Saturday, 29 November 2008

More Quotes on Knowledge

Because this post containing a few quotes on sharing has been hit so many times, I thought it about time to do another one.

Where previously I was looking for insights, using quotes to give me new authors and thinkers to consider in relation to my dissertation, this time the quotes I have chosen are those that resonate for me due to my experiences with knowledge and knowledge management. So here they are, and I make no apologies for including Peter Drucker more than once.

"The store of wisdom does not consist of hard coins which keep their shape as they pass from hand to hand; it consists of ideas and doctrines whose meanings change with the minds that entertain them."

John Plamenatz, political philosopher

"The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do."

Benjamin Disraeli, statesman and literary figure

"Knowledge is the fundamental factor -- the major enabler -- of enterprise performance."

Karl M. Wiig, KM guru

"The basic economic resource - the means of production - is no longer capital, nor natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be knowledge."

Peter Drucker, genius

"Knowledge must come through action."

Sophocles, ancient Greek playwright

"Knowledge management will never work until corporations realize it's not about how you capture knowledge but how you create and leverage it."

Etienne Wenger, co-creator of the concept of Communities of Practice

"Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something,or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes."

Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline

"Alchemists turned into chemists when they stopped keeping secrets.”

Eric Raymond, programmer and open-source software advocate

“In a knowledge-driven economy, talk is real work.”

Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak, KM gurus

"Knowledge is experience; everything else is information.”

Albert Einstein, genius physicist

“Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.”

Louis L’Amour, author

"Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass."

Japanese proverb

"There's no such thing as knowledge management; there are only knowledgeable people. Information only becomes knowledge in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it."

Peter Drucker, genius Management guru

"Any piece of knowledge I acquire today has a value at this moment exactly proportioned to my skill to deal with it. Tomorrow, when I know more, I recall that piece of knowledge and use it better."

Mark Van Doren, poet and critic

Friday, 28 November 2008

Wikipedia isn't doing business use of wikis any favours

So, contentious title out of the way, I'll explain...

Wikipedia is the best known example of a wiki. This is the frame of reference many use when thinking "what is a wiki". But a wiki is just a word document, online. That's about it. It doesn't have to be anything other than a place people can write things without having to email the document they wrote them in to one another. So in developing an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has inadvertedly created a mass misunderstanding as to the value and potential usage of wikis.

Wikis can be used for absaloutely anything at all which probably currently happens via email like non-standard agendas, standards, reports, current effective practice, policies, reviews, knowledge assets etc etc etc.

Unfortunately, many companies begin their wiki experiments by trying to create the definitive knowledge asset on, say, knowledge management. This is a big ask for people who've never had their own contributions edited by someone they don't know. It turns people off, and prevents them from recognising the potential in wikis. They need to start with a simple and non-threatening activity like a progress report or lessons learned review. Even a shared agenda would help as I said in this post some time ago. Starting small will really help people gain confidence enough to start working on bigger projects like knowledge assets.

Instead of creating company shaped Wikipedia replicas, maybe we should all set our sights a bit lower and take some time to get used to what Forrester and many others consider to be high value tools for business.

And just for the record, I think Wikipedia is the dogs thingamees :-)

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Technologies: they're not going anywhere anytime soon

Thanks to Bill Ives and his Portal and KM blog, I've been able to get the gist of the Forrester TechRadar For Vendor Strategists: Enterprise Web 2.0 without paying the $379 it costs to read the whole thing (hurrah!)

Bill reviewed the report and his highlights mention that usage of Enterprise 2.0 software has produced significant success with social networks and wikis, moderate success with blogs, forums, mashups, prediction markets, RSS and widgets (don't they make your beer bubbly?) and minimal success with microblogs, podcasts and social bookmarks.

I'd agree that people appear to connect with social networks and wikis more than, say, podcasts and RSS (vastly underutilised if you ask me), but I would have to read the report to know why the distinction between social networks and forums. Any road up, the top and bottom of it is that in terms of these collaborative software applications "Some were just starting on their journey (microblogs), others had reached their high point (podcasts and forums) but none were on their way down". So the fact that the public sector is only just opening its doors to these tools is not necessarily bad - looks like enterprise 2.0 is no fad.

