I just recently received an email about disaster preparedness, it contained a scan of a document that the person who sent it to me had received. What does this have to do with KM? Nothing and everything. The point the person who sent me the scanned document was making was that he had received this document in the middle of summer, while people were away on vacation, it was poorly produced, there didn’t seem to be an electronic version available, and he believed that if any of these floods, fires, earthquakes etc. ever happened (or maybe that should be when they happen), he wouldn’t be able to remember the information in the document (which was about 10 pages long), and if he remembered that he had received this document, he wouldn’t be able to find it again. Again, so what you say? What does this have to do with KM or learning or information or anything at all? Well, if we are doing knowledge management, or learning management or information management we need to be concerned about how knowledge/information gets transferred and shared. How do the users want to receive it? What is their environment like? What circumstances will they be … Continue reading
KM is a lot of things to a lot of people. It seems everyone wants the silver bullet, the one “right” answer to the question of how to be successful in KM. Or they want the one “right” answer to the question of what is KM and what’s included in KM. Well let me save you a lot of time and heartache, there is no one right answer, the answer is, it depends. It depends on your organization’s strategy, objectives, culture, industry, regulations, size, budget, risk profile, staffing profile, technology strategy. Figure out what KM is to your organization and create a strategy that supports that definition, that’s the silver bullet.
Advance copies of our book, Designing a Successful KM Strategy are now available from our publisher, Information Today, Inc. It will officially be published in mid-January, so if you buy it before that, you get 40% of the regular price. I did a workshop based on the book at KM World, on Nov 4th, that was well received, as well as a couple of book signings–it was great to talk to everyone about the book and how it can help them regardless of whether they are just starting with KM or at a point where they are re-evaluating their strategy after implementing KM for a few years. Information Today has also made a chapter available for preview, you can access it here http://books.infotoday.com/books/Designing-a-Successful-KM-Strategy/Making-the-Case-for-a-Knowledge-Management-Strategy.pdf Nick (my co-author) also has some helpful links up over on his blog at http://www.nickmilton.com/p/blog-page.html I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to get in touch if you have any comments or questions.
Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted a blog; I’ve been busy working with new clients and I just haven’t had any earth-shattering KM thoughts to share; no ba in my schedule lately. [Aside: I wrote this for a side-project that I’m working on, so it may eventually appear somewhere in another format.] There seems to be a lot of talk about KM standards lately, so here are some initial thoughts I had… What does “standards” mean? According to Wikipedia, standards are “any norm, convention or requirement.” What does “principles” mean? Again, according to Wikipedia, principles are “a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something.” How are they different? Principles are abstract, whereas standards provide something to be compared to/measured against; standards are more tangible. How are they the same? They can both be used to provide direction, guidance, and/or insight into a situation. As with everything we have to come to a common understanding, a common lexicon. We have to figure out what terms and ideas mean in our own context and in the context of the organization or … Continue reading
Talking about design and balance and creativity and knowledge management makes me happy, joyful even. Bring on the joy. In Part 1 I talked about how important TIME is knowledge creation and reuse, creativity practices that allow us to take knowledge and either transform or apply it in order to create something new. What does it mean to design time for this into our activities? Well… Design thinking is characterized by being purposive; human centered; a balance of analytical and creative; uses abductive reasoning, i.e. inference from best available explanation; and iterative, it uses prototyping and play testing to achieve success. Here’s how these principles are applied in knowledge management: Purposive: we look at the organization’s strategy, goals, and objectives and assess how knowledge management best supports those activities. The knowledge management strategy outlines how the organization’s goals and objectives are furthered through the application of knowledge management activities. Human centered: the best knowledge management implementations consider the people of the organization, e.g. how they work, what makes their work-lives easier, what the culture of the organization is like and works with those requirements to make the organization more efficient and effective in its knowledge processes and activities. A balance … Continue reading
