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KMWorld: Using a wiki for km in high security & low budget

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There’s no tougher time slot to speak in at a conference than that dreaded “post lunch.” Humour & good story telling always helps. And that’s what Susan Reisinger & Gregor McLeod brought as they presented “Tools for Knowledge-sharing: Wiki Success Case Study for the US Navy’s Global Distance Support Centre. Imagine for a moment trying to implement technology to deploy highly sensitive information in an extraordinarily security conscious environment — oh, with no budget. And, that the information may be about how to move a cat from one country to another, or it may be about informing next of kin that their family member is deceased. Oh — and that many of the influencers in the organization have “tribal knowledge” and have been chiefs who held that information. Those information holders know quite a bit, and they know who to know & who does know. You definitely want them on board (no pun intended.)

The platform chosen had to have an easy access and easy to use, & allow ppl to attach documents; it had to have a training application, as well as a way to relay and highlight new, hot information – and threads for discussions. The wiki supports 20 ppl working in the call centre that are responding to the requests of more than 250,000 ppl. Wow.

The answer? the wiki — a commercial wiki was free, with access controlled via the internet. It met all the criteria, plus it could be customized by any call centre to

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KMWorld: Kiho Sohn, CKO Pratt Whitney: Innovation & KM

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Kiho Sohn, Chief Knowledge Officer for Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne raised an interesting question: why, at KM conferences, do we talk about innovation, but at innovation conferences there’s no mention of KM? Hm….. at PWR the expertise is in-house — not too many other companies are designing rocket engines. So they’ve concentrated on helping employees generate ideas that lead to solutions — and out of this they’ve developed many new patents, using the TRIZ method within a 2 day innovation workshop.

TRIZ is founded by a Russian scientist — the practitioners of TRIZ will say it’s the greatest method out there. It relies on a semantics-based technology which has the logic built in. While listening to Kiho, I checked out TRIZ on wikipedia – TRIZ is the theory of solving inventor’s problems” or “The theory of inventor’s problem solving”. It was developed by a Soviet engineer and researcher Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues starting in 1946. It has been evolving ever since.

Interesting – I’m going to follow-up with Kiho after today’s sessions to get a better understanding.

Kiho Sohn overview of innovation process at KMWorld 2009

KMWorld: Gordon Vala-Webb – net work is not team work

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Gordon Vala-Webb’s (Nat’l Director, KM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Canada) session on Knowledge Sharing Using Social media Tools in the Enterprise has already given me some pause for thought…..he’s talking about the difference between networking and collaborating in a team/work environment. Hm…..it makes perfect sense, as Gordon would, I just hadn’t thought about it. When ppl network, they do so voluntarily, and the actual outcome of their networking is unknown. But when they collaborate in a work environment, they aren’t doing so as volunteers and the output is the end goal. Those are very different starting points for people, and drive their behaviours. There’s a difference between team work and net work.

So what? Well, the issues today that clients want help with require a very broad perspective & broad network; yet ppl won’t net work at work & express their opinions if they don’t feel safe to do so. I picture ppl on a highwire with a “net” to save them if they fall off. Is that a metaphor for net working on the wire, or wireless, as the case may be?

“Ambient Awareness” Gordon says, is really the need to have some sense of what else is out there in order to connect when needed. That’s net working. Email is still the #1 social collaborative tool in all organizations — I’d say beyond organizations too, but I may be wrong. Team collaboration spaces have only a 14% adoption rate — and that’s for all age groups. why? these spaces are obviously

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Bringing new hires up to speed with embedded training

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Next session at KMWorld 2009, with Tracy Conn and Kathy Valderrama discussing the experience of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland with lessons learned (LL). Banks are notoriously conservative culture where ‘mistakes’ aren’t usually widely shared. But they started the KM work in 2000 with after action reviews, looking for improvement opportunities. But they found cynicism growing and the experience was pretty negative — not what they really wanted to achieve. It also wasn’t connected to their core business of examining banks.

So, in 2005 they began to formalize their approach, and then, as is so often the case, a senior vp asked if new hires were being made aware of a case where a bank had failed in 2000. That’s how it happens, isn’t it? A senior voice asks the right question.

Kathy & Tracy tell a good story — and that’s the approach they adopted with LL: they tell stories; they involved as many ppl as possible in interviews, with a facilitator to guide the process (using appreciative approach – yeah!), ask the questions & probe a bit; the interviews are recorded & the project managers set the context for the situation being discussed. They not only talk about the problems encountered, but the solutions used – or what they wish they’d used –& then on-going follow-up and advice to future teams.

