I was pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the session, The Next (Big) Thing in KM, led by Tony Joyce, Assistant CIO, US Navy, and Jim Lee, Senior Advisor & KM Practice Area Lead at APQC. Here is the session description.
“Sometimes it’s most helpful to hear what other practitioners are thinking of doing next as well as visions of the next BIG thing. Hear from a few BIG thinkers as they share brief thoughts about what their organizations are planning for next week, next month, and next year, and then share your insights with colleagues.”
Tony began by saying that KM is not dead despite rumors to the effect. There are some battles such as taxonomy vs. typology. Can you put stuff in a box (taxonomy) or try to simply filter in a meaningful way (typology)? If you focus too much on taxonomy you can lose sight of what you started with. With too much focus on typology you can also lose sight of what you started with. With too much of everything it gets too complex.
With KM you are dealing systems of meaning. You have constraints and coupling which can be tight or loose. Culture plays a role as you are dealing with systems of belief. There is a balancing act between constraints and beliefs. This is like Piaget’s concepts of assimilation and accommodation. You assimilate new information based on your cognitive structures and then you accommodate these structures based on new information. These KM frameworks have to be dynamic and adaptive. So Tony says the next big thing in KM is complexity science because there is way too much information to be rigid.
Tony presented two axis: simple vs. disordered and knowledge vs, belief. Complexity can be in the middle. So for example, if you use a complexity approach you do not have to resort to belief when things get too disorganized. KM is to taxonomy as complexity science is to typology.
It was asked about how the Navy uses these concepts. Tony said that budget cuts have taken out KM. They do have systems and he is using complexity science to help sort out priorities within these constraints.
Jim Lee next spoke and was PowerPoint free. I think this is a good thing. He offered a few possibilities for the future from APQC benchmarking activities. The concept of ideal future results was one method to find the next big thing. To solve complex problems you cannot be bounded by current constraints. One outcome was a digital hub through mobile. Another was the concept of rule of thumb were good enough works. Another was making KM fun. I think this is essential and some types of gamification can work here but it has to be done right.
Currently APQC is working with some clients balancing the three Cs: connecting curating, and collecting. Each step is essential. This was similar to Kate Pugh’s Knowledge Jam process.
Finally, he mentioned expertise location as another issue they are working on. He said that what benefits both the individual and the organization helps frame what becomes the next big thing. One client is trying to put location in a single space within the KM system. This may be too complex on a global basis because of different privacy issues in each country.
Jim talked about things that will be popular with individuals and then focused on organizational usefulness. First, video will be another expanding component of KM. In addition, on-demand anytime will be sought after. He mentioned gamification of KM as another possibility. Social metrics will be useful. What is your digital social standing? What are the standings of those you meet and interact with. For the organization, semantic analysis and maturity models will be useful.
Gamification was discussed a bit. It can be useful but it can turn off people. We did treasure hunts within taxonomies with rewards to get people to start looking for content and this was popular with some audiences. I think these methods help more for adoptions. Another person said a “joke of the day” can drive ongoing traffic to the intranet. Someone said a scavenger hunt on the intranet and this is like the treasure hunt I mentioned. It can work with the right audience.