Background

Nimmy has expertise in creating and implementing intranets, community tools, expert locators, mobile apps, content management systems, internal portals, and Enterprise 2.0 tools. She also has skill in formulating KM strategies, creating a knowledge sharing culture, enhancing processes, designing and project managing technological implementations, and defining and monitoring benefits/measures.

Experience

  • TAFE — Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited — Head of Knowledge Management, 2014-present: Leading the KM function, including Innovation, eLearning, and the KM division
  • MAP — Contributor, 2010-present: MAP is a Health Technology and Information Services company that builds online applications that measure and enhance individual well-being. MAP offers organizations and governments an affordable and effective way to develop resilience, nurture creativity, reduce stress, decrease absenteeism and foster cohesiveness across a workplace and a population. MAP is architected to increase well-being by promoting mental health, rather than just managing mental illness. It is complemented by the new emphasis in medical research on understanding well-being and how to foster it.
  • Oracle — Director, Social Enterprise/KM (Asia Pacific Technology Units), 2007–2014, Bangalore
  • Wipro Technologies — Lead KM Consultant. 2005–2007, Knowledge Manager, 2002–2005
  • CG Smith Software Pvt Ltd — Knowledge Manager, 2000–2002

Education

Anna University

  • BE (Instrumentation Technology)
  • MBA (Systems and Finance). Class topper and gold medallist in MBA,1999.

Profiles

Honors

Patent

  • US Patent 7657498B2
  • Business-aligned organizational knowledge management system
  • Business-aligned organizational knowledge management system, framework, and tools for capture and dissemination of explicit and tacit knowledge of business objectives and management strategy articulated in problem statements
  • Patent number: 7657498
  • Date of Patent: February 2, 2010
  • Abstract: A business-aligned knowledge management system and method for creating the same are disclosed. In accordance with a first aspect of the invention, a knowledge management system includes a knowledge management (KM) framework providing aspects of a knowledge-focused approach to business management; a KM implementation guide having steps for establishing a business-aligned knowledge management system within the KM framework; and a KM execution toolkit having tools for used with the KM implementation guide.

Content

Quotes

  • I’m here for the conversations. How stupid of me. I’m here for the dog videos, witty puns, & pics of Mother Nature. And, oh, I’m here to save the world.
  • Life, Spirituality, Social Tech and Nonsense. I love being nonsensical! 😊
  • In search of my most important mission; meanwhile the motto is “Millions of mad, muddled, merry, mischievous, mesmerized, mean, marvelous and menacing monkeys on a mysterious and mind-blowing mission to Mesopotamia,” “Mamma Mia!” did you say? 😊 Does that make any sense? If it does, you must be one in a million, umm, monkeys! Hold on! Just kidding, you know! OK, I guess I must confess that my motto actually is “Love, Laugh and Learn!!” 😊 And, BTW, music may have no language but it sure happens to be my mother tongue.
  • 3,2,1…Go! This blog would love to meet introspective, life-loving and enthusiastic folks and book lovers. If you are a Plum (PG Wodehouse)/ C&H (Calvin and Hobbes)/Swami Vivekananda/Ilayaraja fan, we may be one of a kind! I generally ponder over Life, Spirituality, Knowledge Management (KM) and ‘Nonsense’ . Creativity, Innovation, Leadership, Ethics, Branding & Advertising, Books, People, Learning, Education, Children, Music, Poetry, Pets, Birds, Paradoxes, Change Management, Travel, and Cartoons are some of the other topics I extend my thinking to frequently.
  • herE GOes: I enjoy being creative. Creativity, to me, is the best thing in life! And my love for life and learning are two great intrinsic motivators. I have wanted to be almost everything in the world — a detective, an astronaut, a teacher, a scientist, an architect, a leader, a director, a musician, a painter, a singer, an ornithologist — you name it! To cut a long story short, the only thing I did not want to be was a Doctor! 😊 But destiny wanted me to be a KM professional. And I love being one! I have a passion for the paradoxes and mysteries of life! I enjoy and cherish dreaming of magnificent achievements — those that have the potential to make the world a better place to live in!

