Tag Archives: KMWorld 2012

KM World 2012 Notes: Complete Summary Listing

I was pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. It is impressive that this was the 16th annual session. I presented at the first three in California. I think that knowledge management continues to have a great run because it is a good idea.

I remain convinced that KM needs to be aligned with business processes to be successful. How we have the tools to make this alignment even tighter. Knowledge managers are well positioned to lead their organizations into the social business world. I hope that they will seize this opportunity.

Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. Listed below are my notes for 2012.  I look forward to next year.

KM World 2012 Notes: Integrating Social Media Tools & Tech

KM World 2012 Notes: Facilitating Knowledge Into Action

KM World 2012 Notes: Learning & Knowledge Sharing

KM World 2012 Notes: Finding New Solutions to Wicked Problems

KM World 2012 Notes: Facilitating Knowledge Sharing

KM World 2012 Notes: From Intranets to the Digital Workplace

KM World 2012 Notes: Fostering Learning & Knowledge Sharing

KM World 2012 Notes: The Next (Big) Thing in KM

KM World 2012 Notes: Social Learning @ Speed of Need


KM World 2012 Notes: Social Learning @ Speed of Need

I was pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010.

I attended the session, Social Learning @ Speed of Need provided by Kent A Greenes, Founder – Greenes Consulting.

Here is the session description.

Recent research and practice is making it clear how and why social, participative learning by a collective more often than not trumps the “usual suspects” when it comes to delivering high performance. The reason is simple: Challenges that could once be effectively handled by individuals, even an expert, now exceed the scope of a single person. In these situations, cognitive diversity fuels better results. In plain English, this is about engaging with others who think differently than you and using the information and knowledge gained to inform your thinking. Greenes shares recent insights and emerging practices for what it takes to learn and transfer knowledge at appropriate speed, gleaned and distilled from collaboration with 25 global organizations during the past year. He focuses on what “good” social learning looks like from business and other perspectives, the right conditions necessary for social learning to thrive, and how to engineer social learning for success through adoption and implementation.”

Kent said the subtitle is “Is there really any other way?’  He said this probably the way we have always learned. The key is participation.  He asked us to reflect on one thing we learned this week. I thought about the project improvement method that Dave Snowden demonstrated. It was very concrete and useful. Then we shared our learnings and discussed them.  Stan Garfield sitting next to me mentioned the concept of breaking through the echo chamber that Dave Weinberger covered that morning.

Kent said when it comes to learning, social is about participation. It needs to be fast and you need to work with what you have. Social tools combined with changes in work can produce results. People do amazing things when we offer some help and then get out of the way. Now the rapid rate of change and increased complexity has outpaced our ability to learn.

He gave an example of the US Army where an officer describes a situation. Everyone describes what they would do, only then does the officer say what happen. Then they break into small groups to discuss their learnings. Another great trend is user generated content. Social tools allow uss to scale learnings. Many to many communication is better than one to many.

Good social learning integrates work and learning. Stakeholder alignment is also critical. High trust and a partnering mindset is essential. Learning is bests when it is public and asking for help is allowed and even rewarded. People need to be allowed to be self-guided in their learning and then proactive in their sharing.

In effective organizations people and their knowledge is highly visible, easy to find, and accessible. All the stakeholder groups are involved (e.g., HR, IT, legal, communications, business units, etc.). He gave an example of an attempt to share knowledge across medical professionals. Getting doctors to talk to others was a major challenge in the process. Once it got started it was transformative. Nancy Dixon worked with him and said that the goal is that no ones dies because knowledge was not shared. Getting doctors to talk about mistakes was a particularly difficult challenge here but Nancy’s concept helped. He said that leaders and lawyers do not like social learning because it is visible and least restrictive.

He offered a model with overlapping collaboration, content, context surrounded by conditions and platforms. The platforms helps to prevent the need to re-invent things. Getting the learnings to scale requires re-engineering the business to reflect the learnings. To overcome cultural resistance requires re-designing the organization to promote knowledge flows. Culture is a tough issue.

Stan Garfield suggested that instead of saying “what’s keeping us up at night” we should say what can we do to get our organizations excited. One way to do this is enabling people to speak up. Kent said one way is to find leaders who will model learning in public and have them do it so it is seen as something that is allowed. You do need to make things transparent. Kent said that transparency is being used more in the schools so young people may be more accepting of it.

This is my last set of notes. I will offer a complete listing of them tomorrow.

KM World 2012 Notes: The Next (Big) Thing in KM

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.



