Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 147 - September 2012


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 147 - September 2012


  1 Introduction to the September 2012 Knowledge Letter
  2 Friends With Cognitive Benefits: How friendly conversation can boost your cognitive abilities
  3 People are untrustworthy or is it just our bad judgement?
  4 In-house Knowledge Cafes
  5 Explore the range of possibilities then experimentally evolve
  6 A wonderful combination of a Knowledge Cafe and a Drum Cafe
  7 Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2012
  8 Upcoming Events: September 2012
  9 Upcoming Engagements September 2012
10 Subscribing and Unsubscribing
11 The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

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

Some people keep their private and professional lives apart. Facebook is reserved for family and close friends and Linkedin for professional contacts. Bloggers blog about their personal lives or their professional lives but never mix them.

Others, like myself, make little distinction between their professional and personal lives. In fact, I rarely think of a client as a client or a customer, I consider them friends. And I use Facebook and Linkedin to connect with everyone I know though I do keep Facebook a little more personal.

I can think of one blogger who never ever blogs about his personal life and never strays off the topic of his profession and I can think of others who largely stay on focus but will on occasions blog about their personal lives, often relating it to their work, and who will blog off topic on issues they are passionate about.

I find these bloggers who reveal something of themselves more authentic and more human and consequently more interesting. To me blogging is an innately personal experience.

It's also so much easier when you don't view your life as a series of different compartments, each with different rules, as then life gets pretty complicated.

But there is no right or wrong - you go with what you feel most comfortable with.

Those of you who know me, know that I often go way off topic and on rare occasions blog about my family. Which leads me to a piece of very personal news that I would like to share with you.

My fiancee Leny joined me in the UK last Friday (Sept 14th 2012) from Jakarta. We are both so happy together and plan to get married at Christmas. I am so looking forward to our life together.

Friends With Cognitive Benefits: How friendly conversation can boost your cognitive abilities    (top | next | prev)

Talking with other people in a friendly way can make it easier to solve common problems, a new University of Michigan study shows. But conversations that are competitive in tone, rather than cooperative, have no cognitive benefits.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan tested 192 undergraduates to determine which types of social interaction helped and which didn't.

The researchers concluded that engaging in short conversations where participants were instructed to get to know one another person boosted their performance on a variety of cognitive tasks.

When participants engaged in conversations that were competitive in nature, their performance on cognitive tasks showed no improvement.

"This study shows that simply talking to other people, the way you do when you're making friends, can provide mental benefits," says University of Michigan psychologist Oscar Ybarra, lead author and researcher of the study reported inSocial Psychological and Personality Science.

Credit: PSFK

Are you surprised? I'm not, though I am pleased, as it confirms my own experiences and observations in my knowledge cafes.

This is the original paper: Friends (and Sometimes Enemies) With Cognitive Benefits: What Types of Social Interactions Boost Executive Functioning?

People are untrustworthy or is it just our bad judgement?    (top | next | prev)

I love the perspective of Anthony de Mello when he says that its is not that people are untrustworthy but it is more about our lack of understanding of human nature and our own bad judgement.

In other words it is as much our fault as theirs when they let us down. In fact, he is putting it stronger than that - it is totally our fault.

You may not agree. It's hard to swallow but worth reflecting on :-)

A young man came to complain that his girlfriend had let him down, that she had played false. What are you complaining about? Did you expect any better?

Expect the worst, you're dealing with selfish people. You're the idiot -- you glorified her, didn't you? You thought she was a princess, you thought people were nice.

They're not! They're not nice. They're as bad as you are -- bad, you understand? They're asleep like you. And what do you think they are going to seek? Their own self-interest, exactly like you. No difference.

Can you imagine how liberating it is that you'll never be disillusioned again, never be disappointed again? You'll never feel let down again. Never feel rejected.

Want to wake up? You want happiness? You want freedom?

Here it is: Drop your false ideas. See through people. If you see through yourself, you will see through everyone. Then you will love them.

Otherwise you spend the whole time grappling with your wrong notions of them, with your illusions that are constantly crashing against reality.

In-house Knowledge Cafes    (top | next | prev)

So why is it that I have run more in-house knowledge cafes in South Africa and New Zealand than in the UK? I don't know. One day I may figure it out.

Two weeks ago in Johannesburg for ICKM 2012, I ran four Introductory Knowledge Cafes for the following organisations:
  • GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
  • SABC Media Libraries (South African Broadcasting Company) They have storified the event (thanks!)
  • ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services)
  • Norton Rose (a law firm)

I also managed a few more engagements:

So quite a busy boy!

