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Dealing with an unhelpful culture
Appreciating the invisible A puzzling question Stop selling the 100% solution to experts Transparency rules, OK? A would-be nanopreneur’s Thinkerings on Knowledge Why creative thinking shouldn’t be left to chance Making learning as effective as possible
I was once asked at a conference to define a knowledge worker. I started by drawing the distinction between manual work, information work and knowledge work. Manual work was done mainly with the hands. It could be highly skilled but it was often repetitious and gave little scope for the manual worker to take the initiative and work differently. I argued something similar for the information worker – the manual element had gone but many information oriented jobs, although skilled were process driven. People tended to be limited in their creativity by the demands of the process. And then knowledge workers, it seemed to me, had the most freedom – they got to decide to some extent what they actually did and to a larger degree how they did it. At KM Asia last year, Tom Stewart gave his definition of a knowledge worker that was pretty close to my own of a few years before – “Someone who gets to chose what he or she does in his or her job each morning” But for me, today, this is still not sufficient. Another person who has influenced my views on knowledge work is Michael Schrage – a few years go he said this in an interview with CIO Magazine: “I think “knowledge management” is a bullshit issue. Let me tell you why. I can give you perfect information, I can give you perfect knowledge and it won’t change your behaviour one iota. People choose not to change their behaviour because the culture and the imperatives of the organization make it too difficult to act upon the knowledge. Knowledge is not the power. Power is power. The ability to act on knowledge is power. Most people in most
This issue sees the return of some contributors and the introduction of some others, who we hope and trust will soon become familiar. We are sure that you will enjoy all the articles and doubtless some will resonate with you more than others. Perhaps if I had one article which really struck a chord with me it was Victor Newman’s not invented here (NIH). Victor is an old friend and one of the most innovative thinkers on knowledge management over the last decade. I am sure we have all been victims of a NIH culture – sometimes from an individual, maybe even from a whole department or culture. You suggest something and you know you can forget any chance of the notion being taken on board. So do do you overcome NIH? According to Newman timing is everything. Anyone who wants to break down a NIH culture should not demolish the delicate relationship capital built up by making a frontal assault. You have to bide your time, introduce ideas slowly and give people space to get use to new ideas.
GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE REVIEW November 2004
IN THIS ISSUE
2 3 4 5 6 8 10 Who is hiring KM professionals in Asia? Tapping into the wisdom of crowds Briefing The MORE WITH MORE imperative TFPL page Businesses fail to share information
11 12 14 15 14 17
Taking responsibility for your work
organizations do not have the ability to act on the knowledge they possess. End of story.” The point here is that ‘the ability to act on knowledge is power’ which leads to my own definition of a knowledge worker: “Knowledge workers are those people who have taken responsibility for their work lives. They continually strive to understand the world about them and modify their work practices and behaviors to better meet their personal and organizational objectives. No one tells them what to do. They do not take “No” for an answer. They are self motivated.” The key is about taking responsibility. To my mind knowledge workers cannot be coerced, bribed, manipulated or rewarded and no amount of money or fancy technology will ‘incentivize’ them to do a better job. Knowledge workers see the benefits of working differently for themselves. They are not ‘wage slaves’ – they take responsibility for their work including the whole and drive improvement. What I like about this definition is that it is independent of your type of work – you can do predominately manual, information or knowledge work in my original sense and still be a ‘knowledge worker’. So a question for you – to what extent do you think G you are a knowledge worker by this definition? K David Gurteen
Lilia explains how she is becoming more and more convinced that knowledge management is about facilitating the invisible
Appreciating the invisible
We tend to measure work by its outcomes – reports, designs, deals, products – and often don't look at the process that leads to them. And even if we want to see the process, it's often hidden: in people’s heads, in project communications distributed over hundreds of emails, in drafts of documents and notes locked on personal hard drives, and in conversations that vanish into thin air… Why is process important? Because it's learning from stories of construction, alternatives not chosen, tricks invented on the way, best practices and mistakes that make a difference in today's markets that expect innovation and customer care. In practice, such 'organisationally controlled' learning is only a tip of the 'learning iceberg': up to 80% of jobrelated learning is informal and driven by individuals themselves. This learning takes many forms starting with well-planned personal learning projects to the serendipity of coffee-table conversations and ideas implicitly picked up though lurking in a favourite discussion forum. Researchers studying informal learning often find that it is so natural, so embedded in doing work or communicating with others, that even learners themselves don't acknowledge it as learning. However, driven by learners’ immediate work needs or long-term passions, this 'invisible learning' can often be more powerful than formal learning.
RESEARCHER TELEMATICA INSTITUUT I work as a researcher in areas of workplace learning, collaboration and knowledge management. In my work I try to bring together my experiences of facilitating learning and managing change, my interest in technologies and my passion for understanding how people work in knowledgeintensive environments.
• Invisible participation
When there is a discussion about communities of practice it is often about the value of exchanging ideas and problem solving. Active involvement in conversations is appreciated and supported, while lurkers are often perceived as 'free-riders' who benefit from contributions of others without adding much value themselves. Usual metrics for judging community success often do not take into account that lurking is a form of participation – legitimate peripheral participation – that has its own value. Listening and reading is learning. It is getting to know community norms and language, picking up trends and staying updated, learning about others and their conversations. All this leads to an awareness of context that makes it much easier to become an active participant when the right moment comes. Non-active participation is also about creating a larger audience for any conversation that can motivate experts to share and about giving space to others by being silent.
• Invisible netWORK
Interpersonal relations are becoming more and more important for learning, coming up with new ideas, staying connected with informal communication flows (that are often more meaningful than official communications), and getting work done. While job descriptions for top management or marketing positions often indicate that developing 'insider knowledge of an industry' or 'personal client base' is an important part of the job, this is rarely the case for engineers or front-line employees. Time and effort spent doing netWORK (Nardi, Whittaker, & Schwarz, 2002) – building and maintaining personal networks – is not reflected in time sheets and hardly ever taken into account during performance appraisals or project evaluations. There is more that is invisible out there: ideas before they are articulated in conversations or written down, best practices embedded into everyday work, social networks, stories and myths that represent the real organisation hidden behind the organisational chart and corporate policies, and so on… The challenge of knowledge management – or 'just management' in this case – is to discover and appreciate these invisibles and to shift from managing only what can be easily seen and measured to G K supporting and fostering what really matters.
McGee, J. (2002). Knowledge work as craft work, www.mcgeesmusings.net Nonnecke, B., & Preece, J. (2003). Silent participants: Getting to know lurkers better. From Usenet to CoWebs: Interacting with Social Information Spaces. Cross, J. (2003). The other 80%, www.internettime.com Nardi, B., Whittaker, S, Schwarz, H. (2002). NetWORKers and their activity in intensional networks. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Volume 11, Issue 1-2, 205-242. blog.mathemagenic.com/invisible
• Invisible learning
Learning takes a variety of forms. Courses, seminars or mentoring programs are probably those that come to mind first. These forms could be referred to as formal learning, i.e. planned and controlled by an organisation.