KM World 2012 Notes: Fostering Learning & Knowledge Sharing

I was pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the session, Fostering Learning & Knowledge Sharing provided by James E Bradley, Deputy Chief Knowledge Officer, HQ TRADOC, Leigh Marcus, Director, Knowledge Management, Stacey Young , Sr. Knowledge Management Advisor, USAID, and Jennifer Dahnke , Strategic Advisor, The QED Group. Here is the session description.

“This session illustrates the best practices that facilitated learning and working together in three different organizations, the lessons learned, and plans for the future that can help you imagine how your organization can apply similar principles to increase learning and engage stakeholders. The first talk highlights the U.S. Army’s efforts to incorporate lessons learned into soldier training, leader development, and education programs to build an agile and adaptive operating force to meet rapidly evolving adversaries. It discusses knowledge networks and professional forums as key enablers for capturing and sharing lessons learned, best practices (labeled tactics, techniques, procedure, or TTPs), and “knowledge nuggets.” Marcus discusses how regional communities of practice foster learning and improve knowledge flow throughout the entire organization. She illustrates how these processes are integrated into daily work to support and provide linkages to the firm’s goals and provides tips for engaging all the various levels of personnel in KM, from the office managing partners who run each office down to the newest hire. The USAID team talks about a new venture to encourage the agency to learn, to work together and with partners, and to build adaptive models that allow for responsiveness to changing circumstances.”

Jim began and said that TRADOC is about knowledge management. They also train soldiers on all topics that are needed and at all levels. They have established centers of excellence and under these are schools.  They did a study to find knowledge gaps and found that sharing was not being done well.  They wanted to correct this. The stakes are high as it is about saving soldiers lives.

The Army does a lot of lessons learned and applies them. They want “thinking soldiers – learning army.” After action reports are recorded and tagged so others can find them to improve future actions. The content is made available to troops in the field and to the learning institutions. It is important to get this information out quickly to keep up with what the enemy is doing to stay ahead. The have War Fighter Forums to share knowledge. These forums are organized around groups. Content has to be relevant, up-to-date, and accurate. The new information has to be vetted but also vetted in a timely manner.  Fresh knowledge is integrated into the system by giving a course instructor the ability to add new content as it comes along. Instructors are not bound by the existing manual and official procedures. I have always been impressed by what the Army does with knowledge management. It practices some of the most advanced methods.

Leigh went next. Grant Thornton is a professional accounting services firm. In May of 2009 it launched a KM platform for the first time. It is called KSource. Each group within the organization has its own community of practice. Seventy percent of the workforce is transient. There are five regional knowledge managers.  Much content is geographic specific but the knowledge types go across regions. They found that KM helps drive assimilation after mergers and acquisitions.

In the regions, there is a local office champion to foster learning. They advocate for the region and help others with the KM tools and gather new ideas on tool use.  Individuals with influence were selected for the task. It is about 25% of their time but overlaps with their regular work. This is very similar to approaches I was involved with in 90s except that we tried to have dedicated knowledge champions. This similarity with older practices is not a concern as it is nice to see the timelessness of some practices. It is also great to see new KM programs still emerging after 20 years.

New hire on-boarding is another use of KM. The people profiles are important for this and for staffing. This makes a lot of sense for a professional services firm. There are continuous learning programs with videos and other resources. They want to embed KM in every business process and this is a great goal. They also want it embedded into the culture.  They recently created an Office Administration Resource Center in 2012 and it gets many visits. This month they launched a discussion board so people in the field can share best practices.

Stacey and Jennifer next presented what USAID is doing with KM. USAID is 50 years old and started during the Kennedy administration. It works in many parts of the world in over 90 countries with 80 offices in the developing world. These countries have great diversity on many issues. So the work is highly customized to each context. It needs to be very adaptive to rapid change.

Stacey works for the Policy Bureau where they are doing some strategic reviews on how they work. They are building into plans things they do not know so they can do experimentation on these unknown issues. They are establishing research agendas and trying multiple ways to deliver services. They are asking their partners to better share knowledge as they are out in the field where the action is occurring.

They are also looking at being more adaptive to respond to the new learnings they uncover. They are building in moments to reflect and understand that things will change. They are including monitoring and changing incentives. They are working with partners as knowledge peers and shifting away from blame. They are shortening feedback loops to incorporate new learnings faster.

Jennifer continued the presentation. She works with KDMD – knowledge driven microenterprise development. They capture information, often through video, and put it on their Web site. It focuses on objectives rather than activities. There are fluid budgets. KDMD can get new clients and has agile systems, rather than static procedures. They have gone beyond microenterprise development. Lessons learned – trust is essential, fail fast, be collaborative, and monitor, monitor, monitor.

KM World 2012 Notes: From Intranets to the Digital Workplace

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. James Robertson of Step Two Designs led a session, From Intranets to the Digital Workplace.