How could I forget? My first published picture

I know I've stopped submitting in the stylee of the Friday Photo, because I discovered Flickr, but I thought I should mention, as I've been distracted from blogging by my photography obsession, that I've had my first picture published in the November issue of Digital SLR Photography magazine - this is the not winning but at least printed picture for your delectation. My street photos are more my thang, but this was for a themed comp....

Value Network Mapping and Analysis - the way forward?

For some considerable time now I've been wondering if knowledge management is really the way forward. Many people either don't know what it is or relate it to a particular business area, for instance IT or HR and having boxed and labelled it, ignore it. So I've been searching for a way to find a practical application which would float the respective boats not only of the HR and IT afficionados, but also the CEOs of the world. I considered Lean, Six Sigma, Social Network Analysis, all which felt like there was something missing...but I'm struggling to find anything wrong with Value Network Analysis.

Like social network analysis, value network analysis maps relationships but using roles rather than individuals. The value associated with role interrelationships, both tangible (ie exchange of goods, services, revenue) and intangible (ie knowledge and benefits) is mapped and analysed to identify where there may be more value, tangible or intangible, and to highlight what is required to achieve the most value from the area of business being examined. It seems simpler and broader in scope than IDEF mapping and by virtue of the emphasis on role, appears to be less sensitive to the bias found in the individual focus of social network mapping,

I definately think it deserves fuller examination and I'll write more on this when I've processed and digested what it really means to me and potentially to my organisation, but for the time being, check out - not just a sales site, there are some great tit bits (love that phrase) which help explain what value network analysis is all about. Some pretty impressive clients there too. Check out this article (which can be accessed from the Value Networks site too) demonstrating the technique in relation to Journalism, and this relatively scathing (but quite possibly valid) comment on change management.

Are you a fan of VNA? If so, tell me more...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Knowledge management analogies & stories Part I

I don't know about you, but I often find that people have a preconcieved notion of what knowledge is, which prevents them from having a useful conversation about how it might be managed. I'm not convinced that it can be "managed" - maybe, using the same differentiation between leading and managing people, knowledge can be "led"? Anyway, the point is, I've been collecting analogies and stories to help me explain what I'm talking about re: KM in general, and to explain why I feel so strongly that tacit knowledge cannot, in essence, be captured (see this post and this post). I thought I'd share some of them with you.

The Salad Analogy - Information & Knowledge & Wisdom
Borrowed from Mr Mike Kelleher, senior consultant at the British Quality Foundation
Information tells us that that red round thing with pips in is a tomato is, knowledge tells us that it is a fruit, wisdom tells us that despite the fact it is a fruit, it doesn't go well in a fruit salad.

The Driving Analogy
Intuitively developed by me despite the fact it's used by many other people...
When you learn to drive a car, you do so by actually driving a car. The theory of road use can be gained from a book, but any real ability to drive is gained by driving. That is the difference between theory (information) and practice (knowledge). However, tacit, intuitive knowledge comes to us when we've had many years of idiot drivers pulling out of the middle lane of the motorway without warning. It's a feeling, a sensation of "better watch that car!" and cannot easily be articulated so that someone else could practice it. However, many frequent and long distance drivers know what I'm talking about...

Teaching by the book
A lovely analogy from Larry Prusak, on his site, tells of how he was once on a baseball team, but "was by far the worst hitter on the team". His father gave him a book on The Art of Hitting. Despite pratically memorising the book, he still couldn't hit. This is, as Prusak says,
"...a story I tell people who insist that knowledge can be codified, that humans are interchangeable. There are still many facets of life and work that are art not science, and wise managers understand how to manage both."

I'll post these as I come across them, and I promise to test them first, after all, it's not just about theory, it's about practice...

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Is KM Dead? Great video of Dave Snowden and Larry Prusak

This is a fantastic video, which actually hits the nail on the head about why "the dead keep walking" in terms of KM - that there's no clear practice community for KM, where people keep doing the same thing, not learning from experiences - quite scathing about government adoption of KM...

