Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 144 - June 2012


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Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 144 - June 2012


  1 Introduction to the June 2012 Knowledge Letter
  2 The Dewaniya - a form of Kuwaiti Knowledge Cafe?
  3 Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity
  4 You are not special
  5 Do you care? Do you really care?
  6 At school, did you ever question the class schedules?
  7 Viva Knowledge Cafe
  8 Upcoming Knowledge Events: June 2012
  9 Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2012
10 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
11 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

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

I am still a little surprised when I talk, for example, to teachers and I ask "What do you think of flip teaching?" or "Do you like the work of Sal Kahn?" and I get the reply "What's flip teaching?" or "Who is Sal Kahn?". Or, when I ask "Have you watched the TED talk by Dan Pink?" And they have not even heard of TED.

But its not just education, its in all spheres. It's not easy to keep up with the latest ideas and developments - the world is moving fast.

I keep up with things in my realm of interests through RSS and Twitter feeds and many of the other social media tools. But even then I miss stuff.

One of the things I try to do in this knowledge letter is to help disseminate emerging ideas and the work of leading thinkers.

If you read one item in this knowledge letter every third month then I think it worth my time, especially as I now have over 20,000 readers.

But coming back to some of those ideas and people with ideas. Here are five for you. If you haven't heard of them - they are worth a click through. All are YouTube playlists that I have curated.

Oh and this is TED. Enjoy :-)

The Dewaniya - a form of Kuwaiti Knowledge Cafe?    (top | next | prev)

During my recent trip to Kuwait, I discovered a feature unique to Kuwaiti culture - a dewaniya. While running a knowledge cafe workshop someone commented "So the Knowledge Cafe is a little like a dewaniya." - to which of course I replied "What's a dewaniya?"

It was explained to me at the time but since then I have done a bit of Googling and in addition to the Wikipedia definition I have constructed one of my own.

A dewaniya is a reception area where a man receives his business colleagues and male guests. The term refers both to a reception hall and the gathering held in it.

It takes place in the evening in a special room or annex which is usually separate from the rest of a man’s house.

Only men are present and they sit around on soft benches or cushions, conversing casually, smoking, nibbling snacks and relaxing over beverages such as tea, coffee or the like.

Relatives and friends come and go throughout the evening. The host's job is to be hospitable and entertain his guests.

What topped off my visit on the last evening was to be taken to a dewaniya by Dahem Alqahtani (a friend of my host Bibi Alajmi). And I had a wonderful evening joining the other men in conversation. I was surprised how many had studied in England or were Manchester United fans :-)

It is a quite a fascinating idea and although not really a knowledge cafe - a great way to socialise and has got me thinking even more about the role of conversation in society. We need more opportunities and places to bring people together in conversation both in our business lives and our personal ones.

Bibi, Dahem, thanks for looking after me so well.

Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity    (top | next | prev)

The next time you're stumped on a creative challenge, head to a bustling coffee shop, not the library.

Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one's comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.

This works for me. Once or twice a week I head out to a local Starbuck's towards the end of the day and quote deliberately think about the things I am doing and am planning. It's where I get some of my best ideas.

You are not special    (top | next | prev)

Another inspiring commencement speech, this time from David McCullough from Wellesley High School near Boston ( I almost lived there at one time, when I worked for Lotus Development in Cambridge back in 1989 ... so long ago now).

Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.

Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.

Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.

Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion -- and those who will follow them.

And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.

The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.

Because everyone is.

You may enjoy these commencement speeches too from Steve Jobs and J.K. Rowling :-)

Do you care? Do you really care?    (top | next | prev)

I love Seth Godins blog. His posts are short and to the point and he says insightful things.

Here are two blog posts both on the subject of caring:

Thanks Seth for pointing out the bleedin' obvious. Live, the universe and everything - its all about caring. If only we cared more.

At school, did you ever question the class schedules?    (top | next | prev)

I love it when people question things that are so deeply rooted that we take them for granted and never think of questioning them.

At school, did you ever question class schedules? In my day, every 40 minutes, a bell would ring and everyone in the school would shuttle from one class room to another for a different subject.

But why? Why was that considered a good way to learn? I've no idea!

What if we removed the passive course-to-course drudgery of the school day? What if there was no schedule?

What if students were left with a list of coyly worded benchmarks targeted at creating quality humans, and we just waited to see what they could do?

What if teachers were seen as mentors for projects designed to help students meet those benchmarks?

What if the students initiated these projects and the teachers spent their time recording TED-style talks that would serve as inspiration and help students generate benchmark-related ideas?

Viva Knowledge Cafe    (top | next | prev)

I recently ran a knowledge cafe workshop in Kuwait hosted by Bibi Alajmi and sponsored by VIVA - a Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications service provider. As with all my workshops, it went well and reinforced for me that the Knowledge Cafe works in any culture - given the right environment people love to talk. It also introduced me to the Kuwaiti dewaniya which was a lovely cultural surprise.

While there I also ran a Knowledge Cafe organised by VIVA for about 20 senior executives and CEOs from leading companies in Kuwait, including Zain, Wataniya Telecom, Gulf net, Fast-telco, Zajil Telecom, Mada Communications, Samsung Dealership, Hayat Communications, Future Communications Company, Quality Net, UPS, KNET and Kuwait Concierge.

The topic of the Cafe was "What are the future possibilities for the Kuwaiti MobileTelecoms Industry?

There was some interesting conversation, followed by even more conversation over lunch. You can find the Viva press release if you are interested.

I wish I could say more about it but clearly the conversations were confidential. What I did learn though is that using a Knowledge Cafe to bring senior executives together from different companies to have conversations over common interests with no predetermined outcomes is a very powerful tool indeed. There is a story here that I hope I may be able to share at some point.

Upcoming Knowledge Events: June 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.

Behavioural characteristics of conversations
02 Jul 2012, London, United Kingdom

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

KM Australia 2012 Congress
24 - 26 Jul 2012, Sydney, Australia

KM Essentials 2012
09 - 10 Aug 2012, Cusco, Peru

KM Brasil 2012
22 - 24 Aug 2012, Sao Paulo, Brasil

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

i-KNOW 2012
05 - 07 Sep 2012, Graz, Austria

Wissenstag österreich 2012
05 Sep 2012, Graz, Austria

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe Workshop
26 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands
I am running a Knowledge Cafe workhop in Rotterdam in September

Congressional Knowledge in Practice #kip12
27 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands
I will be speaking at this conference.

KMWorld 2012
16 - 19 Oct 2012, Washington DC, United States

KM LatinAmerican 2012
22 - 26 Oct 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina

14th KnowTech 2012
24 - 25 Oct 2012, Stuttgart, Germany

KM Asia 2012
06 - 08 Nov 2012, Singapore City, Singapore
I will be chairing KM Asia this year with Karuna Ramanathan. I will also be giving a keynote talk and running a Knowledge Cafe workshop.

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

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for April 2012 - May 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.

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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