E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez


APQC KM & Innovation 2007 – Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results

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Phew! What an incredible week last week, folks! As you may have noticed I didn’t have a chance to share any further insights (Other than the initial first day weblog post) regarding the 2007 APQC KM & Innovation event that I was attending and which overall I have enjoyed it quite a bit, specially the two day event, towards the end of the week! So much so that, with all of the different networking opportunities I have been exposed to over the whole period, I have been neglecting posting several different weblog entries over here that I have got already in my drafts. But that is just going to end today. I just got back from Houston, earlier on this afternoon.

I was thinking about sharing some of those all along last week, but one thing led to another and before you knew it I had pretty much the entire day booked with some exciting conversations. So in the spirit of capturing some of those different conversations the following series of weblog posts are going to be dedicated to the APQC 2007 KM & Innovation event and my take from it. I also realise that plenty of folks have been sharing different comments in multiple entries and I do really appreciate that, too! Allow me to address each of them as well over the course of the next few days so that we can keep those conversations going. As you can see, I haven’t neglected those. Things have just been way too busy and I am really excited that they have been like that, because I have been able to make some really good and incredible connections. But let’s just go one step at a time.

To get it going, I am going to pick things up again from the last weblog article I created on the subject of attending the different APQC KM trainings for the first three days of the week.So here is a second entry on the subject. As I am getting to proof read it from my drafts, I must say that it does look like it is going to be a lengthy post, so I would probably suggest at this stage that you get up and make yourself a cup of coffee (Or tea) and enjoy it, because it will surely keep you reading for a little while.

As you would be able to see, all of these musings are my very own and although I will not be able to share any of the content made available through the print-outs, as there are some license fees to cover for, I will surely be going ahead and share some concrete items from the various materials we were provided with. Thus here it goes.

This particular weblog entry is the follow up from a previous post where I tried to share some further comments regarding the subject of the initial two day Knowledge Management training that I attended around the subject of Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results. And along those same lines, I was hoping to be able to share that follow up as it would have been fresh and everything, but I guess that networking had a price attached to it as well. Yes, I know, hanging out at the bar, drinking a few beers while playing Puerto Rico can do that to you! And so much more!

So here I am sharing this particular weblog post after a few days have gone by and still immersed with the same feeling as I left the first day training. Even though a few days have gone by and I have had a chance to think about the event itself I still feel that those two days of KM training are actually providing some good ground for that KM disconnect that I have mentioned in the past. Don’t take me wrong, the course was fantastic and I really appreciate the trip down the memory lane, but that is exactly what it was: a reflection of what KM used to be in the 90s! However, disappointed that none of the new trends in Knowledge Management, specially with the emergence of social computing, were added into the mix while we were given a wrong impression of what is actually happening in this space at the moment.

One of the great things from the conference was the fact that there were plenty of folks who were relatively new to KM altogether, so it was a good opportunity for them to leverage what they have been doing already with some of the most experienced folks and somehow I felt throughout the training courses how we have actually lost a great opportunity to help those newcomers into KM avoid the very same mistakes that we made back in the 90s. Things have moved quite a bit since then and perhaps those different changes should have been incorporated already to provide a much more meaningful description of what is going on at the moment. Alas, it didn’t happen and, like I said, a missed opportunity to get things right from the very beginning. But there was hope, not to worry, although I will cover that one in another upcoming weblog post. Two, actually. Stay tuned!

Thus to comment further on that particular disconnect between KM 1.0 and KM 2.0 here are some thoughts I put together in my drafts just as I was attending the second day of training around the subject of Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results and which I think would be making a nice connection to some of the thoughts I have shared already in the past.

Always on-line versus offline interactions: Yes, indeed, this is one of the things that I have noticed myself during the course of the event itself, including the training days. I was actually very surprised that throughout the event there weren’t many computers up and running with plenty of people making notes about the different sessions and discussions. Instead, most of us got to use a piece of paper and a pen to capture some of the different thoughts. If you check it out, there haven’t been many weblog entries posted thus far. Can you imagine seeing some of that in any of the different social computing events going on at the moment? I doubt it. It just doesn’t happen. So, in a way, I felt a bit intimidated that I would be probably one of the very very few with a computer trying to do some live con-blogging or, even, live twitterings. It just didn’t happen. A pity.

