What does KM mean to you?


I’m a librarian by training and I’ve been in the “KM” business since 2000. Since that time I’ve been building a worldwide network of KM professionals, colleagues in all types of industries, communities and organizations. I have had many conversations using many different channels to find out what people are doing in their KM work so that I can profile them and have them as speakers for the KMWorld conference which I have programmed and chaired annually in the US since 2000.

I look at KM in the broadest possible way, basically to mean knowledge sharing, an activity that librarians, archivists, curators of museums and galleries, and lots of others have been doing for many many years. Towards the end of the last century ‘knowledge management’ was being used to refer to a number of processes and activities within organizations. The words “knowledge management” have gone in and out of fashion over the last 20+ years but I still believe that knowledge sharing needs to be a core activity of all organizations and communities. Think of volunteer organizations like associations where people are being elected and appointed regularly; how do they pass along the knowledge they gain while doing the activities and responsibilities assigned to them? Or in corporations or libraries where people are retiring and newbies are being hired out of university and on-boarded. How do they learn and get up to speed so they can excel in their job and the organization as a whole can thrive?


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KMWorld 2015: Agile Knowledge Sharing & Innovation


Being agile is critical. Agile can mean applying an incremental and iterative approach, or evolving through collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams to promote early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourage rapid and flexible response to change.

Successful organizations are flexible and fast. They can quickly transfer and share knowledge, deal with an enormous amount of data, innovate, engage, and impact communities, and customers in positive ways. The platforms, processes and programs have to respond in a timely fashion to make this happen and to keep customers satisfied. The culture of the organization, the people, enables the transformations and innovations – and well-oiled collaborative organizations excel at leading the charge! KMWorld 2015 explores how to apply these techniques and more for knowledge sharing and innovation in your enterprise to be successful in today’s world. And it has three closely integrated programs—Enterprise Search & Discovery, SharePoint Symposium, and Taxonomy Boot Camp.


Keynote speakers are always engaging and thought provoking and this year is no different. On Monday November 2 Taxonomy Boot Camp opens with information architect Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios who has several books to his credit ( On Tuesday, KMWorld 2015 opens with popular , knowledge management (KM) thought leader, Dave Snowden, Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge who discusses “complexity informed agility” in KM with Will Evans, Design Thinker-in-Residence, NYU’s Stern’s Berkley Center for Innovation & Entrrepreneurship and Chief Design Officer, Praxis Flow and his colleague, Jabe Bloom, Chief Scientific Officer, Praxis Flow. On Wednesday, Steve Abrams,

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Co-dependency of Re-organizing & Re-focusing Libraries


Credit: keetra dean dixon @

by Valerie Ridgway.

Thank you, Val, for creating this blog post. For those of you who may not know Val, she was formerly Deputy CEO at Pickering Public Library and is an expert in terms of HR practices, policies and management. During the past 15 years she has developed the initial collective agreements for large public libraries, created their staffing competencies and can write role descriptions in her sleep. I’ve had the absolute honour of working with Val on three organizational structuring projects for progressive public libraries who know they must align their organization and roles with their strategies if they ever hope to execute those strategies. In other words, Val knows her stuff, and is delightfully candid, as demonstrated below:

Ongoing reorganization of library staffing structures and relationships is a fact of contemporary life. Or it should be. Libraries embark on new strategies and exciting initiatives, but the restructuring so critical for implementing these is often deferred, diluted, dreaded, distorted, deserted, and with good reason. Employees en masse, in almost all organizations – not just libraries – are inherently conservative: people will agree that change is needed, but when moving from the general to the specific changes for them as individuals, raise objections and barriers. It’s sometimes very difficult for employees to see the “big picture” driving the changes and, most importantly the WIIFM factor, “what’s in it for me”. Let’s face it, even those employees who exclaim “I love change!” only

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Digital Workplace Tech for 2015


Real Story Group Subway Graphic

For the ninth year in a row, my buddies at the Real Story Group have released ten predictions for the New Year.

