Dienstag, 18. Oktober 2011

KnowTech 2011 - Overview

The KMUK 11 blog posts I was running in food metaphers (here, here, here, here, here), but this doesn’t work for the KnowTech11. As I was going to represent Ericsson on stage in front of a huge number of experts, my stomake indicated no appreciation for any food from the huge buffet (which was a pity!). But there was enough food for thought!

For the first time Ericsson was presenting at the KnowTech. The KnowTech is the biggest German annual conference on Knowledge Management; this year the 13th conference was held 28/29th of September in Bad Homburg (Frankfurt area, Germany), with more then 300 participants. It is organized by the BITKOM, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (representing more than1.350 companies in Germany), and thus Ericsson was among top presenters from Siemens, IBM, Cisco, Forrester Research, SAS, Deutsche Telekom AG & T-Systems, Wikimedia, PWC, Deloitte, major German Knowledge Management Consulting Companies and some 10+ universities and academic institutions and various speakers from the public sector.

The strenth of the KnowTech is also its weakness, with up to 6 tracks in parallel; it’s a law of nature that you are going to miss the better part of the 69 (!) presentations. “Conference cloning” really would be a value adding. Up to the realization of it, some philosophy goes into organizing one’s way: Do you hope from what sounds interesting in all fora (sometimes fooled by a loud title with not much substance), or do you stick to a theme and enjoy the seredipidous moments, or do you sometimes use you filter to avoid information overload and have great discussions outside.

 There were 9 fora and the headlines give a good indication of the topics:
  • Social Business / Enterprise 2.0 – to steer the transformation
  • Social Media – challenge for business and competence
  • Individual work place of the future – how to organize the mobile work place
  • Employee of the future and demographic change – how Knowledge Management shall prepare the employees and the enterprise for the future
  • Modern management of ideas and innovations
  • Knowledge Management in the public space – implementation scenarios and Best Practice examples
  • How to organize Knowledge Transfer
  • Social Buisness / Enterprise 2.0  - the technical factors
  • Innovations and trends of Knowledge Management technologies

As a red line trough all topics I could detect for the KnowTech: The KnowTech clearly looks into the future, there is less reflection on the past. Change is inevitable and knocking at the doors. The future is social and there is a creative chaos how the first steps into this future look like. The KnowTech is the conference for IT supported Knowledge Management, and thus IT topics demanded their right and time (Sharepoint or Jive, IBM communications or Newsgator, etc.)

As with probably all conferences, the most exciting part is not what’s happening on stage (this at least I was trying convince my stomake), but the interaction that is facilitated by the conference. And clearly this is strength of the KnowTech; it brings together agile startups, small and medium sized companies, global corporate enterprises, KM consultants and practioners, academics and institutions and the public sector. 

More will follow.


Freitag, 23. September 2011

Mittwoch, 21. September 2011


I was struggling now for some time juggling two pieces of news, until I realized the sword is the answer to Gordian knot (as always).
So the news speaks for itself:

“I don’t know how many of my letters have fallen intro trashcans over the years, but if my online activism is getting ignored, it’s getting ignored in front of the world. That’s a lot of pressure on a world leader, for good.” Aaron Sherinian, VP for Communications and PR for the UN Foundation in “How the UN Foundation Plans to Meet Its Goals With the Help of Social Media”.

“It’s two sides of the same coin; here in the Netherlands, Fox-it protects Dutch consumers and has recently helped the government to get out of trouble with the security certificates issue. However, the same company also makes eavesdropping devices.” MEP Sargentini says the experiences of Fox-it show that certain technologies can be used for good as well as evil in “EU wants stricter control of censorship software

How do these two fit together? Perception.
The first example shows that you of course can keep your mouth shut. But remember that with Social Media you are on stage, always-on, everyone. So keeping a low profile does not mean, you are off stage, but that you deny to say something on stage, an that is statement (remember Warhol’s can of soup?!)

In the second example it is perception, not the law that crucifices a company. As Social Media is about perception, it is not important whether the company mentioned has broken any legal law, but the decisive factor is the perception of an ethical misbehaviour, and the consideration on law are only following.

As a consequence it is not enough for a company to obey the law, but also to master the perception, and this includes proactive behaviour and deploying ethical standards beyond obedience of the national laws.