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Science and art: Greg looks at the intereaction between IT and knowledge strategy
A puzzling question
Recently I was asked by a person new to knowledge management, “How can information technology be used to support knowledge-centric initiatives?” As Kenny Everett said in his eponymous TV show this query is “so complex in its simplicity yet so simple in its complexity “. I have been asked this question so many times I thought it was time to give it serious thought and devise a considered answer. Here goes, but before I start I have a request. When you read this I want you to interpret information technology as widely as possible; include not only computers but books, documents, pictures, art, tape recordings, paper and any other technology that has the capacity to store information for later retrieval or to process it in some way. The principal KM activities are performed by people. IT is used to enhance our personal capabilities. Consequently the computer’s principal components are aptly named after those very human activities they enhance: memory, processing, communication, logic, networking etc. the knowledge capabilities of the individual or the group. These are constant themes in the scientific literature. If you want consistency of knowledge (for customer or internal use) or want to emphasise knowledge re-use then create a central knowledge repository that is easy to add to and access. Usually this is a combination of information technologies including the simple pen and paper. If you want to maximise the use of personal knowledge resources then emphasise technologies that assist in communication and finding those resources. If your aim is to maximise knowledge creation then use technologies that enhance collaboration and make available appropriate internal and external knowledge sources (both experts and expertise). If your strategy is protect your knowledge then partition and secure your information resources. The riskiest knowledge strategies are those without a vision of the outcome. Blindly applying technology to a knowledge outcome may or may not result in your intended outcome with varying consequences. My research into knowledge re-use, for example, found that central repositories are sometimes made inaccessible to those who might contribute to them the most. Contracted experts on an ERP help-desk in a large government organisation were excluded from making additions to the central knowledge-base because of IT policy prohibiting full access to temporary staff. Similarly, junior staff (those who need the most advice) may be culturally inhibited from using online communication mediums to ask advice of more senior experts. The literature is full of social science studies that demonstrate the repressive impact of people on the use of tools designed to augment their abilities. But what about using technology to measure knowledge transfer from one person to another? I recently asked two leading neuroscientists from San Diego if there is a measurable brain signal that indicates when one person does not understand a concept explained by another. The answer is no but there is a measurable signal that occurs when you realise you have G made a mistake. Well it’s a start. K
RESEARCHER, LECTURER AND CONSULTANT IN KM AT QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (QUT) Greg left his job as a knowledge manager in 1999 to join academe and pursue a doctorate (almost finished). Greg has worked mostly in the consulting sector and government in a career spanning 25 years mainly in information systems. He has published and spoken on KM all over the world and is currently pursuing KM research projects in call centres, online communities, and the IT professional services sector.
• Art of KM
I liken the use of IT by a knowledge manager to a hammer and chisel in the hands of a sculptor of marble. IT is an important tool, for like the hammer and chisel (or any tool), it is an extension of you and can perform functions that we humans alone cannot. Likewise the sculptor guides the tool to create an image that exists in their mind. Just as ancient civilisations left behind imperfect traces of their lives, IT constantly leaves behind artefacts from our lives. These are distant reflections of knowledge activities, to be interpreted in the future by others, either imperfectly or as the creator intended. We all use these technologies and artefacts in different ways according to our different knowledge needs. We combine them with our personal or shared knowledge repositories to enrich our decisions, our actions and our lives. We use it as a tool to extend many human capabilities.
• Science of KM
The use of IT in knowledge strategy is based on extending
Global Knowledge Review November 2004 • 3
Victor discusses how to replace “Not Invented Here" with “Invented here"
A word of advice: stop selling the 100% solution to experts
One of the best pieces of advice I was given in corporate life was to stop trying to sell 100 % solutions to experts, especially when working in global, cross-functional teams across the organizational matrix. My mentor told me that unless they are scared enough to listen, they will never forgive you for being right and for knowing something they don’t. I found myself wondering what the costs of having to reinvent the obvious locally were within our business, and how much resource was being invested in replicating the obvious that we could more productively invest somewhere else. Just how much was localised ego that couldn’t see the global perspective actually costing us? This article is designed to share some of the secret Knowledge Activist techniques for building a knowledge culture that works across national and technical boundaries. There are several distinct problems involved with trying to work with highly-educated technical experts; problems that are often categorised as Not-Invented-Here (NIH) behaviours. The difficulty is that we can get trapped into an "Ain’t it a shame" mode that accepts this block to the sharing of knowledge as though we were discussing the weather, instead of developing tactics to overcome it. from one organisation into another even when it’s an obvious life-saver. An "Invented-Here" partial solution that often works is to facilitate a team from a recipient organisation into building a prototype solution to the problem, and only afterwards exposing them to the generic solution that you already had in your back-pocket. It does seem as though experts cannot visualise, recognise or understand a solution until they have gone through the pain of trying to invent it for themselves. The technique of a master at this point is to deliberately fail to give your generic solution a name, so that they can name it themselves and begin to own it when they begin to spread it around the organisation. NIH-2 is that you must never present technical experts with a finished product to sign off in short order, even if your solution is technically correct just because you yourself are an expert in your field. As my mentor put it: "they will never forgive you for presenting them with a 100% solution: so just don’t do it. Only ever give them a 30% solution that defines the solution, and design a 70% space that they can fill with their own contribution —without making it too obvious that you have defined the solution for them. The beauty of the 30/70 rule is that of creating a vacuum that naturally draws individuals’ own contributions expressed in their own language. NIH-3 , the third problem, is that the moment you try to teach a problem-framing technique that is outside their field of expertise they will automatically rubbish it. A solution is to appear to invent a technique in real-time. I learnt the hard way that although root-cause analysis was the best approach to understanding the causes of failure, because it came from the automotive context it had to be dismissed if formally introduced with an explanation of its pedigree. The ultimate solution turned out to be, to introduce the technique using repetitive questioning (never "why/ why"/) and to use post-its from an already-used G pile apparently left from a previous meeting. K
INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT Victor is Pfizer's former Chief Learning Officer (2000-2004), and Visiting Professor in Knowledge Management and Innovation to the Open University Business School. Victor now consults privately. Victor's leadership of innovation transformed Pfizer's global best-practice and R&D productivity. Victor has a prevailing interest in the psychology of implementation, derived from diverse and intense consulting experience within all industrial sectors.
• Three NIH models
NIH-1 is when experts will not allow a problem to be expressed in a language or form that is outside the language of their particular expertise or experience. This leads to the intellectual Catch-22 of audience alienation through the language of the solution. This is because the language of the solution, the name given to the technique, quite literally comes from "another place" that is alien by virtue of the fact that in order for the solution to exist, the problem that it was connected with had to be acknowledge and understood, and a solution developed from that particular context. It is this "otherness" around the language of the solution that means that a solution from another context or business-sector can take up to three implementations before it sticks. Hence the difficulty of transferring good or what appears to be "best-practice"
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Increasing transparency is one of the critical trends affecting businesses, governments and consumers today: and we ain’t seen nothing yet!
Transparency rules, OK?