And I am saying that this was a missed opportunity, because it would have been the perfect event to share some further insights around the subject of KM sharing it all over the place with everyone out there who may be interested. Instead, we all got to jot down a few thoughts here and there in our notepads and, I am not sure what you would think about this, but I bet you all know where those notes are going to end up! Yes, exactly, rather in the trash can at some point or with your print-outs. Forever. Something that, again, I doubt it would ever happen in any of those different social computing conferences that we all have grown to become very used to.

Yes, certainly quite intimidating and interesting at the same time to see how all of that knowledge, experiences and further thoughts were stored locally, and without reaching further and beyond to whoever else may be interested in KM in general. Not sure what you would think, but that, to me, it sounds pretty much like good old KM 1.0. But you know what the funny part of it all was? Well, the instructor of the different educational sessions I attended did not say anything at all about not using the computers and, even more, there was FREE wireless connection throughout multiple rooms, including the lobby, with some really good speeds. Still not many online interactions…

To be honest, I would have liked seeing a whole bunch more of those KM folks venturing into the world of Internet blogs to share some of their insights with us and keep the conversations going during and after the event, because that is what will help fix the KM disconnect between KM 1.0 and KM 2.0 or, at least, start addressing some of the different issues. So to all of those folks who I have been talking to last week, and which I have mentioned how I was keeping myself busy with different blogs, here is an invitation for you to help address and fix some of that disconnect. Get started with your own blog today and get ready to continue the KM conversation(s)! We are really looking forward to them!

Knowledge Management versus grass-roots KM: One of the other things that I noticed as well was that most of the attendees to the different training sessions were identifying social computing as grass-roots KM, as opposed to just Knowledge Management, which is actually something that I have found interesting from the perspective that I have always thought that social computing has been, all along, an integral part of KM. And for a good number of years already! Remember what I have been saying all along over here all this time that a successful KM strategy is one that would combine, in a balanced way, People, Tools and Processes?

Well, that is where social computing has always been to me, perhaps a bit neglected or a bit in a dormant state, but certainly still very relevant all along. And yet I kept hearing all over the place how social networking is just still a grass-roots effort within KM to the point where there were some connotations that those grass-root efforts would take a few years before they will stick around. No, I actually do not think so. It’s already happening, folks! And big time! And whether you would want to join or not that would be another matter, but those grass-roots have been running for a good number of years already and I doubt they would be called grass-roots any longer today. Here is again that KM 1.0 vs. KM 2.0 disconnect.

We would probably need to issue a wake up call at this point in time, because whether we would like to admit it or not, knowledge workers are already embracing social computing tools to be able to share their knowledge and collaborate a lot easier with others. Thus I feel unless traditional KM doesn’t change its mind and starts engaging in the conversations we are going to have a serious problem. One, where, very shortly, we may not even talk about KM any longer. Perhaps that is incidentally one of the many reasons why knowledge workers have been having that negative connotation about Knowledge Management lately and why they keep on neglecting it in detriment of other terms like Knowledge Sharing, or Collaboration or, even, Social Computing itself. You name it!

I very much suspect that if Knowledge Management would want to come back into the spotlight it should stop making use of different terms like grass-roots for something that I doubt would be classified any longer as that, grass-roots, because more than anything else it has always been there. It is just now coming back placing the focus on where it should have been all along: the people! They would be the main pillar for this new wave of KM 2.0 interactions where they are already making extensive use of social software tools, in combination with a number of different processes and other traditional KM tools. And the blend is working, if you come to think how it is starting to impact the corporate world. There is, indeed, no way back! (At least, I wouldn’t want it!)

Finally, (I still hope that you are enjoying that cup of coffee or tea…) one of the other themes that I have seen throughout the first couple of days from the overall education sessions is the growing concern from KM 1.0 to be able to capture tacit knowledge, and failing to do so and not being able to come to terms with it. This is actually something that I will be touching base on in an upcoming weblog post regarding one of the different keynote sessions I attended which clearly has got a very good answer for this particular concern.

