Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 139 - January 2012


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 139 - January 2012


  1 Introduction to the January 2012 Knowledge Letter
  2 Is Knowledge Management Losing Sight of the Bigger Picture?
  3 Challenging Minds with Knowledge Cafes at the ING Bank Academy
  4 Knowledge Menu a la Carte in Turin
  5 Henley KM Forum Conference and Positive Deviance
  6 Announcing a Virtual Knowledge Cafe on Social Artistry
  7 Visionary knowledge management: Trends and Strategies
  8 The role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment
  9 Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2012
10 Upcoming Knowledge Events: January 2012
11 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
12 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the January 2012 Knowledge Letter    (top | next | prev)

Some thoughts for the New Year:

We have a greater capacity to change the world today than the kings and presidents of just 50 years ago. Whether you're a programming prodigy or the office manager holding it all together, technology empowers small groups of passionate people with an astonishing degree of leverage to make the world a better place. Yet I fear that our industry is squandering its opportunity and its talent. In companies large and small, great minds are devoting their lives to endeavors that, even if wildly successful, fail to do great things.

Life is short, youth is finite, and opportunities endless. Have you found the intersection of your passion and the potential for world-shaping positive impact? If you don't have a great idea of your own, there are plenty of great teams that need you - unknown startups and established teams in giant companies alike.

Don't lose the fire you started with. If you're going to devote the best years of your life to your work, have enough love for yourself and the world around you to work on something that matters to you deeply. Something that's beating out of your chest and compels you to throw yourself at it completely. No one knows whether you and your teammates will realize your audacious visions, but in order to do great things, we must attempt great things.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They some how already know what you truly want. Everything else is secondary.

Imagine a world where we all "did great things".

Is Knowledge Management Losing Sight of the Bigger Picture?    (top | next | prev)

In this recent article by Waltraut Ritter she says:

Knowledge management practices are often narrowly focusing on internal operations and not addressing larger questions about the nature and sustainability of the knowledge driving the organization. There seems to be a separation of KM from the overall business strategy, a general neglect of addressing the larger questions about an organization's knowledge and how such knowledge may create societal value beyond a company's financial gains.

And concludes the article by saying:

How can we, as knowledge management professionals, engage in a deeper conversation and exchange about value creation through knowledge, allow more critical questions about existing practices which only touch the surface of real knowledge challenges, in organizations and society?

To my mind, Waltraut is spot on here. This is what KM should be about. And of course, its one of the aims of my Knowledge Cafes "to engage in that deeper conversation".

Challenging Minds with Knowledge Cafes at the ING Bank Academy    (top | next | prev)

I recently came across this article in Forbes magazine Is the Traditional Corporate University Dead? by Karl Moore and Phil Lenir.

Imagine my delight when I learnt that the ING Business School in the Netherlands had adapted my Knowledge Cafe process and were using it as part of their Challenging Minds programme.

I immediately contacted Mireille Jansma and Jurgen Egges to congratulate them on their work and the article. This instigated a conversation with Mireille where I discovered that she had learnt about my Knowledge Cafe over four years ago through my website and then experienced one that I ran at an ECKM conference in Barcelona in 2007. In fact, I recall sitting outside the conference in the courtyard having a long conversation with her.

Mireille and Jurgen have adapted the Cafe format and are using it in two ways. The first way is described in the Forbes article that I summarise here:

  • They gather articles and reports about relevant trends in management, banking, and finance
  • They then broadcast "Research Alerts"
  • When an Alert deserves serious attention, they host a Knowledge Café
  • The KCafes are targeted at specific groups or open to anyone
  • Sometimes the KCafe is triggered by a video
  • They follow through with online discussion groups

These types of initiatives focus on topics that are highly relevant and in-the-moment for managers and workers, and where the sharing of ideas and exchange of opinions lead to creativity and innovation. Is the Traditional Corporate University Dead?

They are also using the Knowledge Cafes in a second way as part of their Challenging Minds programme as described in the document below. Unfortunately they did not win the EFMD award but its an innovative approach to teaching nevertheless. It shares a lot in common with Flip Teaching that I blogged about recently.

Connect, Connect, Connect
Creating a New Approach to Leverage Social, Collaborative, and Emergent Organizational Learning

Application for the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Excellence in Practice Award 2011

Executive Summary

This case study describes an ongoing partnership between ING Business School (IBS) recently renamed the ING Bank Academy and CoachingOurselves (CO) that began in January 2010. It focuses not on a single learning intervention but rather on the evolution of a continually and broadly expanding application of CO learning philosophies and materials to a wide range of IBS development programs that serve all of ING's leaders, managers, and employees.

