Indulge me a little. Earlier last week while prepping for a forthcoming trip to Asia I read a post The problem with snapchat from a US student Allie Link who described why she’d abandoned it. This phrase stood out:
Snapchat was not meant to take the place of picking up the phone and calling somebody when you want to have a deep conversation.
My research was prompted by a comment from a friend who following lunch with her grandchildren observed:
Facebook was invented by college students for college students, but today’s students don’t use FB.
She could have said, instead they use Instagram, Snapchat & WhatsApp. I would have added (as a result of experiences studying / researching in a University library) that they also have lost much of the art of human interaction of the sort needed for conversation.
I fear we are creating a Soundbite Society, one that is attracted by the headline but unwilling to read the article beneath. We take things at face value rather than ask the awkward supplementary question. Everything is reduced to concise phrases (or 140 characters in the case of Twitter), where celebrity is acquired from social media activity not earned thru expertise or deed.
the lure of technology
Which brings me to my core theme here: are we being seduced by the lure of technology to act as the guardian of our organisational knowledge and as a result oblivious to what’s happening behind the firewall?
I see the workforce struggling to keep pace with the array of gadgets and apps being thrown at them as we rush to provide a fully integrated Digital Workplace. Tags and taxonomies have never been sexy but are still vital to find ‘stuff’. Too often people are asking:
where did I have that conversation?
and unable to locate what was said.
From conversations I’ve had recently with Darron Chapman, David Gurteen and Martin White I am increasingly coming to the view that the shift to ape applications used in a social environment in the office is not going to meet the high expectation levels being set. While organisations try to give their workers access to organisational knowledge and information, ‘anytime, any place, any device’, I am still to be convinced that conversations captured on the likes of Workplace, Yammer, Slack, WhatsApp will end up assembled in a navigable and useful manner.
If organisations, with a policy of filling vacancies from within, have the talent they need in house and are able to find it via intelligent expertise systems then why retain external placement organisations? That they do suggests reality does not reflect the hype.
the challenge of asking the right question right!
Another area where the cracks are appearing is through the widespread use of the Virtual Assistant (VA). We are at a crossroads: to be really effective the VA needs to be able to interpret the question being asked (often not in the native language of the enquirer). But the enquirer does not know how to ask the question in a way that helps the machine to learn.
I see this when I use Google Translate (which with an improved algorithm in place is very good). It does not yet recognise the style I use when asking a question which I want translated into another language.
Here’s what I mean. Earlier this month I was in Lisbon. My Mother in Law offered to cook me dinner but as I was out for the evening with clients and left very early that morning I wrote her a note (imperfect as it turned out). I typed in “I am out for the day. No dinner tonight thank you.” The translation ended up as ‘sem jantar a noite obrigada” which in fact was interpreted as the reverse so a sumptuous meal of Carne de porco a alentejana was served. Imagine my shock at turning up at 11.15 to find a table of food and guests!
the problem with Google Books and CRM ‘lite’ operations
Back in Q1 I ran a survey and awarded prizes (of my co-authored book when available) to 3 lucky winners. One asked if I might send it electronically which I was happy to do. So in July I bought a copy on Google Play Books. The recipient’s email was a Google one so a redemption code was sent to him.
Unfortunately after 3 attempts (in different countries) he was unable to redeem the code and access the book. I use the chat facility and discover after an hour that an electronic book can only be downloaded in the country in which it was bought and moreover the purchaser cannot download it themselves. Here’s the issue: I had to go back and forth and each time I had to explain the situation again; the information I was originally given proved wrong. If the most sophisticated search organisation can’t get it right with it’s CRM system what hope for the rest?
the rise of the organisational Curator in fragmented workplaces
Which leads me onto one of the disciplines I believe will grown in importance.
In a previous post I referred to the deluge of “Fake News” we are all subjected to in personal and professional situations. It’s not about the volume it’s more about the veracity of what people see that’s the issue now.
People in organisations want trusted content on their desk top. At issue is whether that can be provided automatically devoid of human intervention. I continue to argue that the curation of critical knowledge is an art form requiring an understanding of the DNA and way of working / rituals of an organisation. These are the nuances that I’ve yet to see any technology master.
So if my assumptions are right then far from becoming defunct the Knowledge & Information Professional’s role will become more important. To recap this is what I suggested #7 Curate of the 8 ‘ates would be:
Curate: So much of what passes for Knowledge Management is about creating and storing content and making it available for reuse. It’s more than the role formerly undertaken by Information Professionals and Librarians, here we are talking about being a custodian of organisational knowledge and organisational knowledge bases.
Am I right? I met Darron Chapman who runs a successful placement and recruitment business that focuses on this market. I asked him, “what skills and talents clients are looking for?” “Clients want Unicorns” he said. “They are increasingly looking to place them in global locations close to operational units. He cited places as diverse as Hong Kong, Lisbon, Madrid and Warsaw. The skills have to be both technological as well as soft and there are very few people who meet those critieria. And if you want more on this it is a topic I will be discussing in much more detail during my trip to Asia next month and Martin White will be focusing on the challenges of expertise systems in Aarhus at Janus Boye’s event.
3 cities; 3 Masterclasses; 3 presentations and a closing facilitation session at KM Asia to look forward to from November 13th to 24th..
- Hong Kong: Masterclass HR, IT & critical knowledge sharing & Presentation / Facilitation at KM Asia 2017
- Kuala Lumpur: Masterclass Equipping today’s Knowledge Manager for tomorrow: Mastering the skills of Knowledge Management & a book launch speech at Petronas
- Singapore: Masterclass Getting your organisation ready for the new ISO KM Standard and the evolving role of the Knowledge and Information Manager & Speech Working with Consultants: How to ensure two way knowledge and capability transfer
I’ve been experimenting with an interesting technology Biteable which proved really effective in creating a brief 1 minute video to advertise the 3 Masterclasses. Check out the results and let me know what you think. Its a case of recognising that pictures with few words seem to get the interest of people overwhelmed by a deluge of offers.
I would like to give thanks to the following people who made the Asian “Adventure” happen:
Les Hales, President HKKMS
Zabeda Abdul Hamid, Asst. Prof. Deputy Director Graduate School of Management IIUM-CRESCENT International Islamic University Malaysia
Patrick Lambe, Author & Founder, Straits Knowledge, Singapore
Murni Shariff, Head Corporate Services, Malaysian Gas Association
Chung Yin Min, Knowledge Management Consultant, Innovation and Service Excellence PETRONAS, Malaysia
Janice Record, Head of International Knowledge & Insight DLA Piper, Hong Kong