Sunday, 6 July 2008

NHS eSpace - real adoption of social networking

Despite deciding to leave my job, I am very much enjoying seeing some really positive uses of eSpace, the social networking/media site (not to be confused with the car) I've been working on for the past year or so. It's been recently updated to a Drupal platform, and with improved navigation and what appears to be, a consistantly spreading network of advocates, I'm seeing a considerable increase in activity and buy in for it.

eSpace is based on Communities, some of these are communities of practice, some communities of interest, but all have been created based on a perceived need for an online space. It's potential is huge, as an awful lot of money and time is spent travelling around the country to meetings, which could more effectively and easily happen via web conferencing - hopefully that will be the next step. But currently, people are actually asking questions and getting answers, finding colleagues through the member directory, sharing concerns and generally sharing knowledge and experience, which is what it's there for.

Having done a lot of work with the Tipping Point theory of the adoption of ideas, and the nature of change, I can see that we're on the upward curve, heading happily toward the tipping point. This I feel has been in part for these reasons:
  • the communities are created by demand by the workforce, and not dictated centrally, allowing for people to engage with them and to really support their community as advocates who spread the word
  • there is strong leadership support in some areas, encouraging participation, explaining usefulness, and generally advocating the site and specific communities they see a need for
  • each community has a coordinator from within the community (or who is close to that community) which enables them to understand the needs, interests and barriers the community faces
There's still very much a "pull" tendency, with people expecting to be fed information, - we don't get many documents shared by users, but it's clear that knowledge is being shared in discussion forums.

To anyone trying to implement a social networking or social media site in their organisation, I would say the key elements to think about are:
  • Bottom up works best - it's incredibly difficult to get a network going, supporting the ones that want to be there is half the battle
  • You need the support of leaders. These don't have to be leaders in the sense of the organisational structure, and could be leaders of a particular network.
  • Skills in networking, influencing, and identifying potential advocates and coordinators are vital to get the right people on board - find your advocates, the rest will happen more easily
  • It takes time, lots and lots of time, and you can't force it (but you can push it gently) so just keep listening to your users and coordinators/facilitators and above all be supportive. Every user is important, without them you have an empty site
Hopefully eSpace will continue to demonstrate its usefulness and become a hub of knowledge and experience to which staff can turn to help them along the potholed path that is IT enabled change. Effective use of the site requires a huge culture change, lots of time, and considerable demonstration of benefits, but it really does seem, in the words of Bob Dylan, that the times they are a changing (terrible grammar that man had, and he sang down his nose, but a useful sentiment).

Monday, 30 June 2008

Lord Darzi's review - a good effort, but why aren't we doing this already?

I just wanted to say, I haven't totally given up on this blog, I've just been a bit distracted - by really interesting things. These come after my thoughts on the Darzi review, and include a slightly (er, very?) cynical rant about NHS Connecting for Health. For those of you who have come here because you're are interested in the Darzi review (and not my life story which I'm assuming you couldn't give two hoots about) I've left the personal bits till the end, so you don't have to read them if you don't want to (I'm nice like that :-) But the fact that Patient Opinion is up for 2 awards is reason enough to read the entire post...

As the Darzi review on High Quality Care for All has just been published, I felt I should put my two penneth in.

It's all very well saying we're going to empower the staff and patients to develop a high quality NHS, but to actually do that requires a long, hard look at what is preventing the NHS from doing that already - namely huge bureaucracy, historical and systemic scapegoatism (is that a word? it is now), conflicting targets, political maneouvering and an awful lot of conjecture and rhetoric and (contentious I know) an attitude that the medical profession knows all, despite the fact that some patients are actually experts on their own conditions (god forbid we actually have patients who are intelligent enough to understand medical theory!!!).

I read Darzi's review (very quickly, obviously) and I was, well, suprised! Seemingly ridden with conjecture, in that in every section the introduction makes sweeping references to something each and every politician with anything to do with health would love - the right words are there, but there is actually some weight behind them. The review contains some practical examples and realistic suggestions (in my considered opinion, obviously).

Of course, the majority of the NHS will say every one of those suggestions is unworkable, but that's what happens when people with great ideas are squashed under a ton of processes, policies and long, long conversations about what colour it should be. It just needs some brave, fearless and quite positive people to try and make what appear to be sensible actions a reality.

I thought it was a good effort :-) Make your own mind up, read it here.

Other stuff stopping me having time to blog is that I've
1) begun blogging for and supporting the "webinisation" of the inclusive and innovative website Patient Opinion (they're up for both the New Media and Catalyst awards btw...and yes, they paid me to say that - I'd say it for free, just don't tell them that :-)
2) been taking even more photos and learning to paint on silk (if only there was money in being an artist)
3) been trying to decide what to do for the (immediate) rest of my life.

