Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 192 - June 2016


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 192 - June 2016


  1. Introduction to the June 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. The Huawei Break the Book Community
  3. Conversare Events in Adelaide and London
  4. Unhurried Conversations
  5. Serendipity Café
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2016
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  9. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the June 2016 Knowledge Letter

This month's Knowledge Letter has emerged with a bit of a theme. I never plan my writings to any large extent but tend to write about what I feel passionate about at the time.

So more by accident than plan, I have ended up writing about various forms of conversational events - Unhurried Conversations, the Serendipity Café, Conversare Events and the Huawei Break the Book Community.

Take some time to investigate each of them. I think they are all immensely powerful conversational tools. The Huawei Break the Book Community, in particular, is a potent peer learning/collaborative learning tool.

And Unhurried Conversations, Converare Events and Conversation Dinners are simple but powerful ways of bringing people together to have deeper, more meaningful conversations, get to know each other better and build community.

The Huawei Break the Book Community

In November 2015, I gave a talk at KM Asia (a large annual Knowledge Management conference) on Conversational Leadership in Hong Kong. One of my fellow speakers was Frankie Lai, a Knowledge Manager at Huawei Technologies Co. – the world's largest telecom equipment and solution provider, based in Shenzhen City, China.

As part of his presentation, Frankie talked about the Huawei Break the Book Community or BBC for short - a form of book discussion club.

It is such a simple but powerful example of peer learning that has so much in keeping with the principles of the Knowledge Café and what I call a Reading Group Café that I asked if I could interview him by email and document in detail the background and philosophy to the Huawei BBC and how it was run. This is the recent interview with him.

Take a good hard look at this, it is something that you could so easily implement in your own organization.

Conversare Events in Adelaide and London

My good friend Alan Stewart has a similar passion to me for hosting interesting conversations and organises events called Conversare which he started running in Hong Kong several years ago and now runs regularly in Adelaide Australia. This is how Alan describes his events:

The name Conversare (pronounced conversari) comes from the Latin: to turn or to dance together. Conversare events are social gatherings in public places in which participants converse – talk well to each other. There is a host who co-creates with those present an ambiance in which everyone feels welcome, included and ready to participate in face to face conversation.

The purpose is to have safe, friendly contexts in which all who come – whatever your background – quickly feel welcome and at ease. With a setting which is gentle and accepting, by the end your fellow participants don't feel like strangers at all.

A central feature is engaging, in pairs, in one to one conversation with a stranger. Everyone in the room does the same; everybody participates fully. Not knowing anything about this person means having to be aware of how to question, listen and contribute appropriately. Doing this often leads to the finding that, no matter who the person is, the pair have much in common even though their personal histories may be quite different.

And so here is an opportunity to meet others who have different life experiences, lifestyles and fascinating stories to share; people who know something you don't know. There can be totally unexpected outcomes – learnings and insights! – from doing this.

Developed firstly in Hong Kong these new kind of social gatherings are now being held regularly in the Adelaide Central Market after trading hours on weekday nights.

These events can be held in diverse places such as cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, community centers … Being public places means that anybody is welcome to participate. And it is not necessary to know any of the people present before coming to join in.

In our modern, complex, and often quite fragmented lives, there is little opportunity to have satisfying conversations other than with people we already know. And many find it very difficult to meet new people in ways which may lead to satisfying friendships.

The events are for people who yearn to be heard and to listen to stories of lived experience which they could not have imagined. They bring attention to people that there are now places in which these happen

Credit: Conversare

They are similar to Theodore Zeldin's Conversation Dinners but without the conversation menu. You can learn more about them here.

Alan Stewart will be in the UK in July. So what better opportunity to hold one in London for my Knowledge Community. Alan will be hosting the evening and If you love the idea as much as I do then come along on the 19th July and enjoy the conversation. It may well be the first of many such Conversare Cafés in London :-)

And if London is a tad too far for you - why not get in touch with Alan and talk about running one yourself. Or take part in one of his events in Adelaide if that is any closer for you :-)

Unhurried Conversations

I talked recently about Johnnie Moores Unhurried Conversations but since then came across Dean Emily-Chamlee Wright at Washington College describing the importance of unhurried conversations in this short video. There is a webpage here too.

The most powerful part of a liberal arts education is found in a single, unfettered conversation between a teacher and a student.

It means understanding that sometimes the most significant part of an education is found beyond the classroom.

These unhurried moments are what we delight in sharing with each other, where we explore the ideas and experiences that excite our minds.

It's a powerful but simple idea.Why not give some thought to convening some yourself?

Serendipity Café

I am always looking for ways to experiment with different formats of my Café.

Some of you may be familiar with the Café Debate format that I trialed recently at the KM Legal Conference in London. It was a big success.

And then there was the series of three Cafés I ran at St Ethelburga's in the City late last year entitled Do your little bit of good which worked well but not quite as well I had hoped.

You also may be aware of the Randomised Coffee Trials I am running in London to bring people together random to have coffee with each other once a month.

There is also my Espresso Café - a Café that can be run in 30 minutes which I had hoped to run at KM UK but because of illness had to drop out at the last minute. Ian Rodwell of Linklaters ran a slightly modified version that I am told went well.

But for a long time now I've had the idea of what I call a Serendipity Café in my head.

Unlike my regular Cafés, in a Serendipity Café there is not be a speaker and a single conversational theme. I am looking to create an environment where people can have a multitude of short conversations with lots of different people about all sorts of random things and see what emerges.

I haven't quite figured out the precise format yet, but my current thinking is this:

Each participant brings along one object with them. The object could be a book it could be a piece of jewellery, a toy, a magazine article, an ornament, a photograph or a clipping from a newspaper. Anything that appeals to them but ideally something personal that has a story attached to it in some way. Something to talk about. Something that the individual feels passionate about.

After an initially extended round of speed conversations the participants each take a few seconds to say a few words and thus share their object with the room. Maybe I should call it a "show and tell" café. LOL People then continue the networking style conversations in twos or threes where they talk about the objects they have bought along to the event.

Finally, as with my regular Cafés, everyone comes together at the end to share the insights they have gleaned from the conversations and any serendipitous events that have resulted in their going away with something unexpected from the Café.

That's the idea! All a bit of an experiment. I am running one in London on the 5th July.

I'll let you know how it goes :-)

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2016

Here are some of my more popular recent tweets. 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.

Upcoming Knowledge 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.

3rd European Conference on Social Media ECSM 2016
12 - 13 Jul 2016, Caen, France

CILIP Conference 2016
12 - 13 Jul 2016, Brighton, United Kingdom

Conversare Café
Tue 19 Jul 2016, London, United Kingdom

Advanced Course in Knowledge Management
20 - 21 Jul 2016, Henley on Thames, RG9 3AU, United Kingdom

Innovations in Knowledge Organisation Conference
20 - 22 Jul 2016, Singapore, Singapore

Hong Kong Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) Award 2016
August 2016, Hong Kong, China

Knowledge Management Australia 2016
02 - 04 Aug 2016, Melbourne, Australia

17th European Conference on Knowledge Management
01 - 02 Sep 2016, Belfast, Ireland

13th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning
14 - 15 Oct 2016, New York, United States

8th International Conference on Innovation and Knowledge Management in Asia Pacific (IKMAP 2016)
23 - 24 Oct 2016, Kobe, Japan

KM World 2016
14 - 17 Nov 2016, Washington DC, United States

KM Asia 2016
16 - 17 Nov 2016, Hong Kong, China

KM Legal Europe 2017
18 - 19 Jan 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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 Henley 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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