What succession planning really means

Dave Griffiths wrote an article recently about his experience in attempting to provide feedback on a succession planning process, titled "When knowledge transfer plans go wrong". David wrote:

Is KM dropping the ball on collaboration?

Peter Anthony-Glick has written a thoughtful post and blog wondering why KM staff sometimes actively resist the use of internal social collaboration tools.

My view is that the key capability KM generally lacks is a robust framework for evaluating proposed changes to organisational capabilities (whether that be a technology, process, or management change) and being able to usefully discuss what it is likely to achieve.

The sustaining power of self-interest

I have always been suspicious of altruism. Humans are capable of wonderful and unselfish acts, but when trying to determine the behaviour of an overall system, I think it's far more reasonable to expect that people will act to benefit their own interests.

Why? Three basic reasons:

  • Local judgement. People understand and focus on their local situation better and in more detail than a more distant consideration.

The flaws of DIKW

One of my constant bugbears in KM theory is the use of DIKW, or the pyramid of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

The idea is that a "refining" process takes place at each layer of the hierarchy. So: refined data becomes information, refined information becomes knowledge; and refined knowledge becomes wisdom. I personally feel the model is, at best, only really applicable in a few limited domains and even then it is problematic.

I have two main two objections to the theory:

Why records authorities are a mess

While reflecting on the exciting and invigorating experience of presenting a recordkeeping masterclass last Friday, an epiphany occurred. You can make a good case that the current records authority process for classifying and disposing of records is highly problematic because it mashes up to six different needs for recordkeeping into a single unholy mess:

  1. to meet legal or regulatory requirements (eg retention of financial records)

The problem of preserving important information

Timothy Vines recently led a research effort to try and determine how quickly the source data (and thus justification) for scientific research becomes inaccessible. The answer: it proved impossible to source the data for 77 per cent of the 516 studies investigated, which were published between 1991 and 2011. The major reasons:

"The Mission Thing"

The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.
-- Peter Drucker

Fair warning: This is a post about semantics. For those who feel that the words we choose to describe something are less important than the concepts they represent and the actions they entail, this is probably not a post for you.

Augmentation system or service system?

As a generalisation, computer applications involving user interaction are either intended to augment human intelligence and activity, or to be a service that delivers a pre-determined capability for people. By analogy, it's the difference between an exoskeleton and a car.

SaaS is being adopted to decrease OODA loop time

(Reposted from LinkedIn, where an interesting discussion of Enterprise Architecture's role in the modern organisation is taking place.)

SaaS is an interesting beast. If we consider "work" to exist on a continuum from servitude on the left (a completely custom service on demand) to shop window on the right (here's what on display; take it or leave it), SaaS is far more to the right.

Why does resilience matter?

In response to my article on holding back the tide of complexity, Lillian Oats asked: What's important about a resilient process?

It's a good question, but in some ways the wrong question to ask.

There is nothing intrinsically "important" about a resilient process but as our world becomes more complex, it is less and less viable to implement robust processes to solve problems.