Organisations are all under more official and unofficial scrutiny today than ever before. And it is set to increase. On the one hand, a great deal of regulation and legislation is addressing the issue of reducing the possibility of corruption and trying to ensure that we do not suffer another Enron; on the other hand, the speed and reach of communications in the networked marketplace ensure that organisations ‘walk the talk’, that they truly practise what they preach. Or are exposed for not doing so (one danger being that they are falsely accused, but that is a different issue). But transparency, I feel, goes far beyond the core issue of governance and corruption, both at the corporate and national levels, critical though these are. It is about corporate culture; corporate and brand values; product simplicity; system usability; the balance between security, privacy and convenience; building alliances and dialogue; risk and informed choices – to name but a few. And technologies such as the internet, credit/debit cards, biometrics, radio frequency identification (RFID), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), genetics and others are all contributing to growthin transparency. Transparency shifts the boundaries of risk, changes our perceptions of it and requires us to manage our response to it. For example, how do we manage risks that must have previously been there, but we either chose to ignore or simply were not aware of? The current problems of pension fund deficits with the fall in stock markets are a case in point. I am not a pensions expert, but given that pension funds have, for many years, been heavily reliant on equities, and we have had previous stock market falls if not crashes, surely we have been in a similar position before, but did not know or were not told. Now, because we know about pension fund deficits, we have created a vicious circle of worry: companies reveal a pension fund deficit which drives down their share price, which in turn devalues other pension funds….. etc. Enabling consumers to make informed choices is another mantra of today’s transparent marketplace, and rightly so. But people do not always know how to manage the necessary knowledge and information, nor do they necessarily understand how to evaluate risk, or fully understand the consequences of their decisions. Not only that, making informed choices will become more and more complex. We are moving to a world where personal information about lifestyles, actions and choices in real time plus other information about skills and abilities, health and genetic predisposition to diseases are increasingly available. In the UK, we are already seeing the emergence of new forms of services with contracts based on actions – car insurance with premiums calculated in response to where you drive your car; health insurance which includes reductions for people who ‘lead healthier lives’. These are the first signs of more transparent services, where actions and risks are being made a more explicit part of the agreement, but so too are responsibilities. Finding ways to live with the new rules of transparency, and how to manage the knowledge and information, risks and responsibilities, decisions and their consequences will provide opportunities, challenges and threats. Among other actions, we will need to: • Develop new metrics for understanding the wider impacts of decisions, costs and risks • Create services which help people to manage and use knowledge and information effectively to assess risk and make decisions. Price comparison websites are a start • Help people develop the skills that enable them to understand risk and how to take decisions • Have public debates which acknowledge the emotional as well as the rational arguments, concerns and options, and respond accordingly. Debates around genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe and the use of the combined Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine are cases in point • Generate corporate cultures where openness, dialogue and collaboration can flourish • Find new ways to address the increasing litigiousness of societies worldwide • Develop international frameworks for implementing international agreements. G K
KNOWLEDGE FOR TOMORROW, TODAY Sheila Moorcroft is a futures research consultant with over 15 years experience, specializing in scanning, identification of issues and their assessment, and scenario development, especially the business implications of changing values and lifestyles. Previously, she was a Director of Applied Futures where she worked with clients in retailing, financial services, healthcare and travel, looking at new product development and business strategy. Prior to that she spent ten years at SRI International providing strategic research services to clients throughout Europe. She regularly talks at conferences and contributes to management training courses.
Global Knowledge Report November 2004 • 5
Soft assets matter most today. Ideas. People. Teamwork. Communities. Passion. Values and knowledge. That is what Alan Webber, editor, Fast Company reckons. David agrees.
A would-be nanopreneur’s Thinkerings on Knowledge
As a young seeker of knowledge, I began my career more than a decade ago as a radio producer’s assistant who quickly learnt that the most malleable thing on earth was the human imagination. Combining words, music and other sound bites, radio has an endearing quality that has enabled it to withstand competition for audiences from other mass media greats such as television and the internet, and co-exist in symbiosis with them. This endearing quality is radio’s ability to create limitless visualisations in the minds of its audience through narratives and descriptions – to imagine possibilities of what might have been; what is taking place right now; and what could happen in the future. Often, one word is all that is needed to signify an idea or vision. NanoKnowledge is just such a word. NanoKnowledge is not about nanotechnology alone. Nanotechnology may be a sprawling idea that cuts across so many disciplines, including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science. The concept is that by manipulating matter at the molecular level, literally re-arranging atoms and molecules, you can create new materials and products with extraordinary properties e.g. fibres stronger than steel yet at a fraction of its weight, chemical detectors that can sense a trace molecule of a toxic gas, precision-guided “smart” drugs, and computer memory chips 1,000 times more powerful than any in existence today. On the other hand, nanoKnowledge is about the building blocks of knowledge that help us visualise and make sense of ‘the bigger picture’. It’s about learning – where we are able to take bits of knowledge, form them together and create amazing things from what began as a single idea. NanoKnowledge looks beyond the technology, to the source of the dynamic know-how – people – which gave birth to new notions, like nanotechnology. The concept of nanoKnowledge is actually quite simple: by stimulating continuous learning and development among individuals in an organisation’s workforce through new and innovative ways, people create new ideas, products and services – we call this “innovation” – that become the building blocks for that organisation’s success and future. Proponents of R&D technology say that nanotechnology may give rise to the next industrial revolution, but before that happens, nanoKnowledge will bring about a learning revolution. Sounds like a plug? Think again. Dr Mihail Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation in the US, estimated that by 2015, the global market for nanotech-based products will reach US$1 trillion and employ some 800,000 workers in the US and two million worldwide. Harvard Business Review’s senior editor Gardiner Morse wrote that nanotechnologies will eventually “disrupt, transform, and create whole industries”. The question isn’t “whether your industry will be affected”, but “when and how”. So why can’t nanoKnowledge have a similar impact beyond the technology arena? Deciding to set up nanoKnowledge as my very own firm was a big leap forward for me, having worked for the most part of my career for multi-national corporations, start-up entrepreneurs and even the Singapore government. In Singapore, entrepreneurs are a rare breed indeed, not to mention the ones who make it without any financial help from the Singapore government or other related association. I recall my first adventure in knowledge management as a knowledge manager for a Singapore-based international hotel and resorts company which at the time managed some 38 properties in 17 locations around the world. The company had set up a Knowledge Centre facility, which was unique given the nature of the company, and had hired me to implement a global intranet-based knowledge management system. Here is an excerpt from my personal journal one week after I first joined the company. No real names are used here and I have changed the company’s name to “Company X” (see Figure on next page): Three years on (and one CEO later), I decided it was time to leave my cushy job at company X to venture on my own. Thus nanoKnowledge – my very own consultancy firm – was born. But not before I had been tasked with putting in
David C Tham
David specializes in corporate communications, human capital development and knowledge management consultancy. His diverse experience in HR and communication has made him one of Asia's preferred strategists for implementing human capital and knowledge management initiatives using practical, costeffective means.
