Combating the forces of fakism / Saucy dinner with Chefs Academy winner: Just 2 of the highlights from KM Summit 18

Last week was fun. It started with a Masterclass, jointly presented with Eric Hunter, and continued at the first combined KMUK / KM Legal event now styled the KM Summit expertly compiled by Nick Stone which I had the pleasure of closing.

I took away

  • A sense that KM’ers are becoming increasingly agile: despite the onrush of technological disintermediation there is still a role (especially around the 4 ‘ates – Facilitate, Collaborate, Communicate and Curate).
  • The need for KM’ers to take more ownership of such as Expertise Discovery and technological solutions. Failure to be in the centre will ensure you forever remain on the periphery.
  • The importance of Humanics: a technological literacy; a data literacy; and a human literacy; if you want to prosper in an AI environment. (See detailed comments below)
  • That ISO KM Standards are now in the final stages before publication end Q3 2018.

Preserving our history

“Never been more important to have reliable evidence we can trust. We are in an arms race with the forces of fakism” said John Sheridan, Digital Director of the National Archives, who gave the penultimate presentation at this year’s KM Summit. His topic:”Using blockchain to create trust in digital records” described their Project Archangel:

A two year project researching the long term sustainability of digital archives through new transformational DLT solutions that will ensure both accessibility and integrity of digital archives whilst maximizing their impact through novel models for commodification and open access.

As John noted, The National Archives, as custodian of a country’s past, need to have reliable digital records. Today it has never been easier to produce fake news or videos. Our past needs preserving in a secure environment so that history cannot be rewritten and laws ignored. This slide sums it up well.

So how might you well ask does that impact the Knowledge & Information Management profession?  Greatly I would suggest.  Organisations are not immune to fakism either and need trusted sources of content if they are to make effective decisions. I’ve banged on before about Curation (one of the 8 ‘ates – competencies – I suggest all good KM’ers need to have in their armoury) and this presentation underscored it’s importance. I shall be watching the outcomes with interest as the value of Blockchain (distributed ledger technology) apart from cryptocurrency is record keeping with significant potential as a receptical for Knowledge Assets.

I enjoyed

I missed

  • Much of the discussion around AI that took place in KM Legal where much of the automation of roles is taking place. The KM UK stream was noticeably quiet on the topic apart from a discussion around the replacement of call centres by chat bots. I did like one of Andrew Trickett’s tweets:
    • Is KMs role with AI to be like a Tamagotchi or in a few years time will it be completely different?
  • Any discussion about AI technology’s ability to mine and integrate with legacy systems. This, on the impact of AI and the discipline of Humanics, from AI expert, and the President of Northeastern University, Joseph Aoun, was in my mind having heard his presentation at Chatham House:
    • People are going to lose professions at all levels, not just blue collar or white collar. The AI revolution is colour-blind. Every profession that can be turned into a process will be turned into a process.

      Humanics is essentially the integration of three literacies: a technological literacy, a data literacy and a human literacy, and what I’m saying is that every learner should be – master the three literacies and integrate them. The technological literacy is the literacy that will allow the learner to understand computing, computers and how they operate. The data literacy is to understand how to navigate the sea of information that is generated by these artificial systems. And the human literacy is the literacy that is unique to human beings, that so far, artificial systems cannot emulate. And you know them, we practice them, it’s the ability to be innovative, to be entrepreneurial, the ability to be culturally agile, to work with people, to understand their body language when you work with them. To understand the global setting, to see opportunities to help people and to impact people. What I’m saying is that every learner should master the three literacies. That should be the base of knowledge.

I was surprised

  • EY have a giant ‘bucket’ (The Discover) platform for shareable content. It’s integrated with people profiles. But it was not clear to me whether or not Discover sits outside of the enterprise search platform.
  • That few people talked about how Social Enterprise Tools such as Workplace by Facebook are becoming “KM” in their organisations.
  • That KM’ers can still function in pockets of excellence in large organisations oblivious to others doing similar roles oftern called something different. It happened twice during the event (names witheld to avoid embarrassment).
  • That so few had considered the importance of ‘owning’ Expertise Discovery (see Martin White’s slide below)

From an Intranet Focus / Knowledge et al survey

I was pleased to see

A couple of really good opening keynotes from Kim Glover and Nicky Leijtens. These slides stood out as they descirbe in different ways how technology needs to enable good KM practices:

Technology in a KM World Kim Glover

“Why knowledge sharing initiatives fail” Nicky Leijtens

It was also interesting to see how KM is developing in the Middle East. Energy has always been a fertile hunting ground for Knowledge Managers with much emphasis on learning from doing. Hank Malik showed how PDO in Oman has taken Learning Before, During & After onto another level.

