Prospering behind the firewall

It’s been a very hectic period since I returned (just in time before quarantine was reimposed) from Portugal. Since face to face communication is at a premium and Zoom / Team dominates working conversations I thought I’d reflect (#workingoutloud) on ‘stuff’.

KM Cookbook: Virtual Mezze Masterclasses

In the last few weeks, Chris Collison and I have run “behind the firewall” virtual masterclasses for the South African Knowledge Management Community (KMSA) and a prominent law firm. Well attended in each case they were held on Zoom / Mural and Teams / Miro. Both were exceptionally well received- no technical glitches to report – and the brekaout sessions around the KM Chef’s Canvas stimulated much discussion and “to do” lists.

The Walford Award & Presentation

In a couple of weeks time I will be giving the annual Walford keynote address to CILIP’s K&IM Community and presenting this year’s award to the hugely deserving Naomi Korn.

The 2019 event was followed by an enjoyable dinner with other award winners: 2020 is going to be held en famille. I like that the organisers have given me free reign to choose a topic the title of which will be: “Who needs knowledge professionals?” It’s not too late to sign up, see here.

The Knowledge Management Officer

A month ago Professor Eric Tsui asked me (and a number of others in the KM community) if I’d be willing to create a short video clip for his Hong Kong students about what it takes to be a Knowledge Management Officer. It made me reflect on how much or how little the role has changed since I first came across the term back in 1994.

To view the video see – https://flipgrid.com/s/w3WzgDTksB-qfLBx

Certifying the certifier: ISO KM Standards

My good friend and coauthor Patricia Eng has been hard at it these past few months preparing for the December launch of Dr Ron McKinley (previously Chair of the ISO Technical Committee that helped develop 30401) and her program for aspiring ISO KM Assessors.

The topic of who certifies the ISO KM assessor has generated much space on KM chat groups with claims and counter claims about who is and is not authorised to undertake an ISO KM Assessment against ISO 30401.

Patricia has always passionately advocated the separation of the consultant and auditor role. Of late there is a danger, with the slew of announcements from The Gulf claiming to be the first program to be certified, that the line is becoming increasingly blurred so the sooner she and Ron can begin accrediting would be assessors the better.

Ron’s Linkedin post ISO 30401 Certification Authority of a few weeks back is worth skimming through. I am looking forward to seeing them differentiate between and knowledge audit and a Km systems audit.

Cobra meetings and Kruger report

I continue to serve on my town’s ‘Cobra Committee’. Comprising Eastbourne’s civic leaders, business heads, health professionals, volunteer groups, enforcement officers, tourism chiefs and our MP, it meets virtually to ensure a coordinated response to issues presented by Covid-19 and that lessons get translated into policy responses.

It’s been tough for the local authorities to interpret guidelines from above while managing social cohesion and with half term holidays approaching the community is bracing itself powerless to prevent an influx of visitors from areas where the incidence of Covid cases per 100k is four times that of our town.

One of the topics I raised at this week’s meeting was the recent report “Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant“. Attempting to build on the community spirit that has emerged during the Coivd-19 pandemic, the report from Danny Kruger MP, sets out a vision for a more local, more human, less bureaucratic, less centralised society in which people are supported and empowered to play an active role in their neighbourhoods.

The importance of digital inclusion, digital literacy and collaborative public spaces, are topics that, as President Elect of CILIP, I care passionately about. Libraries Connected suggests:

“Libraries are at the heart of communities, reflecting and responding to local needs. They get more visits each year than any other cultural service, with a reach that extends right across income brackets, ages and ethnicities. They play an important role in promoting well-being and community cohesion by producing a range of cultural activities with their local communities, and providing many with access to vital online services.”

In 2013, when I was one of the founding trustees of the Zero Food Waste Charity Plan Zheroes seeking to redistribute edible surplus food to those who needed it, I hoped the issue of free meals during school holidays for those struggling to feed their family might be off the agenda by 2020. Alas it is not. Our MP Caroline Ansell showed her mettle this week, resigning her government post having voted with the opposition on the provision of school meals during the holidays.

The moral maze!

Interestingly and unrelated to the above, CILIP CEO Nick Poole tweeted this:

“When you strip it down, when you get right past politics and the law, the bedrock is morality. Each of us is at liberty to make a moral choice about how we treat the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. We ought to judge our politicians on the morality of their choices.”

To which I replied:

@NickPoole1 Eastbourne’s current MP @Caroline_Ansell made her moral choice yesterday and resigned from HMG. @StephenLloydEBN the previous MP resigned the LibDem whip a few years back, also over a matter of conscience. Must be the sea air!!!”

And he responded:

“Thanks Paul! I honestly think we should fete politicians who vote with their moral conscience to the rooftops – anyone who remains in Government is morally complicit in its actions.”

And finally

November is shaping up to be very busy. I was due to start it in Lisbon but the twin demands of work and threat of enforced quarantine on my return caused a postponement. Instead I’ve 5 speeches / events to run from the confines of my Home Office or that of Bees Homes Country Office and views to die for!

#Distributedworking is now becoming the norm. The housing market is awash with urban buyers looking for country idylls in which to combine home and work as a result of Covid and firms relocating and changing their working patterns. Here’s just one example from Reuters of 19th October:

Deloitte said Saturday it would close four of its 50 offices in the UK — but staff will remain at the big four firm on work-from-home contracts.

An updated report from thinktank New Financial notes 332 financial services firms have already moved jobs out of London because of Brexit, up from 60 last time they looked in March. It makes sobering reading but presents a huge opportunity for the agile, tenacious and knowledgeable professional.

As I will suggest in a forthcoming presentation awareness of the importance of the role of knowledge professionals is growing as firms struggle with knowledge loss due to downsizing, finding ‘stuff’ in opaque systems, collaborating effectively and facilitating virutal conversations.

