Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 14 Issue 8
How many of us have spent the past few weeks speculating, gossiping and Googling in a bid to discover the identity of the famous faces hiding behind so-called super-injunctions?
While some stars have been ‘named’ on internet forums and beside office water coolers for some time now, there has been no official unmasking. Although BBC presenter Andrew Marr has admitted that he once took out a super-injunction to cover up an extra marital affair with a fellow journalist.
Now, a Twitter user has ‘outed’ some of the stars on the website, although it’s thought that the details posted are incorrect. At time of press, the tweets in question have already been challenged by Jemima Khan, who has posted a reply in response to suggestions that an injunction was preventing publication of ‘intimate’ photos of her and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
Is it a good thing that Joe Public now has a taste for private, often sordid, stories from the world of celebrity? Indeed, that legally binding agreements can be shrugged off in order to satiate that appetite?
A quick glance through the magazine shelves confirms that we thrive on the gossip from those whose lives are played out on TV screens and in the printed press, for all to see. Some might say that if you court such publicity, then you can’t shy away from the spotlight as and when it suits.
Others will argue that what a randy footballer gets up to behind closed doors is nobody else’s business.
Whatever your position, it’s difficult not to read the press coverage of the injunction story and wonder about our so-called information age. We all have access to an astonishing amount of information, both in our professional and personal lives.
At work this is a good thing, so long as we can access that information with speed and ease, and are empowered to share it with colleagues and collaborate in order to improve a service or process.
At what point does one sit back and reassess whether our thirst for knowledge outside this environment has gone too far?
Although there has been change, in that clients are using social media more, I dont think they expect law firms to communicate with them in this way, just yet. Clients probably see solicitors as a little slow on the uptake in this area theyre not going to be jumping onto social media overnight.
Weve all become accustomed to the idea that information should be at our fingertips. In their personal lives, most people just Google it to get the latest news, check movie times, compare prices, or find details on a new product. But that doesnt necessarily work in the workplace where internal information assets can be massive and hugely complex, as well as more difficult to access.
Leading by example
There are multiple ways an organisation can define its culture. A more conceptual approach looks at outcomes. For example, an organisation could state as its goal a phrase such as our culture is one where people feel free to do the right thing, or in our culture ethics always comes first. The challenge of course is then to define how to get there.
When voluntary becomes optional
One of David Snowdens dictums is that knowledge can only be volunteered, it cannot be conscripted. This is a good reminder of the fact that knowledge is personal. It resides in peoples heads, from which it cannot be forced.
However, there can be a middle way between voluntary and conscripted. Knowledge cannot be conscripted, but it can be requested, and sharing knowledge can even become expected.
I recently participated in the Hong Kong Knowledge Management Societys annual conference at the Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.
I spoke at the conference in 2010 and my presentation was well received mainly, it seems, because my talk was down to earth and practical. Often, this is what people need.
Anyway, they decided to invite me back again this year and to do something brave: to turn the conference into a knowledge café.
Mapping out the KM landscape
In my last column, inspired by air travel and those mobile-free minutes during take-off, I wrote about after-action reviews. This month, Im actually writing at 30,000 feet (on my way to Geneva, in seat 29A). I really dont mind being at the back of the plane when the view is this good - stunning, varied scenery from an ever-changing landscape.
Knowledge is like electricity: provide a conductive environment and it can enlighten. However, also like electricity, knowledge flows can be dangerous or easily disrupted through insular agents.
The greatest conductor of knowledge flows is face-to-face conversation between people in an environment of mutual trust. Although there are many media through which knowledge can adequately flow, they are just useful sideshows in comparison to the power of a trusted professional (or personal) network.