I have heard him speak before and enjoyed it so I was pleased to attend this session.  He was filling in at the last minute for someone who could not attend so there is no session description.

James said that the concepts of intranets are changing with collaboration, social, mobile and most importantly, new ways of working in a networked way.  There is more pressure for organizations to be more nimble and productive and this gets reflected in intranets.

James said that there cannot be an effective strategy unless there is a goal. The goal cannot be just SharePoint 2013 but a business goal. Intranets have traditionally been a collecting place. James asked if the term, intranet, the term too old? Some people are using the term “digital workplace.” James calls this space the set of digital tools that allow people to do their work. He then told us some stories to both illustrate possibilities and to offer stories as a way to elicit and obtain agreement on requirements.

The first story covered Sarah’s first day in new job. She has been unemployed for 18 months. She is happy to have a job but not looking forward to the learning curve.  On her first day she is pleased to see that the security guard knows her. She meets her new boss. She is pleased to find a computer on her desk with a login, email, phone, etc. This was set up through established processes. The intranet, Morris, has a getting started button. There are videos from people like the CEO, as well as videos on how to practical things like use the photocopier.

There is also a to-do list on on-boarding tasks and she begins them. She can add some of her own, like finding the local gym. There is a connecting and collaborating section. There are suggested groups to join based on her role. There are new tools. She likes the section, product chat, where she can see the latest issues related to products.

James said there is no company that has all of this but many have bits of this. I asked about the obstacles that prevent one company from having all of this, as it does seem very feasible and useful. James turned my question around. What can we do to make this happen? This is fair. He first went to the next scenario.

Sarah is going to her first big meeting. She looks at all the products her new companies sells. She can find all the related information on the product. She sees a new competitor has a cheaper and smaller product. There is a lot of discussion recorded about this challenge. She can also review the call center records on this product to see the issues.

Sarah was also able to make all her travel arrangements through the intranet, as well as see the local news for where she is going. There is useful material on restaurants, public transit, and where to jog.  After she booked the travel, Morris sent an email to sign her up for travel insurance, saying he noticed it was her first trip for the company.  So Sarah felt confident in doing her first trip.

James said a story telling approach for intranet requirements can spark new ideas. When he does this, people will offer needs specific to their organization.

James was asked if these stories are science fiction. In response he provided some examples of much of these ideas happening. IDEO has an intranet where people are the center of everything.  Seven different applications are tied together to pull this off. Another was Stockland that has SharePoint and NewsGator where everything is purpose driven.  Arup is another example where everything is delivered at point of need through mobile.

Framestore is an animation company that did Avatar and other movies. They had a complex tool to support their efforts that was hard to use. Rather that changing tools, they changed the interface after talking with their project teams.  Animation is a complex process but the new interface simplified it. At the top center of the page are the top outstanding tasks for the specific user.

CRS Australia is an example of an organization with many policies and they change frequently. Email was used often to update people or it was done through a news story on the front page. However, this is usually ignored and then lost. Then it was not available when needed. So they implemented online forms. When someone goes to a form, any updates are noted and a link to the change is presented.  So the new information is presented at the point of need when it will get noticed.

So some organizations did these things. What can you do to overcome the obstacles? James said first tell your own stories.  Start with the user experience or designing form the “glass backwards.” Create your own designs and future scenarios independent of IT. Get business leaders excited and select what they want.  Then see what IT can do and not do and why.  Simplify the system and join the dots.

Then focus on the next project. Ask four questions.

  1. Can we make it simpler – this is usually possible
  2. Does it make the best use of available technology? – we often underuse technology capabilities
  3. Does it meet the needs of staff? – spend time with them
  4. Is it beautifully designed?  – people do not like ugly – pretty makes a big difference

This was a very useful set of ideas. I have used the method of asking people to describe their ideal system and this is a bit more concrete as it allows people to  see possibilities, respond to specifics and then offer any needed adjustments.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

KM World 2012 Notes: Facilitating Knowledge Sharing

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the keynote, Facilitating Knowledge Sharing provided by David Weinberger, Co-Director Harvard Library Innovation Lab.

I looked forward to this session as I spent some time with Dave at the Berkman Center at Harvard and really respect his perspective. Here is the session description.

Knowledge is becoming inextricable from — literally unthinkable without — the network that enables it. In fact, knowledge is now a property of the network, and the network embraces businesses, governments, media, museums, curated collections, and minds in communication. But, because the properties of the Net include overwhelming abundance, unmasterable messiness, and unending disagreements, the challenge of building networked knowledge is not simple.” So says Weinberger, who shares his insights on how the concept of knowledge is changing and how we can facilitate its sharing for organizational learning, collaboration, innovation, and more.

