Radical KM Workshop Feedback

I was recently asked to help a university class that was working on a module entitled, “creating, managing and using knowledge in organisations”. The instructor is someone in my network who wanted her students to learn about Radical KM. Due to technical reasons it wasn’t possible for me to lead the session live.

The students watched a recording of a webinar I did about Radical KM and then the instructor lead them through the workshop that I had prepared and sent her. What follows is the email I received back with the classes comments and reflection on the session. I have removed any identifying information for privacy, otherwise what follows is a straight cut and paste.

Hi Stephanie,

I hope this message finds you well. 

On behalf of the class, I just wanted to express our gratitude for preparing today’s workshop. It was a refreshing change for us, and everyone had a lot of fun. I just thought I would summarise our thoughts below:

As in your video seminar, beginning with the flower meditation served as a way to concentrate our focus on the workshop, and allowed us to clear our minds of any other conflicting thoughts. For me, doing this meditation with the class as opposed to on my own, forced me to concentrate more on my flower. However, the collective energy in the room definitely improved since we had all engaged in the same activity to start our day. Some individuals in the class visualised imagery in relation to flowers in their garden or that they had bought as part of a bouquet, linking the meditation to everyday life.

We chose to build a business case for arts-based practices within a law firm, specifically pitching to senior management. In our initial discussion, we decided that this case should be presented by a dedicated KM team, ensuring robust evidence to back up the importance of arts-based practices. We also discussed issues surrounding the use of language like ‘radical’ and ‘creative’, and concluded that the best interests of the law firm should be the primary goal (i.e. billable hours).

The first scribble drawing exercise left us feeling chaotic, energised, surprised and stressed at points. Our stream of consciousness writing exercise following provided an opportunity for us to document our feelings in the moment. For myself, I found that each new scribble drawing that landed in front of me was not what I was expecting. It was very interesting to see how each member of the class interpreted the scribble drawings differently.

Reflecting on this, our following discussion on our business case centred on the benefits of arts-based practices for relaxation, fresh perspectives and taking a break for logical thinking. We added to our business case suggesting that implementing these practices in a law firm would allow for more contribution, an improvement in culture and employees feeling more present. We decided that these practices should be started in a trial so that Senior Management have the opportunity to see how they would fit with practicing law.

The major theme that emerged was nostalgia. It seems that the freedom of a blank piece of paper and an abundance of colouring materials sparked memories of an incredibly tangible time in our lives. I found myself wanting to be very logical with my second scribble. I wanted to make sure that I could definitely fill the page in 5 minutes by choosing the most appropriate pattern – making sure I didn’t run out of time. I am a very logical person when it comes to problem solving so this exercise has prompted me to try and take more creative and abstract approaches in the future.

Our last discussion on our business case led us to decide that Senior Management would just have to try a meditation or scribble method to reveal the true benefits. In our case we would argue that these methods are appropriate as they do not require preparation, promote child-like energy, provide a step away from work and offer personalisation. This way, management could trust that each individual in the organisation is empowered to take arts-based practices and customise it to their needs.

Overall, the class found this a great exercise to implement some of the other ideas we have discussed throughout the semester and truly see them in practice. This was a very insightful an enriching workshop, thanks again!

Kind regards,

Three Often Overlooked Benefits of Arts-Based Interventions in Your Organisation

Three Often Overlooked Benefits of Arts-Based Interventions in Your Organisation:
1. Strategic Decision Making
2. Talent Management
3. Adapting to Technological Changes

You might be wondering how incorporating arts-based interventions into your organization can enhance these areas. Allow me to enlighten you.

Arts-based interventions (ABIs), when integrated into regular practices, unlock dormant skills and abilities that have been overshadowed by years of traditional education and societal expectations. Our conventional educational systems emphasize logic, rationality, rigid processes, and hierarchical thinking—a pedagogy centered around control, seeking the right answers, earning good grades, and perpetuating the past, rather than exploring and creating the future.

