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

Donnerstag, 18. August 2011

KMUK11 - the sweet taste of bitterness

By now, you all know, KM conferences are tough, too much sweets (desert & café), at a certain point of time it simply becomes a matter of digesting capacity. There were many inspiring contributions, which I one way or the other try to cover here from various angles, but the most touching for me personally came from Chris Shilling (Newhow Knowhow, formerly Novartis).

My mind was wandering, taken away by what I had heard on: “Weekly new digest, interactive E-library, global training course, dynamic authorities’ process map, fully integrated intranet site, pilot of innovative guidance analysis tool, re-purposed Brand PR manual, version 1 of key workflow process system – all Chris’ successful output.
via stockxchng, lime/lemon by lockstockb

via stockxchng, chocolate by violator06

My mind was wandering, when the bomb exploded, so I heard it, but it took seconds, until it hit my nerve system:”And then I was without a job!”
“KM is about people” okay, it’s our mantra, “KM has failed”, okay, we coquet with it, but come on, we have never been that serious about it, we never thought it would hit us as Knowledge Managers. Okay, it is not rocket science, you can count it on your fingers, you could see it coming, but in Chris’ presentations it for the first time reached my heart: KM failure can mean my personal failure! (this was, what I took away for myself inspired by the presentations, from what I have seen in the presentation Chris failed to fail really, to him just shit happened).
And why was it so impressive to see this guy? Because it takes some courage to stand in front of the hungry – you learned it already, Knowledge Managers, at least me, are always hungry – with nothing but the bitter pill. Because he refrained from spilling poison. Because he seemed to have come out of the crisis stronger.

via stockxchng, downstairs 1 by dropowtt

Which directly leads to Nick Davies (The Really Great Training Company): “KM has failed?! What do you expect, if you sit down in the basement and talk to nobody” Again I am disgusting and put my words into others people’s mouth: KM comes out of the crisis stronger, only if it comes out stronger (of the isolation), that is e.g. gets more into the business, e.g. comes out of the KM pupation, leaves the old, lame name behind and creates value. Both topics must wait for another post, because Nick wonderfully played with some numbers: The 4 Big Mistakes, the 2 Essentials and the Big 6. Just in case anybody from university reads this, yes, the details I put into the footnotes.


footnotes, taken from Nick Davies, The Really Great Training Company
The 4 Big Mistakes:
1. Going in tough, with all guns blazing (Coll your jets big guy)
2. Regarding it as a single event (Good things come to those who wait)
3. Relying to much on logic ("Imagination is more important then knowledge." Einstein)
4. Worrying about addressing wants rather than satisfying the needs of others.
The 2 Essentials - you must have to get people to do something they wouldn't ordinarilly do
The Big 6 - We feel compelled to do things for one or several of the following:
Reciprocity - You scratched my back, so I'll scratch yours
Likeability - "I like Sally and she's bought one, so I'll have one too."
Social Proof - "How much have other people sponsored you for?"
Scarcity - "Ooh, well, I don't want to miss out!"
Consistency - "I signed the petition, so I really should give them a donation."
Authority - "Doctor knows best."

Mittwoch, 17. August 2011

KMUK11 - Knowledge Cafe

Having a cafe after the desert makes some sense, and the second good news: this time it was not in the virtual coffee-corner (here and here), we even had a beer at the end of an exciting KM day.
Participate in an inbuilt 70-minute David Gurteen knowledge café, with an opportunity to discuss where KM has failed and what can be done to change this” – this is how it was advertised.
3 very interesting points to cover: What is a Gurteen knowledge café? Where KM has failed? What has been done / can be done not to fail – Personal KM (which is only one strategy – but enough for this post!)