Dave began by debunking the data/knowledge/wisdom pyramid. It is too hierarchical and out of date. In the old world, knowledge was reduced as it went up the command chain so as to not overwhelm the person at the top. He said knowledge is under siege these days. Newspapers are closing, encyclopedias are not longer making print editions. In the English language knowledge does not have a plural. There is a hope for one knowledge and a hope for facts.

Traditionally knowledge was to filter out the noise. This was the Greek view. Knowledge was about what was agreed on. If people are still arguing about it, it is not knowledge. Third, knowledge is ordered. Plato said all knowledge is ordered and we need to know its place in the order. The fourth property is the issue that the world is beyond one person’s grasp. So the strategy is to reduce what is known and have an expert who resolves things so you have the answer. You can then stop searching for truth.

All four of these properties are also properties of the traditional physical media that has conveyed knowledge. Physical books have to be organized in a single way at once. We have assumed this for the realm of ideas but this is a mistake. Books are stopping points. They are not connected to other books so everything the reader needs has to be included. Footnotes are rarely followed up on.

Now we have a new media with links and not with physical boundaries. Now there are knowledge networks that are taking on the properties of the new medium. Now people get knowledge out to form viral networks about this new knowledge.

However, people often cluster around false statements. I have seen this happen in many fields. The first knowledge out on an event often gets picked up and becomes viral before a more accurate perspective has a chance to emerge. My daughter edits a mountain climbing magazine. She notes that the people at the bottom of the mountain often report on what the people actually climbing are doing. There can likely be mistakes here but their message gets out first before the people actually climbing the mountain can get their message out. The false statements go viral via social media and are accepted before the more accurate view has a chance.

David said there are sties that allow for disagreements and useful conversations can occur. There are lessons from science on this. First, peer review does not scale. It has its place. Second, networks can flood the universe. Third, knowledge contains differences.

Software developers have developed very efficient learning systems. There are many conversational sites for technical were issues can be resolved virtually through iterations.  With Open Source the results get reused and improved. The lessons are: humility and generosity are key. Also, iterations are valuable. The third lesson is the power of public learning. I see examples of this all the time. David said all learning should be made public so others can learn also.

People are good at organizing things. The Library of Congress has posted photos and allowed people to tag them to help with the organization of the photos.  People engaged in this in mostly useful ways.

We tend to share knowledge with people like us so there is an echo chamber. Dave said the echo chamber is not as extreme as some people claim but it is in effect. If this is really happening it is a real problem.

He gave an echo chamber example, Reddit. It is a site where conversations can occur. There are certain commonly held beliefs. There is a concept, IamA, where you nominate yourself as an expert on a topic and people ask you questions.  Great conversations can occur here and often it goes outside the echo chamber concept. There are both good and bad examples. The topic Woody Harrelson is a bad example.  Real conversations occur within a set of agreed rules and mostly common beliefs with perhaps some differences and they occur around shared issue.  If there are huge differences it is hard to have a conversation.

If we can set up useful disagreements then real learning can occur and these conversations should be public.  Also we need to embrace messiness and inclusion. Open a room within an echo chamber to let in other ideas like the IamA concept within Reddit.

In the past knowledge was considered singular, settled, resolved, and ordered. Now the new networked knowledge is the opposite of these characteristics.  Dave said this is a better expression of what it means to be a human knower. This is why it has been embraced so quickly, There is no one common knowledge. What we have in common is a shared world where we disagree. We need to be able to live in this world productively. I would certainly agree with this.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

KM World 2012 Notes: Finding New Solutions to Wicked Problems

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010.

I attended the interactive session, Finding New Solutions to Wicked Problems led by Dave Snowden, Founder & CSO – Cognitive Edge.

Here is the session description. It is part of the interactive track.

Using facilitation techniques that are based on complexity science, this session helps you find ways to work out if a problem is complicated — or wicked — because if it is, there is no right answer, and we need to experiment with safe-to-fail solutions. Get a template with heuristics for creating wicked problem interventions and use “ritual dissent” to temper/test the proposals so that they will stand up. Participants will try these techniques and take home a set of simple techniques to use in their organizations to collectively find new solutions to complex problems.

Dave said he wanted us to think about a difficult slippery problem.  He asked us to think about a strategic problem where KM might play a role. Dave wants to promote KM as a strategic function and not simply as a support cost center. You need to solve the intractable problems to become strategic. These are problems where conventional solutions do not work. The complex spaces where there are no right/wrong answers are the most interesting things to consider.

Dave said to try multiple short experiments where some will fail to address intractable problems. It is best if the approaches contradict each other to test the wide range of possibilities. Then you can test things out. The approaches should be coherent. They also need to be safe to fail so you can recover fast if something goes wrong.