ABIs reignite our curiosity and playfulness, fueling a continuous desire to learn and evolve. They guide us to take measured steps, reflect on outcomes, and then take the next leap forward. By appreciating the interconnectedness of things, we start recognizing the significance of systems, networks, and connections.

Specifically, the utilization of ABIs enhances strategic decision making. When ABIs become an integral part of your routine, they enable you to see the bigger picture and the interconnected nature of things. They amplify curiosity, prompting better questions and uncovering more possibilities. ABIs facilitate diffuse thinking, enabling you to forge more connections and make decisions that align with strategic intent.

In terms of talent management, ABIs foster teamwork, communication, and collaboration. They inject fun and enjoyment into the workplace, reducing stress and boosting resilience. ABIs also empower individuals to solve problems more effectively, enhancing employee engagement and reducing turnover. Moreover, they contribute to the development of leadership skills and core transferable skills such as communication and critical thinking, while nurturing personal growth.

Lastly, ABIs help individuals adapt to change, be it technological advancements or other shifts in the landscape. By bolstering resilience and adaptability, ABIs cultivate flexibility and curiosity, enabling employees to seamlessly incorporate new technologies and ideas into their work.

Does all of this sound like some sort of magical solution? Well, ABIs indeed possess these remarkable qualities and more. We have long underestimated the potential of our brains, focusing excessively on the analytical side while neglecting the importance of balance between analytical and creative thinking. It’s time to rectify this imbalance and unleash the full power of our minds.

Bits and pieces of Radical KM News

This is all just an fyi…

I’ve started a regular column on KM/Radical KM at ReWorked, my first article is here https://www.reworked.co/knowledge-findability/its-time-for-radical-knowledge-management/

Also, the GfWM published another article of mine on Radical KM, it can be accessed here https://www.gfwm.de/dossier-kmessentials-radicalkm/

And I’ve been on a couple of podcasts in the last few months:

Thriving on Overload: https://thrivingonoverload.com/stephanie-barnes-radical-knowledge-management-power-art-tapping-intuition-building-curiosity-ep49/

WB-40 Podcast https://wb40podcast.com/2023/04/03/259-radical-km/

ReWorked Column

I have started writing a regular column on ReWorked, my goal is to write 10 columns per year.

The first one was posted on April 5th and you can find it here: https://www.reworked.co/knowledge-findability/its-time-for-radical-knowledge-management/.

This first one is an introduction to Radical KM, and I will be sharing my thoughts on a variety of Radical Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management related topics over the coming months.

I hope you’ll subscribe and follow along on the journey.

Radical KM: helping the humans

With so much talk of AI and how it’s going to change KM, some articles even speculate it’s the end of KM or at least the end of knowledge/help desks, I thought I would take an opposing view, well, not so much opposing, as completely different.

Knowledge is human, it has always been human, and will always be human. Computers don’t think, or create new knowledge, they copy and replicate what’s been done before, what they’re programmed to do. They can store explicit knowledge, the stuff that can be written down or somehow captured, but they don’t deal with tacit knowledge at all, and most knowledge is tacit.

Radical KM is about helping the humans, and all of their knowledge, be better.

Radical KM is about relearning our creativity, about being playful, and helping us learn and adapt to an ever changing world. It’s about tapping into our stories and emotions and building trust so that we can share them and make better organisations, purpose driven organisations.

It’s about helping the humans be better humans before it’s too late.

Radical KM, a story

Radical KM: why your organisation needs it now

Meet Sam, Chief Knowledge Officer at Widget Inc. she’s been working in knowledge management for more than 20 years, she’s passionate and knowledgeable and knows what it takes to be successful with knowledge management

Sam knows that there are lots of reasons to do knowledge management, but she also knows that her CEO’s favourite reasons are that knowledge is the only asset that grows when it’s shared—if she shares how to make a cake with you, you both now know how to make a cake, she doesn’t lose the ability to make a cake because she’s shared it with you. Tangible assets, like buildings and roads decrease in value because of wear and tear and will need to be maintained or replaced.