David has done an excellent presentation skill job, which makes it easy for me: I only sum up the titles of his intro slides, and you end up with a very good idea of a Gurteen knowledge café: “Business is a conversation”, “Conversation is a meeting of minds”, “KM is about understanding”, “Dialogue”, “Conversation is our most effective KM tool”, “Conversation is a learning technology”. Everything other detail you find at Gurteen Knowledge Café.
The subtitle for the event at KMUK 2011 was: "KM has not lived up to its expectations over the past 15 years …” Of course with 80 Knowledge Managers in the room, there were 120 strong opinions, but my summary of what was discussed is along the following lines:
A there was a hype of Knowledge Management, and the character of a hype is that you can never live up to its expectations
B Knowledge Management mean the technical implementation of an IT-tool large-scale.
However Knowledge Managers seem to be positive people (or is it the fact that we make a living on KM) and thus quickly went on to what can be done to change. One tendency I have encountered at the KMUK11 was what I call “Personal KM”.
The Knowledge Café itself is a good example. Can you imagine the 90.000+ Ericsson employees all participate in a knowledge café? Just only a considerable fraction? No.
And many other speakers showed remedies, where knowledge interaction takes place on the size that can be facilitated with personal interaction (that is not to be confused with Dunbar's number, it is not about knowledge sharing of one person, but the KM approaches for the company).
Away from IT-based tool implementation large scale to conversation on the personal horizon: Michael Kelleher (De Norske Veritas) was “Using knowledge markets to support business-led KM at Sellafield Ltd”, (1 day in 1 huge auditorium). Purpose: Designed as a marketplace with traders and buyers, this event often opens up opportunities for participants to identify potential collaborators and helps to establish the principles of knowledge sharing as one that has a collective benefit – between companies. Succesful size: 50-300 companies/persons.
Linda Davies, (Mars, Incorporated) was “Sharing knowledge in a global corporation”, but not targeting 60.000 Mars Inc. employees at once, but with the principle “Keep membership small, focused and relevant” (12-15 members, globally spread).

So basically we had a nice café (beer / whine) seeing the dinosaur-like and dinasaur-size IT-based KM extinct as paradigm and the rising of small-size, warm-blooded mamals of personal KM from the KM catastrophe of failure.


Dienstag, 16. August 2011

KMUK11 - Let's start with the desert

Being a Knowledge Manager at the KMUK11 I thought it would be a good idea (however not a real innovative one, I admit) to mingle around to share some knowledge.

I was very early since this sunny morning the walk from the hotel to the conference, which took in yesterday’s rain for some reason 45 minutes, was just a piece of 15 min cake. “Hi, my name is …” My consulting teacher would have been really proud of me, as I made a real good introduction of myself and was sure to leave a good impression, only to learn from the name sign in this minute that my radar with 100% accuracy had spotted between 80 other people the only Ericsson person in the room. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get to know each other. Happy to have met you, Ranu!
But later on I have met of course some interesting people not from Ericsson and heard some interesting things about KM, and I want to share some of it in some posts.

I on purpose did let get some distance inbetween to really focus on the big hits.
And the next punch really hit hard on my ego. I don’t attend too many conferences, so I decided to wear the pride-of-my-wardrobe-tie – apparently just to learn from Dave Snowden (blog: The Cognitive Edge), one of the big names in KM: “If you want to be taken seriously as Knowledge Manager, you can't wear a tie, real Knowledge Managers don’t wear ties”. Well, at least this was something I could take away from his presentation, because most of the other time he spoke about a fancy Sci-fi movie that no one else had ever seen, and at least I did not get too much of a clue.

But I was still alive and kicking and devouring a wonderful lunch, so Dave decided to go for a final kick, when joining our table: “Why are you here?” Well between his beard and the lines, and in context of the situation, this meant: You should have been here 7 years ago, then KM was hot, what kind of loser are you, still to flog the dead horse, KM has failed.
Haha, I was prepared for that by my blog post: KM is dead, long live KM, but somehow he was not listening, maybe because of all the sweet desert in my mouth, so I let him do the talk, and – quite some interesting came as a third desert so to speak (yes, I took 2 physical sugary ones): Sorry guys, storytelling doesn’t work (that’s what he said, but now I knew the pattern), now micro-narratives is hot; the brain structure changes with age, which gives explanation to the fact that many scientific disruptive innovations come from people before they share my age; KM has been taken hostage by consultants, and they are not worth a dime, but doing worse; inspiring thoughts for KM come from reading neuroscience and ethnology  blogs. A lot to digest!

via stockxchng, Cakes by runrunrun

Of course there have been more interesting aspects on the conference, e.g. to include facilitated learning in KM, After Action Reviews, KM in crisis discussion, should we name it KM, the reduction towards the personal KM, but all these interesting topics have to wait, because now I was going for another desert.


Montag, 18. Juli 2011

A Social Media Story - Follow up: Why

“In the end they are all dead!” that’s Shakespeare in ten seconds, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt stated in his theory on theatre: “A play has reached it ends in the worst possible outcome.”