Most complex problems are solved by someone trying to solve a different problem that the one being faced. I have experienced this myself several times. Include some naïve solutions. These are not stupid ones but ones from people not familiar with the situation. If you do not have some failures you have not spread the approaches wide enough.

Try to be messy for a bit to allow for solutions to emerge. He offered some forms to support the experimentation. You need a description of the experiment with a rationale. Create implications of success and failure. You need an amplification strategy and a recovery strategy. You need to include actions and responsibility for actions.

Then each table carried out the exercise. We choose the problem: how to get an organization to move from a command and control culture to a more democratic networked culture.  We took an insight from a traffic situation where cross roads with accidents occurred. People removed the traffic lights and people had to self-police and the accidents went down. So we said that two groups within the organization and removed the hierarchy and compare it to two groups with the old hierarchy. Give them all the same task and see what happens.

In the process the spokesperson goes to another table and listens to an attack by the other group with the spokesperson’s back turned. Then the spokesperson goes back to the original group to fine tune based on the feedback. The group then fine tunes the experiment and goes to another table for another round. Dave said that in doing this process you usually go through five rounds of refinement. It leads to more refined experiments and expanded awareness of the issues. Build on the assumption that failure is evitable and that fast recovery is key. I like this process and hope to use it myself.

I think that Dave made a very important point when he said at the beginning that he wants to promote KM as a strategic function and not simply as a support cost center. You need to solve the intractable problems to become strategic. There is a huge opportunity for KM professionals to led organizations into the new connected and social business world.

As McKinsey points out there are over a trillion in potential annual benefits associated with this move. They found, “that social technologies, when used within and across enterprises, have the potential to raise the productivity of the high-skill knowledge workers that are critical to performance and growth in the 21st century by 20 to 25 percent.”

However, they also noted that in this early stage of mass adoption, McKinsey notes that, “businesses have only just begun to understand how to create value with these new tools.” Using techniques like the one that Dave demonstrated can help KM Professionals solve the strategic issues that face organizations and help organizations achieve greater value for the connected enterprise.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

KM World 2012 Notes: Learning & Knowledge Sharing

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the keynote address, Learning & Knowledge Sharing provided by John Seely Brown, Chief of Confusion; Visiting Scholar at USC; Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge.

Here is the session description.

By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, Brown creates a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable, and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. The result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate, and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination. Gain insights from our experienced speaker to apply in your organization for better communication, collaboration, innovation, and knowledge-sharing.

John spoke about the Entreprenurial Learner.

It is about questioning as we encounter knowledge, and about starting a business. He argued that we are at a new moment in the history of people. In the past, everything was driven by infrastructure technologies. They take a while to develop, there is breakthrough, then there is a long period of use and stability.

You get an S curve. Cars, planes roads, ships have not changed much in the past 50 years. However, in the digital age there is no sign of slowing down or leveling off. We will continue to see this rapid change. The half-life of our skills is now down to 5 years.

There is now a movement from “a world of push” to “a world of pull”. We are moving from “a world of stock” to “a world of flow”. In a world of stock, it is about protecting assets and transferring skills. Now, it is how to participate in knowledge flows.

The old world had explicit knowledge. The new world has strong tacit knowledge. This has big implications for knowledge management. There is a new S curve cycle almost every year. New stuff, like the cloud, keeps changing the game.

He referenced Dave Weinberger’s book, Too Big to Know. Context is now king, rather than content.

Now the facts are not the facts and the smartest person in the room is perhaps the room.

Authority focused, standards-based learning no longer works. We need a social view of learning and to move beyond a Cartesian view of the world. Understanding is now socially constructed.

He gave a case of the Skadden law firm. They bring in new lawyers every year. They give them cases and the newest class did them too fast.  They tried to figure out what was happening. The incoming class built a group and did group problem solving to solve cases in rapid speed. So the head of the law firm decided to do some reverse mentorship. They got the kids and the older partners together to learn from each other.

John said to imagine a large scale learning environment where people measure and evaluate their own performance. What if we did our own after action reviews?  An example of this is the World of Warcraft which he participants in. There is in-game learning and knowledge ecology of out-of-game learning on the edges.

Within the in-game learning you build your own virtual group. There is a collective indwelling where you experiment and learn. These groups are a community of practice but more than this. The members get an intuitive feeling of what the others are thinking. Members create their own dashboards. There is exponential improvement. In the out-of-game learning, thousands of new ideas get generated and must be processed. This processing is done by the group.

