Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 145 - July 2012


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 145 - July 2012


  1 Introduction to the July 2012 Knowledge Letter
  2 A tribute to Stephen Covey
  3 There are no solutions to anything. We don't solve problems we respond to them.
  4 Stimulating conversation with the Marketing Cafe
  5 What do you think about all day?
  6 Why are we suckers for fictional stories?
  7 Upcoming Engagements July 2012
  8 Upcoming Events: July 2012
  9 Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2012
10 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
11 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the July 2012 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

What does knowledge means to you in one sentence?

This is question that was recently posted on the Linked Knowledge Management discussion forum

It's an interesting discussion on knowledge with over 200 comments. What is amazing is the wide variety of definitions. Everyone has a different perspective.

For now, I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that but you might like to take a look and see how your view stacks up against all the others and ponder whether this lack of a common understanding of knowledge is a problem for a knowledge management.

A tribute to Stephen Covey    (top | next | prev)

As many of you know Stephen Covey died recently. I first discovered Stephen in 1990 when I bought his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book has gone on to sell over 25m copies and at one time I made my own little contribution to that number by giving copies to friends.

In 1993, I attended one of his Principle Centered Leadership courses at the Covey Leadership Centre in Utah. Interestingly, a good friend of mine at the time managed to get us a free invite. We only had to pay for our airfares.

It's no exaggeration to say that the book, the leadership course and Stephen's work changed my life. It wasn't just what Stephen had to say but he introduced me to many other "mentors" such as Scott Peck, Henry David Thoreau and Viktor Frankl.

I use a number of quotations from Stephen in my presentations and workshops, My favourite of his seven habits and the one I most teach is Habit 5.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

It was this habit and his concept of empathic listening that had a major influence on the development of my Knowledge Cafes and this article that I wrote back in 2002 on Learn to listen and to tell the truth.

Rest in peace Stephen - you have left one hell of a legacy.

There are no solutions to anything. We don't solve problems we respond to them.    (top | next | prev)

When I run my knowledge management workshops, one of the points I make strongly is that there are no solutions to complex problems. There are always unforeseen and/or unintended consequences. Side-effects in other words.

I blogged about the Law of Unintended Consequences a year or so ago.

I suggest to people that they never talk about solutions to problems, that they avoid the word "solution", so loved by IT vendors, and replace it with the word "response".

We don't solve problems we respond to them! We are walking on a trampoline.

Unintended consequences get to the heart of why you never really understand an adaptive problem until you have solved it.

Problems morph and "solutions" often point to deeper problems.

In social life, as in nature, we are walking on a trampoline.

Every inroad reconfigures the environment we tread on.

Given this view, I warmed to this podcast interview with James Howard Kunstler: Its Too Late for Solutions: Consequences are coming & we better start facing them soon.

As he points out, we are always looking for solutions to things - we want a quick fix so that we can carry on the way we are working now without realising that it is impossible. We are discovering more and more is that the world is comprehensively broke in every sphere, and in every dimension and in every way.

There are no quick-fix solutions in this world, only responses.

Stimulating conversation with the Marketing Cafe    (top | next | prev)

Every so often I meet someone who comes along to one of my Knowledge Cafes or Knowledge Cafe workshops who immediately gets the concept and goes away and applies it their own domain.

Andrew Armour is one of those people and has become a good friend and a regular participant in my open London Knowledge Cafes.

He's blogged about knowledge cafes several times in the past including On Cafe Conversations,Connections & Collaboration and Are You In The Conversation Business?

But in a recent blog post on Stimulating Conversation And The Marketing Cafe he talks about how he has adapted the knowledge cafe to create what he calls a Marketing Cafe - in other words a knowledge cafe that focuses the questions on marketing issues.

Naturally, I love it as the KCafe process can be taken and applied in so many different ways - something I teach in my workshops

Here are a couple of quotes from Andrew's blog post.

A lack of important conversation between the right people prevents many businesses from becoming truly innovative . Too often the important questions, the ones that may challenge the status quo and help paint a picture of the future – are left unasked or dominated by the usual suspects.

Most meetings, workshops and conferences are not viewed as an opportunity to converse, listen, build dialogue and explore solutions, but a means to present, report, control, persuade -- to control your own plan, to get buy-in, to approve or deny.