It surely is quite an exciting discussion, specially when most people do not realise that you will never be able to capture all of the tacit knowledge that a knowledge worker has got. You can certainly venture into capturing some of it, but not all of it. And the sooner we all get to acknowledge that, the better. But here is the thing: most folks are having serious issues about capturing that same tacit knowledge through the usage of traditional KM tools because of how difficult it actually is. No wonder. Of course, it is! And that is perhaps one of the main reasons why it has failed all along for a good number of years already! And still very much so.

You now may be wondering what you could do, right? Well, it may not be as difficult as whatever else you may have thought already. Yes, we may not be able to capture all of their tacit knowledge, but if there would be something very clear is that social computing does help quite a bit in this particular respect. By empowering knowledge workers to have their own blogs, wikis, social bookmarks, tagging, syndication of their favourite content, etc. etc. you would actually start capturing some of that same tacit knowledge I have been mentioning so far, specially with the overall usage of narrative and sensemaking. And in the end try you would all be in a much better position to integrate it all with already existing explicit knowledge repositories through the usage of meaningful and relevant search engines. And there you have it!: starting to combine the best of what KM 1.0 has got to offer with what KM 2.0 is already doing at the moment! Not a bad start, don’t you think?

And that would be it, folks, the time for the coffee or tea break is now over. These are some of the main thoughts that have gone through my mind in the first two days of training around the subject of "Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results" and which, in my opinion, would start help fix some of that KM disconnect I discussed in a previous weblog entry. It may well not be the perfect approach to it all, but it would surely create the scenario to start the conversations(s) we are already missing at the moment, where the focus is coming back to where it should have been all along: empowering knowledge workers not only to share what they know with others, but also to allow them connect with one another in order to work smarter, without necessarily making it too harder, because that is what we are all after. I am sure. No doubt about it then. No doubt about it now.

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APQC KM & Innovation 1007 – The Disconnect between KM 1.0 and KM 2.0

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As you may remember from a recent weblog post I created over here a few weeks ago, this week I am actually away from the office attending the APQC Knowledge Management and Innovation conference event. And although the event does not really start till Thursday this week I am actually over here attending a number of different Knowledge Management related training courses. Today has been the first day, out of two, for the first training I am attending after yesterday’s exhausting 25 hour transit plane trip! Something that I certainly wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Too much of a long trip, with too many stops and still recovering a bit from it. However, when I get back it will be worse, but we shall see about that one later on next week.

For now I am going to share some further thoughts around the first day of the training I was attending around the subject of Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results. There are lots and lots of thoughts that have been crossing my mind during the course of the day itself, but since we actually had a fully packed agenda and very little time for live con-blogging, here is a quick review of my initial thoughts about the overall course. I have got plenty of notes jotted down with the materials we were all given, but I got those locked in the training room and forgot to bring them back to the room with me (Doh!), so you would have to wait for those for a later time. But they will come, not to worry.

However, if I were to describe with a single sentence the first day of the two day training we have done on Knowledge Management: Strategies and Tactics for Business Results it would be something along the lines of indicating how the session was incredibly beneficial for everyone out there who would want to see the state of Knowledge Management, but back in the late 90s. Yes, that is right. This is a two day course specially meant for those folks who would want to know how KM got done during the course of the late 90s and how, by the looks of it, there are still plenty of organisations out there who get to use most of that stuff.

In the training room we were 44 people, out of which 6 were outside of North America, one from Africa, one from the Middle East, and then another three from Europe, which got me thinking about how global KM has become, or rather, hasn’t. I was certainly expecting a whole lot more participation from Asia and Asia Pacific where specially some of the top KM innovation companies for the last few years are based in that region, yet no-one that I could find out was coming from there.