Especially in the beginnng there were reactions of confusion on the Social Media Story. This is perfectly okay, because your mind tells you, no available schema fits, it is time for learning. But of course all these fair questions deserve an honest answer.
The answer is threefold: Why on Social Media? Why the format of storytelling? Why a fictional story?

via stockxchng, Old Canon by hbrinkman

Why a fictional story?
After reading the intro, you hopefully agree that fortunately it is a fictional story. Recently I have argued that the Social Media demands bad case scenarios for meaningful risk management. Moreover in a fictional story the literary instrument of alienation allows to bring down all the defense weaponary (after all, nobody of us works for Telsup, no accusations!), and it also allows a more rational view (sorry, this is not my light bulb shining here, it is all Berthold Brecht).
Technically speaking, a fictional story allows compression and thus enhances read effeciency as well as a continous and steady one-go compilation (imagine I had send to you all the links of Social Media Story – follow up: What?)
And finally as I have read some literature on Storytelling in KM, I was curious whether also a fictional story can work.

Why the storytelling format?
Everything applies which was said by many smart people and what I have summarized and connected: the LTM, Storytelling and KM; Storytelling
But moreover a story can serve as a working platform / a war scenario. The stream of my consciousness goes like this: If the readers don’t believe the story to be realistic (now with all the sources in the background known), we can re-engineer the story to become more realistic (perhaps in more research of real bits and pieces), so the original story becomes as baseline for the very valuable discussion, what our risks are. Thus improved scenario and improved understanding of scenario risk (this technique is not only applicable to Social Media) are the result. If the scenario is agreed to be realistic based on the real sources, then an After Action (fictional) Review can take place. We can learn to improve on the scenario.

Why on Social Media?
A wake-up call! I don’t seem to reach the relevant people with my message that Social Media is vital for a global corporate player. The Social Media Story shows the potential impact of SM, and exemplifies that SM is not only social chit-chat for after work hours, and washes away the argument that is only about selling in business-to-consumer relations. Reading the story it shoots for a #socialtree and a #socialfirewall. So, don’t say, you didn’t know, it could happen.


A Social Media Story - Follow up: What

This blog post is part of the follow-up on the Social Media Story - the "When trees are the better walls" post was one of these urgent light bulb moments that took me away and the "Virtual coffee corner doesn't serve tea" an immediate response.

Yes, you are right and I admit: There is no country Nowerestan (nowhere land), and there is no living person Emin Pascha (so this on the positive side, the guy that I killed is already dead for more than 100 years, however the Germany discoverer Emin Pascha was an enemy of the Mahdi at that time). And the general plot did not happen like this. False information.
However, remember the schema in the human mind, in order to create a schema, some detailed information was discarded to build the schema.
I claim the pattern is built on true information. However a larger amount from various sources, but every major statement – that was the ambition – can be motivated by real recent events.
Before I next time explain the ambition of the experiement, the motivation and why I did it, here you find some of the sources and real events.
via stockxchng, Fuente de Gaudi by L Avi

First I would like to advertise to you  an Ericsson reference, mentioned in the story:
As the sources themselves for part of Social Media the follow the probabalistic principle of Social Media (so it might not be the original source of a thought and no investigation of the source’s impact qualitatively or quantitatively):
“The Social Media Revolution”, including the work of Social Media activist, government responses, arrestation and tweeting from the prison.
On how a bad tweet can backfire and on misinformation on Social Media:

      Operators & Suppliers:
      Competitors on Social Media:
      Free internet:

      A Social Media Story - Day1
      A Social Media Story - Follow up: Why

      Donnerstag, 14. Juli 2011

      The virtual coffee corner doesn't serve tea

      Nick Milton had a good point, when he got crumpy on the coffee corner metapher (KM and coffee machines – as long as it is that productive, keep on being crumpy, Nick!): The virtual coffee corner doesn’t serve tea.
      When we in Ericsson Germany still had offices (only some weeks ago), I was sitting with a Senior Customer Project Manager. And true, I never went to the coffee machine with him to ask a question. And when I had a question to my boss, I went to him, not to the coffee machine, in order to ask.
      No, Nick you are right, the coffee machine is not a good metapher for KM. The virtual coffee machine is not for strong ties and it is not for cases, when you know, what you don’t know. Then you are much better of with Communities of Practices, Subject Matter Experts, After Action Reviews and KM structured according to the processes.