But the upshot of it all is that I now have my Introductory Knowledge Cafe down to a fine art having ran so many over the years.

Each one is customised and typically lasts 3 hours including a short coffee break and runs for between 20 to 30 people. It's a great way for a small, often cross-functional group, within an organisation to learn what the knowledge cafe is all about in a very practical sense and to pick up on the concept and run them for themselves.

If you are interested in my running one for your organisation get in touch.

Explore the range of possibilities then experimentally evolve    (top | next | prev)

I love the work of Dave Snowden as he questions so many things we take for granted.

One such thing he questions, is the idealistic approach we take to achieving things in this world.

I think these two quotes of Dave's sum up his view quite nicely.

In the idealistic approach, the leaders of an organization set out an ideal future state that they wish to achieve, identify the gap between the ideal and their perception of the present, and seek to close it.

This is common not only to process-based theory but also to practice that follows the general heading of the "learning organization".

Naturalistic approaches, by contrast, seek to understand a sufficiency of the present in order to act to stimulate evolution of the system.

Once such stimulation is made, monitoring of emergent patterns becomes a critical activity so that desired patterns can be supported and undesired patterns disrupted.

The organization thus evolves to a future that was unknowable in advance, but is more contextually appropriate when discovered.

Credit: Dave Snowden

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
He explores his ideas further in this more recent blog post on Sidecasting entitled Casting around.

Paraphrasing his post a little:
Don't define the future and close the gap

but obtain a general sense of where you would like to be.

Then explore the range of possibilities and experimentally evolve.

Credit: Dave Snowden

This of course would not be the right approach in the "simple domain" or "complicated domain" of his Cynefyn Framework such as putting a rover on the surface of Mars but would be a more realistic and innovative approach in the "complex domain" for the real challenging complex problems we face in the world such as hunger, poverty, terrorism, global warming, environmental destruction and more.

Dave has posted several other blog entries on Sidecasting if you are interested further.

A wonderful combination of a Knowledge Cafe and a Drum Cafe    (top | next | prev)

As part of the opening ceremony at ICKM 2012 (the International Conference on Knowledge Management) in Johannesburg on 5 Sept 2012, I ran a Knowledge Cafe combined with a Drum Cafe facilitated by Warren Liebermann.

Knowledge Cafes bring people together to connect and to have conversations while Drum Cafes connect and energise people through Interactive Drumming. A wonderful combination.

In both cases the focus is not on the facilitator, but on the participants.

We broke the one hour session into 6 ten minute segments. Three for drumming and three for conversation. 

A big thanks to Prof. Adeline du Toit who came up with the idea of a "joint cafe" and connected me and Warren.

This video playlist captures the energy and engagement in the room. It was a great way to connect people and to start the 2 day conference.

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

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for August 2012 - September 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 Events: September 2012    (top | next | prev)

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.

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 am the keynote speaker at this conference.

KM Conference 2012: Strengthening Organisational Performance through KM
07 - 09 Oct 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I will be speaking at this conference and running an internal workshop.

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

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe hosted by Capco
17 Oct 2012, London, United Kingdom

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

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

What is the role of conversation in business and science?
24 Oct 2012, Oxford, United Kingdom

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.

Upcoming Engagements September 2012    (top | next | prev)

Here are my main engagements over the next six months or so. Its prime purpose is to allow you to know where I will be so you can attend my public events if you wish or to meet or hire me.

You can see a list of my immediate activities below or you can find a full list here.

Giving a keynote talk and facilitating a knowledge cafe workshop at Congres Kennis in Praktijk
26 - 27 Sep 2012, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Giving a talk and facilitating a workshop at BNS KM Conference
08 - 12 Oct 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Running an open Knowledge Cafe
17 Oct 2012, London, United Kingdom

Running an open Knowledge Cafe at Harwell Oxford
24 Oct 2012, Oxford, United Kingdom

Co-chairing KM Asia 2012 and facilitating a knowledge cafe workshop
06 - 08 Nov 2012, Singapore City, Singapore

Running a public Knowledge Cafe workshop
20 Nov 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Facilitating two private Knowledge Cafes for the same organisation
21 Nov 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Facilitating a private Knowledge Cafe
22 Nov 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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

Follow me on Twitter

How to contact me

My Blog

Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community is a global learning community of over 21,000 people in 160 countries across the world.

The community is for people who are committed to making a difference: people who wish to share and learn from each other and who strive to see the world differently, think differently and act differently.

Membership of the Gurteen Knowledge Community is free.
Knowledge Community


request help
visitor book
Friday 14 June 2024
08:46 PM GDT