Generally though, I've had enough of being resolutely hated by everyone in the media, the NHS, and eHealth Insider, due to having the audacity to work NHS Connecting for Health and have decided to discover what really useful stuff I could be doing without the booing when I mention where I work (yes, that really happened....) - I've got until the 1st October. If someone wants to offer me a job, preferably before that date, that would be lovely :-)

Oh, and did I mention, I'm looking for work? :-)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Comment on the social networking masterclass

I read with interest a comment from RayJones on the Health Informatics Social Networking masterclass I referred to previously, on the Informaticopia blog. He writes that we "should be concerned about the decline of the scientific approach and the use of evidence in healthcare" and references two particular points I made in my own session - that Web 2.0 encouraged examples of ‘the wisdom of the masses’ and that it recognised that more brains = more information.

Ray's argument is that

"Quite often the masses do not have wisdom but follow prejudice, hearsay, and urban mythology. How often do we see public opinion radically influenced by the tabloid press, for the story to change a few weeks later? The tabloid press and tabloid TV use the case of Uncle Norman or sister Mary to tell one person’s story. That story may be true but if we are to take a rational approach, for example, to our understanding of the cost effectiveness of a particular treatment we need to consider evidence gathered on representative populations."

I'm not sure if this is a comment about the press, or about the lack of intelligence of "the masses". My talk was emphasising the fact that if we treat people as if they are stupid, they will act stupidly, particular in reference to what appears to be an overly paternalistic approach to healthcare which assumes the GP is the font of all knowledge and the patient can't possibly be informed about their own condition. To assume "the masses" are a prejudiced bunch with no ability to make their own choices, is for me, a very negative view of humanity. I'm not saying people always make the right choices, but having the opportunity to consider their options might be a good start.

His second point,

"Similarly, the phrase ‘more brains more information’ may apply in a limited range but if we were to ask 1000 or even a million people to work together would they have come up with Einstein’s theories? More information may just mean more noise rather than more intelligence."

I think has some validity - although I'm not sure Einstein worked in a vacumn - and when he did, he didn't get anywhere (thinking of his later efforts to align theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity). What I was suggesting, was that one person may be an expert in say, Sport, another in the works of Shakespeare, another in astrology etc. Get them all together, and they know more about everything than they do individually. Again, the attitude that people cannot be intelligent on mass, is one which prevents effective collaboration reducing the opinion of others to "noise".

Always interesting to understand alternative viewpoints don't you the full post and make up your own mind.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Scam Warning - Whos Who of Professionals

I've had quite a few responses recently to this post on the WHO'S WHO of Professionals recently, so obviously our friends are at it again...just wanted to to draw your attention to some of the comments I've received - tells it all really:

Comment 1
Good work, Nicole (ok, so they got my name wrong, hey ho). I wish I could say that I hadn't fallen for it in 2004, but I did. At that time they claimed more than fifty thousand members world-wide, but the invitation letter was about the same. I joined and became active. IN FACT I ended up running a club free of charge and of benefit to these people while paying a huge sum of money to them for the honours.Of course, at the time, the supposed book in which entries would appear was constantly "fastly approaching the editorial deadline",... year after year. I never received it and after showing patience began to speak legalese, after which part of my money was promptly refunded. The book still had not come out when I checked in 2006.After visiting the website: getting a strong "deja vu" feeling, I looked these people up in the Better Business Bureau databases and lo and behold I found a wealth of info on Gibralter Publishing (at the time, the core persona) and the about fifteen other names these people use.Not long after quiting IWWHS, I was approached by a new "networking" society (apparently they had shared my details) and when I asked who their executives in charge were I found several of the same North Carolina-based names from IWWHS!Unfortunately, those vane enough to list this "merit" not only advertise a questionable enterprise, but many times will have their OWN integrity questioned by those in the know! Beware!

Comment 2
Hi all,I (in France) received this e-mail a couple of weeks. And last tuesday, a woman who claimed to be in Washington proposed to me an interview with her "director" for "the final step of selection".The day after, "the director" called me and our "interview" was interesting ... he sounds actualy like a professional interviewer, but he ended the call when I choose a $800 registration option but never give him may credit card details.I hope it's for free!!!Thank you all for your information.

