Monday, December 15, 2008

Does the journey matter?

We now tend to work in an outcome focussed world.

'I don't care how you do it, just deliver the outcome.' or 'It's up to you how you do it.'are phrases that come to mind.

Now I'm all for the freedom to choose the best way to deliver. I'm a big fan of the term 'fit for purpose'.

But I think when faced with a choice, people will tend to choose the easy option.

Surely we learn most from the journey, not the destination.

So what if an instruction contained information about the sites to see on the trip as well as the destination?


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Personal versus professional social networks

It is amazing the number of social computing 'experts' there are out there. Takes of back to the days of search engine optimisation experts who just entered some meta tags on your pages and submitted the site to numerous search engines.

I don't claim to be am expert in this space but I don't think it takes much to learn what these tools do and what products are available.

So anyway. There have been a number of requests made in our organisation for up to have a presence on Facebook, a Ning group etc..

Reasons range from 'our competitors are doing it' to 'gen Y demands it' all of which are based on opinion not demand or benefit.

In some of the discussions I have had with people I have noticed a blurring of the lines between personal and professional social networking. There seems a belief that you can use any social networking solution to cater for professional networking groups.

[getting up on soap box] I am of a mind that there does need to be a seperation of powers when it comes to personal and professional life. Yes there will be a few bridging relationships where you work with a friend or a collegue becomes a friend.

Maybe other people are more open to sharing and the lines between professional and personal are blurred.

I start having issues when you want to put a professional group on a personal networking site. Some have heard of the work the Deloitte have done in utilising Facebook as a professional networking tool. This has been done with the main proviso that the profile that staff use is a professional one. This does not preclude them from having a personal one but the professional one is the one that gets connected to the group.

When someone comes to me and says 'we need to be on facebook' I congratulate them for making such a decision and then try and work out exactly it is they are trying to achieve. Assumptions get made. People have only heard of Facebook so they believe that is what must be used.

Personally, I am a big fan of LinkedIn for professional networking. Now that they have provided more social computing tools (group discussions etc..) it is evolving into the professional networking tool of choice. I also maintain a profile on Plaxo (glorified address book) to pick up other people in my network who are not on LinkedIn. I also have one on Xing but nothing seems to be happening there. I belong to several Google Groups (preferred) and Yahoo Groups. I share my travel on dopplr, photos on flickr, slides on slideshare. I have my personal network on Facebook. Oh... and I blog here (when I can), tweet here and also on Yammer.



Monday, December 01, 2008

Open Source KM

aka: Practicing what we preach.

When I first got interested in knowledge management (2002) I did a bit of research on the internet looking for methods, frameworks, theories and tools (some call them 'recipes'). What I ran into was a lot of "We have what you are looking for and are more than happy to do it for you for $X,XXX an hour/day."

Now obviously there is the need for people to have a career and be paid for their services. But having come from a computer technology background I understood that knowledge could be openly shared and people could still get paid (a lot).

So after becoming aware of the the Cynefin and Cog Edge work and this being published under creative commons instead of copyright, I held a hope that there are KM people that actually practice what they preach. That is openly share what we know.

Now you may of may not agree with me but the way I see it is Dave and his posse have been developing techniques in the sensemaking space and improving on them.

So why can't we do this with other aspects of sharing and using knowledge. Yes I'm aware of issues of IP and alike but I don't see these raised in the forums we participate in both face-to-face and virtually.

So what if this was harnessed? There are a 1,001 ways to do it. What if we took what we try to do (successfully or otherwise) either at work or with our clients everyday, and proved that it can work in our own discipline? 

There are fragments all over the place. In forums, books, blogs, white papers, articles, video, audio and of course in people. What if we did the unthinkable and all contributed to knowledge technology (this is using technology in it's original form talking about knowledge of a technique)? How can we provide people with a map of what knowledge management could be? A body of knowledge.

I don't even want to talk about computer technology (yet). 