      via stockxchng Market Cafetaria 2 by stylesr1
      The coffee corner is a metapher for the use of Social Media in Knowledge Management to build a network of weak ties and mutual understanding. When you and your colleagues must rely on serendipity, because you don’t know, what you don’t know or you don’t know what you know.
      There was a time in my business life when I had to fly to Sweden almost every two weeks, and I had constantly too much coffee.  Why? There was always a business purpose for the trip, no doubt, but there was always a huge network of people, “just” to talk to over coffee. And it was business all the time, because we had not much else in common, but it was business in general terms, understanding what they were working on, what problems were nagging me, what was happening in the organization and to people. These talks were creating the mutual knowledge, the understanding, which enabled me afterwards to very effectively (not efficiently!) share knowledge. I knew what would fit their context and what would create value.
      When I had tried to learn from failures (e.g. activity-based KPIs), I found it helpful to look at work patterns (I am fully aware that this here is very sketchy, more details you find at: A new work pattern – sharing, the power of sharing, mutual knowledge – yet to come).
      You can distinguish between: Working on own agenda; seeing the big picture/learning/creating mutual understanding; and sharing.
      The crucial part is not so much the sharing itself (that can be IT based), but the learning part, the part of seeing the big picture, the part of creating mutual understanding, the part where a common context is created, which transforms information into knowledge.
      If this mutual understanding is lacking, we happen to fill databases with tons of useless information. But a virtual coffee corner is not mandatory. If the mutual understanding is there,
      • because you and your colleagues are tight together by a firm KM process
      • because you sit in the same garage company garage
      • because you are down under but share exactly the same working context,
      you probably don’t need a virtual coffee machine, and tea is fine.
      But in my expierence internally in a global company in 175+ countries with 90.000+ employee and externally, a virtual coffee corner is a business space and it is needed. But that doesn’t mean the whole working day should be spent there.


      Dienstag, 12. Juli 2011

      When trees are the better walls

      There is a book by Henning Mankell, which is called in German “Die Brandmauer”. A rather unfortunate title, because what is in English a "Firewall", might be in German either the traditional firewall “Brandmauer” of brick and stone, or the neo-German IT “firewall”, and in the book it rather meant the later one.
      A similar blossom of style (“Stilblüte”) grows wonderfully, when I state: The best architecture of a #socialfirewall is a #socialtree.

      via stockxchng Ruin wall by mazweb
      Although a well grown tree, like a well raised #socialtree, can stand bad wheather, the metapher was to a larger extent targeting the good times, when the corporate considers how to make best business in social media and how to engage most adequately.
      However as there is not only great and valuable information out there in the internet and in social media, but also misinformation, one needs to consider to build also the #socialfirewall.
      The combination of two characteristics of social media as for something different than what every PR & Marketing department is trained and qualified to cope with.
      A Social Media allow a larger spectrum of diversity, Social Media does not suppress fluctuations
      B The size, the number of participants bears the potential to amplify fluctuations.
      A In every traditonal publication a lector would have corrected my “blossoms of style” into a “bloomer”, as well as every serious verification team would have checked information and arguments in a publication. In style and content many weird things are on the web, some awsome, many aweful.
      B So while the censorship of good taste and common sense cleans up the weird things before publication in traditional media (I am aware of my naïve point of view!), they survive on the web, and even more, some of them get amplified, because they are funny, weird or just support what we want to think. This is why we sometimes enjoy amateur videos on youtube, because they are just so unconventional.
      But because not everyday is just sunshine and social media bear these characteristic, corporates must play their scenarios in raincoats. Justified or not, there is shit out there, and if it hits the fan of social media, it hits big time.
      No more metaphors today!
      And as companies defend their IT environment with firewalls, their social environment, their brand must be defined by a #socialfirewall.
      You ask for examples of what can go wrong: here are 4 (uncommented): Kenneth Cole Egypt, Nokia in Iran, Vodafone Egypt boycott, McKinsey and the trees (ups, sorry, the tree metaphor!)
      So a #socialfirewall is vital, but how to build?
      Certainly not of brick and stone, not even mentally, but – in my opinion – the #socialtree is the adequate architecture. Many employees, nutured by the roots of experience, put up in the air by a strong trunk of communication and transparency (read Michael Ende's: Jim Knopf, if you haven’t heart about glass trees), and all of them out there engaged socially.