Perhaps an initial indication of something else that I have noticed myself and which I will mentioned shortly. But first I should probably mention how helpful the overall course may well be for those folks out there who would want to take KM back to the late 90s with something so controversial as placing the focus on something that, for quite a few people, was actually the worst thing that could have happened to KM: yes, indeed, the processes and the tools! Now, how many times have we seen this? I am not sure about you, but when I actually went through the first day (Perhaps tomorrow it will change) I had the strong sense that I was going through a history lesson on KM from the very first few years I got involved with KM itself (Talking here about 1996, till 1999).

I mean, the course itself would be very handy for all those folks who would want to have a very solid base as to what happened with KM throughout the years, what worked and, most importantly, what didn’t. To me it was a trip down the memory lane. But with a twist. A twist that is perhaps an indication of a recent set of events I have witnessed elsewhere where I am starting to feel like there is this huge and massive disconnect between what we would call traditional Knowledge Management and next generation of Knowledge Management, or, easier to remember, KM 1.0 vs. KM 2.0 and which very few people want to acknowledge at this stage.

Here is an example, of the 44 people who were attending the training session I was at as well, in between breaks and networking events, I tried to find out if there would be anyone out there from the list who would have been exposed to social computing, or KM 2.0, or not. And to my astonishment, I couldn’t. At least, I haven’t been able to find anyone thus far. In fact, when I checked the list of attendees I just couldn’t find anyone coming from that strong social computing background I was hoping for. Yes, bringing the best of social networking on to the table as well, since it is also part of the equation. Well, it just didn’t happen.

From all of that, I guess I got a strong confirmation that people doing work related to social computing are not very much interested in Knowledge Management, in general. In fact, I would venture to say that for them it is a dirty word still. And vice versa, people who still want to keep things very much like KM 1.0 are not interested in hearing some more about social software and the impact that is having within the corporate world empowering knowledge workers to share their knowledge and collaborate a lot easier and with a whole lot less hassle. Ouch! Yes, that is what I meant with a massive disconnect. And it is not a good thing.

It is not a good thing because we all know that focusing on just the tools or the processes might have been something that succeeded back in the late 90s, but not nowadays. Today the focus is pretty much around the subject of people and their own user-generated content, which, I must say, is also part of the equation, but not the overall picture either, because it would just focus on the people themselves forgetting a bit about processes and tools. And, like we all know, a successful KM strategy is one that combines into a perfect balance a focus on the people, on the tools and on the processes.

And so far, from what I have experienced today in this training course, that doesn’t seem to be happening. At least, not yet. It may take a few years before that happens, but somehow I have a strong feeling that knowledge workers are not going to wait that long. Their needs and their requirements are different and things change. And rather quick! KM 1.0, unfortunately, is very much stuck with keeping itself closer, from a traditional point of view, in focusing too much on the processes and tools aspects, respectively. I have actually been able to describe some of that through a good number of twitterings I have put together earlier on today. And, certainly, that was the main conclusion that I got from the first day at the APQC KM & Innovation event training course.

It is a long long way ahead to put together both KM 1.0 and KM 2.0 into a single unified knowledge sharing environment where everyone would be happy making use of it as something BAU and fully embedded into the current set of activities that each project has been working on already. And the fight is equally exciting, both from the perspective of promoting social computing within the more traditional KM and thinking of ways on how that traditional KM could adopt certain social software elements to help knowledge workers work smarter, and not necessarily harder.

As I said, I have got a few more notes that I have put together in my notepad to complete some of my thoughts shared above, but unfortunately, you would have to wait for that for a little while. Or alternatively, you can also watch my twitterings about this very same thing. And, finally, here is another huge massive disconnect between KM 1.0 and KM 2.0 that I have been exposed to and which I surely did not expect. And that is the fact that from the very first beginning I had the intention of sharing the content of the presentations I would be attending during the course of the week, elsewhere in both of my weblogs and Slideshare.net, perhaps. However, it looks like that is not going to happen, because all of the materials that we have received already are all print-outs and therefore extremely difficult to pass on and share it with wider audiences, whether they are your teams or communities or whatever else. So I will not be able to share some slides; yes, I know, a real pity, but it makes me wonder why a Knowledge Management organisation, very much involved into KM as a BAU process, does not take a bit more of a proactive approach into helping spread the message around Knowledge Sharing and allowing attendees to share those materials with the right audience, at the right time, at the right place / context. Go figure!

