Blog Post

Why are so few KM events done over the web?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 March 2011



Why are so few KM events done over the web?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 129
Posted DateSunday 27 March 2011 12:52 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.linkedin.com/groups/Why-are-so-few-KM-1539.S.4385 ... 
CategoriesKnowledge Management; Learning
PeopleMatthew Loxton , John Maloney , Al Simard 

A month or so back Matthew Loxton started a discussion on the Gurteen Knowledge Community Group on Linkedin by asking the question "Why are so few KM events done over the web"

This generated some fascinating discussion and lots of comments but the post that stood out for me was this reply by John Maloney. John can be a little blunt but that's his style - don't let it get in the way of the message :-)
Hi - As probably the person that has conducted more face-to-face KM events, over the last three decades, than all others combined, arrival at the definitive answer to this question is easy.

The bottom line is impact and outcome.

Same-time, different-place (STDP), different-time, different-place (DTDP) and different-time, same-place (DTSP), aka, Webinars, eLearning, Learning Centers, etc., are excellent for deterministic impact and outcomes. These are activities where the outcome is known. Thinks like certification training, operations, policy diffusion, 'best practices,' etc. These complicated activities are well-served by technology.

Same-time, same-place (STSP) is for non-deterministic impact and outcomes. This is where the outcome is unknown, emergent, complex. These are creative activities like design, relationships, strategy, etc. These complex activities depend on authentic conversation, genuine collaboration, diversity, personal interactions, trust, ongoing relationships, etc.

There are NO exceptions to these rules. Unfortunately, KM people aren't very good at leading these activities. The main and classic problem they have, is, of course, leading-with-technology. Never worked, never will. People matter.

KM is about Creating the Future. Thus, by definition, ALL worthwhile KM activities must be STSP.

To be honest and blunt, it make no difference what you think people enjoy or value. What matters is impact and outcome. No exceptions. People will serve the social networks that best serve their goals and objectives. Guidance and configuration are certainly welcome.

Fortunately, the KM trend line is favoring STSP. Social media, communities, CoPs, etc., are great KM practices in-so-far as they serve STSP KM. That's good news and all KMers should be encouraged!

Again, build and strengthen your STDP, DTSP and DTSP programs and activities for training.

For KM, STSP carries the day. Always has, always will.

This is among the key themes of the Network Singularity ...


Thanks to all for the thread.

P.S. To anwser the specific question, in proper social media vernacular --

Q: Why are so few KM events done over the web?
A: Because they s-u-c-k.

Credit: John Maloney

I agree with so much of this and the thinking is behind much of the rationale for my Gurteen Knowledge Cafes. To my mind nothing beats face-to-face authentic conversation.

I must admit I love John's bottom line! I liked Al Simard's response also:

I tend to agree with John's view, although I put it a bit differently. In my experience, at the beginning of a group process (even if it is reasonably known), members need to develop a trust in the other participants. Humans have been doing this since we existed as a distinct species. We're hard-wired to do it through face-to face encounters; it is really hard to do electronically. It is also essential to get through what I call the "mating dance" in which everyone puts his wants and grievances on the table. This can either be done at the outset, in a planned way and informative way, or it will happen latter in an unplanned and disruptive way.

But, when a process is unstructured or unknown, I have found that face-to-face dialogues are virtually essential to first wander and then spiral around a subject towards a common understanding. I have found that sitting around a table in a dialogue group is far more effective than doing this electronically.

I have met people at conferences that I've corresponded with electronically for years. Somehow that face-to-face meeting added something intangible yet palpable to our relationship. I'm sure psychologists have a word for it. But, like tacit knowledge, although I can't name it, I have felt it.

Yes, Al, there is often something magic in a face-to-face meeting.

What do you think? You can join in the discussion on the forum

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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