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place a million dollar new intranet system and spent many long hours and headaches (arrgh!) trying to convince (read: “change manage”) the management of company X that knowledge management was the way forward and that KM is not just about technology but about people and what impassions them to come together, share and innovate the ideas they have in their minds. Peter Drucker in Managing in a Time of Great Change wrote that “Knowledge has become the key economic resource and dominant – and perhaps even the only – source of competitive advantage”. Yet, competitive advantage is not only the sum of the intellectual parts of an enterprise; it is the speed of summation, which is referred to as “return on time”. Through nanoKnowledge, I envisage a revolution in the way we look to knowledge for competitive advantage that goes beyond technology and products. In a knowledge-based economy, nanoKnowledge signifies the critical element of business strategy that will allow organisations to accelerate the rate at which they handle new market challenges and opportunities. It does so by leveraging its most precious resources – collective know-how, talent and experience. NanoKnowledge is, however, not altogether a simple issue. Nanotechnologists will, of course, claim it as their own. But it is not a technology, although technology should be positioned to facilitate it. It is not a directive, although strategic leadership is imperative. It is not a business strategy, although one aligned with the fundamental principles of knowledge management must exist. NanoKnowledge is based on the premise that an organisation is able to take stock in its greatest, most valuable yet individualistic organisation asset, namely, its People. It is within this framework that organisations must first be able to challenge age-old adages by no longer relying on core products but on core competencies. That is where the competition really begins. The organisation that can harness its nanoKnowledge is the organisation that truly understands Success in a Time of Great Change. And then can we appreciate Rudyard Kipling who wrote: “They copied all that could follow but they couldn’t copy my mind, and I left ’em sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.” At the very least, if you haven’t been thinkering with nanoKnowledge, it may be time for you to G find out how now. K
Personal Notes on Company X’s organisational knowledge culture (c. Aug 2001)
Day 1: Wow! It’s my first day. But none of the managerial staff think that orientating new staff, even a fellow manager and colleague, is important. A junior executive (management support staff) apologises and takes the initiative to show me around. I don’t even have an idea of what my CEO looks like other than that he isn’t Asian and that he has a pot belly like Santa. There are so many people to meet in the corporate office alone. All of a sudden I’m so not looking forward to having to know all the names of the general managers of the properties that are based overseas. Day 2: It seems there is a lack of corporate vision among some managerial staff. There is a tendency towards self-importance among senior (i.e. veteran) staff and this hinders the learning ability of newer staff who would be more effective to the company if they were able to attain or surpass the knowledge level of the former in a shorter time. There is a lack of an effective communication network and knowledge resource pool among managers due to the size of the organisation, and this can create unnecessary delays in inter-departmental information exchanges. Day 3: Staff do not appear to be well-trained in effective time management habits and each person appears to have his/her own compass direction, i.e. pre-occupied with the burden of accomplishing his/her own work rather than working together as a team to accomplish the company’s objectives. Thus, there is often a lack of co-ordination when meetings are arranged: e.g. certain staff members may arrive late for a department meeting because they are attending to seemingly more urgent and important matters, even though sufficient notice was given in advance for the meeting. Staff who do turn up early or on time for meetings end up waiting and valuable work time is lost in small but incremental quantity. This in turn may adversely affect the morale and enthusiasm of these staff who do make an effort to come early or are punctual. If left unchecked, such a cycle may leave an undesirable impact on organisational culture. Worse still, if staff come early or on time only because of the rank or seniority of the meeting’s proposer – this results in attendance to “please and appease” the boss rather than attendance to obtain/share the information necessary to improving overall work performance. The lack of co-ordination may be due to the lack of communication of meeting agenda. Hence staff are not able to prioritise the meeting activity above their other activities. Day 4: There is a high level of adherence to administrative “paperwork”. As a result, valuable time can be spent searching for required information from filing cabinets. Despite the general adherence to documentation, there are signs that certain departments may lack systematic documentation, e.g. the use of company X’s intranet system is presently crippled because not enough staff usernames and passwords have been released to create an online community among the staff and generate web traffic. There is also no uniform system of indexing between departments and throughout the company. Furthermore, there is no obvious tagging system for existing and new information incorporated into the intranet. Day 5: Presently, most, if not all, of company X’s computer workstations use the Microsoft Windows 95 version 4 Operating System. Windows 95 is documented to have a high tendency to crash thereby causing the loss of data and incurring additional cost for data recovery and/or troubleshooting. The impetus to harness information technology has obviously not been very strong within the company and it is currently vastly under-utilised. I do not have sufficient information at the current time to identify the reason for the lack of Operating System upgrades since 1995.
Global Knowledge Review November 2004 • 7
Creativity by choice, not by chance: developing imagination in the intelligence community
Why creative thinking shouldn’t be left to chance
The 9/11 Commission Report declared that it is “crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination.” And so in August 2004, US Congress called hearings to discuss the intelligence community’s “failure of imagination” and the “requirement for imagination and creativity” going forward. As the head of an education foundation that advocates the value of applied imagination, I was pleased to see this focus in the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence hearings. Unfortunately, it took the 9/11 attacks to raise a serious national conversation about the importance of imagination. It’s a well-overdue conversation and one that should continue. Contrary to some of the testimony on August 4, imagination and judgment are not mutually exclusive. Mr. Mark Lowenthal, assistant director of central intelligence, said that intelligence requires discipline, not “simply flights of fantasy.” In fact, both are necessary for effective and productive creative problem solving. Creative thinking does not mean an absence of judgment. Rather it requires a disciplined and dynamic flow between imaginative generation of ideas, solutions and actions – and critical evaluation in each of those phases. Developing one’s creativity and imagination is not an untested area. And it is not simply the realm of artists, Hollywood-types and geniuses as was often implied in the Congressional testimony. Following World War II, multidisciplinary researchers and practitioners began developing ways for stimulating creative behavior and applying imagination in industry, education and psychology. Three leaders in this endeavor include one of the founding principals of advertising agency BBDO, Alex Osborn. In the late 1940s, he began articulating creativity as something that can be nurtured and developed for producing more innovative outcomes. In 1950, as president of the American Psychological Association, J. P. Guilford addressed his colleagues about the lack of research in creativity, thus launching the formal academic study of creativity. Following that period, educator E. Paul Torrance began exploring at the University of Minnesota how to deliberately develop creative talent in children and adults. Creativity is present and available in all persons. How that creativity is expressed varies widely, depending on the individual. We all can become trapped by “functional fixedness,” which blocks our ability to take risks, think outside of the box and ask new questions. We all get stuck in our “habits of thought.” But nearly everyone can learn to tap into more of their imagination to deliberately apply creativity to real-world problems. Creativity and imagination are not simply the domain of the Good Guys. Creativity can be used for good or for evil, which is why there is a strong element of ethics about creative thinking. Many have argued that the Nazi’s campaign was a masterful example of creative thinking. And it was. Al Qaeda has been extremely innovative in how they organize, plan and execute their terror. We simply cannot afford to be unimaginative. This is why people must deliberately learn how to imagine what might be, define the right problem, generate solutions, create solid action steps for implementing those solutions, and evaluate results. Each of these phases is a fluid dance between imaginative, divergent thinking – to generate many problems, many solutions and many actions – and analytical, convergent thinking – to evaluate the problems, solutions and actions. Divergent and convergent thinking should not happen concurrently, as they so often do when groups attempt creative thinking and problem solving. This is like stepping on the gas and the brake in the car at the same time – you use a lot of gas, but go nowhere. Rather, these two types of thinking should be separated by deferring one’s judgment so that the generative thinking happens first – and then the judgment and evaluation follows. Creative breakthroughs can and do happen by chance. But if this kind of thinking is taught, creative outcomes can happen by choice – not only in fighting terrorism, but for developing a country that deliberately chooses to
GENERAL MANAGER CREATIVE EDUCATION FOUNDATION HADLEY, MASSACHUSETTS Steve is general manager for the US based Creative Education Foundation. He's taught creative thinking at two universities, and edits the 'ageing as exile?' blog. He's currently exploring creative ageing/retirement and creative communities/cities.