Comment 3

WARNING: “WHO IS WHO”/ internationalwhoswho IS quite probably SCAM !!!I have exactly the same experience: "deadline was "fastly approaching" - this time in March 2008, and one day, when I was busy ,I gave them my information and my credit card number (we ARE busy, and this is what they take advantage of). They immediately withdrew $800 for a book and some pins & stuff I had orally been coaxed into saying "yes" to. I understood the same afternoon that this might be scam and cancelled the 'order'. Got a letter back from them, which said "We will be more than happy to assist you with your membership cancellation as soon as the proper information is pulled. An Account Manager will get back to you as soon as possible and thank you in advance for your patience." Signed Sabrina Fuentes. Many days later the letter from the "account manager", Sandy Garcia, came. According to Sandy Garcia, who would from now on be my contact, the "cancellation policy" of "whoswho" was to retain 358$. I protested immediately in an e-mail to Sandy Garcia, only to receive a bounce-back e-mail that I was "not authorized to contact" Ms (Mr?) Garcia. This is no doubt SCAM, and probably
plain fraud. The method is: 1. Appeal to /boost people's vanity, or other things which may make them feel good (for some time). Promise people something good and cheap (here: for free).2. Give the poor fool an opportunity to buy something expensive, but valuable, in addition to the free stuff.3. Be sure you have a huge "cancellation fee" - more or less hidden underneath the offer.4. Ask for the credit card numberof the stupid fool you are fooling5. Withdraw the money immediately6. When the stupid/ victim realizes that he is about to be fooled, promise your "account manager" will contact you "soon": However, that will take so many days, that the fool/ victim will give up, or the deadline of complaint is running out.

We must warn the world against these crooks ... I was one of the fools. I have learnt, and will do what I can to warn others. I will also try to sue them (very unpleasant, but - if necessary -I will grin and bear it).ViVa

Comment 4
hello, just had an interesting interview with these people too - you can learn a lot from their interviewing style and the gaps in their so called research - the fact that my business is not yet registered or trading, and that the relevant website is not yet active, did not seem to deter them. They also suggested that I would be able to make use of the informal social networking down the road at a local pub (450 miles away in London) and never once gave any indication of understanding what sector I might actually be in. VERY smooth interview style, very much about stroking the old ego. I swear I heard the file being deleted when I said I'd be in touch as soon as I thought such a membership
would be appropriate (ie, no thanks) - in fact I thought I was very pleasant given that someone had just asked me for $950 for what we all do through Facebook anyway.cheers (see you down the pub!), Sarah, Edinburgh

So, learning from these experience, don't even bother to speak to these people (unless you want your ego massaged for free, then tell them you're not interested :-)

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Social networking and knowledge sharing the NHS way

So, I've had a few months off, due to losing my spark and being distracted by a photo a day project on Flickr, Project 365. But now I'm back...

Today I took part in a fantastic event, organised by the
NHS Health Informatics Faculty, on the Power and Perils of Social Networking which was downright inspiring, as much for the people who attended as for the realisation that there are others out there who think like me...which is always nice - I feel validated :-)

Four of us presented:
Rowan Purdy - ex-Knowledge manager for the CSIP (Care Services Improvement Partnership), now of
Surepoint, a new knowledge consultancy
Rod Ward - freedom of information campaigner and blogger (see
Rodspace and Informaticopia)
Paul Hodgkin of
Patient Opinion (see this post on Headshift for a rather good write up of his work and thinking and here for their blog to which I contribute also)
And me....

Interestingly, and despite my concerns about the degree of crossover in terms of our talks, we all complemented and support one anothers perspectives. It was thoroughly enjoyable to not be the only maverick in the room...

There are several key points I touched on, which were reflected in the others presentations to some degree:

1) The way we communicate is changing, has changed in fact, and Web 2.0 means the internet is now, as well as being a paradise of shopping and porn, a very large, very complex conversation. Studies are beginning to show that we trust the opinions of our peers more than those of institutions, in
retail, and in health. The consumer, and the patient, now has a voice, and it's getting louder. If we (the NHS) don't join the conversation, it will happen without us.

