Thursday, 29 October 2009

"Cross that you little bastards and you die..."

Thanks to David Gurteen (again) for pointing out this particularly brilliant explanation of complexity theory by Dave Snowden, using the analogy of a party for a group of 11 year old boys...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

These are fantastic videos satirising KM and tell you more about how it should be done than attending any number of KM conferences. Genuis (and I wish I'd thought of doing this).

Thanks to Green Chameleon for posting them.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The evolution of social media tools - more than just a hammer

Consider the building trade. Think about't olden days, we had rudimentary tools - maybe an axe, a hammer, nothing very specific. As time moved on, tools have evolved to the extent that we now have a tool for everything you could imagine - there's even a thingymigig for removing old bath sealant.

Consider social media tools - to begin with, we just had a few basic tools - wikis, blogs, discussion groups. Now we have so much more. Variations on a theme, yes, but those variations make all the difference, and usability, just like with tools, means some things are better suited than others to the job. You want to write about the pros and cons say of communities of practice over action learning sets, you write a blog post. You want to share a link to a great presentation, you use a microblogging site like Twitter. You want to develop a policy document with 10 contributors, you use a wiki. You wouldn't try to develop said policy document via Twitter, you know it's not the best tool for the job.

Just like having the right screwdriver for the right screw, its clear that the right combination of social media tools can do the job better than using 1 tool alone ie writing a blog post then telling people you just posted via Twitter is a great way to let people know it's there. A discussion group to support the development of a wiki page based on an idea posted in a blog = an effective combination.

We're starting to adapt our ways of working to the tools we use. As we become more familiar with what these tools can do, it seems that we're also filling gaps, creating tools which do the jobs have but can't yet do.

This is quite exciting (I know, I should get out more). It makes me wonder what's being created by some enterprising person to help us collaborate and share to the degree that we have the equivalent of a thingymigig which removes sealant from the bath...

Maybe in sharing and collaborating using social media tools, we'll develop a sociological and psychological understanding which mirrors our grasp of construction, supported by exactly the right tools for the job.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Video is a truly effective learning tool

A couple of years ago I wrote this about "how-to" videos being a powerful learning force in the Web 2.0 armoury.

Now thanks to David Gurteen's knowledge letter, I have some scientific proof that they can have a real impact on the changing behaviours.

Paul Van Mele of the Africa Rice Center in Cotonou, Benin has undertaken a study where farmers were shown how to parboil rice using video and using traditional training sessions.

According to the New Scientist article:
"The team found that uptake of the parboiling technique by women who watched the video was 72 per cent, compared with just 19 per cent by those who attended a conventional workshop with a scientist or non-governmental organisation worker (International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (DOI: 10.3763/ijas.2009.0438)".
An interesting study which I believe indicates that the success of the videos was due to their being shown in the evening, when most people were able to watch. The video also uses real farmers, enabling the viewer to connect with "like" people. It demonstrates that a story can be far more effective for encouraging new behaviours than and expert led training session.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Is KM Dead - like a zombie, its back

Having actually had some air time (god, did I really use that term then????) with Dave Snowden, I decided he and Larry Prusk were actually the same person, until David Gurteen reminded me that there is the quite brilliant video of them both in the same room.....which proves that even those with the most similar views can oppose one another with respect and energy and get a multitude of very relevant points across.  Having now met both of them, I would NOT like to be the poor guy interviewing them...

BTW these are two people you should REALLY pay attention to if you ever want to get anywhere with KM - it's a business tool, not intellectual masterbation.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Are conferences really worth it? KCUK09 and mixed feelings

So, freshly back from the KCUK09 conference, I'm now thinking, was it all really worth it.  These things aren't cheap, take a LOT of business justification (I'm a civil servant, I worry about how I spend public money!!!!) and take a lot of time out.  So I'll say it how it is...
I spent 2 days at the Arc Knowledge and Content UK 09 event where I had a very mixed experience.  I'll do pros and cons...otherwise it will be a rant no-one wants to read:

The first day particularly was a dire tirade of vendor driven presentations where the presenters were passionless and the software uninspired
There was NO WIFI - I went to the trouble of borrowing my hubbies whizzy laptop as I've had anything useful disabled by our IT dept in the spirit of "safety" but why bother as I couldnt blog (even the bleedin Hilton only has ethernet - IS THIS THE 80's?  I know shoulder pads are in but that's ridiculous).