It sounds as if they would want to hide their knowledge from others, because they just may benefit from it, and they may not want to do that, but, again, is it really Knowledge Management what we are talking about in here then? Or is it more still along the lines of Knowledge Is Power vs. Knowledge Shared is Power? A huge disappointment, if you ask me, but a clear indication that we may not have progressed much from the state of KM coming from the late 90s. And this is probably a very good reason why we should still keep up with the fight and show everyone there are better ways of managing your own knowledge while sharing it with other knowledge workers across the board. Thus we shall see what day 2 of the training course will bring to us. It surely looks like it is going to be an interesting follow up from today. You see, so far, just checked Technorati and not a single mention of the APQC training courses and KM & Innovation event taking place later on this week. So I am going to tag this first initial post with APQC2007 and follow up from there.

Oh, two other things about the event so far. The hotel where we are is just wonderful! Free Ethernet and Wireless access in a charming place with some incredible surroundings and all the peace and quiet you can imagine. And if you ever fancy going for a good meal check out Americas. You will like it. I surely did and certainly enjoyed my Caipirinha and my Medallón :-))) (Pity I couldn’t get anymore in and try out some of those lovely deserts! I guess next time!)

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The Art of Collaboration

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Over the last couple of days I have actually been creating rather long weblog entries on various topics, so since it is already Friday, I think I am going to keep this one short, but, hopefully, equally entertaining. It is actually a YouTube video that I bumped into from one of my fellow IBM colleagues, who shared it in his own blog behind the firewall, and which clearly comes to explain, very beautifully, what team work and collaboration are all about:

A bunch of people you probably hardly know, ready to chime in and participate when you really really need it, sharing their knowledge and experiences so that they can help you save the day in the most difficult of situations. Yes, indeed, this is the art of collaboration:

Have a good one, everyone!

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Why Enterprise 2.0 Won’t Transform Organisations – And Why We May Have Gotten It Wrong Once More!

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While doing some RSS feeds catchup, I actually bumped again into a weblog post that I have been meaning to share a thought or two for a little while now since it has been out there in the open for a few weeks already. The article itself comes from one of the main, and most prominent, KM thought leaders in the field for a number of years: Tom Davenport, and it has been published over at Harvard Business Online under the title of Why Enterprise 2.0 Won’t Transform Organisations.

I must say that the article itself makes up for an interesting and controversial reading, specially from the point of view that tries to demonstrate how Enterprise 2.0 is not going to succeed for long in the current corporate world. On the contrary, it will probably disappear just as quick as it has settled in there thus far. While Tom has got some very valid points on his reasoning there are a number of different comments that I am not so sure I would still agree with them, as I feel they touch base on something that I thought we had learned quite some time ago was the wrong approach towards KM and somehow after reading Tom’s article it seems we haven’t learned the lesson just yet.

Here are a couple of points that I want to stress out based on Tom’s thoughts which I hope would be able to contribute into the discussion further and perhaps help clarify where we may be going wrong once again:

"The absence of participative technologies in the past is not the only reason that organizations and expertise are hierarchical. Enterprise 2.0 software and the Internet won’t make organizational hierarchy and politics go away"

Why not? After all, it is already happening in most places. I mean, if you look at the rampant rate of adoption of Enterprise 2.0 within the corporate world it would, at least, make you wonder if it would stick around for a while, or not. My take is that pretty much like in the consumer / producer market, things may have started slow, but they are here to stay. Why? Because one of the things that knowledge workers are realising about is the fact that Enterprise 2.0 empowers them to collaborate, share their knowledge and innovate with others placing the focus on what I feel is the key fundamental aspect that will make organisational hierarchy and politics go away: The people themselves!

The focus within Enterprise 2.0 is no longer on the tools nor the processes, two of the main aspects behind organisational hierarchies and politics, but more on the people, on helping them engage in different conversations and allow them to connect with others by sharing their same passion for a particular subject. This is the reason why there are 71 million weblogs out there, several millions of social bookmarks shared all over the place, millions of podcast episodes downloaded thus far, several million photographs shared all over the place and so on and so forth. The list goes on and on and on.