Donnerstag, 15. September 2011

Social Media Crises are on the rise

I was writing about Social Media crises, risks and remedies, but while I have looked subjectively at patterns and tendencies, Altimeter brings hard survey data and conclude the same: Social media crises are on the rise, 

Yet many can be avoided through preparation, they conclude. 76% of the crises, they claim, were evitable

Although no company has yet climbed, what they have defined as the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs, completely

Advanced companies invest in four social business requirements: Establish governance, define real-time processes, foster a culture of learning and organize into a scalable formation.
Clearly the difference between between those advanced companies is seen in the percentage of companies with a formalized Social Media Crises Escalation Plan.

So the question is where a company wants to be in the hierarchy, and whether it is prepared for Social Media Crises. The Social Media History was intended to be one piece of the puzzle of preparation.


Mittwoch, 31. August 2011

First things first - organize for re-use

Have you ever started a journey? You type in the final destination in your navigation system, and then you check roughly the route. Hardly ever you start cruising: “let’s see where we end”.
However, if I speak about Knowledge Management that seems the default approach: We put the cart before the horse. And then later we discuss, why KM has failed.
And for Knowledge Management this means knowledge does not happen by accident, it shall be managed. First things first! You organize for re-use.
No, that doesn’t mean that you can plan knowledge to the very last detail. Isn’t that the essence of Learning? We define an expectation, a hypothesis, and then verify / falsify it. I alluded to this, when discussing Facilitated Learning. And don't trust the human memory: Mind the invisible gorilla and friend Alzheimer.
Okay, flesh to the bones, what does it mean to organize for re-use? Three ingredients: The re-use potential, modularization and the definition of what knowledge is creating value.
The re-use potential
I am aware that I am arguing against the long tail, but – believe me – not many managers sponsor your long tail! If there is no re-use potential, why should you bother to invest, respectively waste money? There is no prize for best KM, only for sustainable business. Do not produce what some KM guideline tells you to produce, but do create Knowledge Assets that create value. In order to do this not only for yourself, we are talking ‘sharing’, it needs mutual understanding and common context (see work patterns: learning, big picture)
But these are not to be comprised, neither by time pressure and nor by budget concerns, because you have got the ROI, the Re-use potential Of Investment backing you. Just on the contrary the re-use potential should drive meaningful creation of Knowledge Assets.


So in order to evaluate the re-use potential you need the mutual understanding and common context. Then you quickly come across people who in a second scrutinize the re-use potential to be zero, because the situation has been soooooooo unique, it never will fit. And they are right:
When you look in retrospective on Knowledge Assets, which have been produced for one, and one very specific purpose: Spagehtti. Hardly re-usable!
On the other hand, if you think in modules and create in modules, all of a sudden the re-use potential grows tremendously. Our business is most of the time too complex to re-use in a simple copy-paste manner, therefor it is vital to fillet modules to secure re-use. Which perspective to chose of course depends on the business, but a modularization in terms of commercial, fulfillment and solution e.g. is widely applicable.
Defined Knowledge Asset creation
So having got a re-use potential based on modularization, and with the ROI comes logically a budget, then define what Knowledge Assets to produce.
Well, from here it is downhill, you just look what you already have, what would create value (and is affordable according to the re-use potential) and you define and fill the gap: Value-creating Knowledge Asset production. Knowledge Assets created to serve a re-use potential have a much higher quality as those you find usually in knowledge bases (especially when “supported” by activity-based KM KPI), because the re-use potential does give meaning. Do you want to deliver crap under the eager eyes of your potential re-user. It’s already in the pipe; you can’t get away with poor quality – that is not the knowledge base black whole that you are cheating, that’s your peer.
Well that’s it, from here on you “just” need to manage: Some potential will not realize. On the way you realize you need some other Knowledge Assets. You document your Learnings. You might run After Action Reviews easily. And you write down your lessons learnt like icecream in summer.


Donnerstag, 25. August 2011

KMUK11 - hot and spicy, Facilitated Learning

Did it ever happen to you that you were sitting in an Indian restaurant and you could hardly breathe? Too spicy, the food? Not this time. Sofia Layton from the NHS had just handed over their KM framework in a very nicy-spicy postcard handout format, while we were waiting for the main course in this Indian restaurant (kind of KMUK11 conference dinner), and what I had in hand was really hot (at least for me).

