Hear a CEO’s view of the Knowledge Sharing culture change

Very few CEOs have written about KM, and even fewer have spoken about in on video. Here is one example, which helps us to understand the CEOs view of the topic.

This video of Bob Buckman, CEO of Buckman Labs, was recorded in Greenwich University in 2006, and in the video Bob describes the approach to KM used by Buckman labs, and the reasons behind the choices they made. He makes some very interesting points, and I include some of them below the video window.

“Knowledge can take many forms, but the principal ones we are concerned with are either written down, or between the ears and behind the eyeballs. Our experience indicates that about 90% of the Knowledge in your organisation is here (taps head) not written down. And what is typically written is frequently out of date as soon as you write it down. Therefore if we want to be dynamic as an organisation we need to focus on this stuff (taps head again) not what’s written down”.

“If you have 5 people sharing knowledge around almost anything, you will get a very high quality response out of the process. It’s almost an automatic quality control mechanism”.

“(In KM) we have to provide benefits to each individual as they try to define their personal time equation of work. People will use those systems that provide them benefits in doing whatever they are trying to do, and I will be very honest – if it doesn’t provide those individuals with enough benefits, they won’t use it, no matter how good your IT people think it is”
“We want to leverage Knowledge through networks of people who collaborate, not networks of technology. Connectivity begins with groups of people who want to accomplish something for the organisation beyond the face to face world. Technology is the tool that makes the connections.”
“People networks leverage Knowledge through organisational pull rather than centralised information push. I don’t know of any individual in any organisation today who can deal with the amount of stuff which is pushed out to them… So focus on satisfying the need for help in solving real problems in real day to day operations, not at pushing information at your people”.

“As we expand an individual’s span of communication through technology, you automatically begin to expand their sphere of influence. And as that span of influence expands, your individual expands and their value increases, both to the organisation, and the individual becomes more valuable to themselves. Think in terms of giving your associates the same opportunity to expend their own span of influence as if they were all promoted to CEO of the organisation. That’s scary I know, but that’s what we have done, and it works”.

“We have got to move from hoarding Knowledge to gain power, to sharing Knowledge to gain power. If I hired a PhD tomorrow and they didn’t share anything they knew with anyone else, their value would be zero. So if you have people who do not want to share, their value is nowhere near as high as those who do want to share”.

“Now you are not going to get there from the direction of the IT department, though I hate to say it. When we talk about culture change it’s got to be led by those who are in command, not the IT department. If you are throwing the monkey on the IT department’s back, you are doing everyone a disservice”.

“Reduce the number of transmissions of knowledge to 1, to reduce the level of distortion of that knowledge”.

“The greatest Knowledge base in the company is in the heads of the individuals associated in the company, so we have to give everyone access to everyone else in the company across the organisational barriers to communication. We have to go across the organisational silos of the organisation, and that scares most people right there”.

“Sharing of Tacit Knowledge by the users will generate the content to update the Explicit Knowledge of the company”.

“Individually we are all vulnerable to being beaten, but by collaborating together we can win in any situation, We need to focus on the importance of harnessing the minds that are in our organisation, to meet our needs anytime, anywhere. It’s the most powerful weapon you have available in the competitive arena today”.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Knowledge Management Awards – brilliant Multimedia example

The link below is to an excellent and high-quality multimedia description of the Knowledge Management Awards 2007 at ConocPhillips, introduced by the Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production, John Lowe

It provides a glimpse into how a mature KM program maintains visibility, and recognises the good KM performers.


View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How to learn from critical decisions (video)

This video from the University of Bath, UK, shows Joseph Borders describing a varation of the Critical Decision Method.

This is a method used to elicit knowledge from an expert, in the context of an unusual even they were involved in, through an analysis of their decision making process.

You might use this technique as part of a Knowledge retention strategy for example, or as a form of Retention Interview.

The Critical Decision Audit: Blending the Critical Decision Method & the Knowledge Audit from University of Bath on Vimeo.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

4 myths of the Enterprise wiki

An article from 2009 gives us 3 reasons why wikis are not the easy route to KM that many believe. I have added a fourth

This comes from an article in pcworld based on a interview with Danish Analyst Dorthe Jespersen. Dorthe’s believes that the organisational culture can be a real barrier to the adoption of wikis, and the idea that wikis will allow knowledge to spontaneoulsy emerge, as on Wikipedia, is unfounded.