2) The NHS is hugely paternalistic. In fact, the UK is hugely paternalistic. We're told what we can and can't do to such a degree that we are being treated like errant children. Unsuprisingly, sometimes we behave that way. If the drive is towards a wellness rather than an illness model of care, then surely we should be able to make our own decisions, to be empowered to make our own choices, do our own research, live our own lives. Unfortunately, there's a conflict between what the government et al want us to do (self manage more) and the existing culture of health, which is often one of superiority and knowledge conservation, which hampers our efforts at self management. Informed and intelligent conversations are happening outside the NHS about patient care but these are not integrated into daily practice. Some clinicians still feel threatened when a patient turns up having researched their own condition...(I'd love to qualify that statement, but I've forgotten where I read it - so consider it an observation...).

3) The NHS is a brand - it doesn't actually exist. There is no one controlling body. The DOH does this to some extent, but it isn't "The NHS". That is actually an enormous number of diffuse organisations. That said, how do you leverage social networks across the NHS? There are a multiplicity of sites and networks, all with different focuses (or should that be foci?) so inevitably, you get different business models which drive different types of networks, silos of sharing based on role, geography, culture, specialty, profession etc. It's incredibly complex but that shouldn't be a reason to ignore the fact that multidisciplinary working is so very important for the success of the NHS. So, I bit the bullet, and suggested that we try to join some of these diffuse sites together - possibly along the lines of
Open ID, maybe Dataportability is the way to go, but someone somewhere needs to think about this on a national level. That's not to say that we should create yet another bureaucratic, hierarchical monstrosity, but that some leadership is needed, or some collaboration, but something...

Interestingly, this week, NHS Networks posted on their site a closure notice which states:
We regret to announce that, due to lack of funding, NHS
Networks will cease operations on 31 October 2008. More information

I spoke with the National Institute for Innovation and Improvement, who currently fund NHS Networks, and was told it isn't their core business, so they are no longer providing funding. Which begs the question, who would say the support and encouragement of networks in the NHS is their core business - I would suggest, it's the core business of every organisation in the NHS! But with so many targets and directives and changes and plans and strategies and measurements each and every one of these organisations has to adhere to, the basic requirement for people to learn from what they do is way way way down the list of priorities....

What can you do?

To see what was talked about at the event, you can read about it on Rod Ward's blog Informatacopia which he wrote (amazingly quickly) during the event.

A long one, but I feel better for a bit of a rant :-)

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Apple know their onions: shameless promotion for Podcast Producer

I recently had the pleasure of attending a presentation by a couple of guys from Apple on their Podcast Producer. It's a very nifty tool which takes full advantage of all the great products that come with a Mac (and I love Macs) like GarageBand and enables you to produce and publish a podcast in minutes.

It's easy enough to create a low-tech podcast, but publishing is a bit more difficult, and Podcast Producer has a simple interface for getting around all the fiddly bits. The only down side is that you need a Mac OS X Leopard server to use it.

Apple are really hot on the educational possibilities of podcasting, and work closely with US Universities including MIT and Stanford, to examine the learning possibilities of podcasts. They've developed the iTunes U, accessible from the iTunes store, where you can access 30,000 video and audio files. Easy access learning from top institutions? Go Apple!! (whoops, lapsed into American there :-)

For me, podcasts have been a godsend, and I've now developed quite a vocabularly in Spanish, having been listening to the fantastic Coffee Break Spanish podcast on my commute.

The guy who produces it, Mark Pendleton, was described as a podcast guru by the Apple guys. He started small, but has a phenomenal number of downloads from around the world. It just shows what a powerful medium for learning podcasts can be.
I'm also learning more about photography techniques with the Tips from the Top Floor podcasts - a combination of audio and video casting, which has improved my pictures no end.

From a personal perspective, I think podcasts are the learning tools of the future - another fantastic addition to the e-learning possibilties already available, making anytime anywhere learning a reality and catering from those of us who have an auditory learning style.

All we need now is to persuade those pesky purse string holders to fork out for a Mac and a Leopard server and we're off...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Dilbert on Knowledge Management II

The knowledge hoarder - that individual we all know and love...

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Learning Podcasts

Having received a lovely object of gorgeousness in the form of an iPod nano for Christmas from hubby, I've been trawling the internet for podcasts of interest. I've found some really great ones with a focus on learning, but not so many knowledge type ones.

In the spirit of sharing, here's a list of the podcasts I've found particularly interesting on my no longer dull commute to work and back.

