Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 136 - October 2011


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 136 - October 2011


  1 Introduction to the October 2011 Knowledge Letter
  2 The mess of Knowledge Management groups on LinkedIn
  3 My next public Knowledge Cafe workshop is in London on 13 December 2011
  4 The role of spontaneous conversation
  5 Seize the day boys make your lives extraordinary
  6 Flip Teaching and Flip Conferences
  7 Flipping heck - someone beat me to it!
  8 Major upcoming Knowledge Events: October 2011
  9 Knowledge tweets: October 2011
10 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
11 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the October 2011 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

Every so often, I come across a story that I feel compelled to share.
Almost 300 Indian girls known officially as "Unwanted" have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life. Given names like "Nakusa" or "Nakushi" - or "unwanted" in Hindi - they grew up understanding they were a burden in families that preferred boys in Maharashtra state.

What an amazing story. What wonderful girls. I think we are going to see more and more stories like this. People taking charge of their lives. There is a lot wrong with this world but more and more people are working to make it better.

A big thanks to Nerida Hart for posting this story on her Facebook wall via a post on the Facebook Girl Effect page. I have written about the Girl Effect in the past. Here is a snippet of what they have to say "when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities, countries, and even the planet." Take a look.

The mess of Knowledge Management groups on LinkedIn    (top | next | prev)

There is no shortage of Knowledge Management discussion groups on Linkedin. I posted a list of 35 of them back in February 2009 when that was all I could find. But in reading this post by Ian Wooler it looks like the number has grown dramatically. Here's Ian's summary:
  • 26 Alumni groups
  • 32 Corporate groups
  • 20 Conference groups
  • 132 Networking groups
  • 16 Nonprofit groups
  • 196 Professional groups.
Nick Milton points out that this is a total of 422 groups and comments "What a mess!" And explains why in an earlier post.

I am not so sure though that it could be any different unless some form of centralised control of the discussions was implemented which is not what the web is about. I also don't think that it would be a good thing.

Discusssion is naturally fragmented and messy. Exerting control over it, even if possible, would diminish creativity, freedom of expression and diversity.

Maybe we need a better balance between mess and order? But if so, who would define and agree it and how would it be achieved?

What are your thoughts?

My next public Knowledge Cafe workshop is in London on 13 December 2011    (top | next | prev)

I am running my next public Knowledge Cafe workshop in London on 13 December 2011 at the RSA. Its about six weeks to go and I already have six people signed-up. So looking good :-)

The day is fundamentally about "How to design and run Knowledge Cafes" and put them to good business purpose but we also take a look at the whole role of conversation in our organizational lives. After all, conversation is not only a powerful learning technology, it is the best KM tool we have at our disposal.

You will find more information here if you are interested.

Take a look at the six short videos at the bottom of the page if you want to learn more or actually watch a knowledge cafe being held.

I realise London is a long way to come for a workshop for many of you but I hope to be running more workshops around the world in 2012.

The role of spontaneous conversation    (top | next | prev)

A while back I wrote a blog post entitled Improving Understanding in which I told a story where I suggested to a student that she run mini Knowledge Cafes with fellow students to gain a deeper understanding of her studies.

In response, I received an email from Guillaume Boutard, a PhD. student from McGill University in Canada in which he told me about an interesting article in Wired Magazine Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up whose conclusions he pointed out were similar to the ones I was making.

Here are two quotes from the article:
The reason we're so resistant to anomalous information -- the real reason researchers automatically assume that every unexpected result is a stupid mistake -- is rooted in the way the human brain works. Over the past few decades, psychologists have dismantled the myth of objectivity. The fact is, we carefully edit our reality, searching for evidence that confirms what we already believe. Although we pretend we're empiricists -- our views dictated by nothing but the facts -- we're actually blinkered, especially when it comes to information that contradicts our theories. The problem with science, then, isn't that most experiments fail -- it's that most failures are ignored.

While the scientific process is typically seen as a lonely pursuit -- researchers solve problems by themselves -- Dunbar found that most new scientific ideas emerged from lab meetings, those weekly sessions in which people publicly present their data. Interestingly, the most important element of the lab meeting wasn't the presentation -- it was the debate that followed. Dunbar observed that the skeptical (and sometimes heated) questions asked during a group session frequently triggered breakthroughs, as the scientists were forced to reconsider data they'd previously ignored. The new theory was a product of spontaneous conversation, not solitude; a single bracing query was enough to turn scientists into temporary outsiders, able to look anew at their own work.

An interesting article, including a section on "How to learn from failure".