The second reason, and her CEOs favourite, is that knowledge management has been shown to have a positive impact on the stock market performance of an organisation. That is, the better an organisation does with its knowledge management activities, the better it performs on the stock markets.

With all the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years, plus the confusion and complexity introduced with the pandemic, Sam has been wondering how to adapt her KM activities to meet the needs of these changes. She hears about VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) everywhere, and certainly her organisation is not immune to VUCA.

Sam also hears a lot about how people need to be creative, and she’s noticed that creativity underlies a lot of other in-demand skills. She knows that creativity is what differentiates humans from technology and that creative practices and attitudes support both creative and sustainable leadership behaviours.

Sam knows that creativity is something that’s been educated out of us (certainly hers was in her quest to get good marks and a good job) and yet our organisations are in dire need of it because it fuels innovation and growth. On a personal level creativity also improves resiliency and helps cope with stress, something everyone could use in the current state of the world.

Knowing all these things has resulting in Sam’s being stuck, she doesn’t know what to do; she’s trying to figure out how to support the organisation through the current upheaval caused by the pandemic and other global events but there is so much noise, and so many people trying to “get back” to how things are, but Sam knows there’s no going back, that the organisation and the world need to adapt and move forward to a new normal.

One day, Sam was scrolling through the knowledge management tag on LinkedIn and came across a post about something called Radical KM and got very curious; she read a couple of articles and watched a recording of a webinar.

She discovered that Radical knowledge management takes people, process, and technology as they have always existed in knowledge management and adds creativity, and that creativity is a multiplier. It can be included anywhere there are knowledge management activities that involve people, which is most of them.

She learned about an organisation that had implemented the ideas encapsulated in Radical KM. The organisation had improved collaboration and trust, and they had been able to solve what had seemed to be intractable problems.

Radical KM focuses on the people component of KM. The creative activities it advocates for can help build relationships and help people get out of their boxes and look at a situation differently, coming up with new connections and ideas.

The MBA in her thought that adding creativity seemed counterintuitive. After all, western society been focused on being analytical and rational for hundreds (if not thousands of years). However, being analytical and logical is what got the world into the unsustainable situation that we find ourselves in. So, while it may not be analytical and logical and it may seem counterintuitive, it also seemed to be exactly what is needed.

Sam recognised that we need space for creativity in our organisations and our lives if we are going to be balanced and sustainable. Knowledge and continuous learning needs space for reflection so that people can make different connections and come up with new, innovative ways of resolving this the unsustainable situation.

Sam recalled Einstein’s words about ‘the thinking that got us into this situation is not the thinking that will get us out’ and realised that Radical KM and creativity might just be the shift in thinking that will get us out of this mess.

Sam decided to start piloting Radical KM and gather data and success stories so that when she spoke with the CEO, at the next quarterly meeting she would have the beginnings of a great story to tell.

Be like Sam, start your Radical KM pilot now.

Radical KM: a journey

(A story about Radical KM)

Meet Sam, Chief Knowledge Officer at Widget Inc. she’s been working in knowledge management for more than 20 years, she’s passionate and knowledgeable and knows what it takes to be successful with knowledge management

Sam knows that there are lots of reasons to do knowledge management, but she also knows that her CEO’s favourite reasons are that knowledge is the only asset that grows when it’s shared—if she shares how to make a cake with you, you both now know how to make a cake, she doesn’t lose the ability to make a cake because she’s shared it with you. Tangible assets, like buildings and roads decrease in value because of wear and tear and will need to be maintained or replaced.

The second reason, and her CEOs favourite, is that knowledge management has been shown to have a positive impact on the stock market performance of an organisation. That is, the better an organisation does with its knowledge management activities, the better it performs on the stock markets.

With all the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years, plus the confusion and complexity introduced with the pandemic, Sam has been wondering how to adapt her KM activities to meet the needs of these changes. She hears about VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) everywhere, and certainly her organisation is not immune to VUCA.