Connected Devices Will Become a More Ubiquitous Channel DAM Vendors Will Roll out DAM Lite Drupal Split Will Characterize WCM Market Bifurcation Marketing Virtual Data Warehouses Will Go Mainstream Enterprise Mobile: Apps Will Get Unbundled A SharePoint 2016 Yawn Hybrid ECM Will Come of Age HR Will Rejoin the Digital Workplace Conversation Enterprise Social – Hype around Unified Enterprise Messaging Digital Workplace Will Say “Hello” to Analytics and Big Data

“Innovation from the consumer world is affecting both the digital workplace and digital marketing landscape as newer, cloud-based products offer simple solutions to simpler problems” says RSG Managing Director, Jarrod Gingras. “But many enterprises still need highly customizable, data-rich platforms for needs like omni-channel marketing.”

“This dichotomy is roiling the Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplaces, and creating growing tensions between marketing and IT teams,” adds Gingras.

Want to see their full report or predictions from earlier years? Here

And if you want to see a vendor map for this marketplace, go here!

Hierarchy has its place


Jane and Stephen are hosting the Symposium on “Building the Engaged Flat Army for the Library” tomorrow at the iSchool @ University of Toronto. I’m honoured to be talking about organization structures – and will miss Ken Haycock joining me. Next time Ken. The slides I’m using are below.

‘Flattening’ an organization isn’t so much about ‘pushing down’ as it is about ‘pulling up’; a large management team does, indeed, pulls ‘layers’ closer together. I’m not sure why some people equate a small management team with a flat organization — it is definitely more of a pyramid to me. The more people around decision-making tables, the more insights, the more communication, the more understanding. Hierarchy has its place. It identifies who’s responsible – and, most importantly, who is accountable for what. There’s nothing like clarity to allow everyone to see the full picture.

Does hierarchy always work? nope. Does any organization structure or design always work? nope. You can have the best intentioned organization design and yet have a total disaster. It can be flat as a pancake and still be non-collaborative with the worst collegiality you’ve ever seen. Why? Because organizations are about people working together towards a shared goal. That sounds rather motherhoody, but it is true. Organizations need people with different roles, and some of those roles are to make decisions that have broad implications, and to be accountable. If you want to call the people in those roles managers, that’s fine. And one thing

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Continuous Innovation & Transformation


Steve Denning

Steve Denning is a wonderful, prolific writer and speaker. I was just reading his recent piece, Capitalism’s Future is Already Here, a Harvard Business Review blog post. A good read. Below is the part I think we really need to pay attention to:

“The other economy—the Creative Economy—is an economy of continuous innovation and transformation. This is the economy of firms and entrepreneurs that are delivering to customers what they are coming to expect, namely, “better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized.” The Creative Economy is still relatively small but it is growing rapidly and, when implemented well, is highly profitable. It is the economy of the future. It doesn’t have to be invented: it’s already under way. Its practices represent a paradigm shift in the strict sense laid down by Thomas Kuhn: it’s a different way of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world.

The shift from the Traditional Economy to the Creative Economy isn’t just a technical wrangle about economics or management theory. It’s a shift in what society demands of the managers of its most powerful institutions: from narrow definitions of their owners and decisions that serve their short-term interests, to broad acceptance of the responsibility that comes with power and leadership concerned with what is best for society. In the shift, we are learning that an argument about the proper activities of managers can be logical, can be strongly argued, can influence decades of

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Customer Journey Mapping


Rebecca and I have talked stepping in our customers’ shoes for years as a way to think about customer service, customer experience, and “delighting them” as Tom Peters used to say. Rebecca ran across this article on mapping out customer experience and wished she’d written it. We thought we’d share part of it, but do have a look at the full thing: Mapping Out Customer Experience Excellence: 10 Steps to Customer Journey Mapping @

