Knowledge Management

Are you Shane Battier?

An insightful quote from Richard Vines on ActKM:

I think formal KM roles in organisations remain – essentially – very fragile at the present time. And, if these roles have any substantiveness[,] inevitably the agendas are highly contested. It can take years to [gain influence through organisational acceptance of the role of KM] ...

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

What makes organisations tick?

1. Organisations are formed when many people voluntarily submit themselves to common arrangements on an ongoing or fixed-period basis.

2. There is a duality of individuals working together ("workers") and the gestalt entity created as a result ("the organisation").

3. There are seven key motivators for workers:
(a) GREATER GOOD – having a positive impact on society
(b) SERVICE – benefiting their organisation's customers
(c) INSTITUTION – ensuring the standing and longevity of the organisation itself
(d) RESOURCES – increasing the funds available to the organisation

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Defining the difference between IM and KM

UPDATE Nov 2015: If you are interested in an ongoing conversation about Knowledge Management and how to apply it, please check out our newly launched online magazine RealKM!

Also known as: the debate that just won't die. Nick Milton writes:

If, as many people claim, Knowledge Management is "getting the right information to the right people at the right time" then what on earth do they think Information Management is?

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Resilience vs Robustness

An Oak that grew on the bank of a river was uprooted by a severe gale of wind, and thrown across the stream. It fell among some Reeds growing by the water, and said to them, "How is it that you, who are so frail and slender, have managed to weather the storm, whereas I, with all my strength, have been torn up by the roots and hurled into the river?"

"You were stubborn," came the reply, "and fought against the storm, which proved stronger than you: but we bow and yield to every breeze, and thus the gale passed harmlessly over our heads."

-- Aesop, The Oak and the Reeds

A couple of years ago I posted a summary argument about why KM is important. It holds up surprisingly well despite the evolution in my thinking about the topic.

In that posting I quite deliberately avoided the use of 'tacit' and 'explicit' knowledge because I don't see the distinction as relevant, strategically at least. Instead, I focused on the idea of adaptability and resilience which shifts the KM discussion towards a risk- and opportunity-based framework.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Why KM needs technology

It's become fashionable to bash the technologists who provide KM solutions as charlatans and snake oil salesmen lately (probably I've been guilty of this in the past myself).

But Buckman Labs and others that deployed technology-heavy solutions have perhaps been unfairly maligned. After all, they did see real and measurable benefits; the problems (as always) have come when people see technology as an KM solution that can be brought in and deployed rather than something that has to organically develop to support organisational processes.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Maximizing cognitive potential

First, go and read this article by Andrea Kuszewski (quite long, but well worth it – I'll wait):
You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential

Great article, huh? For those who didn't have time to go and read it, here's the condensed version:

1. Fluid intelligence is trainable.
2. The more you train, the more you gain.
3. Anyone can increase their cognitive ability, no matter what your starting point is.
4. The effect can be gained by training on tasks that don’t resemble the test questions.

We can do this by applying five principles:

1. Seek Novelty
2. Challenge Yourself
3. Think Creatively
4. Do Things The Hard Way
5. Network

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Lessons from palliative care in communicating honestly

Sometimes I stumble across ideas that are so useful and simple that I wonder why they aren't globally known. The SPIKES protocol taught to medical students as an effective and compassionate way to break bad news falls into this category:

S: set up the interview
P: assess the patient's perception
I: obtain the patient's invitation
K: provide the knowledge
E: address the patient's emotions
S: establish a treatment strategy

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

The limits of economies of scale

If you are interested in systems thinking but don't read the Vanguard Newsletter penned by John Seddon, you should really start.

Vanguard is a UK-based consultancy that teaches companies how to switch from command and control structures to taking a systems approach to management. Recently I came across a nice summary of one of the key concepts expounded -- the need to aim for efficiency of flow rather than efficiency of scale:

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Intervening in a complex system

One of the most critical tasks of a knowledge manager is the ability to effectively intervene in the functioning of complex systems. Because deterministic cause and effect of interventions is not possible in a complex environment, the basic model established by Dave Snowden and others is termed safe-fail experimentation.

To effectively perform such interventions, when dealing with complex systems there are a number of questions we need to ask such as:

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

The problem solving pattern

With the eruption of another holy war on actKM, this time on the need to focus on networks rather than content, I can't help but feel that people are missing the point.

All of these things are important, but the primary focus always needs to be on how effectively the organisation is solving its primary problem, ie why it exists. I've previously discussed my model for a problem solving pattern:

Did you know...

Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.