It promises to be an interesting 3 months: the US Election; further global lockdowns; UK’s severing of ties with Europe; and yours truly taking on the role of CILIP President at a time of great change!

why networks (and meditation) matter in a virtual world

It’s been an effort getting back into the swing of things after a lovely Christmas spent in Cascais!  Maintaining a portfolio of activities as I have since 1999 requires a considerable amount of self motivation and a supportive network. So it was nice when ‘on cue’ a couple of my oldest friends / former colleagues (Martin, James and Victoria) got in touch to arrange catch up sessions and Tony Melendez of Saudi Aramco posted a picture (see below) of the 50 copies of The KM Cookbook his KM Team ordered for the management of the world’s largest oil company.

Importance of reflecting

Over the past few months I’ve been full on helping my fellow partners at Bees Homes LLP run our annual ‘Pride of Eastbourne’ campaign. It culminated in the donation of 5 hampers to deserving people/causes prior to Christmas. Apart from managing the logistics of the campaign and mobilising mayoral resource, there is also the media and a “pause & reflect” to run so that, following good KM practice, lessons are transferred back into process for the next campaign. Taking the time out to reflect on any campaign, event or project is essential irrespective of size and number of stakeholders.  Our session which included debriefing with the Chamber of Commerce yielded a number of learning’s that would not have surfaced if we’d have not met face to face. It enabled us to also reflect on why the campaign was a success. These were deemed critical success factors:

  • Clarity of roles / absence of hierarchy;
  • Clarity over timings / regular updates;
  • Willingness of everyone to pitch in; and
  • Clarity over budget.

And this is what the local paper (The Eastbourne Herald) printed:

 

President Elect (CILIP)

Some of you will be aware that on January 1st I was appointed President Elect of CILIP having been nominated by my good friend (former Chair and fellow BSI KM Standards Committee member) Karen Macfarlane. It took a few months to come to closure as for the first time I will be in a figurehead role devoid of executive authority.  Here’s why I said yes:

“In 2017 in ‘Navigating the Minefield: A Practical KM Companion’ I noted inter alia that to achieve corporate legitimacy, KM professionals would benefit from the introduction of a set of universal standards plus recognised practitioner led accreditation. I was pleased to have been a member of the BSI Committee that contributed to the development and publication of the ISO KM Standards 30401 and the CILIP project board overseeing the development of the Knowledge Management Chartership accreditation.  

I am delighted to be appointed as President Elect CILIP as it allows me to remain close to and promote the ongoing development of a global practitioner led KM Chartership and Fellowship while expanding CILIP’s global reach.”

Knowledge Matchmaking

My wife Ana was at a charity event recently where she bid for and won a morning’s session with someone ‘Calmer Self‘ who helps:

…busy, successful people who are struggling to find moments of calm in their day to day lives…

Ana gifted it to me so two weeks ago I spent a ‘morning on the couch’ much of it in a state of meditation. I found it insightful and thought provoking. Among a number of observations handed to me were:

…when you offer advice and help to others it’s ok to truly let it go and to know that it is ok for them to do what they want with what you have given them… that it is perfectly acceptable to protect yourself from people that take too much from you energetically.

This resonated in respect of my previous writings on Knowledge Matchmaking. Perhaps this is the missing #10 on my list?

KM Cookbook

Nick Poole CEO, CILIP  (who own the publisher Facet) told me a few weeks before Christmas that the book is now well on the way to being their best seller (in 4 months) which is great news. And that was before this bulk order from Saudi Aramco.

What’s been particularly pleasing are the reviews, the highly respected Portuguese KM’er Ana Neves said:

“The authors’ combined experience permeates every page: it is in the book’s concept and structure, in the useful artefacts they developed (like the KM Chef’s Canvas, for instance), and in the way they expertly led and made sense of the interviews to then compose the 16 core chapters of the book – the KM approaches taken by different organisations.”

My coauthors and I have been delighted too at the wilingness of people to send photos of their copy in some amazing venues to contribute to the ‘Chelfies’ Gallery.  How many of the faces do you recognise?

Forthcoming Q1 ‘Gigs’

My aim over the coming year is to build on the success of the KM Cookbook and specifically draw on the KM Canvas to help organisations review existing programmes, build a new one or prepare for a future KM Audit against ISO 30401.

Chris Collison and I are booked for an event at the EU soon and I will be helping the good folks at NetIKX at the end of January to consider: Virtual working and learning: is it working for you?

In March I will be running sessions at the annual KM Summit, a K&IM Professional Development Day and AGM (a CILIP event) plus addressing a group of award winning entrepreneurs in Brighton on the importance of Knowledge Management to SME’s.

And finally

2020 is here. I’d already mentally devoted the bulk of it to helping Bees Homes and Coastway Financial expand and take a step back from KM Consulting other than associated with KM Cookbook. A recent email from an organisation to me (among others) with a Request for a Proposal (RFP) convinced me of the veracity of the decision. Dated 19th December the email asked for a written response to be on the desk of the Procurement Team by mail on Sunday 22nd December.  And it gave 17th December as the last date for submission of questions of clarification. Having spoken to like minded people I trust I immediately contacted Procurement to ask if they’d had no luck with an earlier mailing to prospective consultants or whether this was a mistake.  I received no formal acknowledgement but I and others got an email within 4 hours saying:

“… received various requests for the extension from our potential bodies and the Consultant Selection Panel members for this assignment came to the consensus to provide the extension for the submission date…”

How can Knowledge Management possibly thrive in an environment where the conduct of an audit of work done is a ‘tick box’ exercise aimed at justifying spend?  Life’s too short!!!!

 

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