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).


Kathryn said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the honest write-up. Some very fair comments there which I shall pass on.

Also set up a blog (http://bit.ly/18hMY1) and hope to get some collab and feedback on it to ensure that if KCUK runs in 2010, we put on an event that is for a community. (As opposed to trying to squish a community in to an event!)

出張ホスト said...