They also created some Balance Scorecard metrics. That’s a lot! phew! Developing the process took them about 6 months & introduced the process at a department

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Projects have teachable moments

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Darcy Lemon, Senior Proj Manager at American Productivity & Quality Centre is shared their findings on how to units of the US Army and Credit Suisse manage their lessons learned at KMWorld 2009. She started by looking at the challenges many organizations have in managing lessons learned including:

– management really doesn’t support capturing or using lessons learned

– people don’t want to admit mistakes

– it’s extra work that no one uses again anyway

You know the list. But she moved quickly beyond these challenges to describe how the US Army’s Center for Lessons Learned, and the Army’s ARDEC units, as well as Credit Suisse are successfully using their lessons learned. This includes:

1. they clarify the strategic objective for the lessons learned initiative — articulating & getting buy-in into how this initiative advances organizational goals both near-term & long-term

2. they set up governance – wow! – clarifying the roles & skills for all those involved in capturing lessons learned; this was interesting after having heard Dave Snowden talk yesterday about an organization that has KM managers go sit with people for 15 mins/day to help them blog their insights & learnings — this organization has learned that ppl are much more willing to record their ideas & understanding if someone can help them write these up into a blog quickly. Seems that this may apply to lessons learned too. Just a bit more about what APQC found in their work with the Army & Credit Suisse, is

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Facebook-like Space for US Intelligence Community

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Nancy Dixon just blogged about A-Space, a Facebook-like space for the US intelligence community. She mentioned this to me a few months ago when we were finalizing her participation in KMWorld 2009 and I’m really pleased to see the executive summary in this post and the full 30 page study here. It talks about how A-Space is shaping the analysts’ work bringing in cogintive diversity. It emphasizes:

A-Space is an environment in which analysts collaboratively create new meaning out of the diverse ideas and perspectives they collectively bring to an issue. Through this collaboration, analysts have the potential to break through long held assumptions to provide new ways of thinking about complex problems.

Networked relationships on A-Space provide a stream of cognitively diverse information without the costly time investment that maintaining strong ties requires.

A-Space is reinforcing the value of asking questions of colleagues, providing analysts the means to uncover flaws in their own data and reasoning.

A-Space is providing analysts a set of new practices to: 1) build cross agency networks, 2) gain situational awareness, and 3) hold discussions of interpretation, that operate in parallel with the normal production process. These new practices constitute an emerging model that provides a level of cognitive diversity not previously available.

The non-hierarchal nature of A-Space, results in analysts feeling that it is okay to offer their thinking even if it is not completely formed or thought through, increasing the speed of product development by eliminating faulty hypotheses early

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Conversation Matters

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I love the title of Nancy Dixon‘s new blog, Conversation Matters. She “focuses on the people side of knowledge management. Our most effective knowledge sharing tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge, as well as sharing that knowledge with each other.” In her most recent post, Four Conversations to Address Adaptive Challenges, Nancy defines conversation as “the interaction that occurs when each person is actively working to understand the meaning the other is trying to convey” and goes on to describe four different types:

conversations for relationship building conversations for mutual understanding conversations for possibilities conversations for action

KM & Enterprise 2.0

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Just read an advance copy of Information Advisor‘s KM supplement, Dec 2008 written by Robert Berkman and published by Information Today. I got really excited reading the discussions around using knowledge in the enterprise and how the new Web 2.0 tools are enabling better participation. Loved the interview with consultant, author & professor Tom Davenport (occassional keynote speaker at KMWorld & Intranets, and blogger) where he talked about the knowledge still being very important but “management” not so much. I’ve always thought that that KM was more about knowledge sharing than knowledge management. Great info from Cognizant CKO Sukumar Rajagopal, and loved his quote: “Web 2.0 technologies, due to the participatory nature both on the contribution and consumption sides, can dramatcially improve the effectiveness of knowledge management.” He also talks about Cognizant’s knowlege champions and their “router model of KM” — “Knowledge Creation is essentially a distributed function; the router model avoids the need to accumulate all the knowledge in one place and thereby obviates the need for “keeping-the-central-repository-current” problem….we strongly believed in the wisdom of crowds and enabled community contribution through multiple media—blogs, forums, wikis, social bookmarking, etc. We have a small team of moderators who act as catalysts in building and sustaining the community by connecting the seekers to experts as required, and moderating the content.”

But one of the best parts of the Berkman’s newsletter is the one page Recommended Sources of Inforamtion on Enterprise 2.0 — very nice! Includes books, blogs, websites, reseearch resports, user generated

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Snowden: Putting it All Together

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Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge, started with, “System design is not a linear process” and today requires a co-evolutionary approach.

Key concepts: everything is fragmented, pattern based decisions (associated with the concept of mess), complexity & constraint, distributed cognition (from fail safe to safe fail experimentaiton), natural numbers (5, 15, 150) (some of which Dave covered in last year’s keynote, it’s podcast is available.)

Existing methods: narrative based requirements, cross silo self-forming teams, managing emergence

Emergent methods: crews, coherence mapping

Project design — Cynefin, see Harvard Business Review article Nov 07 (which won an Academy of Management’s Award for the best article by practitioners — and article which Dave wrote with Mary Boone)

Dave recorded his talk today and will post a podcast on his site.

NASAsphere: Social Networking for Business

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Just posted on the KMWorldblog about a session I listened to at KMWorld & Intranets 2008 describing NASA’s experiment with social networking. Cool.