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KMWorld 2010 Day One Wrap Up

November 17, 2010

KMWorld LogoThe conference kicked off with a dynamic introductory keynote by Tom Stewart. Tom gave a very insightful one slide strategy session and gave some views into the future of Knowledge Management. He was followed up by Manjula Ambur, who gave a short keynote on the use of enterprise search at NASA Langley Research Center.

The sessions kicked off shortly after the keynotes and provided engaging information for Knowledge Management professionals of all levels.

Here is a quick overview of the sessions I attended on day one:



Building Knowledge Networks

First up was Patti Anklam, who gave a good overview of Social Network Analysis (SNA). Being that I am fairly new to this concept, it was a great intro to a foundational concept at the conference. They have implemented SNA to fulfill the need to visualize the way people are connected across various networks. They build the diagram using surveys and questionnaires that inquire as to how members of an organization interact with one another over certain time periods and at what frequency. From that information, an overall view of the network can be produced to identify many aspects such as underutilized resources.


Much of this information could be distilled down to the information flow vs. knowing the knowledge and skills of another person in the network or the collaborative potential. This will help you know who you need to call when you have specific problems that need to be addressed.


In the same session, Monica Chhina and Charlotte Holmlund also discussed Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) and how to identify expertise and skill gaps. They utilized the network maps to diagnose underlying issues and classified skill level ranked from awareness to global experts. Using the information gathered, you could then identify the skill gap and focus additional training efforts in these areas.



Seven Principles of Continuous Innovation: Reinventing the Workplace

Steve Denning really held the attention of the crowd during his talk. It was probably one of my favorite talks of the day, with great examples from Zappos and Apple about creating a radical management environment that flies in the face of traditional management. Steve's background in business storytelling led him into the knowledge sharing scene while he was at the World Bank.


Management is broken in many fundamental ways and only 1 in 5 employees are fully engaged in their work, while at the same time executive turnover is increasing. It appears that traditional management is killing creative activities in an organization and that creativity is at odds with the way organizations are being run.

Businesses are going to need to find new ways to delight the buyers who are more interested in values instead of just plain value. Ease of use, honesty and trust are far more important to new generation of buyers.
Zappos' warehouses are not run on the standard efficiency lines that are built around allowing orders to pile up until they can justify a person to go fulfill the orders. They run the warehouse 24/7 and go to great lengths to get you your order as fast as possible. This is a consumer powered environment and the buyers are in the drivers seat.

The new generation is going to have to rely on coordination and work done in short and more agile cycles. This will allow organizations to reduce risk and increase agility by planning their work in the form of user stories.

Based on this shift in values, there is a need for radical transparency. He has seen many teams utilize daily stand-up meetings amongst the team to discuss what each person has done, what they will do and allow them to expose any impediments to their work.


Steve stressed that you should make clever use of technology, but don't be obsessed with the technology.



Knowledge Management 101

Barry Dayton covered many case studies based on his 39 years at 3M. He highlighted some insightful areas such as the need for After Action Reviews (AAR) and listed many of the tools they used to solve knowledge issues. One of the biggest take-aways from this session is that this affects everyone in the organization and you need to make sure to include all of the various business units.



Collaboration 2.0: Two Cases

Terrence Tankersley and Dave Boland highlighted the latest internal Knowledge Management tools that are used at Deloitte. They have made sure to focus on service excellence and have a platform discovering expertise in the organization and creating communities to collaborate within. They currently have around 100 communities and the process to create a community appeared to be quite involved. This is one area where the open source knowledge management Karl appears to be much more agile as it allows any staff member to create a community vs. having to apply, be sponsored, go through a review board and then training on the platform before your community will even be created.


Simon Woodford from Bechtel highlighted the many lines of business that they are involved in and what challenges they face with portions of the workforce retiring while a fresh bunch of new faces are ready to join.



Intranets in 2015

This was a very well put together presentation by James Robertson. He started off with a story of how a new employee may interact with Knowledge Management tools on their first day on the job. The key was for the tools to make sure everything went smoothly and to stay out of their way. One interesting facet was that computers aren't psychic, but they do have the ability to suggest relationships, roles, and expertise to someone based on their needs. Based on fulfilling these needs in a simple manner, employees are left with a very positive impression that the organization is helping them be effective even on day one.


James' second story was about an employee going on their first business trip and having the intranet empower them each step of the way. The ability to aggregate information into a single area for the employee will make them appear very smart and prepared for the trip. A system should also allow for the employee to find out information about the place they are traveling to such as reviews by colleagues and detailed travel information.

The organization needs to really care about the enterprise environment that they are giving their staff. It is all about making their life easier and we really don't care how it is done from a technology standpoint. James also contends that almost all of this information is already out there, but it is about us building the integrations to facilitate this user experience.



Teaching People to Think Like an Expert

Richard McDermott debunked many myths of learning, such as how bad learning by listening and reading really are. This type of learning really only applies to a few types of knowledge. In general, knowledge is much bigger than just what is in your head or written down on paper. People who are experts see natural patterns in things. They don't memorize the plain facts and spit them back out to you. They see things in a sequence and are able to piece together the bigger picture.


To create others who can think like an expert, you need to allow the masters to teach. Experts have a gift, but they can only help other people develop their own version of that gift.



Enterprise Solutions Showcase

The expo hall opened that evening and was very well-attended. I managed to run into the folks from Deloitte and asked a few more questions about how their communities operate in the DeloitteNet and then talked with a few of the other exhibitors about their enterprise search offerings.


For more information about the sessions, feel free to visit the KM World website.


What tools do you use in your organization to share knowledge? Is there any good idea you can share? Please post your comments or feel free to contact me on Twitter @calvinhp.

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