• Imagination is Everything By Robinder Sachdev, Founding Principal, The Imagindia Institute at New Delhi • Diverse, Not Divided By Christopher Farrell, Contributing Economics Editor, BusinessWeek
8 • Global Knowledge Review November 2004
think creatively personally, professionally and globally. Doing so will produce innovative ideas for new products and industries, will build stronger and inclusive communities, will engage people in meaningful work, and will educate children in a life-long skill that can be applied to any endeavor. How can creativity and imagination specifically be applied to improving the intelligence community? They can have better outcomes if they apply a solid process for imaginative thinking in the right culture with the right people and leadership. Creativity can be taught, nurtured and applied by focusing on creative development in these areas:
In 1977, creativity researcher Sidney Parnes said that “research has shown that all of us can learn to better understand and appreciate our own creative potential, as well as to nurture it more fully in individuals and groups for whom we have responsibility. This is the exciting challenge of our age – to help more and more people in our society to achieve the ‘delicate balance’ of productive creativity.” This is still our challenge – not just for fighting terrorism but for engaging people in meaningful activity so that they can contribute their creative thinking and G efforts to making the world a better place. K
• People: Teach creative thinking skills and behaviors
that encourage divergent thinking, convergent thinking and deferral of judgment. Encourage attitudes of curiosity, risk-taking, tolerance for ambiguity and openness.
• Processes: Teach a complete process for creative
problem solving – not one that only endorses either brainstorming or analytical thinking. Instead, one that applies both imagination and judgment consistently throughout the process of problem finding, idea finding and solution finding.
• Culture: Creative leadership within the intelligence
community can set a culture for encouraging imagination. Those leaders need to personally possess attitudes that encourage creative thinking and allow for creative problem solving. They also need to create the conditions that motivate others to do the same.
• Outcomes: The results of people applying creative
thinking skills and processes will lead to innovative solutions – including imagining the way that terrorists might strike next, integrating diverse intelligence across agencies or managing the individual intelligence workers.
Global Knowledge Review November 2004 • 9
Bruce asks whether Knowledge has any value without Wisdom?
Making learning as effective as possible
I certainly do not find it surprising that, in the past few years, the focus on Learning and Learning Organisation (reflected by the view that: "Effective learning is the only sustainable competitive advantage") has been extended into the whole new industry called Knowledge Management. Obviously, if you are concerned with learning it is natural to ask the question what are we learning? And perhaps even more importantly: What ought we learn? This development has coincided with the widespread use of computers that has created massive new challenges from the 'information explosion'. The more change that is going on in society the more important it is that we make sure that our learning is as effective as possible. That is the only way we have any chance of being able to equate change with progress. An underlying assumption of the word 'learning' is that we are all trying to do things better. We are trying to improve things. We are trying to make progress. Of course, the concepts behind the words: 'improve', 'better' and 'progress' are powerfully values driven. How often do we seem to be either obsessed with technology, or so focused on the experience of the hereand-now, that the issue of Wisdom is usually ignored, despite the link within the widely used pyramid of: data, information, and knowledge, that ends with Wisdom. On the other hand it can be argued that it is even more important to turn that pyramid on its head and recognise that we start with Wisdom, and that provides the framework within which we manage knowledge, and so on through information to data. Without an effective base at one level, it is impossible to manage effectively the next layer up. It is also quite justified to argue that knowledge is the application, or use, of information. And that Wisdom is the way we integrate information/knowledge with our values into our decision-making processes. Of course, Wisdom is one thing, being wise is quite another. Being wise is certainly more than the ability to recycle Wisdom; it involves the ability to apply Wisdom convincingly in practice, avoiding the danger of: "Those who are arrogant with their wisdom are not wise." Anon. If we can agree on what we mean by Wisdom we can then ask: How do we learn it? And How do we ensure that it is learned more effectively? Wisdom is not easily taught, if it can be taught at all, but it is learned somehow. As far as I know, there is no evidence of a Wisdom gene. But we do need to explore the apparent paradox: "Why do we appear to be spending more and more time focused on learning information/knowledge that has a short shelflife, and less and less time on knowledge that overlaps more closely with long shelf-life Wisdom?" Over recent years there has been a vast amount of literature on the critical subject of knowledge management but, with a few notable exceptions, the word 'Wisdom' is rarely mentioned. Any effective knowledge management strategy should both start, and end, with a solid foundation in Wisdom. All that means is that people and values really are vitally important. And, of course, it is the low priority given to this issue that is the underlying reason why most knowledge management programmes are not as successful as we would like them to be. As a final thought, perhaps it all amounts to: Where is the Wisdom we have lost in chaos and complexity? Where is the knowledge we have corrupted in 'Knowledge is Power'? Where is the information we have lost in information overload? Where is the data we have lost in answering the wrong questions? G (after T.S. Eliot). K
Dr. Bruce Lloyd
PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY Bruce spent over 25 years in industry and finance before joining London South Bank University a decade ago. He has a degree in Chemical Engineering an MBA from the London Business School. He has written extensively on strategy and futures related issues.
1 Wildridge, V. et al (2004) How to create successful partnerships – a review of the literature. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 21 (Suppl.1), 3-19 2 Mattessich, P.W. et al (2001) Collaboration: What makes it work. 2nd edn. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. 3 Gray, B. (1989) Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems. San Francisco: Josey Bass. This piece is based on an earlier version published in EAHIL Newsletter to European Health Librarians, August 2004, No 68
10 • Global Knowledge Report November 2004
There may be growing awareness of the knowledge economy but this isn’t yet filtering through to the job market
Who is hiring KM professionals in Asia?