Her three myths are as follows

 Myth One: Wikis will motivate employees to contribute content. 
 Jespersen describes the “Empty wiki syndrome,” or when a wiki is deployed without a clear purpose or is too general in its focus, resulting in a site with almost no activity. It helps, said Jespersen, to appoint someone to manage the wiki, ensure there is structure like guidelines and a basic information architecture, and that it is launched with content already posted because “it’s very hard to just react to this empty space for the user.”

 Myth Two: Employees know how to contribute. 
 The concept of a wiki may be simple, but contributing content is not necessarily logical for casual users. Jespersen said some organizations prefer to refer to existing written policies around content creation that say, for instance, employees are responsible for the content they produce. But policies can be tricky considering the goal is to strike a balance between governance and structure and flexibility. Some wiki-specific policies might include guidelines around creating pages that are easy to read by having a table of contents if the page is long, or having a naming system for links to ensure consistency. 

 Myth Three: Wikis will always provide the information employees need. 
 Although searchability is often a selling point of wikis, Jespersen said the reality is wikis are difficult to search through, unlike a content management system. Given there is little structure built into wikis, “it is difficult to structure this information to make it findable the next day even.” Content on a wiki can grow faster than the organization can keep up, she said, therefore the wiki managers must perform regular searches and quality checks of the content. Overall, Jespersen suggested starting with a pilot so that the true purpose and scope of the wiki can be first ascertained before an enterprise-wide launch.

Underlying all of this is a fourth myth, which is still prevalent, and which I feel should be added to the list:

Myth Four: Wikipedia is a good model for in-house Wikis

Wikipedia is the archetypal bottom-up Wiki, drawing on the wisdom of the crowds, and is often taken as a model of bottom-up voluntary free-form knowledge sharing. However it is a poor model, for several reasons:

  1. Wikipedia is successful because it draws on a huge crowd – the population of the globe. even though the percetnage of Wiki contributors compared to teh global population is tiny, that doesnt matter because the global population is so large. A similat tiny percentage in an organisation would mean that a very small number of contributors provided the bulk of the content.
  2. That tiny percentage of Wikipedia contributors is a skewed population.  Wikipedia contributors are 80-90% male, more than 65 percent single, more than 85 percent without children, around 70 percent under the age of 30. This is the wisdomn of a subset of the crowd. You do not want this skewed viewpoint in an organisation. 
  3.  Editing wikipedia is not a case of “everyone writes what they like”. There is usually editorial overview or moderation of most pages other then the fairly niche ones. A similar form of editorial oversight is needed in organisations as well.
  4. If you want more advice, see NASA’s 6 wiki rules
  5. This video….

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How Deloitte revisit and refine their KM strategy

This video, hosted by SearchContentManagement.com, is a talk given by Rosemary Amato, the Deloitte program director for global client intelligence, during KM World 2011 during which she describes how Deloitte keeps its KM strategy current.

Deloitte surveys their staff to test how people use knowledge, share knowledge and collaborate. Based on the responses, they can make changes to their KM strategy. The interesting thing here is the way they focus on needs of the users.

As Amato says

“We want to understand the people using our knowledge assets; what they want and how they want to work. The end user needs to value how knowledge can serve them, and without this no KM department can succeed. They need to know what knowledge they need, who to call, where to look for it and how to search for it, and most importantly they get an answer that solves their need.”

She also talks about how knowledge sharing is embedded in the way people work, including the need to capture knowledge from departing experts. She describes how one expert worked one on one with younger consultants for 6 months, to share and capture his knowledge.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

The NATO lesson learned portal

The video below is a neat introduction to the concept behind the new Lesson Learned Portal at NATO

The video is publically available on the Youtube channel of JALLC, the joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre at NATO

The Youtube description is as follows:

The NATO Lessons Learned Portal is the Alliance’s centralized hub for all things related to Lessons learned. It is managed and maintained by the JALLC, acting as NATO’s leading agent for Lessons Learned. 

Observations and Best Practices that may lead to Lessons to be Learned can be submitted to the Portal, and the JALC will ensure that these Observations find their way through the NATO Lessons Learned Process. 

The information shared on the NATO Lessons Learned Portal can help saving lives. The little piece of information you have, may be the fragment missing to understand the bigger problem/solution – make sure you share it.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

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