Faciltated Learning as one of three building blocks (the other two and some other stuff, we have well covered in Ericsson). Facilitated Learning!
Okay, we have competence build-up as one of the reasons for KM, but that meant mainly the competence build-up effect that is provided by communities and knowledge assets in the databases – with all the challenges of KM described earlier.
But here Facilitated Learning had a different meaning. A meaning that explains, but does not excuses, why this was our blind spot.
The global corporate company, we always had the big picture in mind, the 90.000, not the personal KM, the knowledge exchange interaction between a hand of people.
Facilitated Learning here meant a frame of concepts that primarily look at the personal level, small units, teams. KM as people business by the word. Sometimes based on database resources (check the database on best sports shoes before you start running), the knowledge exchange appears within the team (or for Peer assist – in exchange with another team).
And some of you might have read that “often KM puts the cart before the horse” here the Before Action Review bears those precious spices that bring KM in the correct business orders: You start the project by evaluating and planning you knowledge and knowledge assets.
But to serve you the full plate:

NHS KM framework, via Sofia Layton

The NHS KM framework (I was reading here the Nick Milton’s handwriting) was composed of three blocks: Knowledge Assets, Collaboration and Facilitated Learning. All blocks were structured into “Learning Before”, “Learning During”,”Learning After”.
Thus Facilitated Learning included “Before Action Review” and “Peer Assist” in “Learning Before”, “After Action Review” in “Learning During” – as a informal short term activity for smull action junks and “Retrospect” – as more formal project closing activity in “Learning After”.
Especially the “Before –“ and “After Action Review” share common words and ground.
The “Before” has a defining character, sets the scene and formulates expectations (task, purpose, and end-state), this is essential for the “After” (as any retrospective analyis: Retrospect, Lessons Learned, etc.), as the earlier describes what was supposed to happen, the later comparing this with what really happened, analyzing the gap (why) and defining the learning.


There were more two presentations towards the topic (so it is not so exotic in UK, but rather main cuisine), which I was not able to join
Ditte Kolbaek: Proactive Reviews 
Chris Collision: showing the vital importance of After Action Review in military, surgery and Formulae 1

Dienstag, 23. August 2011

KMUK11 - delicious plain fare

What I liked perhaps most with the KMUK11 was it delicious plain fare deliveries (not the hype promises to the future)

When I looked through my notes, I remembered more clever things that Dave Snowden said: "You cannot be creative with expectations on utilization on 70%" (and he didn't mean the number was too low!!!), plain fare on the achievements and challenges (here and here), plain fare even on the personal consequences.
And also Jon Harman (syngenta) was exposed to a time without KM assignment. I found his statement interesting, that this time freed up his creativity. Perhaps it was in this time, when he categorized 7 Syndromes that hinder effective knolwedge sharing.
Anyway they are too true not to be shared, you even can use them as self-survey.

I recently thought a lot on the mutual understanding and common context, and - luckily for my theory - quite some syndromes have their roots not in knowledge sharing but in missing contextualization and missing mutual understanding. So my learning, many of the sharing hindering syndromes are not rooted in the sharing itself, but in the missing mutual understanding and common context.

Tall Poppy Syndrome:

via stockxchng, Poppy in wheat by johnnyberg

I'll get cut down, if I say we've got a good practice to share
  • I don't want to endure the scrutiny of others
  • I don't want to be inundated with questions
  • "Let's keep our heads down - we're busy!"
Shrinking Violet Syndrome:

via stockxchng, crocus by swiru71
  • I don't think we are doing anything special
  • Actually, I'm not sure what 'special' looks like
  • Nobody would be interested in what we're doing
  • There are lots of real experts out there
  • Ignorance is bliss!
'Not invented here' Syndrome:

via stockxchng, solitary bulb by thasmytur

  • We're different here
  • Nobody else really understands us
  • We have unique problems
  • And anyway, I like coming up with unique answer
Real men don't ask directions (TomTom Syndrome):

via stockxchng, compass by pawel_231

  • I didn't get where I was today by asking for help
  • My colleagues might think I'm incompetent
  • Success is all about self-sufficiency
  • One I've solved my problem, I'll share what I've done
"Don't worry, it's documented" Syndrome:

via stockxchng, files and archives by justmarce

  • No time to talk, but let me email you a document
  • Of course I'll share my knolwedge with you - it's all in this report
  • It's all on the intranet
  • Haven't you searched on xxxdoc yet?
"Lock it away" Syndrome:

via stockxchng, chained door by linder6580

  • If I share this openly, it might be taken out of context
  • Someone might make a decision without the full knowledge
  • I know where it is - people can always ask me
  • If I share this openly, it might weaken my position
Hamster-on-the-wheel Syndrome:

via stockxchng, Pipsqueak the Rat by pocheco

I just don't have the time to learn-before-doing 
  • I'd share, but I've got so much on my plate ...
  • I don't think it's worth waiting - I know, what I need to know
  • I know this knowledge-sharing is important, but my objectives are more important