It is a participatory Web, indeed, we all know that, but it is a participatory Web where knowledge workers are now the main voice leading the workplace. It is no longer the organisation with complex processes to follow or mandating to make use of a particular tool because you may have been told so what rules. That command-and-control attitude is a thing of the past because, for the first time in a while, knowledge workers are realising that they are in control themselves of how they work, share knowledge and collaborate with other fellow colleagues. And as result of that, they are seeing how their productivity has increased quite a bit with a whole lot less effort by just helping themselves make those connections. Yes, the good old motto of working smarter without necessarily making it harder.

"They won’t make the ideas of the front-line worker in corporations as influential as those of the CEO. Most of the barriers that prevent knowledge from flowing freely in organizations – power differentials, lack of trust, missing incentives, unsupportive cultures, and the general busyness of employees today – won’t be addressed or substantially changed by technology alone."

This particular quote has got a lot to do with yesterday’s weblog entry I shared over here, where I mentioned how if a corporation is to care for the well being of its knowledge workers it has got to empower them to have a voice, to have a say, and, yes, I agree that it may not be as influential as that one from the CEO, but still it will be an important one that would help shake things bottom-up in such a way that they could transform the way knowledge workers interact feeling part of that new knowledge-based company they are rebuilding. Do you think that the CEO is going to be able to make that switch with one of his influential speeches? I doubt it. Do you think that a bunch of knowledge workers can provoke that change from bottom-up? You bet!

Nowadays, it is all in the power of reaching out to others, establish, nurture and mature those different connections, work your way through your own social network(s) so that knowledge flows a lot easier, and collaboration happens for the sake of it and not as an excuse, nor a nice thing to have.. People will continue to build up on their trust levels, forgetting altogether about incentives and ensuring that command-and-control attitude is no longer there, if the corporation would want to survive in the 21st century, that is.

And all that is going to be massively embraced with the push for the adoption of social computing within the Enterprise. Tom mentions as well how the younger workforce is going to be playing a major role in this as well as the baby boomer generation starts retiring very shortly, and he is totally accurate about that, as I have been explaining over here a few times already. But the funny thing is that if I look into my own blogroll I would venture to say that just around 90% of it are folks in their mid-40s or 50s (Or even older!). Thus we may not need to wait that long before seeing some of those changes, they are already happening and the main reason why that is taking place is because the focus is where it should be been in the first place: the people themselves!

Still think that Enterprise 2.0 will not transform organisations? Well, to me, it has already started. And big time! Only question remaining out there in the open for everyone would be, are you ready to transform your own organisation? Because that is where it all starts… In You!

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How To Build An Enterprise 2.0 Culture – Empowering Everyone to Have a Voice and Starting Small

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I am having a day off today and, although I have spent a good amount of time making all of the different preparations for the upcoming trips I will be doing over the next few weeks, I still managed to spend some time this morning catching up with some RSS feeds. As usual, I was able to find a couple of, what I call, serendipitous knowledge accidents that I thought would be worth while sharing over here as they cover subjects that I have been talking about in the past. The first one comes from the Digital-Telepathy (Internet Marketing Strategy & News) weblog and it is titled How to Build an Enterprise 2.0 Culture.

It is actually a rather short weblog article with a number of worth while reading reference links at the very bottom that will make for an interesting and enlightening read as to why businesses should be paying attention to the social computing space in order to help their knowledge workers improve the way they share their knowledge and collaborate with others. As I said, it is a good read, indeed, if you would want to find out some more what some of the different advantages of embracing social software tools would be, but let me just quote over here a couple of gems that I am sure you would find equally relevant to the discussion:

"Somewhere inside those blogs posts, wiki comments and forum discussions are golden nuggets of information that could give executives some insight into the culture of the company, the next big idea or just reoccurring issues that need to be addressed before they get out of hand. Every person on your staff has something to say, so why not give them somewhere to say it" (Emphasis mine)

This is exactly one of the main reasons as to why I got involved with social computing about five years ago and why, throughout the years, I am still as excited as I was back then. This is actually one of the main reasons as to why I have always believed that social computing would bring back Knowledge Management, along with Personal Knowledge Management, into the spotlight and start balancing out that extra focus that has always been placed on both tools and processes leaving behind the people. Remember that pyramid graphic chart showing the three of them interconnecting with one another? Well, here is social computing bringing in the people aspect into play for any KM successful strategy. All in all in combination with both the tools and the process. All three now walking hand in hand to enhance the overall knowledge sharing experience.