And I like that Ipsos (Market Research) have built a Knowledge Centre for the firm headed by CKO Simon Atkinson and remain focused on being great publishers.

Ipsos’ publishing model

Favourite quotes

  • “We have to be digitally savvy” – be there front and centre, embrace automation to do the analysis – be agile! Be in different places all at once. Focus on those that activities that cannot be automated. Sue Mucenieks at EY
  • Liz Hobbs of TfL Quoting McKinsey – 40% productivity surge if we learn and apply lessons from projects! “What creates a good lesson?” It can impact our future operations. What can we do to make the next project better and improve our StageGate process?
  • ISO KM Standard will not tell you how to do KM. It provides a framework that hopefully will help organisations get a good start, that doesn’t take months to implement. No mandatory requirement, no need to certify, primarily for internal use until the time comes when you can be audited by external assesors. Nick Milton
  • “Personalization lifts the burden… creates the feeling of being special and cared for…ensures loyalty”. Nicky Leitjens
  • “Challenge is for technology to help by improving the analytics so we can personalise curated knowledge”. Andrew Trickett
  • The KM team needs to be the enablers, facilitating and training others to deliver value from lessons learned and continuous improvements. Hank Malik
  • Role of KM is connecting. Help Desk run by Center of Excellence allows Global 24×7 support. Kim Glover

‘The Chartered Knowledge Manager’

Nick Poole CEO of CILIP made an appearance this year at my suggestion. If you’ve read “Navigating the Minefield: A Practical KM Companion” then you might recall that in Chapter 7 What surprised us, Surprise #8 was: Few KMers have formal KM qualifications. Having taught on various MBA’s / MSc’s in Knowledge Management that come and go I’ve long argued the case for an independent globally recognised accreditation from an industry body. Marketeers have CMI, HR professionals, CIPD but KM’ers? CILIP being established by Royal Charter is well placed to plug that gap.

Is there a need? I’d argue most definitely since 2/3rds of those in the room for his presentation expressed an interest in being part of the initial trial. Having run Masterclasses in Africa, Asia, Europe & The Middle East in the past decade I know how many of the attendees require certificates of attendance and completion. Such certificates might be prized but they carry limited weight with Human Resources / Personnel or an organisation’s senior executive cadre.

The imminent arrival of the ISO KM Standards (albeit that adherence is voluntary) provides a framework against which KM Programs can be viewed. An independently assessed external accreditation is another key component of the KM practitioner’s path to corporate legitimacy.

My KM Summit Wordle

I thought it might be interesting to run the top tweets from #KMSummit18 through a wordle to see what stood out. Interestingly it did not surface any of the 4 words that arose from my conversations:

  • Agile
  • Digital
  • Informed
  • Opportunistic

And finally

“Looking back to look forward”

The closing plenary session “KM competencies: A day in the life of a knowledge manager in 2020 which I ran was lively with lots of great ‘takeaways’.

The value of the exercise is giving people the chance to reflect individually, in groups and then with other groups.

It’s amazing how we all see and hear different things and this exercise gives people a chance to share and absorb.

To conclude I want to draw on Ipsos again. Simon noted it had taken them 3 years to achieve what they have. His tips are worth airing:

Ipsos’ Tips

‘Probably the best PKM in the world’: KMUK 2016 uncovered

It’s conference season which means I get to go to nice places and meet and learn from interesting people. This week I was in London for the annual Knowledge Management UK event and a cracking good couple of days it turned out to be.

IMG_4774Well attended by 60 or so KIM professionals, it was chaired by Ian Rodwell @Irodwell of Linklaters who I’d recommended and who did me and Laura Brooke of Ark @LauraAtArk, proud.

From the ice breaker opener onwards Ian’s touch was light but assured and the delegates all participated with enthusiasm.

What surprised me?

  • I got something out of every presentation which might sound a bit arrogant but when you’ve been to many KM events there are usually a couple that don’t quite cut it. This time each speaker slotted in well with the next and the event flowed.
  • The number of KM ‘Veterans’ attending for the first time in a long while commenting how lonely the role can be (whatever it’s called) and how durable KM’ers have to be.
  • IMG_4786Learning that the Govt’s 5 year Knowledge & Information Strategy (GKIS) produced in 2013 is still not published and unlikely to see the light of day.  Yet work is still going on as David Smith explained to create career pathways for the cadre of professionals who comprise the civil service’s Knowledge & Information Management profession. I didn’t get the feeling that CILIP are integral to those competency framework discussions which is a missed opportunity on both sides as there is no current industry group that effectively represent the KIM global profession as does a CMI or CIPD in Marketing or Human Resources (Personnel).
  • Discovering that the average age of people in E&Y is 27 (hence generation Z to the fore). E&Y’s big challenge for is to move from a vertical to horizontal communications and employee engagement approach. Their Communities of Practice / Skills are a great way of cutting across silos.
  • Despite all the ballyhoo around technology search is still not cutting it for most and my recent musings on the continued need for Assisted Search valid.