      Sonntag, 10. Juli 2011

      A Social Media Story - Day5

      The human rights networks don’t buy into the line of reasoning and take it for a lame excuse and a comfirmation that Telsup is not to be trusted. At the same time technical circles discuss the meaning of the operator reaction und the strategic-technical position of Telsup. Many see in the reaction of the operator an indication that the market leadership of Telsup is in real danger. Apart from the image to stick at nothing, now also the technial credibility suffers considerably, that is what most say. Telsup is now in defense. The few isolated representatives, be it the official PR gang or social media savvy employees are too few and too to make themselves heard, their contributions are discarded as biased.

      via stockxchng Rest in peace by mattox 

      In Telsup it is suspected that the Asian competitor is fuelling the uproar in social media. There are leads, but no proofs. An unfortunate statement in this direction outrages the technological community; they call it an absurd maneuver and paranoid divisionary tactic. A wave of conspiratory theories is floating.
      The Telsup stocks are under pressure. Telsup is now also a topic in economic terms, concerned investors have their say on Twitter. The value of Telsup at New York Stock Exchange has got a tailspin.

      THE END


      A Social Media Story - Day1
      A Social Media Story - Day2
      A Social Media Story - Day3
      A Social Media Story - Day4

      A Social Media Story - Follow up: What

      Samstag, 9. Juli 2011

      A Social Media Story - Day4

      After human rights organizations have chosen to ride the Pascha wave on Twitter and have called to boycott Telsup networks, first customer reactions have been reported. In the beginning these reactions were few and isolated; via social media the boycott has gained momentum.
      via stockxchng Manifestation by floche
      Now Telsup has decided to counteract on Twitter. However no fans, followers and supporters have taken up the PR tweets in a positive context.  It has been seen through as a biased and untrustworthy media campaign. The Telsup statements are manifoldly retweeted, cited in many Blogs and everywhere negatively amplified. #Telsupoptimal.
      A major skandinavian operator is reported to have canceled its Letter of Intent (LOI) for the next generation telecommunication infrastructure with Telsup.
      The joint official statement of the Skandinavian operator and Telsup denies any relation of this decision with the recent negative social media resonsance of Telsup, but brings strategic-technical arguments of the decision.
      The story of a Telsup employee is spread, who receives a call to order because of violation of the very rigid Telsup PR directives. There was no confirmation of the story whatsoever.


      A Social Media Story - Day1

      Freitag, 8. Juli 2011

      A Social Media Story - Day3

      Amnesty International has attended to the case of Emin Pascha, who has been found dead this morning. A wave of solidarity not only raises the anger in Nowerestan, but sweeps the whole world on Twitter. #Pascha has become a popular synonym for the revolution.

      via stockxchng Egypt Revolution 3 by runin0
      His interview that was only 2 days published in several foreign, mainly western online newspapers and bears heavy accusation against Nowerecom and Telsup has gained now global attention in reprints, tweets and blogs. The commentaries have lost focus on the national operator Nowerecom, but hit hard on the Global Player Telsup, who only weeks ago has published a Corporate Social Responsibility report.
      No reaction from Telsup so far.


      A Social Media Story - Day1

      Donnerstag, 7. Juli 2011

      A Social Media Story - Day2

      The IT company Quicknet has stepped quickly into the breach, and virtually overnight offered an internet-based work-around in order to keep communications for the revolutionaries going. Nowerecom and Telsup are in the pillory, while Quicknet has become a hero of the revolutionaries in Nowerestan.
      “Responsive to pressure” the telecommunication networks are open again today. Was it really only maintenance works going on?
      Pascha has been hauled off. But still from the prisson he is able to twitter one word: arrested. This is taken up by a national wave of twitter post in Nowerestan.
      via stockxchng Egypt Revolution 1 by runin0

      Demonstrations of angry revolutionaries target the office from operator Nowerecom as well as the local office of Telsup in the noweric capital. All foreign Telsup employees and their families have left the country following emergency procedures.
      The CEO of Quicknet explains in an interview the outstanding importance of communication for the democratic change.


      Mittwoch, 6. Juli 2011

      A Social Media Story - Day1

       Another country drowns in the maelstrom of a social media revolution: Nowerestan. Today in online news has been published an interview with the noweric blogger star and social media activist Emin Pascha: about the revoltion, the work of the facebook revolutionaries and the role of the biggest operator Nowerecom and its sole supplier Telsup. According to Pascha, they provide the infrastructure and know-how, which is used by the secret service of Nowerestan to spy on the internet dissidents and Facebook revolutionaries, to reveal their identities and to localize them.

      via stockxchng Interview by whitebeard

      In contrast to earlier news the dictator of Nowerestan, al Mahdi, has not left the country, and the secret service fights with all weapons to regain the upper hand in the power struggle: Nowerecom and Telsup have been forced (the exact circumstances and the military authority are unclear) to help to switch off their telecommonucation networks. Did they cooperate in order to prevent lasting damage to the infrastructure? Telsup claims “regular maintenance” and “servers undergoing repair”.



