Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 152 - February 2013


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 152 - February 2013


  1. Introduction to the February 2013 Knowledge Letter
  2. Personal Knowledge Management and Harold Jarche
  3. KM Europe is relaunched
  4. Researchers head into their studies wanting certain results and, lo and behold, they get them
  5. So what's a Conversational Conference?
  6. Death Cafes: increasing the awareness of death and making the most of our lives
  7. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2013
  8. Upcoming Events
  9. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  10. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the February 2013 Knowledge Letter

Organizations are starting to wake up to the power of open conversation and my Knowledge Cafes are proving to be more and more popular.

In the coming year I plan to document the process more fully. To start with, I have created a short Knowledge Cafe Tip Sheet as a two page PDF. If you thinking of running a Knowledge Cafe for the first time then it is a good little guide.

I recently distributed it to over 5,000 people who have attended one of my Knowledge Cafes or Knowledge Cafe workshops over the past 10 years or have expressed an interest in the Knowledge Cafe concept. Surprisingly, I thought at first it was only 2,000 people but after a more careful processing of my database I realised the figure was much higher!

If you did not receive it and would like a copy then drop me an email and I will send it to you.

Also, if you are interested in my public or in-house Knowledge Cafe training workshops or my tailored in-house Knowledge Cafes then I can send you a document that describes the various ways in which I teach and run the Knowledge Cafe.

Personal Knowledge Management and Harold Jarche

Looking at my records, I first ran a Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) workshop in Singapore in 2002. Yikes that's over 10 years ago now!

Over the years I have stopped using the term as to me PKM is actually what KM is really all about. It is social, it is about people and deeply personal.

Most of the technical stuff has little to do with KM and is more about information management. Important and essential, I always say you need to do good IM, before you do KM but its IM nevertheless.

In fact the term does not seem to be greatly used these days though there is Wikipedia entry for PKM. But there is a place where the term PKM dominates and that is in the blog of Harold Jarche. You will find his blog here and the PKM section here. He tweets at @hjarche. And, if like me you get your news through your RSS reader you can subscribe to his main RSS feed here

[Note if you use Google Chrome as your browser then install the RSS Subscription Extension to make it easy to view and to subscribe to RSS feeds embedded in websites. Why on earth, this is not a standard feature of Google Chrome I do not know!]

Harold really understands what KM and PKM are all about and he is a prolific blogger with lots of good graphics to illustrate his points.

PKM: A set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world & work more effectively.

Want to know more? Then watch this 10 minute introduction to PKM.

KM Europe is relaunched

I think the last KM Europe conference I attended was held in 2004 and it was a sad day when the conference came to an end as each year it helped pull the European KM community together. So I am delighted to see that the Ark Group is relaunching the event.

The conference will be chaired by Mireille Jansma and run to a conversational format. Dave Snowden is giving the keynote on the first day and I will be keynoting on the second. Along with some great talks and case studies it will provide a wonderful opportunity to connect and network with KM practitioners from all over Europe.

I really look forward to seeing as many of you there who can make it..

And note if you quote my name when you book you will receive a 20% discount..

Researchers head into their studies wanting certain results and, lo and behold, they get them

This is an interesting article in the Atlantic by David Freeman entitled Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science about the work of Dr. John Ioannidis.

Rather shockingly, it seems that much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong and that doctors are still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice.

Dr. Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science. He analyzed 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years. And of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated.

A couple of highlights from the article:

Simply put, if you're attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you're motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you'll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right.

This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was.

"The studies were biased," he says. "Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there."

Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results -- and, lo and behold, they were getting them.

We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it's easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously.

"At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded," says Ioannidis. "There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded."

This problem is not unique to the medical or scientific world, I suspect it is far more prevalent in the business world. We make up our mind and then select the evidence to support it!

To me, this is the sort of issue that Knowledge Management should be addressing - how do we avoid or at the very least minimise such cognitive biases? And, its not the only one, the list of our cognitive biases is endless.

Ted in the Dilbert comic strip sees the problem in relation to strategy!

Dilbert on Cognitive Bias


A 2010 Dilbert Comic Strip on Cognitive Bias

Media Information: Image

Footnote: In searching the web for information on how to overcome cognitive bias I came across this gem of a website:
This is a group blog on why we believe and do what we do, why we pretend otherwise, how we might do better and what our descendants might do, if they don't all die.

The "if they don't all die" bit caught my attention because if we don't get better at making decisions that's surely what is going to happen.

So what's a Conversational Conference?

It's so good to see that KM Australia is adopting the conversational style of conference that I have been advocating for the last few years. This is the third year in which they have done so since I chaired the conference to this format for the first time in 2011. This is how they describe the event on the conference website.
What is a conversational event?

