Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 158 - August 2013


The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.

Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 15 - August 2013


  1. Introduction to the August 2013 Knowledge Letter
  2. Drive out fear. Eliminate management by objective.
  3. What is Knowledge Management and why do we need it?
  4. Henley Forum: free guest places at upcoming event
  5. Weibo is to Twitter as YouKu is to YouTube
  6. KM Asia 2013 will be chaired by Nancy Dixon
  7. Funny, ethereal stuff is knowledge
  8. 50% discount off my book "Leading Issues in Social Knowledge Management"
  9. The McGurk Effect: You don't just hear with your ears
  10. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2013
  11. Upcoming Events
  12. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  13. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the August 2013 Knowledge Letter

These days my mission is more and more focused on the role of conversation in business and in particular the development of the Knowledge Cafe. To this end, I have a whole load of Knowledge Cafes coming up in various guises. Most of them are public, so come along if you can make it and get to know what it's all about.

I am sorry these events are mostly in the UK but if you would like me to run a Knowledge Cafe or workshop in your area or for your organisation then drop me a line and I will send you a document that describes the various ways in which I teach and run the Knowledge Cafe.

Drive out fear. Eliminate management by objective.

Many years ago when I worked at Lotus Development we had a similar yearly review system to the one described in this article The Poisonous Employee-Ranking System That Helps Explain Microsoft's Decline.

I hated it then, mainly as it was gamed, long before I fully realised the consequences and its impact on knowledge sharing and collaborative behaviours.
One of the most valuable things I learned was to give the appearance of being courteous while withholding just enough information from colleagues to ensure they didn't get ahead of me on the rankings.

Have we also learnt nothing from W.Edwards Deming and his fourteen key principles for management for transforming business effectiveness? Note items 8 and 11b!
  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, learn their responsibilities and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease cost.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership – the aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear , so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  11. a. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
    b. Eliminate management by objective . Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute workmanship.
  12. a. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
    b. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective (See CH. 3 of “Out of the Crisis”).
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everyone in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everyone’s work.

What is Knowledge Management and why do we need it?

Some time back I shot a whole series of mini-interviews where I asked people "What is Knowledge Management?" and I posted them to Google Video and embedded them on my website.

That of course turned out to be a bad decision as when Google bought YouTube they canned Google Video and all the uploaded videos along with it.

Well, I have at last tidied everything up and seem to have only lost one or two of the videos. You can find them here on YouTube as playlist.

Or you can view them on the embedded media player on my website.

If the mood takes me when I next get the opportunity, inspired by this blog post Cracking the KM code: start by asking why not what by David Griffiths, I will shoot a few more videos and ask the more interesting question "Why do we need Knowledge Management?".

Henley Forum: free guest places at upcoming event

Henley Forum guest event, Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Henley Forum (previously known as KM Forum) has a limited number of free guest places at their next one day themed event, titled Trends and Futures in Organisational Learning and Knowledge Work.

If you work for a large public, private or third sector organisation, and are interested in membership, here's a chance to explore some of the emerging challenges for knowledge based businesses in the coming decade.

For more information and agenda please email Marina Hart

Weibo is to Twitter as YouKu is to YouTube

I am pretty well connected with the KM Community around the globe except in China.

Maybe that is about to change a little as I now have a Weibo account and a YouKu account thanks to Lesley Zhang.

Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. As of 2012 it had approximately 503 million registered users and 100 million daily tweets verses Twitter's 500 million users and; 340 million daily tweets so its not so far behind.

Not too surprisingly YouKu is the equivalent of YouTube. It is it is the second largest video site in the world with an Alexa ranking just after YouTube.

Am I fluent in Chinese? No! Lesley set them up for me and Google Translate is just about sufficient to see me through.

I have not posted a lot yet but then I have no followers. So to my 375 community members In China and the Chinese diaspora around the world - follow me and I will start to post.

Oh yes, Lesley has done one more thing for me. She has translated my Knowledge Cafe Tipsheet into Chinese. Drop me a line if you would like a copy.

A big thanks Lesley for all your help :-)

KM Asia 2013 will be chaired by Nancy Dixon

Ark Group have just published the final agenda for KM Asia 2013 in Singapore.

I will be there running a Knowledge Cafe on Why is Trying to Engage People so Difficult? on the first day and a workshop on the third day Conversation: Our Most Powerful KM Tool.

But better still, in making the whole conference more interactive and conversational we have Nancy Dixon chairing the two days.

Nancy is a huge proponent of conversation in the workplace. If you are not familiar with Nancy's work take a look at her blog and posts of hers such as this one Why Knowledge Management Didn't Save General Motors: Addressing Complex Issues By Convening Conversation.

