Monday, March 06, 2006

Talking with the Masters

I had the pleasure and good fortune to have a cup of tea with Karl-Erik Sveiby this morning whilst he was in Brisbane after a conference and in between meeting with clients and associates.

I may have been a bit excited as I did a lot of talking for the first half hour in letting him know of my situation and circumstances concerning my role in Suncorp's Corporate Projects Division as Specialist Knowledge Management.

During a moment of lucidity I asked him what he was currently working on.

He told me of his new book coming out in June which is based on a number of Indigenous Australian Tribes on the NSW/QLD border, looking at how they have shared and maintained their cultural knowledge over thousands of years without written record an in some cases without a common language.

He said it started out as a study of the sharing of cultural knowledge but has ended up a work on society sustainability. I look forward to reading it. (Preview)

Living Knowledge

I have been thinking about an idea related to the debated topic of the difference between information and knowledge.

Some have said that Knowledge can exist in an Explicit (tangible - Eg: documents) format and a Tacit (intangible - Eg: thought) format. I even believe the camp who also talks about Implicit Knowledge, knowledge that is tacit but has the potential to be transferred successfully to explicit.

Some say that once knowledge is recorded explicitly then it becomes information. Some say the management of information is only the vehicle, the contents could be then data, knowledge and/or information. As the original definition implies, information is data 'in formation' (giving structure).

I like to think of knowledge as having two states. Static and Dynamic. Static knowledge is the knowledge that has been recorded. It is in stasis until 'digested'. Then it becomes dynamic. It can be flavoured by the recipients own knowledge and experiences and then perhaps they create further static knowledge or transfer the dynamic knowledge through socialisation.

Change through New Comers

A discussion with a colleague last week has got me thinking about a particular tactic for introducing the adoption of KM practices and use of KM tools and activities in an organisation.

It mainly revolves around ensuring that staff that enter the organisation are given the "Upsized Value Meal" briefing of KM practices and tools combined with anecdotes and examples of the benefits gained from utilising them.

When people enter an organisation it could be said that they are more receptive to change in that they are entering a new environment and are (hopefully) prepared for a new culture and environment (don't know if anyone has conducted research on this).

What's more, there is usually an elevated level of enthusiasm and motivation when a person starts a new role in a new organisation (again don't know if any studies have been done). They may be more receptive to suggestion on ho to make it easier fir them to get work done and they may be more open to believing in the benefits that KM practices can provide as opposed to veterans who may be treating things as the 'new fad' or 'latest craze'.