I don't want to go near the IM/KM debate because it is not a debate. It is merely different perspectives. Though they may be different, they are still valid.

I am keen to here you thoughts on the validity of such an endeavor.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starting a KM Program

At the recent 2008 actKM Conference, Matt Moore sat down with a few practitioners and consultants and asked what advice would they give to someone starting up a KM program.

The results are some inciteful comments and there is also a contribution from me.

Thanks for pulling it all together Matt.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Visual Wiki

In a recent presentation given by Arthur Shelley at the 2008 actKM Conference, he spoke about the use of wikis in an educational environment for not only learning about knowledge management but doing it using KM practices.

At one stage Arthur spoke of visualising wiki information. I have been looking into this for a while and specifically the offerings from ThinkMap and The Brain.

Arthur mentioned on one of his slides the work being done on Thinkbase.

It sits on top of Freebase providing a visual map of the information provided in the right frame, showing the relationships with other information and information which has similar relationships or facets.
I'm looking into ot a bit further and will hopefully remember to let you know how I go.

actKM Day 2 (and that's 50)

Wow! My 50th post!

As you are probably aware I am not the most frequent of bloggers so to get to 50 is a bit of a milestone for me.

After recovering from an evening of fun a frivolity (actKM Collaboration Cabaret) it was back to the uncomfortable chairs for another day of sharing and learning.

Day two was another great day at the 2008 actKM Conference with highlights including:

  • Serena Joyner wrapping up the actKM Collaboration Cabaret. A great effort at pre-conference collaboration mixed with social activities at the event. We have to do this again next year.
  • Laurie Lock Lee gave an insight and example activity of Value Network Analysis. I had read up on this a while back but had never attempted one. Good props and interesting exercise tp help produce a Partnership Scorecard. Thanks Laurie.
  • Matthew Hodgson shared his perspective of the evolution of KM.
  • I got up and danced around (presentation).
  • Dave Snowden shared some interesting perspectives on narrative and storytelling and shared some of his current projects. Always a delight to hear Dave's stories. The man can talk.
  • The day was finished off with a Reverse Brainstorming Activity facilitated by David Gurteen. A good fun exercise although I am not too sure about the whistle. Every time it was blown I looked around to see who had been fouled.
It all ended too quickly and I eagerly anticipate the next opportunity to get together with my peers again. Thanks to all those who attended. It was great to get aquainted and to reaquaint. Well done to the organisers. You guys dun real good!!

I was just uploading my slides from yesterday's workshop when I came across this wonderful little Presentation Pack widget they provide (funnily enought it's called the Egowidget) that allows you to package up the presentations you have on slideshare and present them in your blog.

Fun for the whole family.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

actkm08 - Day 1

Great day today.


  • My first time seeing David Gurteen in the wild. Did well. First half was basic for me but set a platform for those who didn't know what Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 is. I like the evolution of KM he described - from technical to social. Presentation
  • Good case study on developing a knowledge strategy using narrative input from Dr Jane Chrystal of Central Western Catchment Authority.
  • Matt Moore as brilliant as ever on KM ROI and his experiences. Presentation
  • Discovered a new way to use the KM Method Cards by Straits Knowledge. It was a version of Dominoes where each person was given a number of cards and one was placed face up on the table (a big table is required). Each person had to place a card next to the upturned card and show or 'sell' it's relationship. If you can't put a card down then you have to pick up a card. Some interesting discussion and 'selling' took place. Got very interesting when you had to put a card in gaps and it had to match on all sides. It was good to familiarise people with the cards and the KM concepts.
  • Arthur Shelley told us about his use of wikis in education at RMIT. Good stuff!
  • Eye opening presentation from Andrew Campbell of Tripplehelix on climate change and the role knowledge sharing needs to play.
  • Graham Durant-Law showed us the work he has been doing on Business Network Analysis. Good stuff. Have seen this before at the KMRT.