No wonder then, that when the time does arise for focused, innovative, open and progressive conversation that most of the time --we fail.

What do you think about all day?    (top | next | prev)

This is one of my favourite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

Whenever I am in the shower, walking, driving or sitting relaxing my mind wanders in thought and often I try to catch myself doing this and observe the nature of those thoughts.

What I have learnt is that my mid flits around at times quite aimlessly. I suspect that's the nature of all minds.

When I do this and observe my mind (I still find it amazing we have the ability to do this) I think of Emerson's quote and try to pull my thoughts back to the important things in my life.

Which reminds me of another quote from Henry David Thoreau who was mentored by Emerson.

Our life is frittered away by detail ... Simplify, Simplify.

Why are we suckers for fictional stories?    (top | next | prev)

Every so often, I come across a little story that someone has shared or re-shared on Facebook, or Twitter or by email.

There is always something either touching or outrageous about it. And for a moment, I am suckered in. But then I read the story again carefully and it just does not ring true or seems too good to be true.

So I Google it. Never takes long and find the true story.

Like this one, recently on Facebook, of an old man who died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home. It's of course a fake.

Or the fake photo of the recent Alberta oil leak.

Or the touching story of the mother who saved her baby in a Japanese earthquake. Again, fiction!

These are just three I have spotted but I have been taken-in myself at times. Why are we suckers for such stories and worse still why do we pass them on without any due diligence?

I don't know. But please, next time you read a story that seems just a little too good to be true - check it out first before sharing it.

Upcoming Engagements July 2012    (top | next | prev)

This section of my Knowledge Letter highlights my planned engagements 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.

You can see a list of my immediate activities below or you can find a full list here.

Running a Knowledge Cafe and Knowledge Cafe workshop at ICKM 2012.
04 - 06 Sep 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
I will be in Johannesburg from 28 August to 8 September 2012

Running a private Knowledge Management Workshop in Saudi Arabia
17 - 21 Sep 2012, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
I will be Jeddah the week of the 17th September 2012

Giving a keynote talk and running a knowledge cafe workshop at Congres Kennis in Praktijk
26 - 27 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands
I will be in the Netherlands the week of the 24th September 2012

Giving a talk and running a workshop at a KM Conference in Kuala Lumpur
08 - 12 Oct 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I will be in Kuala Lumpur the week of the 8th October 2012

Running an open Knowledge Cafe near Oxford
17 Oct 2012, Oxford, United Kingdom
I will be near Oxford on the 17th October 2012

Running an open Knowledge Cafe In London
24 Oct 2012, London, United Kingdom
I will be in London on the 24th October 2012

Co-chairing and running a workshop at KM Asia 2012
06 - 08 Nov 2012, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be in Singapore the week of the 5th November 2012

Running a public Knowledge Cafe workshop in Dubai
19 - 23 Nov 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I will be in Dubai the week of the 19th November 2012

Upcoming Events: July 2012    (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 Essentials 2012
09 - 10 Aug 2012, Cusco, Peru

KM Brasil 2012
22 - 24 Aug 2012, Sao Paulo, Brasil

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2012)
04 - 06 Sep 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
I plan to be participating in this conference.

i-KNOW 2012
05 - 07 Sep 2012, Graz, Austria

Wissenstag österreich 2012
05 Sep 2012, Graz, Austria

13th European Conference on Knowledge Management
06 Sep - 07 Jul 2012, Cartagena, Spain

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Workshop
26 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands
I am running a Knowledge Cafe workhop in Rotterdam in September

Congressional Knowledge in Practice #kip12
27 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands
I will be speaking at this conference.

KM Conference 2012: Strengthening Organisational Performance through KM
07 - 09 Oct 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I will be speaking at this conference.

KMWorld 2012
16 - 19 Oct 2012, Washington DC, United States

KM LatinAmerican 2012
22 - 26 Oct 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina

14th KnowTech 2012
24 - 25 Oct 2012, Stuttgart, Germany

KM Asia 2012
06 - 08 Nov 2012, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be chairing KM Asia this year with Karuna Ramanathan. I will also be giving a keynote talk and running a Knowledge Cafe workshop.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2012    (top | next | prev)

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for June 2012 - July 2012. 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.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

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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