Favorite Quotes

  • Problems exist only in the human mind. — Anthony de Mello
  • Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it! — Charles R. Swindoll
  • Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even into your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.— Swami Sivananda
  • This above all: To thine own self be true. — William Shakespeare
  • There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle, — Albert Einstein
  • The faithful see the invisible, believe the incredible, and then receive the impossible.— Anonymous

Blog Posts

Guest Posts on Cognitive Edge Blog

1. Some ideas from ICKM

  1. Mentoring and Training: Most reality shows engage full-time mentors and judges who spend a significant amount of energy on mentoring and training the participants. When organizations hire new employees, how serious are they about assigning appropriate mentors and monitoring their efforts?
  2. Regular Practice/Focus (weekly, daily): Most talent shows involve daily or at least weekly practice, rehearsals and live performances which results in obvious improvements in participants’ skill levels. How much of relevant hands on ‘practice’ do new employees get once they join an organization? Are they put on projects immediately? Do they get to work on pilot or internal projects if they are not assigned customer-facing projects?
  3. Constant Feedback and Public Recognition: This is very important. I find that most talent shows spend a lot of time in giving the participants immediate, precise and clear feedback, suggestions and recognition. Sometimes this is from the judges and mentors and sometimes from the audience. I think this is an area where organizations don’t do so well. Even the annual appraisals are rarely handled the way they ought to be.
  4. All Round Development: In most cases, talent shows are great platforms for the participants to be exposed to various new dimensions of their subject. Even if the participants are only good at one or two aspects of the subject under question, by the time they are through the show, they undoubtedly pick up a lot of new information and learn about other aspects of the subject. For example, in Music reality shows, participants are exposed to all genres of music which improves their confidence and contributes to all round development. How many organizations have a clear and structured plan to ensure that their employees go through projects and experiences that develop them in many spheres of work and life?
  5. Inspiration via the Gurus and Achievers: Talent reality show organizers, as far as I’ve observed, make an effort to bring in popular Gurus and achievers occasionally and put the participants in front of them. This may be an effort to improve the TRP of the show, but ignoring their intentions for a moment, it is true that participants find inspiration from such an exercise. Meeting achievers can change lives at one extreme or can at least teach new employees something very critical at the other. How many organizations take this up seriously and facilitate touch-time for new employees with the ‘Stars’ and Leaders of the organization?
  6. Support from Family (Boss, colleagues, mentors): Most of the participants who make it to the top are the ones with enormous support from their family. How much of support does an organization provide? What do the new employees’ manager, colleagues and mentors do to make it easy for them? Also, how much of importance is given to the employees’ families and their work-life balance as they struggle to make the transition?
  7. Positive Team Dynamics: This is a versatile combination of healthy competition, team camaraderie, mutual support during all phases (low or high) and the very presence of a community of similar Talents. What could organizations do to establish such a beautiful culture and environment?
  8. Fun Quotient: Every talent show worth its salt will have a prominent fun quotient. It’s hard to imagine such a show being sober all the time. There is, for example, likely to be a person or two with a sense of humor or someone who imitates others on the show and so on. In the organizational context, teams with such ‘humor glue’ characters may do much better than others.
  9. Tangible Rewards or Opportunities: I am not sure if I am underrating this aspect by putting it toward the end of the list. 😊 I think an underlying growth motivator for most participants (however passionate they are about the skill itself) is the huge reward or promised opportunity at the end of the show. Is it clear or guaranteed in organizations that an employee will get a pay hike or a promotion or a wonderful project opportunity if she puts in her best?
  10. Rules: To be more specific, talent shows have clearly defined rules that are however flexible in unique or unforeseen circumstances. The teams largely stick to the rules but the organizers are, I’ve observed, ready to make room for unique situations and bend the rules when required. Do organizations allow for such flexibility?
  1. Processes (There is no attempt to understand and address the knowledge intensive business or operational processes)
  2. Succession Planning (This has been one of my pet peeves in terms of areas not addressed from the KM perspective by organizations)
  3. No common operational picture (Interesting. Maybe not so achievable)
  4. On-boarding (To my knowledge, quite a few organizations have been looking at this area)
  5. Job Transitioning Continuity (I think this is another area that many organizations are catching up with)
  1. Are we sure of the structure for the KM team? More importantly, where does the upward arrow for the KM Head/CKO lead to? Do we know who this person should be reporting into and WHY? Both the individual that the KM Lead will report into and the function/areas the former is responsible for must be appropriate.
  2. Are we sure of setting aside a reasonable and regular budget/investment for KM? For expenses related to expertise, technology, practices, incentives, internal conferences etc? (A no-brainer of sorts but show me organizations that actually do it religiously and I’ll show you one that rocks!)
  3. Do we know what we want from the KM initiative, to start with? Are we ready to build on our ideas and/or reconsider our expectations and ideas once we get the KM person on board and have detailed discussions with him?
  4. Do we have a honest, somewhat reliable and collective understanding of the organizational culture, its unique qualities, its strengths and weaknesses and its potential responses to KM practices (sharing, reuse, innovation, learning, mentoring, collaboration etc) (The KM Lead would find it very useful to have a heads-up on this straight from the horse’s mouth)
  5. Given that the KM person is new to our organization, do we have a concrete plan to bring him on-board, ramp up and get to know the key people who will in turn help him understand the business, culture and past experiments with re. to KM? In short, do we have a good and exhaustive induction plan for the KM Lead?
  6. (Optional) Do we have a list of employees who will be of significant support to the KM initiative in their capacity as knowledge champions, idea-givers, firm supporters, domain experts, technical writers etc? Having such a list right at the beginning would accelerate the implementation of the KM initiative but this is something that could also be left to the KM Lead herself. Another associated piece of information likely to be very useful is the identification of pilot teams/groups.
  1. Integrate Everything: This is a strategy that pursues and focuses on the integration of content, irrespective of its source, flavor and purpose. The integration may range from efforts to just put everything in one place in a meaningful structure to efforts to scratch beneath the surface and connect/integrate knowledge pieces at an elementary level. In some cases, where the KM initiative began early enough, it may be easy to attempt to plan exhaustively and restrict the creation of content to just one or perhaps a few appropriate platforms. This strategy may typically be followed by small organizations or large organizations that are particular about centralized operations and control. Such organizations are also likely to be very conscious of metrics like time saved in searching for content. Think portals, intranets and single source knowledge platforms (with widgets and mash-ups from other sources). Such strategies may not differentiate between documents, workflow, people profiles etc and may place an equal value on all these elements. Think small organizations or large ones with powerful KM teams. Dictator?