China has gone through explosive growth making it the world's fastest growing economy and hot spot for foreign investments. There is real pressure now for Chinese organizations to develop organisational capabilities to compete in an increasingly borderless world. It is interesting to note that highly-developed and richer countries around China are stressing that they intend further transforming themselves becoming "knowledge-based economies offering value-added services". The move aims to maintain their competitive edge in a market with China next door. If China produces everything, the thinking goes in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, what is left for us? How is this transformation into knowledgebased economies reflected in the job market? Despite the increasing awareness of knowledge economy and the socio-economic changes in the region, there seems to be no or little demand for professionals specializing in information and knowledge management related functions, people who specialise in knowledge transfer and organisation, R&D, application and development of know-how, learning and mentoring; generally highly qualified and experienced professionals who contribute to the growth of knowledge capital in organisations and nations. Are all these skills held by managers in other operational functions? Initial talks with recruiting agencies and search in job databases did not help to answer this question. Looking more closely at jobs in more "classical" functions for information and knowledge professionals, such as in information resource management, records and content management, information providers and intranet/portal managers, we find that these are less frequent in most Asian countries than in Western countries. One of the explanations may be that information is not considered a resource that needs to be organized (contrary to the perception in most Western countries, information is not a commodity in most of Asia); another explanation may be that there are very few university courses on information studies, library and information science or related fields. There are a few degree courses in Knowledge Management at various universities now, but this is a rather recent development. Overall, there is no tradition of academic research in information and knowledge related subjects. Another category for information and knowledge professionals can be described as people-related functions, i.e. (Online) community managers, CoP facilitators, expertise locators, idea connector and mentor/coached for knowledge transfer. These jobs don’t even exist in the (official) job market, but there are some organisations which are experimenting with these type of job functions in China – notably in knowledge-rich or high-tech companies. (These developments will be discussed in another column.) The third category of job for information and knowledge professionals are those related to Intellectual Capital, i.e. specialists in valuation of intellectual capital, information auditors, IC accountants and information quality managers. These are indeed rare animals – not only in Asian job markets, but arguably also in most Western countries. There is of course a growing number of intellectual property managers and corporate lawyers, who could, if they were not largely restricted to the legal department, contribute to the management of the knowledge-base of the whole organisation. Perhaps the answer is indicated in this comment by a senior official of the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing: "We shouldn’t compare China’s economy with leading economic nations; China is currently in a phase comparable to Manchester capitalism in the industrial age in the UK or Wild West in the US." (Quoted at a public talk in Hong Kong in 2003) During that economic phase, neither the UK nor the US had a broad range of information and knowledge professions....So with this perspective the absence of KM professionals in China may simply reflect the current G economic maturity of the job market. K
DIRECTOR KNOWLEDGE ENTERPRISES Waltraut is the Director of Knowledge Enterprises, a research and advisory company based in Hong Kong . She has been involved in KM assignments since 1989, and led projects in a wide range of industry and business sectors, with a focus on R&D intensive organizations. Besides her work, she researches and teaches KM at the HK Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong University. She also chairs the HK Knowledge Management Society.
Global Knowledge Report November 2004 • 11
Dave asks what if we were to create a new process that would automatically canvass everyone in the company and every current and potential customer of the company
Tapping into the wisdom of crowds
James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds has provoked a great deal of controversy for espousing – and providing compelling anecdotal evidence to support – a blasphemous idea in a society with a cult of leadership and almostunlimited reverence for grey-haired cognoscenti: Any large group of modestly informed, independent, diverse individuals will consistently and significantly outperform any expert (or small group of experts) in solving problems or making decisions. The book is so delightfully written that the implications of this message take a back seat to the entertaining and astonishing stories of how collective wisdom has triumphed over the greatest and most experienced minds on the planet. But those implications, for business managers in general and for those who work in the field of knowledge management in particular, are profound: • If there were an effective way to tap into the collective intelligence of large numbers of people (and in a large organization, ‘all employees’ or ‘all customers’ would probably constitute a more-than-adequate ‘crowd’ for this purpose), the value and need for both senior management and outside consultants would be greatly diminished, perhaps even eliminated entirely. • In the absence of such collective intelligence, it is very possible, maybe even likely, that sub-optimal decisions are being made and sub-optimal solutions implemented every day in business organizations, with serious or even catastrophic impact on the business’ success. The ‘cost of not knowing’ is immense: Bad purchasing, hiring, promotion and new product development decisions, incurring unnecessary litigation, loss of a key customer or contract, entering into a bad deal and missing out on a great one, are just a few examples. • Knowledge Management professionals have the skills, focus, and access to the resources needed to create an organizational ability to tap into the Wisdom of Crowds. They are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the incredible opportunity that Surowiecki’s book suggests is there for the taking, and to significantly reduce the ‘cost of not knowing’. There is nothing remarkably new in the aspiration to gather collective intelligence: Lew Platt, former CEO at HP coined the now-famous expression "If only HP knew what HP knows" a decade ago. But most KM practitioners took this to advocate the codification of everything that everyone in the organization has learned and written down, just in case that knowledge was useful again, and the design of search engines and community of practice spaces to increase the likelihood that, if it was, the people needing that knowledge might just be able to find it. But Dave Snowden has often made the point that even if the needed knowledge could be found, the loss of context that occurs in the codification process often renders that knowledge unusable, dangerous, or even unrecognizable. What Surowiecki is talking about is just in time knowledge, not just in case knowledge. It is the result of a knowledge process that I’ve coined knowledge canvassing – the ubiquitous and intuitive process of, when you don’t know the answer to something, picking up the phone or walking down the hall and asking someone you think might know the answer. I’ve long been an advocate of developing more formalized knowledge canvassing processes that could identify the best people to call, and simultaneously canvass a larger number of people to get additional perspectives. But Surowiecki’s book has emboldened me to think about casting a much broader net in the canvass. What if we were to create a new process that would automatically canvass everyone in the company and every current and potential customer of the company, whenever there was a critical decision to make or a critical problem to solve? Here’s what I think such a process, based on the classical decision-making process model used by organizations like NASA, might look like: Suppose, for example, the problem is the failure of a new product to meet market expectations. The process identifies four points in the decision-making process where ‘crowds’ could add value: ••• page 13