Fun and frivolity tonight with the collaboration cabaret (more about that tomorrow), then I am on just before Dave Snowden tomorrow afternoon.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

actKM Conference

In a couple of weeks I will be making my way down to Canberra for my first actKM Conference.

I was unlucky not to go last year and kicking myself because it got some rave reviews.

This year they asked if I would like to do something at the conference and I suggested I would like to run a Peer Assist on doing After Action Reviews. This will provide people with a "2 for 1" in using a technique to research another technique.

As a lead up I have circulated a request to submit your experiences in implementing/planning/running/participating in AARs. Feel free to share as many of your war stories as you like.

You can also collaborate on the conferences Ning site.

I hope to see you there.



Tuesday, September 02, 2008

KM Maturity Models

I am on the hunt for an open source KM Maturity Model. I am looking to do some benchmarking with colleagues and we are wanting to use a common model.

Here are a number of models and assessments I have come across so far:

What have you used/found and how useful was it?

I am keeping notes here. Feel free to add.



Monday, September 01, 2008


I was doing a comparison of a few different open source content management tools when I came across this little gem as a plugin for Confluence.

It's called Gliffy and is an online diagram drawing tool. Free version allows you to share 5 drawings with other users.

The beauty was having it in the wiki environment and it following the wiki way of being able to edit content on the fly. No longer is this just the realm of text. Now we can be modifying diagrams as well.


Monday, August 18, 2008

2008 Australian KM Salary Survey

After exhausting avenues for trying to discover comparative salary levels for KM staff (and myself) I have decided to run my own KM Salary Survey and see what happens.

If you are a KM practitioner in Australia then please particiate in the Survey.

Depending on outcomes, we'll see if we do it again or with a wider scope.

Let me know of any feedback or questions.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

KM OZ Conference

My 1st 6 months - KM Program

Here is a copy of the slides I presented at the KM Australia Conference yesterday.

I wanted to do the presentation using the mind mapping software (iMindMap) but had issues with bringing up sub-maps in the Presentation View.

Conference was good. Caught up with some KM buddies and made some new ones along the way.

After talknig with a few Engineering related KM people will be looking to set up a group to collaborate on industry specific challenges. We'll see how it goes.

If anyone saw the presentation and has any feedback I'd be glad to hear it. Always looking for opportunities to improve.



Friday, July 18, 2008

What's on the menu?

I have just had a stimulating couple of days doing some knowledge based process design work with a team in Perth.

At the debrief session in a cafe this morning, one of the team members noticed the following message on the menu.

It reads:

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.

The quote is credited to Leonardo da Vinci (but I have my suspicions).

Nice work.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Accepting things at face value

After some discussion with a colleague recently where some teachers are now not accepting references from improperly referenced sources (Wikipedia included), I came across the following quote and found it interesting.

Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as
unalterable givens.

Albert Einstein 1879-1955



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Its all in the cards

Í saw something interesting appear on the Green Chameleon blog the other day and quickly followed up by buying the pack of cards that it mentioned.

Instead of trying to write the manual on knowledge management, it's seems Patrick and his cohorts have gathered together many of the pieces of the KM puzzle and allow you to put them together in a way that makes sense to you in your situation.

The pack is split into three major types of cards that deal with Approaches, Methods and Tools with the Methods cards broken down further into five sub-groups of Interview, Group, Process, Packaging and Events (index sheet). Trust Patrick to come up with a semi-taxonomy for KM items.

The cards contain brief information on the item but also show relationships to other cards in the pack.

I am very excited and have already ordered a second pack to pass onto a KM colleague. I see these not only as a learning tool to get people to understand KM better but a good way to cluster pieces around a challenge to find the right mix for one or more solutions.

Make sure you get yours quick smart.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Time on a plane

I do a bit more travelling these days and on a trip from Melbourne to Sydney the other night the 'entertainment' (probably a repeated episode of Myth Busters/Two and a half men and the news) was busted.

