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

Knowledge Management

Narrative Techniques for Leaders – October 7 2005 – UK

(Migrated weblog post from LSR) This is the first weblog post from a new category I created just a few minutes ago and which will try to capture something that I have always found very interesting at the same time that enlightening. And that is the attendance to different conference events. Call them conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars, online meetings / events, you name it. So in this category I will try to detail different conference events for which I have an additional interest in rather attending or knowing something more about them. Obviously, these conference events would have something to do with Learning & Knowledge, (Remote) Collaboration, Communities and Communitybuilding, Social Networking, etc. etc. There isn’t anything so unique as to be able to weblog live events that are taking place at the same time that you are participating in them so I am hoping that as I may get my chance to travel to different places I would be able to detail some of that. However, and since that travelling may not be taking place as often as I would like it to be I still have got an additional interest for different events. Which is also why I am going to be asking to my weblog readers to participate and chime in and share with me what their experience(s) have been to different common interest related events. Take, for example, Narrative techniques for leaders : Mastering transformational leadership through the use of narrative. Masterclass to be held in the UK on the 7th of October and event that I will not be able to make although I would be interested in getting to know some more about how it went. About a couple of years back I attended a similar masterclass provided by Dave Snowden and I thoroughly enjoyed the powerful messages on how important storytelling is for any Knowledge Management organisation in order to try to inspire a much more powerful and rewarding knowledge sharing culture. This year’s masterclass will be provided by Dave Snowden again and Steve Denning and after reading the agenda I think it would be as equally useful, if not, as in previous years. So from here I would ask anybody out there who may be reading of elsua and planning to attend this event to let us know how it all went and what new exciting things are happening around the world of storytelling and its different narrative techniques. Here you have got some further details from the event from Steve Denning’s web site. I look forward to reading some more from you all.

0 votes
Read More »

The Role of Instant Messaging in Communities

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

While I was writing the previous weblog post on Wanting to Manage Tacit Knowledge? I popped over to Shawn’s weblog to check out if the links would still be active or not and right there I bumped into the following weblog entry: The role of instant messaging in communities of practice and I just couldn’t help thinking about it while I was finishing writing the previous post.

In principle, I completely agree that presence awareness using Instant Messaging can certainly be a great enabler to keep the community activities going by allowing people to see who else is also online while they are interacting in the community space. It would certainly help increase and boost that sense of belonging to the group. However, and while thinking about that, why just restrict it to Instant Messaging alone and that so called presence awareness? Why not add on top of that some location awareness. I would think that it would also be very beneficial to not only know if the community members are online or not but also where they are.

This can certainly help people understand better why another community member may not be able to reply to IM messages, or why he / she may be temporarily away and unavailable, or while travelling where exactly they are so that they do not get interrupted in the middle of the night. This location awareness certainly will help the community building aspects of knowing where people are and in most cases it will certainly help improve the camaraderie with different community members since it would help them meet up physically if they would be located in the same location, wherever that may be, in order to talk face to face.

And lucky enough for us there are options and different tools out there that could contribute in providing to the community that location awareness aspect, as well as the presence awareness one through IM. Cases like Plazes and Meetro are good examples for that kind of functionality. I am personally using both and I find it quite important and enlightening to be able to see if my colleagues are online or not and if they are, where they are. After all, it is all down to make you feel as if you are talking to and interacting with them face to face, wherever that may be. And we all know how powerful that can be.

0 votes
Read More »

Want to Manage Tacit Knowledge?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

I am not sure how many folks here in my weblog would be familiar with Shawn Callahan. I had the chance to meet him up at one of the IBM Knowledge Management Conferences way back in 2003 and apart from learning from him a huge deal about Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice he surely is a good fun bloke.

Although he left IBM some time ago and became the managing director of Anecdote Pty Ltd I still keep on reading from his weblog on a very regular basis. He always has got something interesting to say. And if not check out Anecdote: complexity – narrative – knowledge and you will be able to see what he has been up to lately.

However, the reason why I am posting this weblog post though is to actually reference one of the many great papers he has written in the past around KM. This one in particular (Want to Manage Tacit Knowledge?) talks about one of the most complicated areas within Knowledge Management, which is the aspect of managing the unmanageable: Tacit Knowledge (vs. Explicit Knowledge, the latter being what most companies have been doing for quite some time one way or another with a number of different Intellectual Capital repositories. I do not know of any company that I am aware of that does not have, at least, an strategy to try to capture that kind of knowledge)

So, going back to the paper. It is one of the best reads I can think of on the subject and it basically comes to conclude that Communities of Practice do offer the perfect environment to manage that tacit knowledge based on the nature of the different collaborative efforts that already exist as part of the organisation, that is, the communities themselves, by providing as well the necessary support to nurture that new entity, that Community of Practice.

He also talks about how community mapping would be an important first step to get some visibility for these CoPs and this is certainly why it is very relevant that whenever you get yourself involved with creating a CoPs program that you allow as well for the creation of a a listing or index where all the CoPs would be shown so that it could be used as reference and single point of entry for individuals who may want to look for a CoP to join or for already existing members of a specific CoP that may want to find other communities with similar interests.

At the same time he mentions how crucial for the well being of each community is to have a solid business case and how business value needs to be communicated to sponsors as often as it may be possible in order to keep the leadership and support going. I don’t think that there is much more to say than this. Without a committed sponsorship and leadership from the powers that be it is going to be difficult for a CoP to be self-sustained and self-sufficient. So the sooner that gets arranged the better it would be for the CoP and its members.

Overall, a really good read for anybody who would want to find out more about tacit knowledge and how to manage it through communities of practice.

0 votes
Read More »

Balance – Where Could Collaboration Take You?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

What I am about to share is, in my opinion, one of the best, most shocking, animations I have seen in quite a few years. It is a file that has been uploaded to YouTube and it is called Balance (An 8 MB download).

The reason why I really enjoyed this animation is because it just simply puts together one of the most fascinating messages out there: lack of collaboration or teamwork can be fatal to a project’s life. Indeed, whether you are working in a project with a particular team or whether you belong to a community unless you collaborate there is probably no space for you and the rest of the team or the community would probably let you know about it quite up front. The key to work in a team, a community or whatever other larger group is one’s own capability to collaborate, to share knowledge, to learn from others. And failure to do that will just make any project fail. Like you can see in this Balance animation.

As I said it is a bit disturbing as well but, hopefully, will bring forward a positive message with regards to how people should behave whenever they need to get involved with other people in order to produce something. Working alone will not take you anywhere. Working with others in a team / community as a team / community member will get you as far as you may have set up the limit for. You decide how far you want to go.

“Knowledge is Power”Sir Francis Bacon

0 votes
Read More »

Project Gutenberg – Your Own eBook Library

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

How many times you wished you would have an online repository from where you would be able to download all sorts of different eBooks free of charge and ready to use ? Wouldn’t it be nice if such a resource would be available somewhere ? Well, check out Project Gutenberg web site as that may be all you need to get you going.

It is a massive resource from where you can download up to 16,000 electronic books ready for you to dive into. It has got different areas that would allow you to search for your favourite eBooks. It includes as well a Catalog, a most recent books section and also a Top 100 selection of books you can browse through and download.

As I said an outstanding web resource that will keep you going for months and months allowing you to download each of those eBooks based on your interests. So if you are looking for something to read online do not hesitate and go to Project Gutenberg. There is a great chance you would find there what you were looking for. At least, I have found quite a few of them that would keep me busy for some time now. Neat !

0 votes
Read More »