Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 237 - March 2020


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 237 - March 2020


  1. Introduction to the March 2020 Knowledge Letter
  2. Knowledge alone is never enough
  3. Catalysing commitment to transformative change
  4. Please help support my work
  5. Sensemaking the Coronavirus, Rebel Wisdom
  6. Leadership as a practice not as a position of authority
  7. Designing powerful questions
  8. Knowledge Cafe: University on the Future
  9. Peter Drucker Challenge: Leadership and Critical Thinking
  10. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2020
  11. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  12. Unsubscribe
  13. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the March 2020 Knowledge Letter

Before Christmas, whenever I talked about the Zoom video meeting platform, most people had not heard of it. Today, with so many of us, confined to working from home, everyone seems not only to be familiar with Zoom but actively using it. I was expecting the platform to groan under the weight of usage, but it seems as responsive and robust as ever.

Given I have been using it for a couple of years now to run my virtual Knowledge Cafés, people have been turning to me for advice on how to use Zoom for virtual meetings, conferences, and Knowledge Cafés.

I rarely promote my services in the newsletter, but if you need advice on how to use Zoom or would like me to host a Zoom based Knowledge Café for your organization, do get in touch.

And, if you have not experienced Zoom yet, sign up for one of my online Zoom Knowledge Cafés.

Knowledge alone is never enough

I have long made the point that knowledge is not power or maybe more accurately that knowledge alone is not power and I have listed some of the many reasons why people can know something and fail to act.

Chris Collision, in this recent post of his Failure to learn talks about the UK Government's response to Covid-19 and makes the case that the Government failed to learn from experience.

Another way of looking at it is that much of the knowledge was there, but people failed to act.

Either way, it demonstrates that we need Knowledge Management more than ever.

Furthermore, in light of this article Senators sold millions of stock before the coronavirus crash, I have added the following reason to my post as to why knowledge is not power.
And then, sometimes, people act on the knowledge they have, not for the benefit of the whole but for selfish purposes and fail to share it more widely.
In this case, you may still consider knowledge to be power but knowledge alone, does not guarantee people will do the right thing.

Catalysing commitment to transformative change

I have been having long Zoom conversations with Andrew Gaines in Australia for some months now.

Andrew is the convener of The Great Transition Initiative, an educational movement to inspire mainstream commitment to transitioning to what he calls a "life-sustaining society".

In May, we plan to host two Zoom meetings to explore how we can catalyse commitment to transformative change.

If you are interested in joining us, register to be included in my Zoom Café mailing list and I will keep you informed not only of thse two sessions but all my future Zoom Café events.

Please help support my work

I have been writing and publishing this Knowledge Letter every month for over 19 years and most of you have been receiving it for 5 years or more. My Knowledge Café also had its 17th birthday last September.

If you enjoy my work and find it valuable, please consider giving me a little support by donating $1 (or more) a month to Become a Patron or making small one off contribution.

I am not going to get rich on this but it will help cover some of my website hosting expenses.

I have over 50 patrons so far. A big thanks to you all.

Sensemaking the Coronavirus, Rebel Wisdom

A little while back, I talked about Daniel Schmachtenbergers two video interviews with Rebel Wisdom on the Global information ecosystem and how we are polluting it.

More recently Rebel Wisdom have interviewed several people on Sensemaking the Coronavirus.

In the interview, the issue of information pollution comes up again and how this hampers sense-making.
This exponential increase in misinformation, disinformation, and fake news means that as sense-making organisms, we are struggling to actually know what information we can actually trust.

Leadership as a practice not as a position of authority

My second Zoom Knowledge Café on the theme of "Leadership as a practice not as a position of authority" is coming up on Friday April 3rd.

The first one on the same theme took place a week or so ago. I had about 20 participants and the Café went extremely well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I had some great feedback.

I am running it again, at an earlier time, mainly to allow people in Asia-Pacific to join the session but if the time works for you, wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to join.

If the Café is fully booked by the time you come to register, sign-up for the waiting list. A few people always drop out and when I run future events I will make sure you get informed first. It also helps give me some idea of the level of interest.

You can learn more and register on eventbrite but if you cannot make it you can register to be included in my Zoom Café mailing list and I will keep you informed not of all my future Zoom Café events.

Designing powerful questions

This is an interesting article The Coronavirus Is A Defining Moment For Your Company: Here Are Questions You Should Be Asking that looks at how to work in an increasingly complex world through the lens of the Cynefin Framework.