“Knowledge Management, ho hum, who cares? I have more important things to worry about than some esoteric discussion about knowledge. I have a job to do.” I know that’s what they’re thinking with the glazed-over look in their eyes as they search around the room to see who else is around that they can talk to. I’m not going to tell you why you should care; I’m going to tell you why I care. I like to make connections, meet new people, learn new things and I like to share what I know with others. I like to make my job as easy as possible, and I like to help others do the same thing. I like to learn from my mistakes and not make the same mistakes repeatedly. So, you’re probably thinking, where is she going with this? This isn’t knowledge management; this isn’t creativity; this isn’t innovation. And to that I say, “ah, but it is.” One definition of creativity says: It is the reorganization of experience into new configurations; A function of knowledge, imagination, and evaluation. In other words, the use of knowledge. Knowledge is about holding information learned through experience or study. Knowledge management wants you … Continue reading
I will write more about this later, but I wanted to get some initial thoughts down tonight, while it’s fresh in my memory. I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend to attend a University of Waterloo Alumni event this evening. At the event they were screening the Canadian premiere of ColaLife a documentary about an organization that is “is working in developing countries to bring Coca-Cola, its bottlers and others together to save children’s lives by opening the distribution channels which Coca-Cola uses, to enable ‘social products’ such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to use similar routes. We began with the concept of using space in Coca-Cola crates – but have extended into a range of innovations, some based on Coca-Cola’s expertise and networks – but many based on questioning the status quo.” (This comes from their webpage, here http://www.colalife.org/about/colalife-about/) It was a fantastic story about trying to save the lives of children, but for me it was also a story of creativity, innovation, and knowledge management and design thinking. Why? Because ColaLife wasn’t afraid to think outside of the box, to say who is getting their products into remote regions in Zambia and how … Continue reading
Design thinking seems to be everywhere lately, but it seems to me that KM has always been “by design,” at least it was if it was done successfully. Design thinking is characterized by being purposive; human centred; a balance of analytical and creative; uses abductive reasoning, i.e. inference from best available explanation; and iterative, it uses prototyping and play testing to achieve success. How are these principles applied in knowledge management? Purposive: we look at the organization’s strategy, goals, and objectives and assess how knowledge management best supports those activities. The knowledge management strategy outlines how the organization’s goals and objectives are furthered through the application of knowledge management activities. Human centred: the best knowledge management implementations consider the people of the organization, e.g. how they work, what makes their work-lives easier, what the culture of the organization is like and works with those requirements to make the organization more efficient and effective in its knowledge processes and activities. A balance of analytical and creative: KM should be a balance of analytical and creative. It should capture knowledge and make it reusable, but it also needs to leave space, ba, to allow for knowledge creation. This space can look like lots of … Continue reading
Joyful knowledge management. Yes, knowledge management is joyful, at least it is to me. I enjoy it when I can find what I’m looking for: the answer to the question, the person who has done a project before and can share her/his experience and lessons learned with me. I enjoy pulling together the pieces to make a new picture, creating new pieces where necessary. In fact, I think the creating is the best part, whether we’re talking about something that is completely new, something that is new to the organization, or something that is an improvement on something that has been done before (partly new). How do we do that creating? We can take a left-brained approach and use knowledge management activities, like expertise location systems, communities of practice, enterprise content management–processes and technology to help us find things that may be similar or provide a piece of the puzzle, activities that help make new/different connections. We can take a right-brained approach and create space for knowledge creation activities like painting, drawing, photography, playing foosball, running, walking, swimming, playing squash. Activities that let us do something new, different, unexpected. Activities that create the space for us to make different connections … Continue reading
I have been doing some more research, reading, and thinking about this creativity-innovation-knowledge management area and am coming to the realization that to a certain extent KM by design is what I’ve been doing all along, I’m just becoming more aware of it and kicking it up a notch. Let me explain… What I have been doing is knowledge (management) by design, and I say that because, I’ve always believed in looking at what knowledge activities were need to meet the needs of the organization I’ve never said, “you need xyz technology, or you need a lessons learned process,” without understanding what the organization was trying to achieve with knowledge. I’ve always focused on the left-brain activities, the process, the activities, the technology, the information architecture, etc. What I’m incorporating now is more right-brain thinking, which takes me and my knowledge management consulting into the innovation and creativity arena and making space for knowledge creation–ba, to use the term made familiar in Nonaka’s knowledge management work and writing. How am I going to do that? Through having people do right-brain activities in the workshops that I run, but also by working with organizations to include more of these kinds of activities … Continue reading