FOUNDER, MEETING OF MINDS TORONTO, CANADA Dave was the Canadian CKO and Global Director of Knowledge Innovation at Ernst & Young from 1994-2003, following twenty years as an Entrepreneurial Services leader. His new business, Meeting of Minds, offers Knowledge Management, Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship advisory services
12 • Global Knowledge Review November 2004
1. Qualifying and ranking the issues, aspects or components of the problem (in our example, is the new product failing in all or only certain markets?, Were the expectations unreasonable?, etc.) 2. Qualifying the root causes of the problem (in our example, they could include poor pricing, bad timing, poor marketing, competitive disadvantages etc.) 3. Qualifying and ranking alternative solutions that address the root causes (in our example, if poor pricing was the #1 rated root cause, solutions might include lowering the price, changing to distribution channels where the existing pricing is more acceptable etc.) 4. Critiquing and validating the proposal to implement the solution(s). At each applicable stage in the process, employees, customers and prospective customers, most of them novices at decision-making, would be canvassed for their opinions: Are these the right alternatives to consider, and if so, in what order of priority. The Wisdom of Crowds answers could be benchmarked against the answers of both internal experts (marketing managers in our example) and external experts (marketing consultants in our example). My money’s on the crowd, and would have been even if I hadn’t read Surowiecki’s book. This raises all kinds of interesting questions and opportunities, of course. Some things to consider: • The model above assumes that ‘crowds’ need some limits to the alternatives they consider; that the assessments they make must be selections from a finite list of alternatives. Surowiecki explains that crowds are brilliant at guessing the number of jelly-beans in a jar (the average guess is almost always very close), determining the best retail price for a new product, or even pinpointing the location of a missing submarine in the Pacific Ocean. But what about more open-ended problems? The crowd may be smart, but are they also imaginative, creative, capable of inductive reasoning and inference? Can the crowd solve the problem of TiVo’s struggle with profitability, or the inability of China to produce quality products, or the inability of pharmaceutical
companies to make as high a margin on drugs that cure killer diseases as they make on Viagra, or the dearth of new products and ideas in the banking, insurance, and residential construction industries? Can they give us some ideas on the best ways to combat global warming, or help the SEC predict which company will be the next Enron? • How do you reward or motivate the ‘crowd’ to participate in the problem-solving and decision-making process? As much as we want to help our employers and suppliers make good decisions, we are already surveyed to death. How much should we pay employees and customers to
Gather Facts & Assess Unknowns
Wisdom of crowds
Articulate Issue Components For top-ranked Components Identify Root Causes For qualifying Root Causes Identify Alternative Solutions For top-ranked Alternatives Confirm Decision & Propose Implementation Qualify & Rank Alternative Solutions Qualify Root Causes Qualify & Rank Components
Critique/Validate Proposal Modify Proposal
participate? Do we ‘game’ the system so that only the participants who come closest to the crowd consensus get paid? Or is the recognition of being acknowledged as the wisest in the crowd, the guy who always guesses the right number of jellybeans, reward enough? • Surowiecki shows what anyone who has worked in the brokerage industry already knows: that the highlypaid stock market investment analysts and economists don’t do any better than the average Joe at predicting where markets are going. Could broad recognition of this fact create a crisis of confidence in markets, and in business in general? And what will all the displaced experts, consultants, gurus and executives do when their competency proves to be overpriced and unneeded? • The opportunities for using collective wisdom to reduce the ‘cost of not knowing’ is not limited to the private sector: Could the Wisdom of Crowds have told us that there were no WMD in Iraq, or warned us that the 9/11 attacks were coming? Could it have predicted the Great Blackout of 2003, SARS and Mad Cow outbreaks, or the precise route of the 2004 hurricanes? While these may seem improbable tasks for amateur crowds to solve, some of the successes in Surowiecki’s books are just as amazing and incredible. What if we all knew what we all know? I confess to being something of an evangelist on this subject: I’ve written about it so often that when you Google "The Wisdom of Crowds", my weblog How to Save the World ranks behind only the book’s publisher and Amazon in the results. But creating the infrastructure to capture collective wisdom would be inexpensive, and unless Surowiecki’s theories turn out to be discredited when they’re put to more demanding tests (which I don’t think will happen) the development of canvassing processes and technologies would seem to present enormous opportunities for companies large and small to reduce cost of failure and risk, and to innovate more effectively. These opportunities might even be enough to spark a resurgence in respect G and demand for knowledge management. K
Global Knowledge Review November 2004 • 13
Danger from content
Content Strategy, Poor Data Quality, Google Search Appliance
Companies wrestle to implement an effective content strategy
Companies are failing to address their content requirements by only concentrating on the technology and processes issues, leaving themselves in danger of having out of date and irrelevant content on their websites. Over the past five years, content has catapulted up the priority list for major companies. Key drivers for this change include significant growth in commerce and customer management through digital business channels, plus demand for more effective knowledge management within companies due to the proliferation of business channels. Inevitably, companies seeking improved content capabilities have invested heavily in content management systems. However, many of these same companies now recognise that attaining success with Content requires attention beyond managing content with better systems and processes. Instead, all stages of content must be addressed, from origination through to publication, reviewing ownership, governance and working practices, as well as taxonomy, categorisation, systems and processes. For many companies, looking at all of these elements holistically represents an overwhelming challenge. lack the ability to diagnose just how bad their data is. Butler Group’s Report on Data Quality and Integrity makes the following points and recommendations: • The only way to improve data quality is for the issue to be ‘owned’ by the business. IT departments may enact the solution but lack the capability to address the problem. A board-level mandate is required to effectively push this through with the CIO acting as the intermediary between the business and the IT department. • If you do not have a focused data quality strategy in place then you have to assume that you have a data quality problem. However, an enterprise-wide strategy is only needed for identifying the areas of the business that are affected by poor data, and those whose need is greatest. Technology solutions should only then be applied to these areas as the cost and complexity of ensuring high quality data throughout the organisation is both prohibitive and unnecessary. • Investment in data quality can have positive Return on Investment (ROI). It is not just something that will satisfy the auditors but is also an opportunity to drive added benefit, making processes more streamlined.