He gave another example from SAP. It wants to inspire new ideas from customers on uses of NetWeaver. The SAP Developer Network was created for this. In 2004, there were 109k members and now there are 1.4M participants. These are not customers and not employees. I wrote about it in 2004 and 2008 (see my posts – Workspace Portal Realized: SAP NetWeaver and Four Examples of Wikis Working within the Enterprise)

He went on to social bookmarking. You can easily find people interested in the same thing. He showed Mitre’s Onomi. (see my post – Social Bookmarking in the Enterprise – Mitre’s Onomi). People within Mitre have found colleagues working on the same problems.

John gave an example of training Xerox tech reps to repair machines. They were spending $300 – 400 million training the reps. However, it did not work.

They also did not use the large manuals that were developed at great expense. Xerox hired anthropologists who said the reps will not want to bring manuals into their clients because they will look stupid. What actually happens is that they would call in another rep to help them. The reps would also swap stories at the bar after work. I saw this happening with British Gas repair people in the pubs in 1995.

Much of the real work happens in informal emergent processes to adapt to reality. It goes beyond the authorized processes. What if you could do this “water cooler” or ‘pub” knowledge sharing on a global basis? Google+ at a wide-publc scale, and enterprise collaboration or social business platforms (e.g., Atlassian Confluence WikiIBM Connections, Jive SBS,  and others) are potential tools for this. You can have debates and have others in your group listen in on the debate.

Traditionally, IT has only supported the authorized process and worked against the informal emergent learning. This needs to change.

Best practices do not travel that well. They are too explicit and the tacit part is underground where it is hard to transplant it. The process of dis-embedding and re-embedding can provide new learnings. Context is now critical. Also, having the answers is less important than having to the ability to know where to find the answers.

There is a big shift – from what I am, wear, own, control to what I create, share and what others build on it.

He closed on this note. This was a great opening keynote and I certainly agree with his points.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

KM World 2012 Notes: Facilitating Knowledge Into Action

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the workshop, Facilitating Knowledge Into Action led by Katrina B Pugh, President and Faculty – Align Consulting and Columbia University and Lesley Shneier, Knowledge Specialist. The World Bank.

Here is the session description.

To thrive in today’s global economy, leaders understand that they must quickly capitalize on the know-how that hides inside their organizations or networks—in the teams, processes and experts that comprise them. However, approaches such as documentation, After Action Reviews, brainstorming, and even social media tools, still leave gaps—knowledge blind spots, mismatches, and jails. This session teaches an approach that addresses these problems without breaking the bank. “Knowledge Jam” uses facilitated conversation to cross boundaries, surface usable insights, and put knowledge to work.

Knowledge Jam is both planned and improvisational. Real-time capture, desktop sharing, and shared sense-making improve the output quality and commitment to it. Knowledge Jam complements crowd-sourcing and the other connectivity strengths of social media. Explore (and justify) applications for Knowledge Jam in your work. Imagine the “competency of convening” as a new competitive advantage. Get practical experience facilitating a conversation-based knowledge transfer method. Learn how the disciplines of facilitation, conversation, and translation put new insights into practice, not just repositories. Learn how organizations are using conversation-based knowledge-transfer along with social media for executive successions, offshoring effectiveness, smoothing mergers and acquisitions, new product development, and network performance.

Kate said the process is described at  Knowledge Jam in a Nutshell.

(Blogger’s Note: Since will be a very interactive session so taking notes will be a challenge.)

A Knowledge Jam goes beyond collaboration.

It is a systematic process of obtaining tacit knowledge and making sure it gets into business processes. Kate asked us to reflect on peak moments where someone allowed for insights to emerge. Responses included:

  • distributing the conversation,
  • turning insights into useful actions,
  • developing an environment for trust,
  • creating dialog, and then, allowing for reflection.

Other aspects include allowing for sharing the leadership of the conversation such as allowing someone else to grab the marker for the flipchart.  Another concept is having a broker for a group who acts like a “personal shopper” for relevant knowledge.

One way is taking ideas from one industry to other areas through a translation process.

Facilitation, conversation, and translation are the three main components of a Knowledge Jam. Tacit knowledge is a thorny problem but it needs to be brought out. There needs to be a system to convey tacit knowledge. How to move from individual excellence to broad improvement? The context always changes so you cannot simply copy stuff.

While 76% of organizations share tacit knowledge, most efforts are isolated. The potential users of knowledge are often not considered. There can be knowledge “blind spots” (can’t see it), knowledge “mismatches” (wrong context or misaligned goals) and knowledge “jails.” Facilitation is needed to illuminate blind spots, Conversation is needed to avert knowledge mismatches, and Translation is needed to avoid knowledge jails.

Facilitators enable conversation between knowledge seekers and those who have knowledge.  There is a lot of planning in advance of a discovery/capture event.  Then afterwards there is brokering to get knowledge into a process and then application and measurement.