I have written an extensive post in my blook on designing questions and a problem I have with the article are the questions they suggest, such as this one:
"As the coronavirus takes its toll on business as usual, what must we all do to keep our people motivated and connected, to maintain relationships with customers and add value, to maximize existing revenue while finding new revenue opportunities, and to make advances on strategic imperatives that might otherwise languish?"
The question is in fact several questions and is laden with assumptions and possible answers.

When designing a conversation, the very first question that should be asked is, "What is the purpose of this conversation?"

The purpose could be one of many things, for example, to make a better sense of what's going on; to make better meaning (the implications of what is going on); it could be to make decisions or it could be much more specific.

Once you've decided on the purpose of the conversation, you can set about crafting the question. To my mind, the question should be a single question and should not have any in-built assumptions. It should not lead the participants. So, I might replace the above question with four questions and four separate conversations.
  1. What's going on?
  2. What does this mean for us? (What are the implications?)
  3. Do we need to do anything? If so, what are our possibilities?
  4. What decisions do we need to make?
Simple, with no built-in assumptions and thus not constraining or channelling the participants in a particular direction.

Which approach do you think is the more powerful or does it depend on the context?

Knowledge Cafe: University on the Future

I ran what was meant to be the first of a series of Knowledge Cafés, one a month, in London in February but they are all looking highly unlikely now. I will be putting more effort into my online Zoom Cafés to compensate.

The February event was at Regent's University on the "University of the Future". You will find some photos and blog posts here:
It was a really good evening! A big thanks to Peter Sharp and Steve Ellis for hosting event and to Matthew and Jakob for the write-ups.

You will find many more Knowledge Café stories that might inspire you to start to run your own in my blook on Conversational Leadership.

Peter Drucker Challenge: Leadership and Critical Thinking

I have just learned about the Peter Drucker Challenge. What a wonderful idea.

Students and professionals aged 18–35 are invited to submit an essay on Leadership and Critical Thinking - how to foster critical thinking skills in critical times.

I love the theme for this year's essay and look forward to reading the winning submission. I wonder to what extent the essayists will recognise that we can all practice leadership.

The due date for submissions is 4:00PM (CET), May 24, 2020

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2020

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.

  • A tour around the latest Cynefin iteration by @chriscorrigan https://buff.ly/33N3dJN #complexity #cynefin #KM #KMers

  • The Future of Work is Conversational @dastillman https://buff.ly/2Ompisi #ConversationalLeadership

  • Why Sharing Stories Brings People Together: Our brains sync up when we tell stories. https://buff.ly/2U8E2Nv #StoryTelling #ConversationalLeadership

  • The Peter Drucker Challenge: “Leadership and Critical Thinking” https://buff.ly/2wWVagY /what a great idea #ConversationalLeadership

  • Life has meaning with responsibility. The more responsibility you take on the more meaning your life has. | Jordan B Peterson https://buff.ly/2IxoCgs #responsibility #meaning #ConversationalLeadership

  • 6 Ways To Look Great On A Video Call https://buff.ly/38xzYLD /some more good advice on taking part in a online video meeting or a virtual Knowledge Café.

  • Why Society 5.0 | Yuko Harayama | TEDxRoma https://buff.ly/38lQYEU #Society5 / Society is not just about technology. Technology alone is going to save us.

  • University of the future – A Knowledge Café at Regent's University: Yesterday I had the exquisite pleasure of attending the first of David Gurteen's new series of open Knowledge Cafés. https://buff.ly/39a2gNo #KnowledgeCafe

  • A contextual conversation is better than a predefined meeting @Tim_Denning https://buff.ly/3aa3MiG /ditch the pitch https://buff.ly/3a7eG8R

  • Why It's a Good Idea to Listen to Opposing Views. https://buff.ly/2RQkr3z #ConversationalLeadership

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.

I'm not so sure if any of these events will still take place but I have listed them anyway.

APQC 2020 Knowledge Management Conference
27 Apr - 01 May 2020, Houston, United States

Social Now 2020
04 - 05 Jun 2020, Lisbon, Portugal

TAKE 2020 - Theory and Applications on the Knowledge Economy
01 - 03 Jul 2020, Sttutgart, Germany

7th European Conference on Social Media
02 - 03 Jul 2020, Larnaca, Cyprus

Conversational Leadership Workshop 2020
03 - 07 Aug 2020, Hartley Wintney, United Kingdom

10th Knowledge Management International Conference
17 - 19 Aug 2020, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

21st European Conference on Knowledge Management
03 - 04 Sep 2020, Coventry, United Kingdom

15th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
17 - 18 Sep 2020, Rome, Italy

Twenty-first International Conference on Knowledge, Culture, and Change in Organizations
15 - 16 Jan 2021, Auckland, New Zealand


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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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