Hillary Clinton, recordkeeping, and the protection of process

Image and Data Manager has published an excellent round-up and analysis of the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton chose to send and receive all of her emails while Secretary of State on a private server on her own domain.

You don't have to be human to have knowledge

The post title says it all, really, but I want to put a stake in the ground on this one.

Every time there is a debate within a KM forum on knowledge, someone will say that "knowledge is a human thing". Or perhaps more specifically, they will claim a computer can't have knowledge. A computer can only hold information, it is the humans who programmed it who have the knowledge.

But in a world where we have

Do you need to be skillful or knowledgeable to do your job?

Do you need to be skillful or knowledgeable to do your job?

This diagram was triggered by a LinkedIn discussion with Eli Miron about knowledge retention.

Since I suspect it's prone to misinterpretation, let me clarify what the diagram intends to illustrate:

  • each dot for a job type indicates how important understanding the context of your environment is to success, and how high a skill level you need to be minimally competent when doing your job

4 Golden Rules of social media

Sometimes, I think that people over-complicate the reasons why social media works. It's not some magical parallel universe!

However, the greater power of customers to communicate with other customers at great speed and low cost does now mean that false, inconsistent, or inflated claims by organisations rapidly get discovered. And similarly, positive experiences by customers of your services can and will be rapidly shared with their peers.

Without trust, Activity-Based Work environments cannot succeed

If you haven't run across Activity-Based Work (or ABW) yet, in all probability you will soon.

This Jones Lang LaSalle report from 2012 provides a typical pro-ABW assessment. The report defines ABW this way:

ABW is a workplace strategy that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities. Rather than forcing individuals to undertake all their work at one

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)