KM in Business, Human Capital Formation, KM Conferences, Health of KM

27-Feb-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Book of the Week

Jack Vinson blogged a review by Sarah Elkins of Introduction to Knowledge Management: KM in Business by Todd R. Groff and Thomas P. Jones.

From the publisher:

This book introduces readers to a wide range of knowledge management (KM) tools, techniques and terminology for enhancing innovation, communication and dedication among individuals and workgroups. The focus is on real-world business examples using commonly available technologies.

The book is set out in a clear and straightforward way, with definitions highlighted, brief case studies included that illustrate key points, dialogue sections that probe for practical applications, and written exercises. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions, review questions, and a vocabulary review.

An Online Instructor’s Guide is available, with PowerPoint slides, case studies, exercises and review questions.

Table of Contents

  1. Introducing KM
  2. Personal KM
  3. Capture & Corroborate
  4. Organize and Secure
  5. Analyze and Collaborate
  6. Story Telling & Knowledge Transfer
  7. Systems Thinking
  8. Harnessing Metcalfe’s Law
  9. 3D Communication
  10. Building-In Knowledge Exchange
  11. Developing KM Strategies
  12. The Ethics of KM
  13. Metrics and the Taming of Wicked Problems
  14. Careers in KM

KM Blog of the Week

Leveraging Organizational Knowledge by Peter-Anthony Glick: The Human Capital Formation

Tom Stewart in his book “The Wealth of Knowledge” (2001) demonstrates how the building and leveraging of organizational knowledge assets can be at the heart of value generation. In chapter 14 (pages 311–313), he refers to the excellent work of Nick Bontis on human capital formation. Based on this, I have devised a diagram illustrating the virtuous knowledge-driven processes that an organization should emphasize and consciously leverage upon.

The 3 goals are to:

  1. Reduce Human Capital depletion.
  2. Increasing Income per Employee.
  3. Company performance in line with Strategic goals.

KM Link of the Week

KM Conferences

  1. ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM)
  2. APQC Annual Knowledge Management Conference
  3. Babson Working Knowledge Conferences
  4. Braintrust International KM Summit
  5. Delphi Group Information Intelligence Summit
  6. E-Gov Institute Annual Knowledge Management Conference
  7. Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit
  8. KMWorld & Intranets

KM Question of the Week

In the current Association of Knowledgework Star Series Dialogue, Jerry Ash posed the following question:

Q: What have been your observations on the health of KM?

Here is the answer I provided:

A: I have been receiving a steady stream of requests for help from people who are getting started with knowledge initiatives. This indicates to me that KM is alive and that there is increasing demand for programs which support sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning.

Here are 15 examples of messages I have received in the past two months.

  1. “I know what knowledge management is theoretically. But in real work field, what do I have to do? How can I start? Can you give any suggestions to me?”
  2. “We represent a sub-group of the task force looking at various points from the voice of the workforce survey, working to provide pragmatic suggestions to our management on how to bring about improvement in several areas. One of these relates to Knowledge Management. We have a tool, but it is not really being used, in spite of presentations which were presented to all the staff. We are looking for suggestions from you, which would help us formulate some pragmatic recommendations to our management on how we could more effectively implement Knowledge Management overall.”
  3. “I have been charged with setting up a knowledge management system in our department, so I have been looking through a lot of information on knowledge management community sites. I have found a lot of very useful information, but I’m feeling a little overloaded with info right now. I wondered if you would be available to discuss some knowledge management basics with me so that I can get an idea of how to start this in our department.”
  4. “I have been asked to prepare a prototype of a KM roadmap for an organization. So far, KM in this organization is driven by IT with not much buy-in from the business units. KM is talked about only in business review meetings and forgotten once everyone leaves the room. A few business units started with a big bang and then the enthusiasm died down after the initial euphoria. Now, the CIO wants me to prepare a KM Roadmap with features and IT Infrastructure to move to the next stages of KM. If you call our initial stage as digitization of documents, then the next stage would be converting tacit knowledge into digital form. Any suggestions would be helpful.”
  5. “Which KM software tools can be recommended as a platform serving a global company with about 3000 users?”
  6. “How can we achieve collaboration in a large organization? And how can we change the mindset of people?”
  7. “How can I find out about the best practice to create a best practice database?”
  8. “I’ve read quite a few books on KM; my boss would like us to do something with it, but I know we have only one shot at being successful and I don’t want to go down a dead-end road. One of my colleagues at another location is working on taxonomies, and I told him that’s one dead end I quickly backed out of. Another was trying to have staff enter reports after returning from business trips, and that didn’t go over so big either. I’m interested in hearing more.”
  9. “I am a part of a leadership development team that has been asked to investigate and report out on knowledge at our company and in particular, issues around leveraging our knowledge in sales efforts, and in sharing knowledge, especially with those new employees that are joining our organization. We have conducted a significant amount of research internally, but are at a point where we would like to interview and explore what other companies who share a passion for and interest in knowledge and knowledge management are doing.”
  10. “I’ve just been employed as an assistant manager for Knowledge Management (Technical), this is something fairly new to me as it deals with a lot of IT and I’m from an information science (library science) background. Now I have been tasked to look at different open source software that is suitable for KM. I’ve tried looking and I don’t know whether what I’m looking at is okay. Can you please help to get me started? What does appropriate software for KM have to entail? I’d really appreciate it if you could help me, I’m learning as I’m working.”
  11. “One of our biggest problems, as we start with our KM program, is to convince the community that this is essential for us as a group, but also as individuals, to stay connected with our environment and increase our overall knowledge. Also, talking about tools would certainly be of interest: what tools/methods do other groups use? What success rate do they have? Do they measure it?”
  12. “I am looking for best practices and help to explain how KM can help them in their daily activities, how they should contribute, and how implementing KM will impact their customer problem solving methods. What are the challenges to implement KM into a profession? How can we overcome these challenges?”
  13. “I am involved in the development of a strategy-to-execution plan for knowledge sharing for my organization. I found the attached charts quite informative and very impressive. Would you be willing to help my team learn more about your KM strategy?”
  14. “We have 168,000 people connected in 32 communities of practice and a host of sub-groups solving a myriad of problems. We are beginning to work on gaming theory, video education, and other learning tools. Would you be so kind as to bring me up date on your KM program?”
  15. “We have recently identified the need to have KM deployed and are having start-up issues. I have gone through some KM training and looked at a couple of KM sites, but could not gather information on the flow and how to deploy KM successfully in an organization. I found your knowledge management program very interesting and would appreciate it if you can provide valuable information on how this program is managed. This will help us to move forward with the right approach.”

The main problem I see is that people often want to start by rolling out a tool. I advise them to start by identifying the two or three biggest knowledge-related challenges their organization currently faces, and then addressing those challenges by designing processes which can be integrated into existing work processes. Tools can be part of the solution, but shouldn’t be the starting point.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

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