This congress will follow an interactive conversational format. Each speaker will present a case study for 25 minutes and conclude their presentation with a question to the audience.

The remaining 15-20 minutes of each session will be given to the audience to discuss the speakers talk and the question at their tables before going into a traditional Q&A.

This conversational format is intended to create an informal, relaxed atmosphere in which you, the conference participants, can get to know each other, learn from each other and build relationships.

The Ark Group have been running other conferences to this format for the past couple of years such as KM UK and KM Legal Europe.

Karuna Ramanathan and I also chaired KM Asia in Singapore to this format last year. And this year both KM UK and the relaunched KM Europe will be chaired in this manner.

For many traditional conference organisers, barcamps, unconferences and open space sessions are a step too far. These formats feel risky.

But making time for conversation as part of each presentation carries very little risk. Its a great first step to more open, participatory conferences.

If you have anything to do with organising conferences could I suggest you try this format. I am writing some documentation on how to run them. Get in touch and I will send you a copy when complete.

Death Cafes: increasing the awareness of death and making the most of our lives

I have all sorts of ideas for Knowledge Cafes. I have always thought they would make good vehicles to discuss taboo subjects though I have never had or made the opportunity to experiment with this idea. I am sure though that such Cafes have been run - probably to the World Cafe format.

Talking about Death is one of our biggest taboos. So I was delighted although a little surprised when someone recently told me about Death Cafes and pointed me to this article: Death Cafes Grow As Places To Discuss

There is even a Death Cafe website. I rather like their mission statement:
At Death Cafes people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake.

The objective of Death Cafe is "To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives".

In other words, in discussing death you may get to make more of your lives.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2013

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for Januay to February 2013. 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.

  • Short animated video on 70:20:10 Learning by Charles Jennings http://bit.ly/XtwnU4 #learning

  • 5 Workplaces Annoyances That Can Actually Boost Creativity http://bit.ly/XgQLrb

  • KM is at the core of the United Nations of the future http://bit.ly/15eym4T #KM

  • Conversations are messy with ill-defined boundaries; just like work and just like life @jharche http://bit.ly/15hegqG #conversation

  • Knowledge itself is not a great business advantage. It's what gets done with the knowledge that matters. @hjarche http://bit.ly/X8Xa7U #KM

  • RT @anniemurphypaul: Firstborns are more motivated to learn, while secondborns are more motivated to win http://bit.ly/Y6s1TB

  • Connected leaders know that people naturally like to be helpful and get recognition for their work @hjarche http://bit.ly/X7UUhj

  • Payment by results -- a 'dangerous idiocy' that makes staff tell lies http://bit.ly/WVKa8A

  • There's no such thing as on-line conversation http://bit.ly/WdlPd6 #conversation #knowledgecafe

  • Effects of Externally Mediated Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation http://bit.ly/WVJYGz

  • Target based performance management always creates 'gaming'. Not sometimes. Not frequently. Always. http://bit.ly/WVKa8A

  • How Knowledge Workers Learn Judgment by Nancy Dixon http://bit.ly/WO7KEo

  • If listening better leads to better speaking, then it becomes a competitive advantage Seth Godin http://bit.ly/WT47fX

  • Management based on outcomes makes good people do the wrong thing & those most in need get a much poorer service http://bit.ly/WVKa8A

  • Tacit knowledge is best developed through conversations and social relationships @haroldjarchehttp://bit.ly/11D3NRL #KM

  • Connecting Diverse People and Ideas: A Virtual Knowledge Cafe by Bo Gylenpalm http://bit.ly/WLIZs3 #conversation #knowledgecafe

  • Innovation Is About Arguing, Not Brainstorming. http://bit.ly/WcM6qF #KM #Conversation

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

Upcoming Events

Here are 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.

Henley KM Forum Annual Conference
27 - 28 Feb 2013, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

KM Middle East 2013
25 - 27 Mar 2013, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

KM Europe 2013
24 - 25 Apr 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands
I will be speaking at KM Europe.

KM Legal 2013
15 - 16 May 2013, London, United Kingdom

KM UK 2013
26 - 27 Jun 2013, London, United Kingdom
I will be speaking at KM UK again this year.

KM Australia Congress 2013
23 - 25 Jul 2013, Sydney, Australia
I am pleased tro see this will be a conversational event once again.

14th European Conference on Knowledge Management
05 - 06 Sep 2013, Kaunas, Lithuania

International Conference on Knowledge Economy icke2013
28 - 30 Oct 2013, Cape Town, South Africa

KMWorld 2013
06 - 08 Nov 2013, Washington DC, United States

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

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

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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