This resulted in a large amount of noise being generated in the cabin from conversation. People talking to strangers. Interesting discussion between a 40 odd gentlemen and an early twenties lady behind me. Two colleagues talking work gossip in front. Rabi across the aisle and me on my own (I need the leg room). It did allow me to catch up on some reading over the din.

Maybe we need to turn off the 'entertainment' to allow some real conversations to take place in our organisations.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Collaborating outside the firewall

I had been asked recently to share my knowledge of some of the collaboration/sharing tools that are out there (beyond the firewall), available for little or no cost and differ from the 'classic' social computing apps (wikis & blogs).

So here are a few I have been stashing away in my favourites when I come across them.

I have come across a number of these tools by monitoring a few blogs/feeds, groups and email newsletters including:



Thursday, May 01, 2008

Free Resource

Always happy to come across a free resource. Yes the quality varies but this one seems to have some value.


Quantum2 is the Thomson Scientific leadership development program for information professionals. It provides the resources to help you transform your organization...the power to lead change.

Thanks to Denise Cadman for the introduction.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Which knowledge to use?

I have had a picture in the front of my notebook for a while now and finally had the opportunity to turn it into something a bit more presentable.

Original Sketch


It talks to a concept along the lines that people make subconscious decisions about what sources of knowledge and information they will use to find answers.

This ranges from a person's own tacit and explicit sources, personal networks, local resources (team mates, team folders, colleagues) to enterprise wide sources and beyond the walls of the organisation.

It mainly talks about some of the factors that effect which sources people decide to use. These can be based on trust, ease of access, ease of use, reputation and previous experiences.

No empirical evidence to back this up. Just a concept I thought about a while back that makes sense for me. What do you think?



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I knew it...

Bobbing in the torrent of feeds I found this little beauty from the New York Times.

Writers blog till they drop

Published: April 6, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

I now feel vindicated in only doing the occasional post when I have the
time. It's purely for health reasons.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Speaking of Google...

You know how you have those friends that send youstuff that gets passed around on the tide of email? And most of the time it is either chain emails, kittens doing stupid things or depp and meaningful quotes?

I have a couple of those and occasionally they come across something that surprises you.

I received such an email today and it was a presentation containing some photos of the Google Zurick offices. I love the ski lift meeting rooms. I was amazed and immediately started thinking about what we could be doing in our space to provide fun environments where people are happy, productive, collaborating and sharing what they know.

What can you do in your space? Have you seen environments that you think would be so cool to work in? I want more. Send them to me (cool workspaces that is, not the stupid cats).



Monday, March 24, 2008

It has finally arrived - Google Sites

A while back I started a little site on Google Apps ( combined with a group on Google Groups. This is a private group of people who are involved with the coordination of a variety of groups related to Knowledge Management in Australia.

Whilst having a look at Google Apps today I noticed that they have finally added the long awaited Google Sites functionality. This is based on JotSpot that Google bought over 18 months ago and had since been integrated below the radar.

This probably doesn't mean much to people on the surface but what it means in the market is that Google is now offering a wiki solution. Imagine for a minute what that means?



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Defining KM

Ray Sims has recently done some work on collecting 43 definitions for knowledge management.

This has been a recurring theme on the actKM list that gets debated every now and again.

It is interesting when you plug them all into the Many Eyes toolset from IBM and see what the tag cloud looks like. Also try the two word view.



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Using patterns

I reflect on an enjoyable day where I have been refreshing my knowledge about First Aid.

It has been near on 20 years since I undertook my last First Aid course and I still remember going along with my mother and a number of her work mates to several weeks of night classes at the Emerlad Ambulance Station.

I can say the recall on a few things was there and some were even displayed without concious effort (putting a person into a recovery position).

Only a few things have changed and in a more simplified matter. It was a contrast to have an instructor which took an outcome approach. Where as in the past training had been quite pedantic on how to bandage and where to tie a sling, this approach was more about 'fit for purpose'.