At the same time, this is also a quote that I have found rather interesting from the perspective of how plenty of folks out there seem to be constantly saying that the blogosphere is full up with uninteresting information (To make use of a mild word) from different bloggers who are just sharing their silly thoughts that would be of no interest to anyone as they do not provide business value to them. Hummm, what can I say about that? How do you judge that? Just because a weblogger and his thoughts are of no interest to yourself, or those who you read, does not mean it provides whatever value add to others. The key thing in here is that people are empowered to share what they feel would be worth while sharing with others and that at some point there would be other folks out there who would be able to connect with those webloggers because of the content they share. As simple as that.

So just because it is not useful to you, it doesn’t mean it would not be useful for anyone else. We are all entitled to have a voice and express our own thoughts and ideas in whichever way we decide to go ahead with whether it will be done for a business reason or not. It will then be up to others to stick around or not, but don’t underestimate the power of knowledge sharing by every single knowledge worker out there, because there is a great chance that you will eventually bump into different "golden nuggets of information" that you would be able to reuse at some point and, why not?, find ways to connect with those different knowledge workers that you may not have thought possible in the past.

The other relevant quote that I wanted to share over here, based on different conversations I have been having in the past, is this one:

"Enterprise 2.0 not only works on the internal area of your business; it provides valuable insight into the B2B arena […] Now do you read this and head back to your CEO and tell them, we need a blog, wiki, forum and live chat. Turning the big ship takes time, so start off by implementing one new social tool into your organization and see what kind of feedback you get"

A couple of interesting things in here. First one, is that social computing adoption should not be something that would be just happening internally alone. On the contrary, perhaps even much more useful it would be when adopting social software tools to reach out to customers and vice versa, allowing customers to provide you constructive feedback interacting with the multiple options you may put together, i.e. wikis, weblogs, podcasts, social bookmarks, etc. etc. As we all know, it is about getting the conversations going and building further up on the strong statement that innovation happens through close collaboration between both parties and, if anything, social computing tools are terrific to help spark those conversations and get them going in the first place.

And on top of that, you would be building up a closer relationship with your customers by allowing them to participate from the development process of your tools, offerings and solutions by interacting in common social software tools available to both internal and external audiences. So from here onwards it is perhaps now time to start questioning the usage of a firewall as it may be hindering your multiple methods of innovating with your customers. Some further food for thought, I am sure…

Finally, the last comment that quote sparked from my own experiences is that you do not necessarily need to start with a fully blown social computing tools suite to get those interactions going. You can always start small. And probably you should. For instance, just implementing blogs behind the firewall and allowing knowledge workers to have their own and get things going may be the best approach. Then at a later time they themselves would be the ones triggering the move on to the next one, which is probably when wikis, or social bookmarks, or syndication, or whatever else would come into place. And continue to build up from there till you have got a comfortable tools suite that everyone is not only familiar with, but that they would be more than willing to make extensive use of it as well.

The good thing about approaching social computing’s adoption within the enterprise in this particular way is that one that would allow knowledge workers to figure out their level of consumption from the different tools they have been exposed to. And from there onwards leave it down to them to decide which tools they would want to stick around with and allow them to become the critical mass that will drive the wider adoption of those different social software tools.

As you would be able to see from this weblog entry, building an Enterprise 2.0 culture may not be as difficult as what most people seem to think. Perhaps the most important initial step towards a successful cultural change in this area is for us all to let go that command-and-control attitude that still seems to be floating around all over and help empower knowledge workers to be just that: people collaborating and sharing across the board their knowledge with others by focusing more on the social aspects of knowledge sharing than whatever else they may have been exposed to in the past. That is the way forward. That is what will shape the change of different businesses from a labour-based business into an asset / knowledge based one. And it will be up to us, knowledge workers, to decide which way we would want to go.