Kineo audio interviews - great interviews from the likes of Jay Cross, George Siemans, Clive Shepherd, Donald Clark. (for any fellow Sheffieldians suffering from the dearth of learning related jobs, Kineo have just opened offices in Sheffield with Wendy Weller-Davies who previously worked with the excellent ex-tata interactive systems as project lead).

The Education Podcast Sampler has some great the George Siemans at the Ohio Digital Commons for Education (ODCE) Conference in 2007

John Husband and Dave Snowden on Wirearchy

That should keep you going for a bit...and it'd be great if anyone has any other suggestions, please do let me know what they are.

All I need to do now is work out how to stop iTunes from putting none iTunes subscription podcasts in the music folder. It's very disconcerting to be biddling along, happily ensconsed in my own personal musical bubble and to suddenly have it burst by something like...
"So Jay, what would you suggest people do to embed informal learning in their own organisations..."

Any solutions to this problem very gratefully received...

Friday, 11 January 2008

In defence of Powerpoint

In my last post, I mentioned that I had recently realised that presenting without the use of Powerpoint could be very empowering. I wanted to redress the balance somewhat, by saying that it can also be an incredibly useful tool for transfering complex ideas to an audience. This video of David Weinburger presenting his work on categorisation - "Everything is Miscellaneous" demonstrates excellent use of Powerpoint.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

CILIP event - web 2.0, knowledge management and the corporate librarian

I had a bit of an epiphany last night, a bit late for the biblical sense (the end of the 12 days of Christmas) but definately a sudden moment of understanding that caused me to think differently...

I was speaking at an event run by CILIP (Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals) in London. It was in a rather nice "proper" pub, part of the
Cilip in London Sekford Arms programme of meetings. I had originally envisaged doing a powerpoint presentation, image based of course, with videos and examples of blogs, wikis etc. However the group has a "no technology" rule, requiring only that the speaker, well, speak.

I was, to be honest, dreading this, as I've always used powerpoint and similar as a prompt to help me remember where I am, what I was going to say, to give me some place, as I'm a bit of a waffler. To be without said prop filled me with dread. But I was amazed (cue epiphany moment).

I felt incredibly comfortable with just sitting there, talking to people, without thinking about what my slides said, without worrying about whether I'd missed bits, whether the videos would work...all that distracting stuff you get with technology. I could listen to what I was saying, listen properly to questions, watch the group for non-verbal cues (like nodding off, head shaking, frowning) which I'd probably have missed had I been concentrating on the technology I was using to present with. I felt like, almost anyway, a storyteller. I'm going to try to avoid powerpoint in future...

For those who couldn't make it - I did promise I'd put my key points here, so here they are:
  • Educationalists and librarians have the same basic objective - to help people gain knowledge. Educationalists focus on the how of learning, information professionals on the what, the information, but the end result is the same - we're all helping people to learn. The more we work together to do this, the more helpful we will be to our customers.
  • Technology can help, but we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. Face to face interventions have served us well, and I think we should use technologies to supplement what we already know about people and the effective ways we've developed of working for and with them and not forget about this knowledge by focusing solely on technology. I know some would disagree, but for me it's not about the technology per se, it's about how we can use and leverage it to best effect.
The evening was a great experience, the audience were fantastic. What a great group of clever, thoughtful, open minded and responsive people.

There were some very interesting questions about the philosophical nature of knowledge. I'm fascinated by this topic, but I do feel that when considering the practical uses of knowledge, it's about what we can do to help one another learn, as much as it is about understanding what it is we know, and what is knowing. It was also great to see and hear from health based individuals who struggled with issues of access, skills, understanding and also excellent examples of the uses of technologies such as wikis and blogs in a medical library.

After (another) rubbish day at work I was really pleased to read Anne Welsh's post on the event, and to hear that those who were more negatively inclined were more engaged by the end. I feel like I did something really useful, and sparked some debate, whilst thoroughly enjoying myself and learning more about the role of the librarian in the corporate world. I also discovered (thanks to Ruth Rikowski), that there are some fabulous books published by Chandos which are right up my street in terms of knowledge management, so I encourage you to have a look at their catalogues.

The sausage and chips were great too :-)

Thanks to Ralph for the invite and looking after me while I waited for my taxi, and thanks to Anne for contributing definitions in such a concise and accessible way...huge respect to you missus.