What intrigued me?

  • The session on Artificial Intelligence (AI) whcih included the suggestion that it is ‘parked on the lawn’ of call centres and people who have to read long books for a living and are also engaged in risk management. Today AI does not do emotional intellience very well but that is changing despite reservations about the ethics of it.  Linklaters are a good example of an organisation experimenting with AI to improve efficientcy.
  • Nick Milton’s @nickknoco thoughts on adopting the 7 step Lean Model for a KM programme and the wastes of KM supply chain: excess production, delay, too many steps, excess hand-offs, defects etc.  By a strange coincidence 7 came up in my presentation when I talked about the 7 ‘ates of a Knowledgeur. A separate blog will be forthcoming to coincide with my address to the CILIP annual Confrence in three weeks time.

What delighted me?

  • IMG_4785Christopher Payne’s @cjapayne excellent account of the Knowledge Management effort that is embedded in the Olympics.  It is the most visible of all Project KM programmes (see alongside) with great potential to act as a benchmark for all big cross border multinational projects. Imagine the expertise they have developed (with quite a small team) in transferring knowledge from London to Rio to Tokyo all in the gaze of the global public. I know Chris is keen to share his IMG_4787knowledge with the greater KM community so contact him or hear him speak.
  • TfL’s approach outlined by @LemmerLutz to making great use of Lessons Learned and feeding improvements back into process.  The graph alongside illustrates the successful postings of lessons to their KM portal (up nearly 300% in 2 years).
  • The broad acceptance that you can achieve a lot with a little.  The Financial Conduct Authority presentation being a great example of how to make effective use IMG_4790of people by using communities and having an easily understood framework. I noted though that poor search is a real barrier to adoption and that the lack of a technical underpinning a constraint.
  • Hearing from a couple of people how Random Coffee Sessions can be effective. The idea is simple: develop a list of people who are interested in having short coffee meetings with peers on a 1:1 basis and pair them up on a periodic basis.

What frustrated me

  • The continued reluctance to share thoughts / observations on Twitter, a stance at odds with the audience’s oft stated desire to ‘Work out Loud”.  How can you encourage others to do so if you don’t do it yourself?  I wrote more on this subject a year back coining this phrase: It was like throwing a dart into a vacuum.

What did I not hear I expected to?

  • Social Network Analysis: Despite a real focus on Communities Social Network Analysis was not discussed. Not knowing who people go to for answers or who knows what is a risk to many businesses if those key but often hidden people depart. To a large extent the risk from the sudden departure of the ‘Expert’ is diminishing with the rise of empowered and informed knowledge workers and processes that contain embedded knowledge.

And finally

My favourite quote (used in the content of maintaining focus):

Don’t be like a dog who sees a squirrel

 

What Knowledge Management is and why some people don’t ‘get it’

I was in virtual conversation today with Professor Fernando Sousa, President of APGICO, the Portuguese Association for Creativity & Innovation whose aims are to:

  • develop, disseminate and promote knowledge and experience in the management of organizational creativity and innovation;
  • establish international contacts with similar organizations;
  • create forums for dialogue between businesses, academic institutions, government agencies and other stakeholders in the management of creativity and innovation.

APGICO has all the right characteristics to become a Knowledge driven organisation where collaboration and co-creation are at the heart of everything they do!

Fernando and I first met 5 years ago when we were part of an Advisory Board assembled to look at future business options for a traditional hand weaving business based in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Fernando subsequently invited me to be a guest speaker at an EU Creativity & Innovation event Portugal hosted during which he used stories to develop themes and we’ve shared ideas ever since and recently met for tea in Faro.

I mention this since despite a number of conversations Fernando, like many, struggles to ‘get’ Knowledge Management though he appreciates the ideas behind it, the techniques that underpin it and the value of stories to unearth new meaning. In his own words:

Although I have some difficulty in entering your field of expertise, I always find your texts and slides quite interesting; in fact, I find some of them are true mind breakthroughs

While generous (thank you Fernando) it means I haven’t expressed the message clearly enough in language that he understands or in context which goes to the heart of a conversation I’ve been following this week on KM4Dev started by the World Bank entitled ‘PDFs that nobody reads’.

