E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Smart Work for a Smarter Planet. I’m an IBMer, Too!

Gran Canaria - Driving on the CountrysideI am pretty sure that by now you may have heard / read plenty about the great things that are happening in Las Vegas at IBM‘s Impact 2009 event. Lots and lots of really interesting nuggets and knowledge snippets are coming through from various different places. However, there was one in particular that caught my attention earlier on today, when I bumped into it, since it reminded me very clearly of a recent blog post I put together under the title “Why I’m an IBMer“.

Yes, it is another interesting and enlightening video clip, in this case, spread around by my good friend, and fellow IBM colleague, Andy Piper‘s “Smart Work for a Smarter Planet. I’m an IBMer“, and which comes to reflect on the power of social networking and how it will shape our business relationships in the corporate world in the near future or right as we speak already for that matter!

The YouTube video lasts for nearly two minutes and it surely is a treat to go through. There are lots of very relevant tidbits on the topic of A Smarter Planet and how we, knowledge workers of the current knowledge economy we are engaging with, need to smarten up in order to get done more with less effort, i.e. keep improving our own productivity. In sort, work smarter, not necessarily harder… Does it ring a bell? (heh)

So I thought I would spend a few minutes today sharing that video clip with you folks over here. That way you can have a look on why I decided to chose the title of this blog post as what it is showing right now and why I’m still sold on the idea that social computing is going to change the business world as we know it by making it smaller, more human, more participative, less hierarchical, more authentic, more transparent and trustworthy. In short, the Enterprise of the Future!

Yes, indeed, I’m an IBMer, too!

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Identity Management on Facebook by Josh Scribner

Gran Canaria - WaterfallI guess it is inevitable, right? I suppose there is no way to stop it, either; perhaps it shouldn’t be after all. Who knows… We all probably realise though that the usage of Facebook as one of the most powerful social networking environments out there will continue to soar even more rapidly than right now, where it was just mentioned a couple of weeks back how it reached over 200 million users, as months go by and more and more people get exposed to social software in general. Yes, like I said, it is probably inevitable.

However, what most folks can do, but may not have realised about it just yet, is the fact you can establish, and control, how you would want to interact with it, specially if you are in the need of separating both your personal and your business interactions, because, as we all know, sometimes some things should remain just that: private.

So what can you do to tailor your own Facebook interactions to suit the various different groups you connect with in that social network, so that not only you can make sense out it, but also those personal and business connections you have in such powerful networking environment? I know that plenty of times folks have been talking about how you can protect your own privacy while using Facebook extensively. I could go ahead and share with you all some tips on how you can get things going, and start protecting some of those conversations, if you haven’t done so thus far.

Nonetheless, I am actually going to do something much better than that. If you need to take a closer look again in how you manage your identity in such social network so that you can split up interactions and define multiple levels of visibility, walk no further than a recent presentation that one of my team colleagues has put together and shared across in Slideshare.

Check out Identity Management for IBMers on Facebook by Josh Scribner. This is a slide deck that provides plenty of great tips on how you manage, and still make sense, of your identity in Facebook. It provides plenty of background on why we, end-users, need to watch out for what we share, how we share and with whom we share it. Because you never know how and where those interactions will turn up. Pretty much common sense, I can assure you all, but still plenty of sound advice on how you can improve your overall exposure to such social networking tool. Thus without much further ado, here you have got the embedded version, so you can take a look and judge whether it may be a good time now, or not, to re-evaluate how you are making good use of Facebook, both from a personal and business perspective. Worth while taking a look into Josh’s deck to get things going, for sure.

(A special thanks to Josh for sharing that lovely slide deck outside of the company’s firewall, so that other folks out there would be able to benefit as well from such nifty, and useful, presentation! Well done, Josh! And thanks for sharing!)

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A World Without Email – Year 2, Week 10 (Is Email Really Dead?)

Gran Canaria - Risco BlancoYou may remember my last blog post on the topic of the weekly progress reports of living “A World Without Email“, where I mentioned how I was in the process of putting together an article where I would be able to share with folks how they could kill over 85% of the incoming emails they get on a daily basis. Well, it is proving to be a little bit of a challenge to eventually share it out there, because there is just so much that I want to include in that current draft (#3 at the moment) that I doubt it would fit in within a single entry. So I keep re-editing it, hoping it would see the light one of these days… Hang in there though, I am sure it will eventually be available for everyone to read very soon!

So, what happened last week then, you may be wondering, with regards to my weekly progress report on giving up email at work, right? Well, it looks like things are becoming steadier by the week and may have settled down around the barrier of the 25 emails received per week thus far. From my follow up challenge for this year of 20 or less a week. Getting there, I suppose; slowly, but steadily. Here is the snapshot from Week 10:

A World Without Email - Year 2, Week 10

As you would be able to see, it looks like there wasn’t a single day last week where there was a substantial increase, for whatever the reason, like it happened in previous weeks, which I guess is a good sign of things going back to normal. Like I mentioned, my new mission is to eventually get under 20 emails a week and so far seeing how close I am from that target already is, for sure, some really good news!