      Mittwoch, 29. Juni 2011


       Recently I came across this piece of innovation that has the potential to change all our lives!
      We all have the light bulb moments. My idea about Storytelling, Myths & KM was brilliant- but was it my idea in the first place, or just an unconscious compilation of things devoured on Twitter and in blogs?
      I hope, I could make some interesting connections to the mind, but on Storytelling itself has been written the amount of quite some wheels.
      But I am going to write this post anyway, because I am getting paid for it in a way, yes, but also for good reasons: With Social Media we live in times, where a probalistic approach helps to cope with information overload (so take this post simply as a retweet of good stuff by others) and it seems that the memory horizon in KM is frustatingly poor (JKM, homepage of author) Our own medicines tastes too bitter to us?
      So I can pick the cherries, and I do so from Telling Tales by Stephen Denning (HBR).
      At a time when corporate survival often requires disruptive change, leadership involves inspiring people to act in unfamiliar, and often unwelcome, ways. Mind-numbing cascades of number or daze-inducing PowerPoint slides won’t achieve this goal. Even the most logical arguments usually won’t do the trick. But effective stroytelling often does.  Which reminded me on one of my failures: KM on slides has no value.
      Is this new in Ericsson? Actually not, I see the relation towards Use-Case production.
      Cite's Noel Tichy in The Leadership Engine: "the best way to get humans to venture into unknown terrain is to make that terrain familar and desirable by taking them there first in their imagination." Rembember Cognitive Load Theory? Imagination!His (Dave Snowden's) hypothesis was that you could attach a positive story to a negative one in order to defuse it, as an antibody would neutralize an antigen.
      Dave had found purely positive stories to be problematic. ... listeners would respond to such rosy tales by conjuring up negative "antistories" about what must have actually happened.
      These are only some gold nuggets from the recommended article, perhaps the biggest one:
      Do I have to start running around telling and digging for stories everywhere now? Why not start lean, before going in tough next time, with all argumentational and numerical guns blazing, start off with a story making you point – for sure better than saving the reference cases till the end, when the real story is that everyone just wants to break away anyway.


      Montag, 27. Juni 2011

      KM has put the cart before the horse

      Imagine the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known for its gigantic particle accelarator of several kilometer size, would set their particles on each other without a clue what to expect for an outcome, without any idea what to verify or falsify. And only afterwards the physicists would begin thinking whether their experiment was able to tell them anything.
      Indeed absurd, however this is the situation, in which Knowledge Management these days
      operates. KM is conducted in the retrospective device of black-and-white movies.

      The project is executed, and only afterwards KM activities are deployed.
      A zealous zoo of problems is fed by this approach.
      Capacity: Never have I seen a hot shot idling when a project is coming to an end and there is hope in resource manager’s eyes that the hot shot is almost free for allocation. KM is the first to be sacrifized.
      Motivation: The project is history, the overtime account simply bursts, and the hot shots look forward into the future of a new challenge, what is the movitivation to put retrospective efforts into the bin of a database?
      Timing: And even – just imagine the rare case that capacity lies with motivation, the value of the knowledge assets is already in decline: What is the FOA Knowledge Asset worth, when already several projects are in execution. What’s the benefit of lessons learnt in a sales engagement, when several more poor contracts are done deal?
      Learning: According to Brinkerhoff most learning activities do not fail in the course of teaching, but in preparation and follow-up of the learning activity. In order to understand a project as a course of teaching, it is essential to prepare in the KM activity for the learning event, if this part is missing, failure is almost inevitable.
      Re-use 1: Focussed exclusively on the project success everything is tailored towards this purpose, the mental equivalent of spaghetti-code. Spaghetti is eaten hot, or cut to pieces to mix into cold salat.
      Re-use 2: Without a helicopter view involved on the re-use potential, any re-use remains accidential, and you can use the literal apes for Knowledge Managers.
      In short, KM has put the cart before the horse.
      In the next post we look whether there is a better order of sequence to organize for knowledge.