And of course the bolding of spontaneous conversation in the above passage is my doing.

Seize the day boys make your lives extraordinary    (top | next | prev)

A post from Johnnie Moore on Living in the present where he quotes from a post by Esko Kilpi Complexity. The new world between chance and choice.
The sciences of complexity change our perspective and thinking. Perhaps, as a result we should, especially in management, focus more attention on what we are doing than what we should be doing. Following the thinking presented by the most advanced scientific researchers, the important question to answer is not what should happen in the future, but what is happening now?

Our focus should be on the communicative interaction creating the continuously developing pattern that is our life.

reminds me of a quote of Dave Snowden's
Knowledge Management should be focused on real, tangible intractable problems not aspirational goals. It should deal pragmatically with the evolutionary possibilities of the present rather then seeking idealistic solutions.

Credit: Dave Snowden
We really must get away from talking conceptually about the future and "Seize the Day". Seneca and Horace understood this over 2,000 years ago.

The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.

Scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we  speak, time is envious and is running away from us. Seize the day, trusting  little in the future.

Credit: Horace
And more recently, in this wonderful clip from the film "The Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams.

I have blogged about this before in On idealistic solutions.

Flip Teaching and Flip Conferences    (top | next | prev)

I've known about a new way of teaching for some time now. It's called "flip teaching", "reverse teaching" or "reverse instruction." The idea is simple:
  • Kids watch lectures and videos at home.
  • Class is for hands-on work and face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers.
Although this style of teaching does not seem to be without its problems, I love the idea. This is just what I and others have been saying about conferences and seminars.

But why did I not make the connection before today? Conferences are just a hang over from school days. Sit the students in nice neat rows in a classroom and talk at them!
  • Speech is a bad medium for communicating information - so watch lectures and videos at home.
  • Speech is a good medium for dialogue - so do hands-on work and face-to-face interaction with teacher/peers at school and speaker/peers at a conference.
Its such a simple but powerful way of working. Don't just flip teaching, flip conferences as well. I will leave you with favourite quotation of mine.
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

Flipping heck - someone beat me to it!    (top | next | prev)

I recently posted an item about Flip Conferences based on the idea of Flip teaching. It then occurred to me that I may have been beaten to it and that others had made the same connection. So I did a Google search on flip conferences.

Sure enough, I am not the first to have made the connection and use the term, see Applying The Fisch Flip To Your Conference Model.

What if conference organizers and event professionals flipped the standard lecture presentation? What if the lecture was put online for people to view before the conference? People could then attend the session onsite and participate with the presenter and others in activities that helped them solidify concepts and ideas. They could engage in roundtable discussions with one another on what did and didn't work.

The same model could be used with Webinars. Conference presenters could deliver their foundation content in a Webinar. Attendees could view it at their leisure, apply concepts in real time at work and then bring questions, best practices and concerns to the conference. This could have great ROI for learning and retention from your conference or event. I think it has great promise.

How would your conference attendees adapt to flipping the conference education lecture presentation on YouTube and the onsite experience being interactive? What other conference processes, models or methods could be flipped today?

Flipping heck!

The problem I see with it though is that at present people tend not to do pre-conference work. They are either too busy or don't see the value. Maybe a little of both. I wonder if that will change over time.

Major upcoming Knowledge Events: October 2011    (top | next | prev)

This section highlights 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.

8th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2011)
27 - 28 Oct 2011, Bangkok, Thailand

KM Asia 2011
08 - 10 Nov 2011, Singapore City, Singapore
I will not be at KM Asia this year.

K-Net 2011
15 Nov 2011, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Online Information Conference 2011
29 Nov - 01 Dec 2011, London, United Kingdom
I will be at Online Information this year where I will be running a Knowledge Cafe at the end of the first day.

Workshop: Implementing Knowledge Cafes
13 Dec 2011, London, United Kingdom
The second in my recent series of "How to run a Knowledge Cafe" workshops to be held in London in December

4th Iranian Knowledge Management Conference
14 - 15 Feb 2012, Tehran, Iran

KM Middle East 2012
13 - 14 Mar 2012, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Online Information Asia-Pacific 2012
20 - 21 Mar 2012, Hong Kong, China

KM UK 2012
13 - 14 Jun 2012, London, United Kingdom

Knowledge tweets: October 2011    (top | next | prev)

Here are some of my more interesting Tweets for September - October 2011. 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. And if you like what you see then subscribe to my Tweets.

Subscribing and Unsubscribing    (top | next | prev)

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    (top | next | prev)

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 Knowledge Management 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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