Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Social Knowledge

One of the ongoing debates in the world of KM is the ever controversial “collection or connection” classification. It neatly defines the two most common wings of the discipline, one emphasising an information or artefact driven approach, the other endorsing the essential role of the human context or, as I would say it, the application of the Mk1 Brain. As someone who describes knowledge as a verb not a noun in order to break with the information managers of this world and to reinforce the necessity of action to create value I think you can guess where I sit on this one.

However the argument neatly highlights the problem with KM. KM is hard. Its hard to define, hard to demonstrate ROI, counter cultural, long term, and yet it promises so much. Because it is hard it is easier to characterise it as information on steroids because people can “get” that and can task someone to go away and do it – problem solved. It gives management the secure warm feeling that they are “doing KM” because they have neatly pigeon-holed it under something that is somehow familiar. The problem is that this isn't KM and it is in fact something of a dead end.

In a way the the debate has found an echo in the Social Media domain. Creating value from Social Media is much more complicated than simply starting a Facebook page. There is familiar debate about the value of curation as opposed to creation, a debate about ROI, and we have an over emphasis of seeing Social Media through the lens of Marketing because once again people can “get” that and task someone to do it. But again that really isn't the whole story by any means and again is something of a dead end.

But curiously enough there is an area where we can find some progress and value by bringing the two together. Social Media is underpinned by a mindset rooted in collaboration and sharing, iteration, evolution and tearing down barriers to participation. This mindset is coming from outside the boundaries of the organisation and shaking the traditional structures and practises as it permeates its way in. The challenge is for organisations to embrace that and create value from it through new approaches, new business models and new thinking – in a word innovation.

KM is rooted in the same insight but has come from the other end of the telescope in that it has sought to to create that environment within organisations and push it outwards.

We can now go beyond this and by bringing these insights together and we can create tremendously rich possibilities for organisations by bringing together the elements of curation, collection, connection and most importantly applications that can operationalise these elements in to action and value generation. We call this Social Knowledge.

Of course it takes planning, analysis, and a strategy but it can be done and a good deal of my work at twintangibles is taken up with this

Friday, April 22, 2011

How refreshing - "Let me think about that"

How refreshing to hear someone in the public eye say I need to give it more thought. In our world of all at once ness, instant communications and sound bite opportunistic politics we have become accustomed to public figures having a view on everything and an instant response for any question. What it often leads to is very shallow polarised debate, an expectation that celebrities have an answer to anything, or even the trite and vacuous media speak that coach those put on the spot to say something that means nothing and leads to the development of execrable phrases like “going forward”!

So how refreshing when someone asked a question has the courage to say – “Actually I will give that a bit more thought.” Now David Cameron is not a chap I see eye to eye on a lot, nor do I have much in common with him but credit where credit is due that is what he said yesterday when questioned about the privacy debate currently going on regarding judges awarding gagging orders to public figures whose privacy is alleged to have been invaded. The debate I will leave for another day, but Cameron said he was uncomfortable with the situation but added that he needed to give it a bit more thought and for that alone he has earned my respect as it is a rare quality.

Archbishop Rowan Williams – another man I have little in common with – I don’t even have a beard – did much the same once when being interviewed on the radio. He was asked a question and asked for time to think before answering. Now this is a chap who is very sharp so it wasn’t that he was struggling its just that he felt a need to consider. It was such an unusual thing to hear that it struck em at the time and has stayed with me since and for all my considerable distaste for organsiaed religion I have to say that this episode causes me to have respect for the Archbishop as a thinker and a man of refelction and probably principle.

I have always used the same method when interviewing, be it recruitment or other occasions. It seems to me that offering an opportunity for an interviewee to consider their response, or respect their request for time to think, will generally produce a much more insightful contribution that the panicked platitudes and buzz words that a flustered candidate might produce.

So lets hear it for consideration and reflection and the application of the Mk 1 brain – it is after all the essence of knowledge as a verb!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Portugal - old pal - its like this mate......

Portugal is sometimes described as “England’s oldest Ally.” Given its current predicament it is a pertinent to ask what that ally should do. I, as an Englishman, have written and spoken a fair bit about the financial crisis and the commoditisation of banking obscuring risk. I have also been pretty forthright in saying that our personal and corporate and national appetite for debt is misplaced and unsustainable. So I have to say again bad debt is bad debt, no matter how you try to repackage it. Already Greece and Ireland have or are in the process of renegotiating their bailouts – guys it will not go away. There has to be, IMHO, a fundamental readjustment of the models we have been using and so I think for all concerned Portugal should default so as an ally we should ...let it happen. Tough love as they say. It would be tough on Portugal – however its a mess of their own making - politicians blaming the markets wont cut it, you made the calls to play them guys. It would also hit the lenders - so be more careful next time. The resulting double whammy might also shake the tree sufficiently to finally get action to address the underlying problems that mean 2008 will happen again and it will be worse next time.
Sorry Portugal sometimes a friends job is to give you the bad news no one else will.
And if you want to know - yes AIG should have been allowed to fail to.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ambridge Extra - the Stealth attack!

Now call me cynical.........I haven't heard it yet but........I have a prediction about the Ambridge Extra which is due to go to air on BBC Radio 4 Extra this morning. Now the Archers, for those that don't know, is “an everyday story of country folk” charting the lives of a variety of characters in the fictitious village of Ambridge. Whilst it is not in anyway a true reflection of country life, they do go to some lengths to have strong farming story lines and point up some of the challenges that people in rural locations face.

However, what it doesn't have is a cast of characters that are reflective of a London Centric Metropolitan demographic. This has clealry always rankled with the London Centric Metropolitan powers that be at Auntie and they have tried to introduce characters and story lines that are more in keeping with their dinner party friends. This has generally been met with a resounding raspberry from the programmes loyal followers who have endured this to make it the longest ruining radio soap in the world.

The recent 50th anniversary “shocking” death of Nigel Pargetter was, in some people view an effort to make the characters less “posh”. The programme has become increasingly “yoof” focussed with increasing emphasis on younger characters and their rather trite stories which has done it no favours – but it is still just about bearable

Well I will take bets on the fact that the Archers Extra is going to be a stealth attack on the show by the metropolitan snoots in the upper reaches of Auntie. The show will, I predict, unremittingly “yoof”, peppered with a much more”diverse” group of characters and will be the long game to make the main show that way to. The promise to focus on the minor characters lives that don't get the attention in the main show will - I suggest - be exclusively under 25.

Now I wonder if there will be incidental music too? :o)