Sam also hears a lot about how people need to be creative, and she’s noticed that creativity underlies a lot of other in-demand skills. She knows that creativity is what differentiates humans from technology and that creative practices and attitudes support both creative and sustainable leadership behaviours.

Sam knows that creativity is something that’s been educated out of us (certainly hers was in her quest to get good marks and a good job) and yet our organisations are in dire need of it because it fuels innovation and growth. On a personal level creativity also improves resiliency and helps cope with stress, something everyone could use in the current state of the world.

Knowing all these things has resulting in Sam’s being stuck, she doesn’t know what to do; she’s trying to figure out how to support the organisation through the current upheaval caused by the pandemic and other global events but there is so much noise, and so many people trying to “get back” to how things are, but Sam knows there’s no going back, that the organisation and the world need to adapt and move forward to a new normal.

One day, Sam was scrolling through the knowledge management tag on LinkedIn and came across a post about something called Radical KM and got very curious; she read a couple of articles and watched a recording of a webinar.

She discovered that Radical knowledge management takes people, process, and technology as they have always existed in knowledge management and adds creativity, and that creativity is a multiplier. It can be included anywhere there are knowledge management activities that involve people, which is most of them.

She learned about an organisation that had implemented the ideas encapsulated in Radical KM. The organisation had improved collaboration and trust, and they had been able to solve what had seemed to be intractable problems.

Radical KM focuses on the people component of KM. The creative activities it advocates for can help build relationships and help people get out of their boxes and look at a situation differently, coming up with new connections and ideas.

The MBA in her thought that adding creativity seemed counterintuitive. After all, western society been focused on being analytical and rational for hundreds (if not thousands of years). However, being analytical and logical is what got the world into the unsustainable situation that we find ourselves in. So, while it may not be analytical and logical and it may seem counterintuitive, it also seemed to be exactly what is needed.

Sam recognised that we need space for creativity in our organisations and our lives if we are going to be balanced and sustainable. Knowledge and continuous learning needs space for reflection so that people can make different connections and come up with new, innovative ways of resolving this the unsustainable situation.

Sam recalled Einstein’s words about ‘the thinking that got us into this situation is not the thinking that will get us out’ and realised that Radical KM and creativity might just be the shift in thinking that will get us out of this mess.

Sam decided to start piloting Radical KM and gather data and success stories so that when she spoke with the CEO, at the next quarterly meeting she would have the beginnings of a great story to tell.

Be like Sam, start your Radical KM pilot now.

How radical KM is knowledge management: Referencing ISO knowledge management systems—requirements standard 30401

On April 24th (2022) I had my third paper on Radical KM published.

The paper is called, “How radical KM is knowledge management: Referencing ISO knowledge management systems—requirements standard 30401” and you can find it here: https://doi.org/10.1177/02663821221097875

The abstract for the paper is:
Creativity has an important role to play in knowledge management in the 21st century, and helping organisations and people cope with the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world we live in, Radical Knowledge Management (Radical KM) meets that need. This article uses the ISO Knowledge Management Systems—Requirements Standard 30401 (2018) as a framework for explaining how Radical KM and creativity are already a part of knowledge management, but has been unacknowledged until now. Additionally, the paper provides a process for determining when, in a KM process or activity, creativity can be applied and provides factors used in determining what the creative intervention looks like.

It’s behind a paywall, so if you’d like a copy feel free to get in touch and I will send you the PDF.

Introduction to Radical KM: making knowledge management sustainable

My second paper on Radical KM was published on February 27, 2022. It talks in more detail about how to implement Radical KM and the connection to the sustainability mindset principles.

Abstract:
This paper introduces the concept of Radical Knowledge Management (Radical KM) and explains why taking this approach to knowledge within our organisations is necessary. Radical Knowledge Management helps us adapt to constant change and the chaos of the world we live and work in by making us as individuals and our organisations more sustainable. The paper also outlines a case study of an organisation that implemented these ideas and provides an approach for how an organisation can implement it for themselves.

You can find it here: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F02663821221075535, and if you don’t have access because it’s behind a paywall, feel free to reach out to me and I will send you a copy.