Three KM gurus who have had the most influence on my KM career were on the same panel, and on the 1st day, there were 4 people I considered KM geniuses within shouting distance of one another.  They are responsible for said accolade in these ways:
David Gurteen: Lovely lovely guy who remembered my name (thanks, meant a lot to me) whose amazing capacity for communicating and sharing got me my job (some blame there too methinks)
Dave Snowden - genius guy, great intellect, considerable persona, is in my considered opinion, totally on the ball with his mix of sciences and a MASSIVE understanding of how people actually work.  I've used his stuff on Cognitive Edge with incredible results.  I believe we share a common interest in Shamanism...
Ron Donaldson: - estwhile student of Mr Snowden and a properly clever sausage.  He introduced me to Cognitive Edge and made me realise storytelling wasnt for hippies (well, it is, but its useful too)  Wasnt on the panel but counts as a major influence.  Love his concept of Knowledge Ecology (certainly better than Wisdom Manager!)
Richard McDermott: Helped me by doing something practical with Mr Wenger.  I believe he's since amended his theory akin to the wonderful Tom Peters.  In my opinion, anyone who can say "I was wrong" is worth listening too...

I'm pleased to say Mr Snowden considered my panel question mention worthy - having someone you hugely respect mention your contribution is always going to make you feel good, but all in all, I left feeling that I'd have done better reading these people's tweets rather than spending public dosh on suppliers time.  I made some fabulous contacts, not least Mr Plouviez who properly made me giggle by saying he was from the "provinces" (he's from Scottish Gov). And mention to Tony Quinlan who was fantastically down to earth and really very clever, and has a dead sexy wink ;-).
BTW, @Kat_mandu - you're a star.

I was seriously considering getting out of KM and doing something without all the business shite, but talking to people with real insight and real passion has made me think, well, maybe I'll stay a while, so thanks to everyone who mentioned anything to do with human beings and business for rekindling my interest. Oh, and not to forget Bonnie Cheuk who was the most intellegent, business savvy, passionate and engaging speaker of them all - she's a really switched on bunny.

Right, time to catch up on  Ashes to Ashes (in no small way responsible for the re-hideousness of the shoulder pad).

Friday, 15 May 2009

Twitter - the epitome of knowledge sharing

Well I'm gobsmacked. All my pontificating about Twitter and Microblogging has not been in vain. I've been on Twitter since 2007 when there were about what seemed like 9 people on it, and now, well... @valdiskrebs (twitter persona) has made me think very differently...

If I'd have posted a link on there in 2007, there would have been little interest - you know why? Because NO GOOD SEARCH was available. And what's useful about the internet? THE SEARCH FACILITIES - I know I'm shouting, but my god has no-one realised yet? Whatever you do, whereever the next "big" thing is, its all about the search"!"!!!!!!!

If its 2 way communication or not, GET A GOOD SEARCH ENGINE ON YOUR INTRANET!!!!!!
Social media is lovely, giving people a voice is fantastic, but if they can't find what they're looking for, you've eff star star kayed it.......

So there. (and no Maxine, still no jokes...but does that make it boring?)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Oh how technology can exclude

I've had a bit of a revelation recently - I know to the rest of the world, in terms of time spent doing online things, social networking is up on email but weirdly, 80% of DWP staff (of those surveyed, about 400) dont use any social networking sites. Which got me to thinking, are we all getting a bit carried away with this social media/social networking malarkey? Are people still really talking to one another? (probably not actually).

Then I had a technology exclusion experience of my own.

As a child I had a squint, my eyes facing in two different directions (how attractive and no I dont have a picture, I burnt them, lol). I have no binocular vision.

Cut to me looking for good films to see - a long time fan of Tim Burton and of animation, I was all excited by the prospect of seeing Coraline. Sadly, its 3D and I can't see all (not even magic eye pictures, lol). Even the film that opened the Cannes Film Festival was a 3D animation

I now feel completely excluded, not through a lack of interest, but through a lack of ability.