Origins of Facilitation – intelligence acquisition, Conversation – organizational learning, Transitional – collaboration. Kate gave an example about how Fidelity relocated an IT support center from one very different culture to another and used Knowledge Jam to surface and deal with risks.

Process of knowledge jams:

  • Select – score, sponsor;
  • Plan – get participants, topics;
  • Discover/capture – facilitate conversation;
  • Broker – translate and circulate;
  • Reuse – apply and measure, get stickiness.

The Discovery capture phase should be between 60 and 90 minutes – no longer, no shorter. If it is only 60 minutes more advance planning is required.

Kate said that facilitator is not a role in an event but a life style. It is the talent of the 21st century. There are a large number of skills involved, prioritize, coordinate, preside, models, probe, nudge, etc.  At the same time, a Knowledge Jam is not the answer for everything.  Major changes are good candidates, especially when roles are going to change. You can set up a 2 x 2 chart of impact versus feasibility to help select topics.

There are different knowledge types:

  • Declarative – What do we have today? What are the features, services, target customers
  • Procedural – What planning method or rule of thumb did you use? What are the steps?
  • Conditional – When would you choose each option? What triggers you to choose a particular topic?
  • Social – What about the politics or your social networks influenced how you went about this?
  • Systematic – What other programs, roles, emotions, processes influenced your planning, and how? Is there a feedback loop? How does that particular experience size up to others you’ve done or seen?

When you facilitate make sure you model openness and diversity. Remember learning happens at the boundaries. Also, keep dialogue going so all sides participate and listen. Be sure to state the ground rules in advance.

Kate said she takes notes and facilitates at the same time. This is a real challenge. She has also used Google docs with multiple people putting content in at the same time.

We next did a role play of a knowledge jam? There is:

  • a broker (seeking knowledge),
  • a knowledge originator (who has the desired knowledge), and,
  • a facilitator (who makes it all happen).

There can be multiple people in both roles. This makes it more complex as you have to keep each person engaged in the their role and make sure their needs are met. The facilitator says the main goal is to achieve understanding rather than problem solving.

I think this is important. Jumping to solving the problem too soon may cut things off before there is a real understanding. Problem solving may also inhibit gaining the understanding. It is similar to separating the results form the conclusions in a research report.  The problem facing the broker may be different than that faced by the knowledge originator, especially when there is cross-functional knowledge harvesting.

As the session progress, the facilitator notes to the participants that the recording of the session means we are making explicit what was tacit before. Knowledge jams are a very specific process with a defined methodology that can bring out useful tacit knowledge and help ensure that it is applied to solve problems.

Here is a review of Kate Pugh’s new book – Sharing Hidden Know-How. I highly recommend the book.

Post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

KM World 2012 Notes: Integrating Social Media Tools & Tech

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the workshop, Intranet 2.0: Integrating Social Media Tools & Tech led by Carmine Porco – Technology Strategist.

These notes are done near real time so please excuse any typos.

Here is the session description.

The focus of this workshop is how to choose and integrate the latest social media tools and technologies into your intranet to foster better collaboration, engagement, and measurable results. Given the runaway popularity of Twitter, Mashups, Facebook, blogs, and many other web-based forms of communications and networking, perhaps you have been wondering about the possibilities and the risks for your organization? Join this interactive workshop and learn proven ways of identifying the right technologies, or social media platforms, such as Yammer, Google Docs, Jive, Igloo, and Newsgator, to achieve your organization’s strategic objectives. Learn how 1,400-plus organizations from all around the world are using Intranet 2.0 tools as the results of a Social Intranet Study (sponsored by IABC) are shared, providing an exclusive look into how and to what extent organizations of all sizes are using social media on their intranets. The global perspective of the survey allows you to develop a new understanding and appreciation for Intranet 2.0 tools. Review case study examples of blogs, wikis, and other social media tools from IBM, Cisco, Sony, Siemens, and others. Gain knowledge from lessons learned and key recommendations for undertaking an Intranet 2.0 and internal branding initiative. This workshop is jam-packed with insights and ideas for creating your Intranet 2.0.

Carmine mentioned that he has recently joined IBM Interactive and has been with them for a week.  He has a lot of experience in intranets, more on the strategy side. He worked with Toby Ward at Prescient Digital Media for ten years before joining IBM.

He focused on strategy and governance, as that is where the real challenge is found. IBM Interactive is a digital agency with creative people. He works out of Toronto. The office there has a strong mobile capability. IBM has done a number of sites, including the Masters Golf site and Air Canada.

