conference. I'll post more on these events later.

Going off topic in a Knowledge Cafe    (top | next | prev)

A few weeks back, I helped someone writing an article on my Knowledge Cafes by answering questions by email.

This was one of the questions: You say: "The question is only a seed. It's okay to go off topic. "Doesn't that bring the danger of dissipation of the conversation? Or causing problems after the participants have changed the tables?

This was my answer:

The Knowledge Cafe is not about trying to control people and what they say or talk about. Its about treating them as adults.

Conversations go off topic in everyday life - all of the time. That's the intrinsic nature of conversation, If you try to control conversation - you destroy it. If the topic is important to the participants and the right one - they will quickly return to it.

It also allows issues to emerge that were not anticipated. This is at the heart of what the Cafe is all about. You need the freedom to explore stuff. And you need the freedom for people to relax and tell personal stories and share anecdotes.

Rather then dissipate the conversation - it keeps it natural and enlivens it,

And there is not a problem when people change tables ... the sidetrack either dies or if it is important it is built upon

Plaudern wie im Pub (Like a chat in the pub)    (top | next | prev)

Amazingly, I have had two articles on my Knowledge Cafe written by German authors and published in German magazines this last month or so. The first is by Sascha Reimann:

Plaudern wie im Pub (Like a chat in the pub)
Published in Training Aktuell Magazine, October 2011

Training aktuell is a trade magazine focussing on professional training, learning & development, coaching and consulting. For 22 years we have been delivering concise information for training and coaching professionals including useful tools and practical advise for them to use in the classroom as well as in their offices. Here you can find some excerpts: http://bit.ly/peUoAI. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Training aktuell ist eine Zeitschrift speziell für Trainer, Berater und Coachs. Seit 22 Jahren liefert es wichtige Informationen, Arbeitshilfen und praktische Tipps für Weiterbildner -- im Seminar und darüber hinaus. Eine Leseprobe finden Sie hier: http://bit.ly/peUoAI. Sie finden uns unter http://www.trainingaktuell.de, auf Twitter und auf Facebook.

You can read the article for free on Scribd

And here is the second by Elisabeth Wagner

Das Knowledge Cafe nach David Gurteen (David Gurteen's Knowledge Cafe)
Published in the Project Magazine: November 2011

The Project Magazine is the leading German language magazine for project managers.
Das Projekt Magazin ist das führende deutschsprachige Fachmedium für Projektmanager.

"Dead by PowerPoint" -- so lautete das Urteil des britischen Experten für Wissensmanagement, David Gurteen, nach dem Besuch einer typischen, mit Informationen überfrachteten Fachkonferenz. Dennoch zog er einen wesentlichen Gewinn daraus: Wirklich etwas gebracht hatten ihm Gesprä che mit anderen Teilnehmern am Rande der Konferenz, in der Kaffeepause oder abends im Pub. Diese Erkenntnis war Basis des Knowledge Cafes, einer von ihm entwickelten Methode zum Wissensaustausch in der Gruppe. Elisabeth Wagner beschreibt das Vorgehen sowie Anwendungsmö glichkeiten im Projektmanagement.

If you would like a free copy of this second article then please send me a request by email and I will return you a PDF of the article as the publishers will not allow me to publish the article for free on-line.

Social Media versus Knowledge Management: A false dichotomy    (top | next | prev)

I have just read an article Social Media versus Knowledge Management on the HBR Blog Network where the authors Anthony Bradley and MarMcDonald say the following.
  • Knowledge management is what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important.

  • Social media is how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself.
I rarely post comments against articles but in this case I simply had to reply:
Funny, this is not the KM that I observe.

KM has rarely been "what company management tells me I need to know, based on what they think is important"

and has always been at its best about "how my peers show me what they think is important, based on their experience and in a way that I can judge for myself".

Peer assists, after action reviews, retrospects, open space, knowledge cafes .... the core face to face conversational processes of KM are naturally peer to peer

and people within organisations use social media as KM tools to have electronically mediated conversations, to share and to collaborate! 

KM is fundamentally social in its nature.

In the article, there are some excellent points made about the use social media in an organisation but to my mind the comparison with KM is a false dichotomy and pure fiction.
Some other thoughts of mine on KM and social media: It still surprises me how many people do not understand the nature of KM.

What is the function of KM?    (top | next | prev)

I am a big fan of the work and thinking of Dave Snowden and follow his talks and blog posts quite closely.

For a long time he has been making the point that Knowledge Management should be about supporting effective decision making and creating the conditions for innovation but in a recent post that mainly dealt with What is the function of KM?, he added a third point that I have clipped below.
  • Firstly, to support effective decision making ...

  • Secondly, we need to create the conditions for innovation ...

  • Thirdly, knowledge management is all about communication and that doesn't just meant the top down focus that is all too common place, although it does permit it. Dealing with uncertainty often focuses on things like values and mission statements. However writing your values down means that you have just lost them. All you have done is teach people the language of power and it will come back to you in slide presentations and proposals. The Bible teaches through parables, stories that carry necessary ambiguity and hence adaptability but you can't talk your way out of their message.

    This is the key switch from managing rule base cultures, to enabling an ideation culture. That means understanding the micro-narratives of day to day conversations, sensing the evolutionary potential of the system. It can also involve the use of metaphor. Like the parables referenced above, metaphors carry with them essential ambiguity and adaptability which paradoxically allows them to me more precise in day to day communication both up and down.

    Narrative is a broad field that too many people seek to narrow and its a lot more sophisticated in both theory and practice than many people would have you believe.

    Its also about how we use technology to link and connect people in different ways

I don't think Dave means to imply an order in these three points but I would put communication first as connecting people, improved communication and better conversations ultimately leads to effective decision making and innovation.

Podcast: Knowledge Cafes: A conversation with David Gurteen    (top | next | prev)

Geraldine Clement-Stoneham of SLA Europe did a little audio interview with me the other day.

David Gurteen is a well known figure of the knowledge management world. For several years, he has been touring the world introducing knowledge cafés as a way to re-discover the power of conversation to exchange knowledge. In this interview, David introduces himself, and how he became involved in knowledge management. He explains the principles behind knowledge cafés, and how they represent a great KM tool, including in the business environment. He touches briefly on cultural differences in the way people approach conversation, and invites us to join him to live the experience in one of his workshop, or the many cafés he runs for his community.

Major upcoming Knowledge Events: November 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.

Online Information Conference 2011
29 Nov - 01 Dec 2011, London, United Kingdom
I will be at Online Information this year where I will be running a Knowledge Cafe at the end of the first day.

Workshop: Implementing Knowledge Cafes
13 Dec 2011, London, United Kingdom
The second in my recent series of "How to run a Knowledge Cafe" workshops to be held in London in December

4th Iranian Knowledge Management Conference
14 - 15 Feb 2012, Tehran, Iran

KM Middle East 2012
13 - 14 Mar 2012, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Online Information Asia-Pacific 2012
20 - 21 Mar 2012, Hong Kong, China

KM UK 2012
13 - 14 Jun 2012, London, United Kingdom

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

Here are some of my more interesting Tweets for October - November 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

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
Friday 12 July 2024
09:10 PM GDT