How many are still in the internet wilderness suffering from that same lack of ability, being bamboozled by #links and confused by RSS - and how can we support them (and should we) to engage in this madness that is social media?
Answers on a tweet to @helennicol ;-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

New Director of Digital Engagement

So, Andrew Stott of the Cabinet Office is now the Director of Digital Engagement, responsible for working across gov to "encourage, support and challenge them in moving from communicating to citizens on the web to conversing and collaborating with them through digital technology." So says The Wardman Wire. There's a Guardian article too.

As Mr Stott has done some stirling work getting CivilBlogs and CivilWiki off the ground, I'm hoping he'll be an effective DirDigEng, (his twitter name - 1 tweet to date) -
"I'm delighted to be asked to take up the Director of Digital
Engagement role. Looking forward to building on my #poit work."
(poit being Power of Information Taskforce).
Amazing the number of tweets already mentioning his appointment. He's already been picked up on his first tweet by David at Webometric Thoughts - for following only his boss & using a hash tag few people understood. As for him being a "generic civil servant" - he's actually got things moving so far, so I have some faith in him...

It seems he'll be concentrating on developing digital services already in existance - hopefully he won't be pushed into trying to control and 'manage' digital engagement, makings rules, strategies and setting standards as Ron Donaldson suggested on twitter...but he probably will...

Monday, 20 April 2009

Knowlege Management Specialist Library Needs You

I saw this call for people to take part in a survey to assess the value etc of the Knowledge Management Specialist Library in David Gurteen's newsletter. I've stolen it word for word due to lack of time...

Knowledge Management Specialist Library
Many of you will be familiar with the Knowledge Management Specialist Library from the British National Health Service National Library for Health. This is one of the best KM resource sites on the web. (It's not just about KM in the NHS but a full blown KM resource.) Well, it seems there is some doubt about its future and a survey is being carried out.

The reason for the survey is to gather people's views on the site, the resources, its relevance to their work and also how they would like to see the site developed. The future of the library is uncertain. It has already been made a static site and there is a real possibility that it will be closed. On the other hand if there is sufficient support it may be provided with a proper budget. So in addition to the above the survey is being carried out to:

  • Gather evidence on the value of the site, including case studies of how the library has impacted on people's work
  • Identify people that it would be helpful to include in the lessons learned review
  • Identify people that it would be useful to involve if the library needs to look for a new home
  • Gather information that would be helpful to pitch the library to a new host or funder
  • Generally stir up support for the library
If you have used this specialist KM library and found it useful could you please help out by completing the survey. It is short and simple and should not take long to complete.

This is my bit now...
I know the lady who used to manage the library (hiya Caroline!) - she put so much effort into it and its a brilliant resource which shouldn't just be abandoned!!! So please, complete the survey and save an immensely useful site.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Mister Know-it-all by Elvis McGonagal

I had a lovely surprise when I attended my first Henley Knowledge Management Forum conference earlier this year, because they had hired Elvis McGonagal as conference poet! A brilliant idea, and considering it was written as the day progressed, a quite brilliant poem.