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Quintura Now on to Visualise Video Search – Where Is the Limit?

(Previously, on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog, at ITtoolbox)

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You may remember how there have been a few times that I have been talking in both of my Internet weblogs about one particular search engine that, as time goes by, I am really starting to be very fond of: Quintura. Yes, that is right! I know that most people out there would say that why should you bother with other search engines when you have got Google, the one and only, right? Well, I have said this in the past, and I guess I will be saying it as well once more: just because of that very same reason. Because it is always a good thing to check out things from the other side and see if they would still stick together for you.

In my own case, Google doesn’t stick together as much as I would be hoping for. There are times where I am looking for something a bit more innovative than just another regular search engine and in that particular case I have got a bunch of dedicated innovative search engines that I have grown to become very fond of. One of such pack is Quintura and by the looks of it, I am not sure what you think, but it seems that things are getting even better. And not just for Quintura.

You probably have seen this already elsewhere, but still I think it would be a good thing to include it over here as well for the sake of the flow from this weblog entry. A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from Yakov where he was announcing that Quintura and Blinkx are to Visualise Video Search. Now, how cool is that? Or, better, how innovative is that? *Very*. Well, here is an excerpt of the announcement:

"Blinkx, the largest video search engine on the Web, has announced that Quintura, a visual discovery engine dedicated to finding web-based entertainment easier and more intuitive, will use blinkx to power video search on www.Quintura.com.

Quintura employs a unique graphical user interface with an interactive tag cloud to visually navigate and easily refine searches. Quintura’s neural networking technology discovers related search terms to the initial query and presents those terms as the interactive tag cloud. Users can then refine or narrow down their searches by clicking on any word or phrase in the cloud.

Under the terms of the agreement, blinkx will power a video search functionality on www.Quintura.com, allowing Quintura to leverage results from blinkx’s index of over 7 million hours of rich media content."

Are here you have got a couple of quotes from both parties involved:

""blinkx’s large video index is a perfect compliment to our graphical user interface,"said Yakov Sadchikov, CEO and Founder of Quintura. "As the Web becomes more visual and rich with content, people are looking for better ways to find video online. blinkx’s video search index combined with Quintura’s visual discovery engine provides users with a unique search experience. This new service has become possible due to technology innovations of our companies in visualizing search and indexing online video."

"We are excited to be powering video search for Quintura," said Suranga Chandratillake, CTO and Founder of blinkx. "Through blinkx’s advanced speech recognition technology, we are able to deliver better results than typical rich media search engines, giving Quintura users the ability to find, experience and share all forms of online video.""

Yes, indeed, I will say it again. How innovative is that? In an Internet world where more and more rich media is being produced all over the place there is a time where you probably need to step away from conventional search engines to still be able to find all of that social media content, because there is probably a time where you would need to watch that video or find that important presentation recorded in video format, or watch that particular screencast on how a particular tool works and so forth, and perhaps there may be certain search engines not apt for the job.

Well, definitely both Quintura and Blinkx are not having that problem, because this particular announcement is certainly going to help them become a whole lot more attractive from the perspective of being able to not only provide the right content at the right time, but also from a wider range of social media tools, which is, after all, what we are all probably looking for. A single point of entry where we can search for any kind of related content to the topics we are interested in. And both Quintura and Blinkx certainly do a great job in that, I tell you.

I know that in the past I have not been weblogging much about Blinkx, but I have still been using it quite extensively all of the place, because otherwise where do you think am I getting all of the different inspiring videos I have been sharing all along 🙂 And certainly now with the joint work put together between Quintura and Blinkx things are going to get easy, way *too easy*, to find all of the content you would be interested in the first place. That is for sure.

This is just what innovation is all about and in an area that you probably thought it was all done and invented, right? Well, not quite. Here you have got two interesting players showing us all that we may not have reached the limit just yet…

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