The one thing that did ring with me though was his marking of the end of day quiz. The instructor would have spent no more than half a second in browsing the results of the 10 question multichoice quiz to ascertain a persons score. For those of us who passed (> 8/10) this was supported but for those who did not do so well, they questioned how the instructor was able to arrive at the mark with only a cursory glance.

His response was along the lines of "I have marked thousands of these tests and know the pattern of the answers." He was comparing the pattern of valid answers with what appeared on paper as opposed to item by item comparison and validation.

I found this quite refreshing and look forward to the second and final day of my First Aid refresher.



Friday, February 22, 2008

Two sides of the same coin

I had a fantastic conversation today with the Manager of our strategy area. This is the first opportunity we have had to talk face to face since I started two and a half months ago and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Our conversation ended up highlighting two sides to the same coin in relation to the role of a Knowledge Manager.

On one side of the coin we talked about the "influence gig", the evangelist. The role of the manager to work with parts of the business on developing their understanding of knowledge management and the benefits it can provide as well as supporting the development their strategic plans. This is an enterprise wide activity that not only involves the areas of the business that are delivering to customers but also the corporate service aspects of the business (HR, IT, Finance etc..).

On the other side there is the "service provider". Supporting the business by providing the services, knowledge and tools they need to execute their strategies and deliver quality outcomes.

At this point in time I am a team of one and not necessarily able to excel in either of these areas whilst Í am constantly spinning the coin. It is an ability to be able to switch between strategic and operational roles but it is not necessarily a sustainable endeavour.

So in developing our KM strategy I need to look at this balance. How can I provide in the role of advisor and supplier? What roles and resources will we need? It will be through some great conversations, like the one today, that I hope to collaborate with my stakeholders and consumers on a suitable solution.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Done and dusted

It has been a great couple of days at the conference where I have met some new KM friends.

Thanks to all those who attended and participated in the discussions.

It has been thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to catching up in the future.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Melbourne

I find myself in Melbourne for most of next week presenting and attending a conference on Facilitating Knowledge Transfer and Retention in the Modern Workplace.

I'll be posting my presentation on Understanding the new breed of employee to Slideshare after the event for those who might be interested.

If you are attending let me know and come and introduce yourself. I'm not shy.



QKM Forum

For those who may not know, I am currently championing the Queensland Knowledge Management Forum as it's Chairperson.

Currently we get together for coffee on the fourth Thursday of the month and track down any KM gurus to share their knowledge when they come through town.

The group has an online home at

So if you are in Brisbane and you have an interest in knowledge management come and say hello.



Anecdote coming to Brisneyland

It doesn't happen too often so when it does it's good to jump up and down and make some noise.

One of Australia's (and the world's) leading players in the narrative field are coming to Brisbane.

Anecdote are holding one of their workshops on Narrative Techniques in Business in Brisbane on the 27th of March 2008.

Highly recommend participating in the one day workshop with some of the leading people in the field guiding your learning.

Tell 'em I sent ya.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Get on board.


Intro to social computing

A colleague plucked up the courage to approach me today and ask about how I keep up to date.

They have a major issue with email overload and are a little technologically challenged.

After a bit of discussion around the details of the issue we had a look at some blogs, RSS Feeds and social tagging tools.

It was then I tied a few threads together (Chris Collison - Social Bookmarking made simple...; Patrick Lambe - Blogs can calm the raging sea; Matt Moore - You've got (more) mail; Chris Fletcher - Do you RSS?) and ended up directing them to some great short intros to various social computing tools at Commoncraft including:

Great way to communicate the meaning without a camtasia screenshot fest.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

which wiki?

I have recently been reminded of a search I undertook in early 2006 when hunting a free hosted wiki service for the QKM Forum.

A question was posed on the actKM mail list by Adrian Young in the Office of Road Safety in WA, to assist in his quest for finding a hosted wiki solution.

I had to share one of the sources of my research, A nifty little site that compares a large number of wiki suppliers in a number of criteria.

We ended up going with Wikispaces and it hasn't dissapointed. Record of conversation can be found on the new actKM wiki.