CoachingOurselves provides a library of topics intended for 6 to 8 managers to read and discuss in group sessions. IBS partnered with CO initially to use a few topics, but the success of CO as a tool that fosters social, collaborative, and emergent learning that leads to meaningful improvements in management performance and engagement, along with its low-cost, modular topics, and immediate relevance, has led IBS to broadly incorporate CO into many of its learning initiatives.

Two video interviews:

Knowledge Menu a la Carte in Turin    (top | next | prev)

ETF Turin November 2011
You can see the language banners on the tables and the three translation booths overlooking the room.

In November last year, I spent an interesting two days in Turin with the European Training Foundation (ETF). The ETF is an EU agency that helps transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU's external relations policy.

During my time there, I ran two knowledge cafes.

The first was part of a two day workshop for around 90 participants from ETF member countries where they discussed the role of evidence in "governance and effective Vocational Education and Training (VET) policies".

Member countries included Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Kosovo.

So quite an ethnic mix.

This was the more challenging of the two knowledge cafes given the large number of people and the fact that three languages were being spoken: English, French and Russian.

This meant that each table needed to be labelled with the language intended to be spoken at that table and when people changed tables they needed to move to a table where their language was spoken. My introduction to the KCafe and explanation of the process was simultaneously translated into French and Russian.

Then where as normal, I would have brought everyone together in a circle at the end of the KCafe, I simply asked for a few people to share with the rest of the group what they had learnt from their conversations. This was done by handing around a couple of stick mikes. Not the perfect way to run one of my KCafes but a reasonable adaptation in the circumstances.

Several people, found me after the event to say how much they enjoyed the KCafe and I was pleased that two of them told me they were already using the process in their own organisations

I even had a woman from Kazakhstan ask through an interpreter if I had a description of the KCafe process In Russian. I don't but it has prompted me to think about writing a short document that could be translated into multiple languages to explain the process. I may be asking for help on this at a later date :-)

ETF Turin November 2011 ETF Turin November 2011
The conversation menu.

And then on the second day I ran a Knowledge Cafe for a much smaller group (about 20) of KM managers. This was a more regular KCafe. What was interesting though was the meal the evening before.

Ian Cumming who had attended one of my Knowledge Cafe workshops in London a few weeks before had heard me talk about Theordore Zeldins conversation dinners. Inspired by this he had created a conversational menu for the evening. Not quite along Theodore's lines but interesting nevertheless. My first reaction was that no one would select a conversation from the menu as the questions were far too work related.

I was proven wrong in part. There were three tables in the dining room, each seating about 6 people. My table was the only one that drew some of our conversation from the menu (and that was not my doing).

What surprised me was how well it worked. Given it was a social evening, we did not stick too closely to the questions and there was a lot of laughter and banter but the conversation was to my mind interesting and valuable nevertheless.

If you get the opportunity try it.

Henley KM Forum Conference and Positive Deviance    (top | next | prev)

Those of you in the UK may be interested in attending the Annual Henley KM Forum Conference on Wednesday 29 February and Thursday 1 March 2012 at the Henley Business School in Henley on Thames. There is a great line up of speakers, including Hubert Saint-Onge, Chris Collison, David Griffiths, Victor Newman, Elizabeth Lank and Nick Milton.

I have attended this conference almost every year for the last 12 years and I highly recommend it. The Henley KM Forum brings together business practitioners, industry thought-leaders, experts and academics to help organisations tackle the challenges presented by the knowledge economy. It's this rich blend of people and the interactive, engaging style of their events that I enjoy.

I love to spark conversations and at the conference dinner, I will be speaking for 10 minutes before we eat on one of my favourite topics Positive Deviance

Positive Deviance is an approach to behavioural and social change based on the observation that in every community there are individuals or groups of people (so called Positive Deviants) whose behaviours and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers even though they have access to the same resources and face similar challenges. In this talk, David will take a look at some of the principals that underlie Positive Deviance and what he thinks KM practitioners and leaders can learn from the approach

I will then ask everyone to spend a little time during conversation over their meal to discuss my talk. We will then spend 20 mins or so at the end of the evening sharing our thoughts with each other.

It should be a fun, engaging two days.

Announcing a Virtual Knowledge Cafe on Social Artistry    (top | next | prev)

Michele Martin and Brent MacKinnon are organizing a 9-week Knowledge Cafe that they plan to run online, starting February 20, 2012.

It's open to anyone who's interested in learning with them about the skills and talents of social artists and who want to explore how social artistry might fit into their professional practice.

