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

Learning

Engineering Systems Solutions to Real World Challenges – Building an Innovation Company for the 21st Century

As you well know, there are a number of different IBM weblogs that I follow on a regular basis, as I have mentioned in the recent weblog post I created around IBM’s Weblog Directory, and while I am still currently updating the actual blogroll from this weblog, I thought I would point out to you one recent article that was put together by Irwin Wladawsky-Berger, Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation at IBM, and which I am sure you are going to find quite an interesting read: Skills for the 21st Century – Engineering Systems Solutions to Real World Challenges.

This is a weblog post that you are going to enjoy if you would want to know what IBM is currently doing with regards to driving innovation inside and outside of the corporation in order to help knowledge workers collaborate and share knowledge with others in a world that is now more distributed than ever before, with nearly 40% of IBM’s population working mobile. You would actually get to read some interesting insights from Irwin about a number of different ideas that IBM has been working on in order to help boost that innovation. So instead of getting to read about some of the traditional stuff IBM has been doing with regards to some of its products you would be able to read some more about some other refreshing initiatives that are going on at the moment.

For instance, you would get to hear about the On Demand WorkPlace offering, which is basically IBM’s Intranet with some incredible capabilities to find both information and knowledge, and the experts behind them, or ThinkPlace (The online space IBM is using to bring forward ideas and innovation in a collaborative environment for every single employee), or Blog Central (IBM’s internal platform for weblogs) etc. etc. Excellent stuff !

What Irwin is actually doing in Skills for the 21st Century – Engineering Systems Solutions to Real World Challenges is introducing the recent presentation that Linda Sanford (IBM Senior Vice President, Enterprise On Demand Transformation & Information Technology) provided over at the IBM-MIT/ESD Innovation Lecture Series – Engineering Systems Solutions to Real World Challenges in MIT, Cambridge, MA., titled Building an Innovation Company for the 21st Century and which basically talks a great deal on what Innovation is all about and actually what Innovation means to IBM.

As I said, the interesting part about this particular presentation and Irwin’s weblog post is to actually get to check how through the implementation of IBM’s Technology Adoption Program knowledge workers inside of the company have got the opportunity to test out some of the most relevant social software tools out there for people to help them in their collaborative efforts and knowledge sharing in general so that in its due time we may be able to move some of those different offerings into actual IBM products. You can actually get to watch the webcast of the session by going into the following URL: IBM MIT Innovation Lecture Series. And you can download the PDF slide deck over here, too.

And if you didn’t have enough with that to make you go there and check it out then let me point you to the webcast itself and around the 62nd minute (It lasts for about 90 minutes) you would get to watch a videocast I did myself not long ago as to what Innovation @ IBM is all about. It just lasts for a couple of minutes, but with that and Elias Torres‘ introduction before and after the videocast it would make for an interesting listen if you would want to watch my two cents worth of contribution to the overall presentation. Plus you would get a chance to see what I actually look like, just in case you may bump into me at some point and may want to say "Hi!"

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Screencasting of Tacit Knowledge

In the past, and for a good number of weblog posts, I have been talking over here about the importance of Tacit Knowledge in the coming back of Knowledge Management thanks, amongst other things, to the emergence of social software that helps boost collaboration and knowledge sharing in multiple different scenarios. For a number of years we have been having perhaps a bit too much focus on the Explicit Knowledge exchange where knowledge workers were more than  anything else encouraged to share their best of breed Intellectual Capital in whatever the designated repository without placing too much emphasis on the tacit knowledge exchange.

However, and like I have already mentioned above, with the emergence of social software there seems to be now a more balanced approach where Knowledge Management is finally trying to combine both tacit and explicit knowledge exchanges and get the most out of both of them. And it is perhaps now where there seems to be a bit more focus on the tacit exchange piece since it needs to do some serious catch-up. At least, initially.

One of the most powerful options to try to deliver on that particular know-how of knowledge and information is actually one of my favourite social software concepts that I have been advocating myself for quite some time now. And that is the phenomenon of screencasting. Screencasting, to keep it short, "is a digital recording of computer screen output, often containing audio narration" and if there is a person out there who is an expert on the subject is actually the guy who invented the term a couple of years back in the first place: Jon Udell.