Talking about good news … Over the last few hours I have been getting lots of offline interactions from various folks who took the time to listen to Episode 11 from The Sweettt Podcast and make some interesting comments, specially around the subject of my conversation with Matt Simpson on re-purposing the way I interact with email and how for the first time a couple of folks hinted what I have been trying to achieve all along: that is, how I am not very much in favour of killing email per se altogether, but more on fragmenting the number of interactions, or, even better, diversifying the conversations I have coming through my Inbox and make a much more appropriate use of other collaborative, knowledge sharing and social software tools that could fit in a better purpose than an email.

Yes, indeed! That’s all I am trying to do with this living “A World Without Email“. I have never said that email is dead nor that it will disappear any time soon. In fact, I still see plenty of benefits for email, specifically for 1:1 interactions. However, email is perhaps not the best of knowledge sharing and collaborative tools. Quite the opposite!

And that’s just what that upcoming article I mentioned above will be about. Not how to kill email, nor how to make it disappear from your daily routine, but certainly how to reduce over the 85% to 90% of noise that is currently coming through it. What I am trying to show everyone is how we need to think before we send that next email, because there is a great chance there may be a better tool to share that information / knowledge than through an email. In most cases there usually is!

So there you have it. The prelude of the upcoming article I hope to be sharing with you all pretty soon that will probably help you change or adapt some of your daily habits in how to get in touch and connect with your peers to share what you know. And in most cases avoiding the tool we all know doesn’t always fit the right purpose all the time. Email.

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The Sweettt Podcast – Episode 11 – Information Flow (Part II)

I haven’t been very successful today trying to join the superb 24 hour online event from Corporate Learning Trends and Innovation on “Conversations about Learning in Organisations” that I blogged about yesterday. It looks like Elluminate doesn’t get along well with my Mac apparently, since it keeps crashing consistently ever single time I try to access the online event (And I don’t seem to be the only one either!); so I guess I will have to try again tomorrow and, if that doesn’t work still, I suppose I will be catching up with the various recordings that will be made available at a later time.

Moving onwards then!

Yes, folks, it is that time again! The Sweettt Podcast moves on further along and I am happy to bring you over here our next episode (Episode 11), where both Matt Simpson, my good friend and co-host, and yours truly spent a few minutes talking some more around the topic of Information Flow (Part II). You can download or play the podcasting episode from this location. And here are some show notes of what you may expect from listening to it that Matt already mentioned in the corresponding blog post:

  • What is more important, quality or quantity?
  • Who you are in your blog is very different than who you are in a microblog.
  • What constitutes a valid blog? Can a blog be trivial?
  • When does your Twitter become a village? – See Laura Fitton
  • How do you enter a online social village and navigate its streets?
  • To achieve flow in the information space, how do you sample information?
  • What is the alternative to managing content within the information space?
  • How do you choose which new technology to use in the information sharing space?
  • What kind of people try technology first? What does a bleeding edge early adopter look like? See Chris Miller
  • How do you keep track of your new technology?
  • What’s the ideal amount of technology for the majority of us?
  • Which is the predominant future trend, increased technology fragmentation with more tools, or consolidation of technology into fewer tools?
  • If services become specialized and exploited in other contexts (other web sites), what will be the incentive for the service to be provided, especially if people are not going to the homepage?

And, of course, you will notice as well how we spent some time as well talking about living “A World Without Email” and our growing need to diversify our email inboxes; to fragment them so that it does fit a specific purpose versus all purposes, which is what is happening at the moment. Some fascinating conversations, indeed, which developed into other areas we will be exploring in future podcasting episodes.

Oh, yes, it is good to be back! Hope you enjoy the episode, just as much as we did :-)

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Open Enterprise 2009 – Lee Bryant Interviewed by Stowe Boyd

Gran Canaria - Puerto de MoganAt the risk of starting to sound repetitive, I am going to be sharing with you folks another video interview I have been watching lately from the increasingly-by-the-day more interesting Open Enterprise 2.0 initiative that both Oliver Marks and Stowe Boyd have been working on for a few months now.

This time around I would like to point you to what, to date, has been one of my favourite interviews from the superb pool of great talent and thought leadership that has been shared throughout each and everyone of those interviews. Thus, without much further ado, head over to the Enterprise 2.0 Blog and check out Open Enterprise 2009: Lee Bryant Interview.

In that particular interview, the always insightful and thought-provoking Stowe Boyd gets to spend some time with Lee Bryant (Co-founder of Headshift, and perhaps one of the smartest folks I know in the area of Enterprise 2.0), while they discuss the current state of things of Social Computing within the corporate world; covering topics like the current econolypse, the history and background from the Social Web that has brought us to where we are (Brilliant piece, by the way, to get some perspectives on where we are with things and a massive wakeup call for everyone out there who may still think this whole movement on social networking is all new and shiny. <beep> wrong assumption).

From there onwards both Lee and Stowe get to talk about one of my favourite topics all along: Return on Investment for Social Software with some rather interesting and provocative conclusions I will suggest you take a look at and have a listen. It won’t disappoint you, to say the least; then they end up talking about perhaps the biggest force behind Enterprise 2.0 at the moment: Change Management and Culture. With a twist!