I am delighted to learn that they will be adapting my Gurteen Knowledge Cafe model and Bo Gyllenpalm,s Virtual Knowledge Cafe as a learning framework. If you do nothing else take a look at Bo,s Virtual Knowledge Cafe concept. It's a very powerful adaptation of the Cafe model to an online environment.

If the term social artistry is new to you then here is a simple definition but click through to Micheles blog post to understand the term better. Its one of those concepts that's hard to pin down and define in one or two sentences.

Social artistry is about creating space for change and transformation, which is what learning is really all about. How do we create the space for people to be together, to learn from their experiences and connections and to move them to make a difference in their part of the world? How do we help people grow into their possibilities?

This looks like a great experiment and although I don't have time to take part myself I am looking forward to hearing how it goes.

Visionary knowledge management: Trends and Strategies    (top | next | prev)

It's not very often I get called a KM visionary and I am not so sure that I am one but its good to be included in this German article on Visionary Knowledge Management: Trends and Strategies

The authors of this article go to the question of how organizations in 2020 to deal with knowledge. For this they have analyzed in a first step, national and international knowledge management conferences, publications and Internet publications to locate knowledge management visionaries. There are four visionaries are noticed because of your keynotes and their publications on knowledge management trends: David Griffiths, Dave Snowden, David Gurteen and Norbert Gronau. They are presented here together with their theories and visions for dealing with knowledge. At the end of these theories are compared and discussed.

Google Translate does quite a good job of translating the article from German into English.

The role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment    (top | next | prev)

Paul Corney sent me this email recently:

Dear All,

In a couple of week's time I am going to be in Sudan at a KM event for Africa and one of the discussions is going to focus on the role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment.

In the development arena some organisations publish under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licences and I was wondering how successful the use of these licences are in other industries in fostering collaboration.

I considered whether to post this on various km lists but thought some people might not want to respond in public so could I therefore ask you to respond to a few simple questions (I will not attribute your response unless you ask me to):

  • Have you published works under a creative commons licence and if so which one?
  • What was the work about and why did you publish via a creative commons licence?
  • Can you give a personal example that illustrates the benefit from publishing in this way?

Thank you for taking the trouble to look at this.

And finally every best wish for a healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2012.


Paul J Corney l Managing Partner

This was my reply:

Dear Paul

I have been publishing almost all of my work under a creative commons license for five years or more.

For example. here is the slide that I have at end the end of all of my presentations.


This license says you are free:

  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • to make derivative works
  • to make commercial use of the work


  • Attribution: you must give the original author credit.
  • Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one.

I do this for several reasons:

  • I am building on the shoulders of others, I have no legitimate claim over most of my material
  • If they really want to, people are going to take and use my material whatever I say (and am I really going to take them to court over it!)
  • My business strategy is to give most of my written material away as marketing material and to charge for me in person
  • I want to encourage people to take my material and remix it and attribute me where appropriate

But more than anything I do it to encourage others to do the same and to share freely.

Do I have a personal example of the benefit of using the licence? No nothing specific, other than people do take my material, reuse it and remix it and thus help spread some of the messages I am keen to spread.

best wishes David

You will find more thoughts on this subject in an article of mine: Raising all the ships on the sea where I talk about the tangible and intangible "commons".

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2012    (top | next | prev)

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for Dec 2011 - Jan 2012. 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 Knowledge Events: January 2012    (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.

Beyond Enterprise 2.0
24 - 25 Jan 2012, Amsterdam, Netherlands

ICKM 2012 : International Conference on Knowledge Management
29 - 31 Jan 2012, Dubai, UAE

CII Knowledge Management Summit 2012
31 Jan - 01 Feb 2012, Bangalore, India

An introduction to the Gurteen Knowledge Cafe in Jakarta (Free event)
02 Feb 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia

Open Gurteen Knowledge Cafe in Singapore (Free event)
13 Feb 2012, Singapore City, Singapore

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

5th Annual Global Learning Summit
22 Feb 2012, Singapore City, Singapore

Henley KM Forum 12th Annual Conference
29 Feb - 01 Mar 2012, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom
I will be giving a short talk during the dinner at this conference

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe in Dubai (Free event)
11 Mar 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

KM Middle East 2012
13 - 14 Mar 2012, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
I will be speaking at this conference and delivering a semiinar.

Kuwait Knowledge Management Conference
23 - 25 Apr 2012, Kuwait City, Kuwait

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

KMICe 2012 : 6th Knowledge Management International Conference 2012
04 - 06 Jul 2012, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2012)
04 - 06 Sep 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
I plan to be participating in this conference.

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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