This is what she says about herself in her blog "Nancy Dixon focuses on the people side of knowledge management. Our most effective knowledge sharing tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge, as well as sharing that knowledge with each other."

It should prove to be a great two days. I hope to see you there :-)

Funny, ethereal stuff is knowledge

A few thoughts of mine on the nature of knowledge inspired by this blogpost Don't worry - nobody can steal your knowledge from Harold Jarche.

We talk all the time in the KM world about sharing, transferring or capturing knowledge. But we can't really do this.

Knowledge only exists in the human mind. On paper, or in a database or even when encoded in our voice it is information - a fuzzy, poor representation of our knowledge at one moment in time, incomplete and lacking full context.

It means that I cannot give you my knowledge directly and you cannot give me yours. It is always transferred via some encoded form of information. Knowledge is encoded as information and then knowledge in the mind of the receiver is used to reconstruct that information back into knowledge. A funny kind of process in which so much gets lost and distorted along the way. Yes, you can argue that knowledge is ultimately shared or transferred but it is far from a perfect process.

When we talk or interact, neither of us has any control over what the other pays attention to or takes away in their heads. Its the same with reading, two people will read the same book or report and learn and draw very different conclusions from it. It may be a lot. It may be nothing at all. It may be the opposite of what we were trying to convey. It may even be confusion.

We know this but we still talk about knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer. We simply can't transfer knowledge in the true meaning of the word. Its the wrong metaphor to describe the process that takes place though we seem to be stuck with it.

All we can do is to help each other develop each others knowledge. Knowledge is not static. It is not a thing. It is dynamic and ever changing.

In conversation, new knowledge can emerge. Knowledge in my head and knowledge in yours. It will never be the same knowledge. And as we go away and reflect on things and connect things it will change. And each time we recall it, It will emerge a little different.

Funny, ethereal stuff is knowledge. No wonder we find it so difficult to "manage".

David Gurteen
Theodore Zeldin sums it up nicely here:
Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits.

When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, and engage in new trains of thought.

Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.

Our most effective tool for sharing knowledge is conversation as Nancy Dixon explains in this blog post from 2011 Conversations That Share Tacit Knowledge and this more recent one We Know More Than We Can Say: The Paradox of Tacit Knowledge - Part One which several people on Twitter retitled "Why can't we just write it down?"

Both these posts are well worth a read.

50% discount off my book "Leading Issues in Social Knowledge Management"

Earlier this year Academic Publishing International published Leading Issues in Social Knowledge Management.

The book is a collection of ten academic papers that I carefully selected to create the volume and wrote a short editorial comment on each paper.

You can now purchase the book at a 50% discount by quoting the code SKM50 when you order online.

The McGurk Effect: You don't just hear with your ears

This video from the BBC Two Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? on the McGurk Effect will change the way you think about your senses and the way you perceive things for ever. Can you ever trust what you you hear again?

Thanks to @hjarche and @jaycross for drawling my attention to this via Twitter.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2013

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for July to August 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.

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.

Collaborate to Innovate: but do we need to change our attitudes and behaviours first?
03 Sep 2013, Reading, United Kingdom

Evolving Corporate Universities (ECU) Forum -- Johannesburg 2013
04 - 05 Sep 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa

i-know 2013
04 - 06 Sep 2013, Graz, Austria

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

The 7th International Knowledge Management & Organizational Learning Summit
05 - 06 Sep 2013, Bogota, Colombia

How can we more actively share knowledge within the workplace?
23 Sep 2013, London, United Kingdom

TallyFox: Knowledge Management Workshop (London I)
24 Sep 2013, London, United Kingdom
I am speaking at this workshop along with David Griffiths

TallyFox: Knowledge Management Workshop (London II)
26 Sep 2013, London, United Kingdom

KM Singapore 2013
02 - 04 Oct 2013, Singapore City, Singapore

TallyFox: Knowledge Management Workshop (Frankfurt)
09 Oct 2013, Frankfurt, Germany
I am speaking at this woskhop along with Dave Snowden and David Griffiths.

What steps to do libraries and information services need to take to survive in the Google age?
16 Oct 2013, London, United Kingdom

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

Organisational Learning Conference (OLC MENA 2013)
30 - 31 Oct 2013, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe at this event.

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2013)
01 - 02 Nov 2013, Montréal, Canada

9th Knowledge Globalization Conference
01 - 02 Nov 2013, Boston, United States

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

KM Asia 2013 #KMAsia
12 - 14 Nov 2013, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe and a workshop "Conversation: Our most powerful Knowledge Management tool" at KM Asia this year.

KM Russia 2013
27 - 28 Nov 2013, Moscow, Russia
I am hoping to be taking part in this conference.

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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