Damaging business health Improving search effectiveness
Google Search Appliance Poor data quality will seriously damage business health
Driven by the needs of external compliance regulations and internal corporate governance requirements, businesses are having to ensure data accuracy. This has been combined with the fact that more businesses are deploying enterprise-wide Business Intelligence (BI) applications that are allowing staff, partners, and customers to view and manipulate data. Where ‘power users’ could manage rogue data, these new users are unable to do so and present the risk of compounding the problem. Over the next year, analyst company Butler Group predicts that the issue of data quality and ensuring data integrity will shoot up the corporate and IT agenda with most organisations discovering that they Google Search Appliance – recently launched in Europe – enables organizations to deliver Google-quality search results on their intranets and public websites. The company claims the product enables customers and employees to find the products and information they need. “The Google Search Appliance provides fast, relevant search results for companies’ intranets and websites in up to 28 languages,” said Dave Girouard, general manager of Google’s enterprise business. “European companies can now easily deploy the Google Search Appliance to provide the same reliable search results on their intranets and websites as they expect from Google web search, while minimising the time and management effort G required.” K
14 • Global Knowledge Review November 2004
A conceptual expression to guide organizations beyond our current state of thinking about strategy, structure and the alignment of human intellect to create sustainable value
The MORE WITH MORE imperative
If our companies are not breaking up bureaucracy, continually innovating, creating new products, services and markets, we are in trouble. We exist in an era of unprecedented change where the contexts of our working environments are shifting dramatically. Adding fuel to the fire, our leaders have chanted the misguided mantra of ‘more with less’ for years without truly understanding the consequences of these actions. More with less was intended to do more with fewer resources. The downside is that it also promotes fear and intimidation for employees with smaller budgets, downsizing and the creation of a "ME" environment. More with less tends to focus us towards interventions in our respective work areas that result in a naive disregard for the organization as a whole. This fragmented approach leads us away from whole systems alignment. In essence, more with less promotes the development of organization silos and the sub optimization of work, while increasing our cost structures from the inefficient use of resources, particularly when it comes to people. This organizational behavior is reinforced by a more with less culture that rewards individuals for short-term gains and misalignment. Over time the outcomes manifest into long term pain, for the fortunate; and for the unfortunate, company extinction and the loss of jobs. "We are entering the era of ideanomics." Alan Greenspan This change does not happen in isolation. There are specific prerequisites that must also be present to enable the development and alignment of intellectual capital. Characteristics of More with More: • Understanding our organization as a whole system in which everything is interconnected • Intellectual capital development is a key component within the company strategy • Appreciating the value potential of every individual within the organization • Cultivating a culture that promotes the three T’s that underpin the development of intellectual capital, Truth, Trust and Transparency. More with More views the organization as a whole (system) with interdependent and synergistic components. Thinking about the organization as a system encourages the alignment of resources, processes and people. Intellectual capital development is the principal engine for growth. As a strategy it guides the company to focus on two discreet yet synergistic components. The first focuses on our existing (and highly competitive) market space. The intent is to reinvent the organization so that it recognizes and predicts shifts while empowering the organization to adapt and capitalize. Secondly it strategically aligns resources, (people, systems and structures) to focus on continuous creation, from end to end across the system. People have an innate ability to learn, to innovate and to create. We probably would not be here if our ancestors did not have these traits! Irrespective of a persons place in the organization, they can make a contribution as humans come pre-wired for innovation. We must let people think outside their cubicles and job descriptions. For people to fully participate they have to believe what they hear from our leaders. There are three principles that support the people side of intellectual capital development, truth, trust and transparency. Speaking the truth leads to trust and trust is preserved when communication is transparent. Actions act a means of validation. It’s that simple. G K
Fred Vail is responsible for the design and implementation of intellectual capital development programs. During 2004 Fred was instrumental in the development and launching of Gulf SoL (www.gulfsol.org) a fractal for the Society for Organizational Learning. In 2003 Fred was nominated by Harvard University, to participate in the Learning and Innovation Laboratories (LILA) and in 1999 and 2001 he was listed in ‘Who’s Who in the World’ for outstanding achievements in his field. Previously Fred was executive director of United Telesis and a manager with Price Waterhouse in London. Frederick holds a Masters degree in Business Administration with distinction from the University of Hull, England.
• Change the mantra, attitudes, actions
More with More is a conceptual expression to guide organizations beyond our current state of thinking about strategy, structure and the alignment of human intellect to create sustainable value. It’s not about using more people, more budget or more resources, it’s about optimizing the resources we have, particularly our people. It’s about using the intellect of every single individual in the organization irrespective of title, position, location, education and gender. It’s not about fear and intimidation but teamwork and partnership to create a shared future.
Global Knowledge Report November 2004 • 15
tfpl - the specialist information and knowledge management recruitment service
TFPL is the leading information and knowledge specialist company TFPL has provided recruitment, training and advisory services to public and private clients of all sizes since 1987 TFPL has an in-depth understanding of knowledge management and how it brings benefits to organisations TFPL can: advise on creating the conditions for successful KM recruit KM professionals define roles and competencies offer diagnostic tools to assess KM and IM skills provide public access and in-house training for KM professionals and teams
Knowledge Management Assistant £30k A leading provider of specialised offshore legal services requires a knowledge management assistant to join its Cayman Island office. You will work closely with practice team leaders in the delivery, management and maintenance of the firm's standard documents, precedents, know-how, and library collections. You will index standard documents, precedent materials and help maintain the library. You must be information qualified and have worked in a professional services environment. Ref: GK17445 West Indies Legal UK Industrial Products Knowledge Manager £34-37k A large international consultancy requires a knowledge manager to work within the global industrial products division to develop and support local knowledge sharing initiatives and act as a local contact for knowledge management issues and enquiries. You will communicate and promote knowledge management initiatives and co-ordinate industry training for IP practitioners. An understanding of knowledge management principles and enthusiasm to develop your knowledge in this area is a must. Effective communication skills and the ability to deliver presentations is essential. Ref: GK17857 London Consultancy
Knowledge Specialist £Neg A knowledge specialist is required for a government agency with an intellectual property focus. Responsibilities include capturing and mapping initial information requirements to access external information sources; producing a document scheme for documents and correspondence to comply with FOI; developing a taxonomy for integration to corporate taxonomy and responsibility for the development and administration of the intranet site. You will have two years' experience of working with knowledge and content management solutions and previous experience of developing taxonomies. Ref: GK17513 Aberdeen Government
KM thought leadership TFPL organises CKO Summits to challenge thinking and formulate new knowledge strategies Executive reports of these summits are available to download on the tfpl website TFPL runs two KM networking bodies: the Bath Club for leaders in the public sector and Knowledge Leaders in Law for the legal sector
UK Energy, Utilities Knowledge Manager £34-£37k A leading city based consulting firm requires a knowledge manager to join its energy and utilities group. Acting as a local contact for KM issues and enquiries you will develop and support local knowledge sharing initiatives including working with engagement teams throughout the UK and the KM community. You will be required to contribute to the development and maintenance of the global industry content strategy. You will have knowledge management experience within a consulting environment and must have the industry experience. Ref: GK17856 London Consultancy
For more information please contact Carmel Boland email@example.com
Group Product Information Man ager £40-50k A cutting edge back to back distribution firm requires a group product information manager to take responsibility for managing product information lifecycle and ensuring secure and structured management high quality product data for publishing is carried out. You will have direct line responsibility for a team of up to 15 people who will assist you in maintaining quality of data whilst developing content processes and setting data product standards. You will have in-depth experience in a senior capacity from a information / content management environment Ref: GK17867 Northants or Oxford Engineering
To apply for any of these positions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +44 (0)20 7251 5522
TFPL Ltd., 17-18 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TL, United Kingdom tel: +44 (0)20 7251 5522 fax: +44 (0)20 7251 8318 email: email@example.com
tfpl is an IDOX plc company
Survey highlights the need for more efficient document management in the workplace.
Businesses fail to share information
Of the 503 participants involved in the survey, 59% had access to documentation on a company-wide level, whilst 34% only had access on a branch or departmental level and 6% had no access at all to information, indicating that many businesses are not realising the full benefits of an integrated document management infrastructure. Ricoh says that by failing to standardise on a single document management system throughout the business, companies are effectively limiting information sharing. It claims that interoperability is essential for organisations to communicate effectively both within and between departments, branches and divisions. Without the means to control information across the whole business, the sharing and retrieval of documents is made complicated, and that could ultimately reduce employee productivity and weaken the company's competitive advantage. A quarter of respondents indicated that their primary source of documentation was electronic. The remaining three quarters still relied on paper or a combination of both methods, suggesting that many organisations are still dependent on inefficient and time-consuming methods of storing, managing and viewing documents. The survey analysis concludes: "Changes to working practices have increased the demand for real-time access to information. Without putting in place systems that can adequately respond to these demands, companies will find themselves left behind by their more forward thinking competitors."
Businesses are failing to share information because they are not effectively implementing companywide document management systems, a survey by Ricoh has revealed.
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