“A quick guide to customer journey mapping

This allows us to step into the customer shoes. It shows us the customer’s perceptions and the larger context in which we play a part. It lets us be emerged in their world, their reality. Get a deeper insight into customer needs, perception, experience and motivation. It will answer questions like: What are people really trying to achieve? How are they trying to achieve this? What do they use and in what order? Why do they make a choice? What are they experiencing, feeling, while trying to reach the desired outcome? A customer journey map is built up layer by layer. We start ‘above water’, with the customer and slowly dive deeper and deeper into the organisational structures and context. The tool can be used with customers or management, employees and other stakeholder or, even better, in a mix. A customer journey map (e.g. used by front-office employees) in its simplest form will contain the following: Context or stakeholder map. We list all stakeholders and we order the

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Knowledge Needs


Too much good information flying around at a fast pace for me to blog on the spot, but hope to have a series of posts from APQC’s Knowledge Management conference. This morning Carla O’Dell , CEO of APQC & Author, The New Edge in Knowledge, shared some interesting facts and thoughts. She asked the room who was new to KM this morning and the reaction was similar to what we find at the KMWorld conference in DC — almost half those at our events are new to KM. Organizations are all at different places in their journey to share knowledge and create smart and productive enterprises. Carla suggested that the way we keep KM (knowledge management) fresh, and reinvented, is based in it’s interdisciplinary roots (organization hehavior, marketing, cognitive psychology, innovation, IT & the web, behavioral economics), the fact that new tools keep coming and add to the complexity, and the effect of crowdsourcing in many different situations and environments. I really liked her list of the knowledge needs that most organizations are struggling with:

expert and expertise location identification of critical knowledge in the organization (whether it’s oill & gas, pharma, etc) collaboration knowledge capture, transfer & reuse search & findability

Building Smarter Organizations, May 14th!


Further to my post in March about our most recent event, Building Smarter Organizations, I have to admit I am really excited. One of my neighbours stopped me today while we were walking our dogs, to say she thought this event would be terrific! I can’t wait to hear our fabulous line up of speakers including:

Rick Huijbregts, Vice President, Industry and Business Transformation and General Manager, Smart + Connected Communities, Cisco Canada

Dan Pontefract, Director of Learning, Telus and author of Flat Army

Camine Porco, Associate Partner, IBM Interactive Canada

Sandra Montanino, Director of Professional Development, Goodmans LLP

Ted Graham, Director of Knowledge, Learning and Innovation, PwC Canada

Heather Colman, KM Specialst, Hicks Morley

Arna Banack, President, Arbacus

Vince Molinaro, Managing Director, Knightsbridge

In just two weeks, on Tuesday May 14th at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon in Toronto, we will be participating in an intimate and interactive one-day event to discuss, network, and learn to spark creative and innovative solutions for organizations using enterprise social networking. It’s for leaders, knowledge managers, technologists, learning / training experts, innovators, business designers, strategists, social business gurus, communications and human resources specialists — all those who want to expand their thinking, increase their network and get some practical tips to make their organization smarter.

People in smart organizations share what they know more easily, learn faster, innovate more. That means the organization is able to spot and exploit opportunities, manage risks, operate efficiently, and be more productive. Using a new approach

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Building Smarter Organizations


We are very excited about participating in a new event in Toronto on Tuesday May 14th at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Building Smarter Organizations. It’s an intimate and interactive one-day event to discuss, network, and learn to spark creative and innovative solutions for organizations using enterprise social networking. It’s for leaders, knowledge managers, technologists, learning / training experts, innovators, business designers, strategists, social business gurus, communications and human resources specialists — all those who want to expand their thinking, increase their network and get some practical tips to make their organization smarter.

People in smart organizations share what they know more easily, learn faster, innovate more. That means the organization is able to spot and exploit opportunities, manage risks, operate efficiently, and be more productive. Using a new approach to leadership and leveraging new technology like social networking means people are more engaged with the organization’s purpose and the flow of ideas and knowledge is maximized into and around the organization.

Check out the website for more program details and to see the terrific line up of speakers! And if you can’t join us in person, join our LinkedIn group.