Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 231 - September 2019


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 231 - September 2019


  1. Introduction to the September 2019 Knowledge Letter
  2. Fostering human capabilities might be more important than reskilling in the future of work
  3. Politics is life
  4. An open-source climate change study
  5. Going off-topic in a Knowledge Café
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2019
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Please help support my work
  9. Unsubscribe
  10. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the September 2019 Knowledge Letter

For the third year running, I have a special Knowledge Café coming up soon to celebrate World Values Day in October.

It is a free online, virtual Knowledge Café run on the Zoom video conferencing platform.

The theme of this year's Café, introduced by Charles Fowler, will be on Wellbeing

Research in the field of positive psychology over the past thirty years has highlighted our deep need for values-based meaning and purpose in our lives rather than mere transitory enjoyment. This is called “eudaimonic” wellbeing, from the word used by Aristotle who taught his followers to live a virtuous life doing what is worth doing.

According to this view, our wellbeing derives from aligning our lives with the values that that will guide us through that meaningful life, rather than a life spent chasing short-lived pleasures.

In joining the Café, not only will you get to have some interesting conversations with small groups of like-minded people but you will get to experience the power of the Zoom communication platform and of course the Knowledge Café format itself.

See here for more information and to register.

The Café is once again, looking to be truly global - so far I have 44 people from 17 countries registered.

Fostering human capabilities might be more important than reskilling in the future of work

In this article Skills change but capabilities endure by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Maggie Wooll of Deloitte's Center for the Edge, they look at why capabilities may be more important than skills in the 21st century workplace.

In their introduction they say this:
At a time when skill needs are changing ever more quickly, and headlines feature looming skills gaps and obsolescence, a focus on cultivating underlying essential human capabilities can give business leaders a sustainable way of finding the talent they need.
Interestingly, hey differentiate between innate capabilities - ones that can be amplified, and developed capabilities - ones that can be developed through experience and practice.

Their list of capabilities include imagination, empathy, curiosity, resilience, creativity, emotional intelligence, teaming, social intelligence, sense making, critical thinking and adaptive thinking.

If you had to pick three of them as the most important what would they be? Mine there would be: curiosity, critical thinking and sense making. Not surprisingly, I would also include oracy though maybe it is more a broad foundational skill like literacy than it is a capability.

The article is well worth a read.

Politics is life

Many people see politics in it's Machiavellian, manipulative sense, backstabbing and spreading false rumors, but politics need not be dirty.

Politics in reality is the use of power and influence within an organization to achieve changes that benefit the organization or the employees within it. Politics need not be about "backstabbing" or spreading malicious rumors.

If you are going to work effectively in an organization, then you cannot avoid politics, you have to be political. It is through politics that you get things done.

I talk more about politics is life in my blook on Conversational Leadership.

An open-source climate change study

Dave Snowden is launching a major Cynefin Centre programme to capture people's experiences and stories of what we can all do at a local level to have some impact on climate change.

You can learn much more about the programme in this blog post of his or go straight to the capture page here.

Going off-topic in a Knowledge Café

When I explain my Knowledge Café process to people, I make the point that it's okay to go off-topic and that “the question is only a seed. But I am often asked somthing like this:

“Doesn't that bring the danger of dissipation of the conversation or cause problems after the participants have changed the tables?”

My reply is that the Knowledge Café is not about trying to control people and what they say or talk about. It's about treating them as adults.

Real 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 meaningful to the participants and the right one – they will quickly return to it.

Going off-topic also allows issues to emerge that were not anticipated. This is at the heart of what the Knowledge Café is all about. You need the space to explore stuff and the freedom for people to relax and tell personal stories and share anecdotes. Rather than dissipate the conversation – it keeps it natural and animates it.

And there is not a problem when people change tables. Any sidetracking in an earlier table discussion either dies or if it is important, it is built upon.

I explain this reasoning more fully in my blook on Conversational Leadership.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2019

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.

  • Go Virtual Or Bring Them Back to the Office? The Answer: Hybrid Teams @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2LpCGe3 #KM #Kmers

  • Facebook has been a giant experiment in understanding humanity. It has proven that we actually don't want to be part of a global community — we are instead a species of small groups and tribes. https://buff.ly/2ZD0l2F

  • There is a gap between the complicated world we have created and the default ways we think about it. We need greater complexity in our thinking to match the complexity in our world. | Ted Cadsby https://buff.ly/32jWN2W #KM #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe #complexity

  • The new conversation has a different purpose - it is to discover who other people are ... #Zeldin https://buff.ly/2HEeJNY

  • The problems in the world stem from the difference between how we think and how the world works. Gregory Bateson https://buff.ly/2ZLsdgM

  • The most important predictor of success in a group is the amount - not the content - of social interaction https://buff.ly/30SaVQx

  • Intended learning happens from a place of knowing and against a set of specific goals. Emergent learning happens from a place of reflection and sensemaking. https://buff.ly/2YzDww8 #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership #learning

  • Adaptive Action is an iterative process that allows you to move forward in uncertainty. When you feel like you cannot move forward because you don't know what to do, you can use Adaptive Action to identify your next step. https://buff.ly/2MfVcay

  • "In the knowledge age, leadership is a choice." Stephen R.Covey| Conversational Leadership https://buff.ly/2YnlEp8 #ConversationalLeadership #Leadership #LeadershipAsPractice

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.

World Values Day 2019 Virtual Knowledge Café
Tue 15 Oct 2019, Online

European Conference on the Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
31 Oct - 01 Nov 2019, Oxford, United Kingdom

Learning & Development Executive Summit Fall 2019
03 - 05 Nov 2019, New York, United States

KM World 2019
04 - 07 Nov 2019, Washington DC, United States

Knowledge Management Summit 2019
05 - 06 Nov 2019, Bandung, Indonesia

Knowledge Summit 2019
19 - 20 Nov 2019, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

16th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning 5-6 December 2019, Sydney, Australia
05 - 06 Dec 2019, Sydney, Australia

Please help support my work

I have been writing and publishing this Knowledge Letter every month for over 17 years and most of you have been receiving it for 5 years or more. My Knowledge Café also had its 16th 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 49 patrons so far. A big thanks to you all.


If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter then please reply to this email with "no newsletter" in the subject line.

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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