Bounding your system risk by retaining alternative completion methods

From ACM Queue, via RISKS Digest, an essential quote from Dan Geer on the risk of relying on the Internet for critical infrastructure:

Risk is a consequence of dependence. Because of shared dependence,
aggregate societal dependence on the Internet is not estimable. If
dependencies are not estimable, then they will be underestimated. If they
are underestimated, then they will not be made secure over the long run,
only over the short. As the risks become increasingly unlikely to appear,

Check-up: Exposing the problems with government recordkeeping, or covering them up?

In a little over three months' time, the final mandatory Check-up submission will be sent by departments and agencies to the National Archives of Australia for collation and reporting to the Minister.

These Check-up surveys benchmark agencies against the minimum recordkeeping requirements they must achieve by 2015 to be compliant with the Digital Transition Policy. This digital transition requires a majority of records in agencies to be handled electronically, with a minimum of new paper records created.

The surveys are worthy, but flawed.

[Read on to find out about the problems]

Launch of knowquestion workshops

knowquestion is proud to launch a series of workshops focusing on practical solutions to organisational problems. While grounded in Information Management and Knowledge Management theory, the workshops aim to fill skills gaps which are critical in order to deliver useful, compliant information systems and productive organisational outcomes. Jargon will be kept to a minimum with a focus on transferring skills that can be immediately put into practice.

Running in July and August 2013, these workshops are essential for managers and staff committed to delivering value, and improving their professional skills and craft.

[Details of the three types of workshops]

Information Awareness Month: CRM + EDRMS = PITA?

During May a.k.a Information Awareness Month 2013, I hope you enjoy this series of reflections on the current state of Information Management.

Technically this isn't a new contribution, since my article on integrating CRM + EDRMS systems was originally published in the March-April 2013 issue of Image and Data Magazine. However, the article is now available to read from the knowquestion website for your enjoyment.

[Read an excerpt of the article]

Google Glass, CCTV and the future of recordkeeping

In a capital city near you, in the near distant future ...

Pierre, Frieda and Walter are in AcmeCo's meeting room for an important contractual discussion. The red light of a CCTV blinks unobtrusively in the corner of the room, capturing every word and actions in 1080p HD video, with secondary lenses running OCR transcripts of every piece of text on every document displayed in the room. Walter, from BondCo, is wearing his Google Glass Neo fashion range, blue record light serenely notifying that he is streaming the conversation back to BondCo's cloud-based record bank.

The conversation is friendly, but occasionally a watcher from the present would be jarred by an odd turn of phrase. These special phrases are those which legal precedent has deemed to demonstrate that obligations of good faith are incurred or avoided.

Similar scenes are taking place in coffee shops and pubs all across the city between colleagues, friends, and family. For the most part, small talk becomes more measured; people know that anything might be recorded and reflected back on them at some point in the future. Others see the constantly recorded environment making pretence pointless, and embrace complete authenticity – as if daring people to ridicule their human foibles.

[Welcome to the always-on recordkeeping world.]

4 Disciplines for Online Discussions

In a recent exchange on the SIKM Leaders discussion board, Kate Pugh wrote a wonderful short piece on treating online discussions as "a team sport, where the goal is collective insight". You should read the whole piece, but this is my favourite part:

The four discussion disciplines are:

  1. Integrity (using your true voice and asking questions that are crisp and engaging)

Classes of knowledge

It's always dangerous to try and classify "knowledge", a notoriously slippery and difficult concept. But if we treat knowledge as an enabler of purposeful action, it becomes easier to think about where and how knowledge becomes relevant.

[Read on to learn about foundational, situational, and cultural knowledge]

Using Scrum to manage teams

As buzzwords like "agility" and "resilience" gain currency, there is increased interest in Scrum as a general business management tool. However, there is some skepticism since Scrum has historically been mainly used in aid of software development.

Information Awareness Month: Can we make forms smarter?

During May a.k.a Information Awareness Month 2013, I hope you enjoy this series of reflections on the current state of Information Management

As anyone who has ever had to deal with a government department or large corporation knows, a large proportion of requests need to be initiated by filling out a form. These can be paper, paper-analogue (ie PDF) or online forms.

The logic of having forms seems impeccable: By making it clear what the organisation needs to know upfront to complete the request, the need for back-and-forth correspondence can be eliminated, leading to more efficient service.

However forms have an unfortunate side-effect. The time taken by people to fill out and submit information is "free" from the perspective of the organisation receiving the forms. Therefore, there is a strong incentive to push as much effort as possible on to the submitter.

[Read on to see how forms create inefficiency]

When to use external motivation

It's well established that paying for tasks people already find enjoyable may have the perverse effect of reducing their motivation to conduct those activities.