  2. Connect Everyone: Some organizations and KM teams would rather wash their hands off (as much as logically possible) the complexities & uncertainties of storing and updating content in repositories and exhaustive portals. Hard core business platforms that capture information/knowledge related to business processes cannot be avoided though. Basic portals and repositories are likely to continue to exist and be used. This strategy is not necessarily an attempt to only reduce the complexities of capturing and storing content but an inherent belief in the concept of knowledge being fluid and the value of it being highly dependent on the context. It also stems from the belief that all worthwhile knowledge lies in people’s heads and will make meaning (and can be elicited) only on a need basis. Consequently, such KM strategies would rather focus on people, their specific roles, situations, needs and connections. Efforts are made to do everything (culturally, procedurally and technically) to let people find relevant others and then find content from there on (or have conversations/collaborate) without too much intervention. Such strategies may emphasize on expertise location, formation of communities, encouragement and facilitation of informal networks, best practices sharing between specific teams, internal conferences and the like. Think relationship based organizations which focus less on processes. Broker?
  3. Personalize Knowledge: This strategy is perhaps the equivalent of a much milder version of the Ayn Rand philosophy in the KM domain. Organizations that adopt this type of a strategy may believe that nothing will be adopted as long as it is not presented in a personalized manner and format/structure (providing a self-centered view). The focus is unlikely to be on ushering in a general knowledge sharing and collaboration culture. Instead, it is highly likely to lure employees to be a natural part of their KM strategy and system by giving them something that they are unlikely to refuse, something packed and personal. The focus is on a personalized knowledge strategy that encourages employees to focus on only knowledge that is relevant to them. Subsequently, employees are encouraged to connect only with colleagues that matter to them etc. Everything points in the direction of benefits for the self and this may contribute to the initiative not being perceived as a ‘business’ initiative. However, implementing such a system may be difficult as it might call for in-house designs and techniques for smart knowledge filtering and personalization. Also, the technical effectiveness of such a system may be questionable if the underlying thinking is not strong enough. This strategy is slightly similar to the ‘Connect Everyone’ strategy since this is also people focused, but it has to go beyond connections and examine cutting-edge technology to understand the individual’s role and context and accordingly fetch and suggest content that is relevant to the individual and her context. Rather than company-wide intranets or portals, the focus here is on personal KM tools that allow employees to filter out the noise (with re. to their needs) and turn a blind eye to the rest of the knowledge floating around. This is likely to be a big hit amongst the employees as well as management but, as mentioned before, it may be tough to design and build an effective system. Think innovative organizations. Psychologist?
  4. Embrace Differences & Multiple Ingredients (‘Masala’* Indian term for a powder/paste comprising many ingredients and used to lend a complex taste to certain dishes): This is somewhat similar to the ‘Personalize Knowledge’ strategy from the conceptual perspective but lies at the other end of the spectrum from the technological perspective. Instead of focusing on individual employees, this strategy revolves around teams’ and business units’ (BU) idiosyncrasies. It is a decentralized approach and teams and BUs are allowed to adopt methods and tools that they are comfortable with without too many rules and controls. Thus, the organization may adopt varied mechanisms and tools for similar purposes. One team may manage their projects mainly through simple Wiki interfaces while another may have a niche workspace tool (in-house or purchased). Neither of them is forced to change or switch to the other tool/method. Organizations are likely to be forced into such a strategy when there have been too many divergent and intractable views from the stakeholders or the KM teams were established very late or went through frequent changes in composition, or simply because the business believes in decentralized management down to the BU level. The organization may be quite comfortable with complexity and lack of a dominating central authority. There is no clear big picture as such and teams go about KM in their own convenient ways. The decision to change is taken at the team level. In such a scenario, KM teams may play consultants at the BU level rather than at the organizational level. There may, of course, be efforts to build bridges between selected tools and techniques between certain teams or even at the organizational level in case the organization is expected to benefit highly out of such integration. This strategy may be very hard for people who insist on simplicity, single sources and controlled systems. Such a strategy is debatable in many ways since the organization will still have distinct silos but most large organizations may be forcibly subjected to this strategy. Think of the large conglomerates. Peace-Maker?
  5. Inject into Organizational DNA: This is, arguably, a KM strategy in its truest form and perfectly aligned and intertwined with the business and people strategies. It is characterized by the pursuit of plenty of soft knowledge practices rather than a passion for technological advances and experiments. Such a strategy can be designed and adopted only in an organization where the CEO and the key business leaders are genuine KM champions and mentors (encouraging a culture of openness, sharing, learning, reuse, innovation and collaboration). Such a KM strategy will primarily comprise of promotion of localized and organizational level knowledge sharing sessions/conferences/ideation, participation in organizational strategy formulation, practices like mentoring and shadowing, emphasis on employee-relationships, performance evaluation based on team performances rather than individual performances, business and operational processes that pay attention to the knowledge flow from one end to the other etc. The adoption of this strategy also indicates focus on practices like after action reviews, best practices, participation of ex-employees where needed, decision-making by communities etc. Such a strategy may not neglect technology’s role in KM, but it, nevertheless, is more passionate about simple day-to-day practices and mannerisms/habits leading to the efficient and effective sharing of knowledge and collaboration. Think Buckman Labs. Doctor?
  1. Poirot intends to have repeated conversations with the victims’ relatives and friends. His assistant asks him if he suspects that they (the victims’ relatives) have intentionally been keeping back information from them and Poirot says “Not intentionally. But telling everything you know always implies SELECTION. One cannot tell EVERYTHING. Therefore one selects. At the time of the murder people select what they think is important. But quite frequently they are wrong! And to get at the right things, you have to have a conversation — discuss a certain happening over and over again. Extra details are bound to arise — some trivial remark or happening may be a pointer.” (This is an example of where and how knowledge may be hidden!)
  2. In another instance, Poirot, once again, brings together all the relatives and friends of the victims and urges them to talk about what they saw/heard/thought etc as a group. He says “It is necessary to pool reminiscences, to compare notes, to talk the thing over — to talk — to talk — and again to talk. Out of some innocent phrase may come some enlightenment.” (This is a clear indication of the need for collective thinking. More importantly, I think it tells us very clearly that if we are looking for worthwhile knowledge, we better be comfortable with conversations…many of them!)
  3. Poirot explains to his assistant that when it comes to the deriving knowledge from people who can help him get to the truth he assumes that they “know something that they do not know they know“. He then explains how collective thinking would be of use to the victims’ friends — “It is like a jig-saw puzzle — each of you may have a piece apparently without meaning, but which when reunited may show a definite portion of the picture as a whole“. (Wow! This philosophy is one of the most fundamental of beliefs when it comes to KM as well — not just in locating murderers. 😊)