KM – the dangers of a supply led model

Here’s an extract from one of the many excellent contributions to the KM4Dev discussion, this by Lata Narayanaswamy, Honourary Research Fellow at University of Sheffield:

It is this question of what people actually do with all the reports and newsletters and information packs that we as development professionals produce, and I absolutely include myself here. My own research in this area would suggest that, in contrast to so many members in this forum in particular, who work to promote KM as an interactive, engaged, two-way, back and forth communications process, a large proportion of what passes for KM is the production of a PDF that gets posted on a website. It is a supply-led model that reflects what both Philipp and Magdaline have identified as the lack of reflection on what people actually want to know, and instead focuses on what organisations either want to share or what they think people should want or need to know and ‘how’ to know those issues. ……
Given the diffuse nature of what we call ‘development’, it is not therefore surprising to find that the World Bank, despite their powerful financial and discursive position, is experiencing a ‘no one is really reading our stuff’ problem, because broadcast mode has always been an essential part of their KM framework and the way in which so much of civil society has understood what is means to ‘do’ knowledge.
And whilst I believe that engaging with and articulating the demand for knowledge is hugely important, I am under no illusion that engaging with demand alone is going to address this issue. I myself as a practitioner have been in plenty of situations where someone has requested information (presumably this counts as engaging with demand!) and I subsequently learn that they didn’t use it. I think Peter’s example of ‘information that might be useful if only we had a budget to engage people with it’ really highlights that KM is not only about demand or supply but a continuous process of recognising the value of information to the knowledge creation process.

My own observations on that discussion were:

I’ve been working a fair bit recently with and in Middle East and Africa and very aware of the challenges of publishing dry English reports to audiences where English is a subsidiary tongue. I’ve tried using the power of 3 (3 bullets, 3 themes), stories and postcards to bring ’stuff’ to life.  But ultimately it takes a seismic shift for people to change ingrained habits.

One of my early corporate assignments was to set in place a business intelligence function which collated and summarised salient content for senior officers.  Later, technology sought to replicate this but was never quite able to replicate the knowledge of an individual who knew the business inside out.  In a way this was how the Knowledge Manager in that business emerged – a person who knew and understood the business providing the right content (with opinion) to those who were best able to use it.

I’ve been working with one of the leading Gamification experts and will be facilitating a debate on the subject at KMUK and with David Gurteen at a Knowledge Cafe in a few weeks time.  Its a similar issue – how to get engagement with an audience, a problem increasingly exacerbated by the behaviours of Generations X, Y & ‘Rent’ whose learning and reading styles are driven more by social than traditional push technologies.

identifying the value of Knowledge Management

So I was delighted when Nick Milton published the extract from a presentation to financial analysts made by ConocoPhillips last month in which one of their Vice Presidents described the value of Knowledge Management to that organisation – take a look at Nick’s blog. The comment that really hit me was:

The knowledge sharing group that we have that drives all of this is embedded in our IT organization, which is embedded in our technology and projects organization.
So it’s well integrated with all our other functional groups and we look at maps of how knowledge is being shared from one part of the world to the other and across different functions and can actually track how well that is working and it’s been pretty impressive what it has done for us.

“It is actually one of the key tools that we are using today to combat the great crew changes, we call it in our industry, where we have so many people with so much knowledge who are retiring and we’ve hired all of these younger people. A big part of how we do that knowledge transfer from the experienced folks to the less experienced folks is using these tools.

Value creation is at the heart of the Knowledge Asset Management Methodology, Ron Young has helped many organisations adopt. It is based on a concept of frequent value assessments with measurements (Change Readiness / Stakeholder Analysis / KM Maturity Models as examples) and the idea of embedding a 9 step Knowledge Management process into the day to day workings of an organisation.  It further calls for the identification of an organisation’s Knowledge Assets, a serious attempt to measure the intrinsic value of processes, communities and individual, team and organisational knowledge and networks.

For many years Ron, along with others in the KM arena, has been calling for a mechanism that places a value on these Knowledge Assets and while the ConocoPhillips briefing is some way off that it is a move towards that goal. Lest we should forget, a few years back a correlation was made between the winners of MAKE awards and their outperformance on the US stock market.

I believe Risk Management is also of huge significance and why the Nuclear Industry pay attention to the capture of Critical Knowledge identifying who has it and what they could least afford to lose through natural wastage or downsizing. As yet, factoring in the value of a loss of Critical Knowledge as a potential risk does not feature in the Audit and Compliance reports of most organisations and I for one believe it should.

and finally

So what do I take from this?

  • Knowledge Management needs a foundation of good Information Management;
  • To be effective (and sustainable) Knowledge Management must be embedded in the processes of an organisation and focus on business issues;
  • While stories bring experiences to life, you can’t assess what you don’t measure and if you don’t map and measure (frequently) you are reliant on anecdotal evidence which at the top level of organisations won’t wash for long; and
  • Its easy to produce ‘product’ that looks good but not relevant or in context for the audience – pushing at an ajar door on the lower levels is a lot different than banging on a locked door at the top of the building!