posted 1 Mar 2011 in Volume 14 Issue 5
Eight questions: Part II
Chris Collison is the next to take on the Q&A, providing insight into the role of technology
What do you think have been the biggest developments in KM during 2010?
What we have seen is the mainstreaming of social media tools supporting KM. Thereís a higher level of acceptability and acceptance and a growing expectation amongst employees, who want to see some of those features available within their organisations as well as operating outside the boundaries. Iím seeing organisations rehabilitating their strategies in order to formally embrace social media and Web 2.0.
There are also different partnerships arising between departments. Historically, central coordination for KM sat most commonly with IT or in some cases HR. But with the rise of social media weíre seeing the internal comms department playing a wider role and building stronger relationships with KM.
How will such developments affect the work of knowledge managers and their teams?
They will cause some helpful soul searching and re-evaluation of the role KM plays, which isnít a threat ? it helps to re-evaluate from time to time.
In a way, technology has now caught up with the beliefs associated with foundational KM. Itís always been social. Itís always been about connected people, dialogue and learning but itís exciting in that technology is now underpinning these behaviours.
What do you think are the technology buzzwords for the next 12 months?
First, is the ever increasing capability with mobile technology and handheld devices. Every month thereís another app which pushes the boundaries, taking ground from the territory of the PC. Thereís something about the ubiquity of mobile knowledge-related technology. Youíre always connected.
The other thing is the growing use of visualisation for larger data sets. For example, I see lots of people using Wordle, which is a fairly unsophisticated (pretty, not analytical) tool. I think thereíll be a rise in more analytical software like IBMís ManyEyes, which offers new ways to navigate through data.
How do you think management approaches will evolve in response to these developments?
Leaders must walk the talk when it comes to decision making on the use of Web 2.0 tools. Itís increasingly unacceptable for a manager to say ĎI just donít, itís not my kind of thingí and I think readers will have to think about their response and whether or not they choose to lead by example. Thereís nowhere to hide anymore and management has to evolve. Itíll be the same for managers outside of KM.
What are your KM-focused New Year resolutions?
Iíve always suffered from bloggerís guilt, so I need to increase my volume of posts. Iím averaging around one per month and I know thatís not enough to build or maintain an audience.
What will be your primary focus over the coming months?
Thereís still an interesting mix of client work to be done, including public sector projects. Iím also seeing growing interest in KM outside the
Which organisations do you think are the ones to watch Ė and why?
Thatís an interesting one. In terms of sectors to watch Iíd say oil and gas, which has been at the forefront of knowledge work since the start. Itís a sector with huge potential for investment and has a good track record and legacy in KM, so Iíll be interested in seeing what happens next. There is perhaps greater viability in terms of funding and ambition within this space.
If I had to single one out, BG Group is an interesting organisation. Itís made some strong leaps forward with collaboration and is ambitious about integrating KM 2.0 with the foundational processes, which is exciting to be around.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to any knowledge manager?
Itís got to be having your feet in both camps. We have to be at the leading, exploratory edge of KM whether itís social media or complexity based, to name a couple of approaches. But we also need to remember that many of our colleagues are struggling with some of the basics. Thereís a danger that we get carried away by the Twitterati and leave others behind. You have to be there; you have to understand, participate and recognise the opportunities. But donít assume the whole organisation will move at your pace. So (at the risk of advocating doing the splits) have one foot where you are now and the other poised to step into the future.