So that is why I was quite excited when a few weeks back he actually created a weblog post titled Screencasting of Tacit Knowledge, where he actually advocated with a concrete example how screencasts can be really helpful tools to deliver much more than just explicit knowledge. That know-how put together at the service of showing someone, with both audio and video, how to perform a particular task and then learn from it right away is perhaps one of the most powerful methods for knowledge sharing, collaboration and learning by doing (Informal Learning). And this is perhaps one of the main reasons why more and more learning activities are getting delivered with the help of screencasts as they can certainly be very beneficial and very handy to deliver very powerful messages.

By now you are probably wondering which one would be my preferred method of producing screencasts, right? And I must say that after having tried out a  number of different tools like Wink or CamStudio (Both of them very good options as well and worth while checking, in case you are looking for more options out there) and reading further on a number of different great reviews my preferred method for creating a screencast is actually Camtasia, which funny enough in the last few days there has been a new major release put together, v 4.0, that comes packed with an incredible set of new features that will make it a delight for everyone to try it out.

I have now upgraded my v. 3.x license and got my hands on a copy of v.4 (Yes, I know it is not cheap. But you would have to think how much money you would be saving for the different tasks you are planning to use it for. Yes, indeed, it would become a rather cheap license and worth while the money. And big time!). I must say that I impressed. Very impressed. Specially with the good amount of social software related features put together in this particular last major release. They even launched a new service with it called Screencast where you can host your own screencasts at a reasonable cost and then share them with everyone else out there. Pretty an interesting option, for sure, specially if you do not have the means to store them online elsewhere yourself.

I guess I could go on and on and on regarding how good Camtasia actually is, but I guess I will just leave it over there for the time being and encourage you to check out Jon’s weblog post on how tacit knowledge can benefit a huge deal from something so relatively simple as a screencast. As time goes by I will go ahead and share with you a couple of my favourite features thus far and perhaps also create a couple of screencasts and show you by doing how effective they can well be. We shall see how that goes.

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Shawn Callahan’s Interview on (Marketing) Storytelling and Narratives

For a number of months now, I have been talking about the power of storytelling within Knowledge Management and how it is finally beginning to play a key and fundamental role within any kind of business in order to help improve different process that may be already in place, and, at the same time, also help knowledge workers reach out there to one another in order to share their knowledge and collaborate, perhaps closer, with the sharing as well of … stories.

So I thought the following weblog post would be a nice addition to this ongoing discussion around the topic of storytelling, specially since in it you would be able to find a fantastic interview that Darren Woolley conducted over at P3Q with the one and only: Shawn Callahan from Anecdote. The interview has actually been placed as well over at YouTube so instead of me detailing some of the major highlights from the conversation around the world of narratives and storytelling within marketing I think I am just going to embed the video and let you watch it. It is only a bit over 6 minutes, but totally worth it, to be honest, if you would want to listen some concrete examples of how different marketing companies are actually making use of sharing stories in order to address different issues they may be facing and come out of them better than ever before. As I said, highly recommended.

And here it is. Enjoy it ! (I surely did):

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Shortcuts Podcast – How to Use Social Bookmarks

Some time ago you would remember how I created a weblog post announcing the new and incredibly useful podcasting initiative from IBM, available externally, called Shortcuts, where over the course of a couple of minutes you actually get to find out some really good hints and tips about different aspects of IT that would help increase your productivity, whether it is related to tool tips, good practices, emerging technologies, etc. etc. You name it.

So by now you probably have listened to the different podcasts on spyware, Instant Messaging, Lotus Notes e-mail archiving, managing contacts, weblog spam, phishing, recovering sent e-mail and Instant Messaging (Again). Well, this time around, regarding Cut #9 (Gosh, I just love that number!), I just wanted to mention how I have been given the pleasure and great honour to participate in this week’s podcast talking about one of my favourite subjects: How to Use Social Bookmarks. Yay!

The podcast itself was recorded with both Ben Edwards and George Faulkner and lasts for about 4 and a half minutes and it was a real treat. I had an incredible good time and these guys surely know their stuff about podcasting and everything around it.If you ever would want to know some more about podcasts and how to get started with your own they would be the right folks to talk to. Thus, thanks much, folks, for giving me the opportunity to chime in and participate in one of my favourite podcasts of all times: Shortcuts.