Mister Know-it-All by Elvis McGonagal

I’ve eaten all the fruit from the tree of knowledge
I know what’s what, I know who’s who
I know my onions, I know the ropes
I know a thing or two
I know the way to Amarillo
I know the way to San Jose
I know who let the dogs out
I know the time of day
I know what happened to The Likely Lads
I know what happened to Baby Jane
I know what’s eating Gilbert Grape
I know the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain
I know who’s been eating your porridge
I know who ate all the pies
I know which side my bread is buttered
I know the wheres, the whens, the whys
I know a hawk from a handsaw
I know chalk from cheese
I know they know it’s Christmas
I know “thank you very much” in Japanese (”domo arrigato gazaimas”)
I know where the bodies are buried
I know whodunnit, I know the score
I know what it’s all about, Alfie
I know the capital of Ecuador (Quito)
I know how many roads a man must go down
I know where we go from here
I know why birds suddenly appear
Every time that you are near
I know the known knowns that I know I know
I know the unknown knowns that I don’t
And as for Mr Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns -
Will I admit I don’t know I don’t know? No I won’t
I know that unlike Barack Obama
Most politicians don’t have a single scruple
I know that one of the speakers today
Used to be a roadie for Mott the Hoople
I’m a walking wikipedia
I’m a mobile reference library
I’ve got more knowledge than a London cabby
I know the quickest way from Highgate to Highbury
But little do you know that I know that you know
That I know what I know is no use
Unless I pass it on, put it over and get it across
There’s no mileage in a mastermind recluse
For facts are fine as far as they go
As long as new ideas come from what we glean
Just knowing stuff is not enough
We gotta innovate - know what I mean?
And even if we know who wants to be a millionaire
We know they know that others must cooperate
That they’ll have to ask the audience, they’ll have to phone a friend
Communicate, convey, collaborate
We’ve got to work as a team, pull together
Join forces, pool resources, play ball
We gotta sail in the same boat baby
It’s all for one and one for all
So - I know who put the “ram” in the “ramalamadingdong”
I know who put the “bop” in the “bop-sh-bop”
But the best piece of knowledge I’ll share with you today is -
I know when to stop

Thanks to Chris Collison for posting this so I didnt have to hassle anyone for it :-)

Friday, 27 February 2009

No More Learners

Jay Cross has posted an interesting piece on not treating people as learners, in the same way as a the Dutch in some areas have removed road markings to encourage drivers to be more cautious. Has some real implications for current learning and development departments...see what you think.

Jay is asking for feedback
here Twas David Gurteen's twittering which brought it to my attention.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Twitter is the new facebook

The idea that Twitter is taking over as the "next big thing" of social networking hides the fact that Twitter has actually been around for a long long time. Its been around as long as Facebook et al if not longer (I myself can't remember when I signed up, but its definately pre-cocktail throwing). Twitter is suffering the same media frenzy as all the other social networking "phenomenon", its just taken a while to gain its own tipping point and resulting attention of the media.

The profile of Twitter has reached the heady heights of the popular. Famous Tweeters Jonathon Ross and Stephen Fry have been in no small way responsible for its recent attention. That, and underground conversations made public by our very own "can't say textes cos it's not English" Radio Stupid...But in reality this type of microblogging has been going on for some time. Twitter is now so "now" that even The One Show ran a Twitter feature, talking about it in a "we're loving it but don't actually get it" kind of way and trying, as they do, to appeal to all audiences whilst actively pissing most of them off. Twitter has, it seems "arrived".

A growth in Microblogging (which is what Twitterers or Tweeters do) means that where previously we just had information overload, now we potentially have experience overload as well. For me though, any experience based sharing, particularly if it is of an emotional nature, is good...and rarely happens face to face let alone online. A busineness example for instance..."We just got the *** contact, loving you all for your efforts...." - emotional, concise, and plain nice. I read a recent Forrester techradar report on social media (which I won't try to link to due its fantastically expensive nature), in which microblogging was referred to as the next big thing, but not necessarily for business. In fact microblogging is conceptually brilliant for knowledge management but its use is still in the throes of adolescence.

All of these social media tools are like MS Office tools of old (ish), no use in themselves - its what you do with them that makes all the difference....

Current Twittering (or microblogging) for Enterprise 2.0 may be (quite) a long way off but think of the potential - everyone needs a good elevator pitch and this is what microblogging can be - short, sharp, insightful or just plain educational updates with wide appeal which take seconds to read. Unlike this post which is seemingly none of the above...

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama's powerful use of storytelling

Having watched Barack Obama's inauguration speech, I was blown away by his use of storytelling to inspire. Particularly in the last stages of his speech, he referred to a shared historical event. Knowing full well that the story is well understood by his audience, only alluding to the story itself, he repeated its imagery, subtext and outcome to echo his own aspirations for the future.
"In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet. America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, letus remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

Business leaders everywhere, indeed, politicians everywhere, should be looking hard at this mans oratory brilliance, and the effect it has on unfathomable numbers of people, and learning everything they can.