Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 13 Issue 6
Get a hobby!
Today, something unthinkable happened. I received a useful press release! Call me a cynic, but a high proportion of the media agency fodder that lands in my inbox is complete fluff. It’s also highly annoying when someone asks if ‘this news is of interest to the magazine’, when I manage a portfolio of six completely different publications.
So, once my eyes had adjusted to the blinding light emanating from this particularly timely item (and I had finished crowing to the team that I finally had some inspiration for this editorial) I read on with great interest.
Apparently, more than a third of those working in the media industry haven’t learnt something new in the past year. Thirty-five per cent of people who responded to research by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) haven’t taken on a new activity or hobby, while nine per cent haven’t even read a book for pleasure.
This made for grim reading. Especially when I realised that I fell into the same category (I don’t count reading the entire Twilight Saga in one week, as my family dog could probably achieve this, then dispose of the evidence afterwards).
It’s easily done. Economic recovery or not, the working environment within most businesses has been extremely tough for the past year. Paranoia and breakdowns in communication have turned many employees into gibbering wrecks, desperate to be seen as indispensible – even if this comes at the price of weekends, time spent with friends and family or just enjoying oneself. Caroline Poynton touches on this issue in the cover feature on page 13.
When deadlines loom and budgets are more intensely scrutinised, work quickly overtakes personal life – especially when job security is no longer taken for granted.
But while we might think that churning 100 per cent of our energy into our jobs is a worthwhile endeavour that will solve all our problems, it actually has quite the opposite effect. With nothing else to distract us, work becomes a chore – and an obsession. We don’t leave the office at home time; we take it with us; whether that’s in the form of additional work, or nights spent staring at the ceiling waiting for sleep while tomorrow’s meetings and spreadsheets bounce around inside our overworked minds. We need get our work/life balances back!
Perhaps with that in mind, the
This is one project that I really hope is a success. In that vein, I am fulfilling a life-long ambition by starting an ice-skating course next month, as well as digging out my horse-riding hat and jodphurs (and shoehorning myself into the latter) in a bid to better my personal and professional self. Hopefully this will have a positive effect on Inside Knowledge, even if I do end up using crutches to type my next foreword.
Ahead of a forthcoming workshop on structured innovation, Dr Phil Samuel chats to Kate Clifton about definitions of innovation and how it can benefit organisations
As a freelance journalist, I have the pleasure of working with several organisations. This work stretches my skills and experience not just across different industry sectors, but also across disciplines from business management to media relations. I believe that this independence is vital both to being able to view knowledge management (KM) within a broader business remit, but also to having a perspective that is not driven by my own KM predilection. I may undertake research into KM disciplines, involving speaking to numerous practitioners, but I have no particular KM bias; nor would I have any particular motivation to extol the virtues of KM, if the environment was pointing to its likely demise. Such an outlook may be useful as a long-term question is whether the recession will act as a catalyst for change, which will fundamentally alter the practice of KM as we know it. If we agree that change is more than likely, then this will clearly affect the ways in which KM should now be optimised.
Since Ive dedicated 2010 to evangelising the importance of a KM value proposition, it seems only fitting that I should write about making the business case for KM. Whether youre engaging in an initial discussion or rebranding KM efforts, the ability to define, rationalise and set expectations is a critical cornerstone of a successful and sustainable KM initiative.
During my childhood, I wiled away many an hour with school friends and a pack of Top Trumps cards. For the uninitiated amongst you, Top Trumps consists of a set of cards based around a particular topic. In my day, it was ships, racing cars, Olympic medallists or dinosaurs. Today, its more likely to be X-Factor contestants or Harry Potter characters. Each card contained statistics about the car or dinosaur in question, which enabled you to compare scores with your friends, and if you chose the right category to win their favourites until you possessed all of the cards.
The Gurteen perspective
One of the problems I see in the knowledge management (KM) world is that we are not too careful about the language we use. I think we need to take the time to think about this. Fundamentally, I think we should work hard to: avoid KM jargon; use everyday language; use the specific language of our particular business; and think about how our language and the metaphors we use shape our view of KM and the perception of others.