(Have you subscribed to it already?)

Anyway, if you were wondering what I talked about during those 4.30 minutes here is a quick overview of the topics I touched base on. I know there is a whole lot more to be said about the topic, but I am sure that will be coming up in future sessions…

1. Desktop independent: That is right. Now it is all about accessing your favourites on the web regardless of where you may be, whether at the office, while on the road or working from home. Right now, you just need you favourite social bookmarking site and an Internet connection and off you go.

2. Finding experts through their own bookmarks knowing not only about their interests but also what their subject matter expertise may well be based on those same bookmarks and the different annotations they may well have used thus far.

3. Visualisations available through TagClouds: Who doesn’t like TagClouds to get a visual representation of how people get to annotate their bookmarks, eh? I love TagClouds. Everyone should have one in their weblogs or whatever other web site(s). Everyone should perhaps even have one, or multiple, of them as business cards ! It would make things so much easier, don’t you think?

4. Integration with other online resources, i.e. blogs, web sites, wikis, etc. This is one of the features that I like the most myself about social bookmarks and something that you will get to see both in my IBM internal weblog and over here as well (See bottom of the page). The fact that with some simple HTML or Javascript you can embed your favourite bookmarks in your favourite sites and share that with everyone else. Pretty much like I have done with Dogear (Inside IBM) and also with BlinkList over here. Very nice!

Thus there you go. My first participation in an IBM external podcast and I am really excited it is Shortcuts. What a nifty entrance into the external podcasting world, for sure, but do not worry, because it is not going to be the last one. I am sure… But more to come at a later time …

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Online Interaction Glossary by Nancy White

It looks like over the last couple of days I have been recommending a couple of worth while resources or weblog articles worth while reading further and keeping an eye on and somehow it sounds like this is not going to end up today. I am not going to mention, nor point, nor recommend either Carla Verwijs’ weblog or Nancy White’s since by now if you are both into Knowledge Management and Online Facilitation for communities you are probably already subscribed to both of their weblogs, and if you haven’t then I will surely recommend you do so! You will be gone off to a great reading. But that is not the purpose of this particular weblog post. What is interesting and worth while mentioning is what Carla has been mentioning already over at one of her weblog posts: Dictionary of Interaction where she is actually referencing referencing another weblog post published by Nancy not long ago titled Updating My Online Interaction Glossary.

What a fantastic resource that is ! In Updating My Online Interaction Glossary Nancy has put together a must-read glossary of terms that she has been exposed over time in her daily online interactions with other folks. Indeed, a must-go-through resource specially if you are about to enter the world of online, remote collaboration and if in particular you would want to catch up with some of the hot terms as far as social software, knowledge sharing and collaboration is concerned. That is why you would be able to read in very brief notes on terms like Aggregation, Weblog, Blogroll, Communities of Practice, Feeds, Folksonomy, Knowledge Management (Where I would probably need to add, yet again, another definition to The Essence of Knowledge Management weblog post I created not long ago), Mashup, Permalink, Presence Indicators, RSS, Social Software, Tagging, Virtual Community, Web 2.0, Wiki, etc. etc.

Yes, I know that lots of you out there who have been on the Internet for quite a while and who have been having and maintaining your weblogs and whatever other online spaces ma be a bit far too simplistic list, but I must that is the beauty of the whole thing. It is its simplicity what makes that particular weblog post very handy and very helpful, and straight the point. And on top of that you would see as well how Nancy not only gives a very short descriptive definition of the word but she also includes a URL link which points to online resources where you can get some further details, if needed. Very nice actually!

This is one of those resources that I will continue to use as time goes by and I dive into facilitating the on boarding of the communities I provide support to on making use of some of these new social software tools coming out there. And Nancy’s Online Interaction Glossary is just not only a good start but a superb one. I would be able to save up so much time not having to recreate this and I am glad she has put it together. Also I am sure that as time goes by she will be adding some more entries, so that is perhaps one of those articles that would be worth while bookmarking elsewhere for a later retrieval and catch up.

So from here a big thanks! to Nancy White for putting such a handy resource out there and for making it available to us all. Well done !

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