Carmine explained some social media survey data from Prescient Digital Media. It found 61% have social media tools. Of those that have social media tools, 75% have blogs. They are used more as team based that corporate wide. CEO of Pepsi has her own blog and is very active on it. The CEO of IBM has a blog. She is starting quarterly videos on it. Here is another recent study (Social Media Continues to Increase in the 2012 Fortune 500).

Carmine said of those that have social media, 61% use wikis on a team basis. This is where they should be used. Using a wiki for an enterprise intranet is recipe for disaster. Employee networking is used by 43% of this using social media. Employees are demanding it. Of those 19% have enterprise deployment and 22% have no plans. He showed his new profile in IBM Connections with some already filled in data. There are many communities to find and join. It helps new employees find relevant colleagues and network with them.

Asked about importance of social media and networks in the workplace; 41% of millennials, 28% of gen X, 22% of boomers, 10% of veterans said yes. The asked how important are face-to-face meetings.  With millennials, 47% said they are. Each age group wanted this more but there was only a slight increase with age group.

In this survey 34% have a portal solution. 55% use SharePoint, WordPress was second and others included IBM Connections and Jive. He showed a very re-worked SharePoint site that had been customized extensively. In the survey 38% have spent less than $10,000. Carmine said this must be only the software costs and reflects a lot of open source usage. It cannot include the integration work. 26% spent over $100,000.

In the survey 55% felt they have a social intranet.

This could mean a lot of things. Of those in the survey 14% felt their intranet is fully social. In the survey 68% of employees said that they could contribute and 28% said that executives contribute. The regular contributors accounted for 79% of content. Customer service accounted for 57% of this content and they were the highest group. 28% of employees said they were satisfied with the company’s use of social tools and executives felt the same.

Carmine said the killer app in an intranet is still a searchable online directory.  There is a paper on this survey on the Prescient Digital site – here.

Carmine moved on to usability. Forrester evaluated 1500 external Web sites and 3% passed the evaluation criteria. The internal sites are often worse. With an intranet you also need to consider social and mobile. Mobile is critical, especially when wifi does not work for email and this is the case with the conference hotel at the moment. In the survey 55% are planning to replace their social media in the next year. People are still experimenting.

Be sure to deal with governance and a stated policy. Make sure you get employee requirements before you go live. Then review the requirements again before you go live to make that is really what they want as they are often not sure what they want. They do not know what they do not know. Show many examples to spark ideas but be careful that you deliver on these possibilities.

After the break, Carmine covered case studies. First, he said that there is a lot of untapped expertise in organizations. For example, 67% of employees feel that there are colleagues who can help them to do their job better but 39% said they have difficulty locating the right person.  Only 25% go outside of their department to find answers. 38% do not get asked for help.

He showed a profile page were employees can pronounce their names for others which is very useful for international organizations.  He showed an IBM survey in 2003 that showed 73% of employees felt that their intranet was their most trusted source of information up from about 25% a few years earlier. There was a lot of discussion as to whether this has grown or shrunk. The rise of social media could take it either way.  At IBM, 80% of employees visit the intranet at least once a day with a productivity savings of $80 million with 68% of employees view the intranet as crucial to their jobs.

It was discussed whether the intranet was where you take a break or is it integrated into your job? Is it the place to find the content about your company and its policies or is it where you do your job? Either way can add value but these are very different use cases. Social can play different roles in these different use cases.

Verizon has an idea generation tool where your community can promote or demote it.  A survey found that people will leave a company that does not recognize them. The Verizon site provides kudos to people and they can receive more feedback, credibility, and feel more connected to the organization.

Kraft Foods was becoming more global and also had more demand for mobile access to their intranet. Their intranet was initially company information like where to get business cards. Kraft reorganized it around tasks and not departments to break down the silos. Profiles now have more information about people’s communities and connections. They also include the people the employee follows on activity streams and blogs.

British Telecom had a site for new ideas that paid out 10% of the savings up to around $50,000. It saved them millions and they paid our hundreds of thousands.

Carmine moved on to best practices and tips using examples. The site should be branded. Use real relevant images instead of clip art. It is easy now with camera phones. Have limited scrolling on the home page. Popup windows should not be used.  Rotating images are useful but this in controversial. Allow for personalization.

Keep news current and updated. Use polling and commenting to promote engagement. Ask people what they want to do. Then use this action concept for a navigation tool. Use of widgets for weather, stock tickers, and other stuff are also controversial. Do not send large files to employees but place on the intranet and send a link.

In their survey the vast majority of organizations do not measure ROI of their social intranet.  It is really a long-term effort. Page views are not relevant. Related sales are too short term and hard to prove. Usability testing is vital for engagement and improvement. Benchmarking can be very helpful and can provide many best practices.

Senior management has to be onboard from the start and benchmarking can be very helpful for this engagement. They will want to keep up with their competitors.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.