I know I could talk quite a bit on this very same topic to introduce the last piece of the interview, but I am not going to spoil it. I am just going to stop over here and suggest you have a good listen to a superb interview. You will find far too many precious gems shared in the last part of the interview to mention and cover them over here. For sure.

I bet you may be wondering though what I liked the most from the overall conversation, right? Well, as a teaser, I would go ahead and share with your folks how Lee’s thoughts on the big challenges for Enterprise 2.0 are just exactly what I am trying to do myself with living “A World Without Email“. That’s how far I will go into that area for now 😉 heh …

Who would have thought about that, eh? Like I said, here is the embedded version of another priceless interview by Stowe, with Lee as the special guest:

Oh, and in case you may not know, the wonderful folks of Headshift are one of the fine sponsors, and active participants, from the great SOMESSO event that will kick off next month, May 15th. Will you be there? If so, let us know how it goes. Share your two cents through live tweeting, or live con-blogging, so that we can all benefit from it and learn plenty more from the outstanding lineup of speakers who will be there. Don’t miss it! :-)

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Traditional Knowledge Management Systems – Adapt or Die

Gran Canaria - Puerto de MoganIf you have been following this blog for a while, you would know how my professional background comes from various different areas associated for quite some time now with Knowledge Management, in particular, traditional Knowledge Management: Collaboration, Community Building, Learning, etc. Yes, I am one of those folks who eventually worked for several different projects, throughout the years, dealing with deploying successfully specific KM and community building programs for various business units.

One of them, perhaps one of the most powerful and traditional ones, was IBM‘s Global Business ServicesLearning and Knowledge. At the time with one of the most impressive KM Systems in place to date. One of those resources considered an essential KM tool for every single practitioner to work with: KnowledgeView. Then towards end of 2005 a relatively new concept came about: Web 2.0. Social Software. Social Computing. A radical change in how things were operating at the moment. Disruptive enough to pay attention to it. Essential to adapt or die in the attempt. And a couple of years later, Practitioner Portal was born.

That’s a summary of how traditionally powerful Knowledge Management Systems need to be ready to adapt or die with the emergence of Enterprise 2.0 (Yes, I know it may sound a bit too drastic, but you get the idea of what I am after with that expression); how they need to come to terms with the fact they are no longer in control (They never were for that matter!) of how knowledge flows within the organisation; how they should start realising they need to make it much easier sharing knowledge and experiences across amongst knowledge workers, making it much more participative and engaging that whatever has been happening in the past; how in the end complex fixed taxonomies and processes, as well as a rather cumbersome set of KM tools to use extensively, is not going to go very far. Specially in the current business environment we are working in, where more and more social computing is taking over the corporate world by storm.

Yes, indeed, for those traditional KMS to survive it would be about time now to start figuring out how they would want to get the most out of this next next wave of interactions to improve collaboration, both inside and outside of the firewall. Thus Knowledge Sharing is born. Does it ring a bell? Probably not. But if I tell you to go and have a look into Bryant Clevenger‘s article at KM Edge titled “Web 2.0: Changing How Value Is Created and Measured at IBM” the story would be different,

Bryant, global leader for the IBM Global Business Services knowledge sharing strategy, used to be my manager (Then became my manager’s manager) at the time when that transition into the social computing world was just getting started for that particular business unit as well as for KnowledgeView. For the rest of the story I would like to point you to Bryant’s post, because it is very indicative of how things got started and where they ended up just recently. The Practitioner Portal itself.

Here is an interesting quote from Bryant’s entry that I thought would be worth while mentioning over here to give you a taster of what that transformation has been like:

[…] we undertook a massive overhaul of the technology and approach we use for knowledge management, moving from a centrally managed, linear, taxonomy- and repository-based system to one that leverages the best of Web 2.0, including social software, user participation, and key market-driven concepts like sponsored links. We see this as a shift from “knowledge management” to “knowledge sharing.”

Impressive, don’t you think? Well, it gets better. Bryant will eventually be keynoting on this very same transformation, and plenty more!, at the upcoming APQC Knowledge Management conference event in Houston by mid May. But to get things going and share some further context on what you may potentially find out at the event, here is a YouTube video that he has shared that provides a lot more background on what that change management process was like:

I know that plenty of folks out there may be wondering right now whether KM is dead or not; specially traditional KM. Perhaps it is; perhaps it is not. Maybe it is morphing into something else. Something we have failed to name it yet (Knowledge Management is quite an oxymoron, don’t you think?), but that’s already started with the process of adapting itself to the new rules of engagement in the Enterprise 2.0 world, because I seriously doubt it would want to go away just like that after all of these years. I eventually think that it will adapt successfully and move on. And the example of IBM’s GBS Practitioner Portal, as you may have been able to see, is just one of those to which you could apply quite nicely the following quote from the always insightful Charles Darwin:

It is not the strong, nor the intelligent who survive, but those who are quickest to adapt

So is your traditional Knowledge Management System ready for such unprecedented transition? Are you ready for such a massive transformation of your business? Is your KMS ready to adapt or die in the attempt?

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