LinkedIn Articles

  1. The Significance of Conversations
  2. Average-Good-Outstanding
  3. The Three Work Zones
  4. Effective Change Management
  5. Jumbo Mumbo
  6. Skills. Information. Knowledge — Siblings?
  7. Letting knowledge in and sharing it
  8. Collaboration at its best!
  9. A Metaphor for Conversations
  10. The importance of knowledge sharing

Knowledge Management Posts

1. KM in a Box — — A Quick-Service Kit

Articles by Others

1. Interview with Nirmala Palaniappan

  • Inspiring
  • Thought-provoking
  • Humorous
  • Positive/optimistic/hopeful
  • Paradoxical
  • If your destination is the customer
  • The road map, the business strategy
  • The vehicle, the organization
  • The champion, the CEO
  • The engine, the employees
  • And the wheels, the business processes
  • What is the fuel that your business runs on?
  • “Knowledge!”

Presentations

SlideShare

  1. Paradox Thinking
  2. SMAC & KM — Things to Consider
  3. KM and HR — The Case for Collaboration
  4. Knowledge Management and Social Networking
  5. KM Strategies — A Perspective
  6. Communities For Innovation
  7. The Long Tail of KM
  8. The Case for KM: Poetic Praise for Knowledge Management
  9. Creativity: A Perspective — Joy, Liberation, Expression of the Soul, A Step Closer to “God”
  10. Tips & Tricks for Your Lessons Learned Program

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Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/