20 July 2008

Google your Passions!

Many of you will know that one of my great pleasures in life is to sit for a number of hours and ponder the meaning of life through the lens of a game called Go. The simple rules and massive 19 x 19 playing field combined with the feel and sound of the game pieces never fail to satisfy.

Shusaku Goban_0593white

So it was with some excitement today that I came across Helen Hasan's work on a project called Go*Team. Helen is one of the esteemed people involved in the Australian Standard for Knowledge Management and also HB 190-2006 Success through knowledge - a guide for small business.

Helen is an Australian researcher who is interested in emergent properties of complex systems such as organisational cultures. Her focus over the last few years has been to use a computer based team version of Go to look at how teams build knowledge cultures, react under pressure, make decisions based on limited information and respond in environments when lack of trust is an issue.

Some of the papers can be found here if you want to read more about the project, but to summarise, the game is played by two teams over an electronic network. Each player can only see their own moves and any moves of the other team near their own. Players can use email, IM, phone, even face-to-face meetings to communicate and strategise, but unlike standard Go, where each player takes a turn in succession, all players can move as soon as a "rest" period is up, so fast action is a distinct advantage.

The findings from the research are quite interesting and because the rules of the game have been subtely adjusted to more accurately simulate the pressures of a corporate environment, the following conclusion from her December 2006 conference paper indicates some strong lessons for how we should manage the knowledge sharing cultures within our businesses. (This paper also describes the rules of the game itself).

Many research studies have shown that effective knowledge sharing arises from effective leadership, a positive communication climate, appropriate reward and recognition, socialising, and commitment to a common goal. However, trust appears to be an over-riding requirement, one that provides the glue that binds these processes and strategies for effective social learning and knowledge management. Knowledge sharing cannot be mandated, it must occur willingly but it is essential first for a supportive knowledge sharing culture to exist. Trust underpins the team building behaviours and attitudes that result in the confidence and cohesion needed to openly share knowledge, construct new knowledge and build stronger organizations.

I have no idea why I never searched for an intersection of my two over-riding interests, Knowledge Management and Go, but I encourage you to right now. Get to it! Maybe their are other Monster Truck drivers out there interested in knitting! You never know.

Anyway, I have to go. I want to know if their are any Ice Hockey players that play Go and have a penchant for photography...

06 July 2008

Managing risk from knowledge failure

Counting the cost of knowledge problems is always a tricky affair.

Knowledge itself is an intangible asset in the first place and despite some excellent work by Professor Karl-Eric Sveiby, Thomas Stewart and Professor Bill Martin (RMIT) and others like them, a lot of company boards and an even larger numbers of accountants still struggle to find a place for it in business plans and balance sheets.

Some say it is not a hard asset so it is impossible to place value against it. Others claim that while it costs real dollars to implement knowledge strategies, the use of the transferred knowledge is so complex in nature that the outcome is unmeasurable.

But should that cause us to give up and ignore knowledge problems in our organisations? It would seem we do this at our peril because a recent post by Graham Durant-Law about the B2 Bomber crash in Guam shows that while knowledge transfer and reuse can be hard to predict, it is very easy to discover when looking in hindsight. Read Graham's post here and take ten minutes to think about what disasters could happen in your organisation then what types of "knowledge failures" would create the conditions for them. You might just save yourself $1.4 billion!

Are you stuck for ideas or would like to share a past failure so others can learn? Check out The Mistake Bank - a web site with stories of failures, slip-ups and mistakes you might like to avoid.

02 July 2008

Welcome to Delta Knowledge!

You found it!

This is my blog on all things KM and Collaboration.

This is the public version of a study blog I have been keeping for a few years now.

I will slowly copy across older posts as I get time, but for now the last few months are on here. You can access them through the archive section on the left on by searching by label.

Feel free to comment on any of the posts. Some are informational, others simply keep track of useful information and news I come across and others are just me trying to get my thoughts about a new subject or viewpoint written down, so I value your input.

Kind Regards,

Stuart French.

Gurteens Perspectives...All 20-odd of them!

David Gurteen has one of the first KM blogs I ever subscribed to.

For those of you who don't know him, he lives in the UK and amoung other things has created the Gurteen Knowledge website for the Gurteen Knowledge Community - a global learning community of over 15,000 people in 154 countries.

David sends out the Gurteen Newsletter fairly regularly and today's included a special treat I thought I would share.

For the past two years, David has written about 20 Gurteen Perspective articles for Inside Knowledge magazine and has decided to make them all available online via a service called Calameo which turns PDF files into online books. I think it works quite well, especially for this format.

You can see the result here. Sometimes funny and always with a point, David's articles reflect his many years experience with the movers and shaker of the Knowledge Management world. Highly Recommended reading.

Metrics and Modern Management

Matt Heusser over at Creative Chaos had a nice post  today mentioning Peter Drucker and a quote from his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.

He makes the final point that Metrics are simply not suited to Knowledge Workers. What counts is *Quality*. Whether it's one of my programmers adding a feature or one of the engineers designing a change to the robotics, If the solution doesn't work or isn't sustainable then it doesn't matter how quick they did it or how many solutions they spat out in a given period of time. Ignoring the TQM description of quality, I think Drucker might have had a more aesthetic view of it all.

The book was written in 1973 and in still considered a classic in management circles. Maybe another one I should read after the thesis...

01 July 2008

Do you have a question about ESSPs?

Enterprise 2.0 was a bit of a buzzword two years ago when Andrew AcAfee used it to describe the effect of Web 2.0 technologies in the Enterprise space, but it is quite a serious topic now in the KM world.

That doesn't meen it is being accepted unquestionably by business though...or the media for that case. Stories about Facebook abuse abound, I even read a story of Facebook being in legal trouble today in a newspaper on the train.

But is Facebook the same as Enterprise 2.0? Not necessarily. Andrew defines Enterprise 2.0 this way:
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms (ESSPs) within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.
The emergent is the important part, and that is what many business people struggle with.

So in a post today he listed some of the questions that business people are asking about Enterprise 2.0 and the solutions it brings. Have a read and see if you have the same concerns. If you're a KM person have a think about how you would respond to these objections in a boardroom.

Blogs, blogs, everywhere!

I have been sorting out my blog and getting it "plugged in" to the blogosphere!

What does this mean??? Well, Blogs aren't just some guy or gal standing on a soap-box. They are a web of posts and comments, opinions and feedback. A sort of unofficial peer-review if you like.

You might have noticed on the left side of my blog a list of other blogs that I read frequently. Many of these have a Technorati Profile or are listed on Feedburner.com and statistics are kept of how many people are reading the blog, comments made, etc. More active blogs get recognition and status. In effect, they are more "trusted".

Many of the blogs I read a very trusted. Some authors have years of reasearch and publishing under their belts and others are experts in the media or have gained great reputations working in the field. Some have several blogs, each with a different topic. Sometimes the real-world reputation transfers...and sometimes it doesn't. The nice thing is that no single person decides. It's all part of the blogosphere!