Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 14 Issue 3
Practising what we preach
For many months, readers have asked me why Inside Knowledge has little (or no) web presence, other than a website that wouldn’t look out of place in a brochure on 1990s web development for beginners. Joking aside, this is something that we’re currently in the process of addressing, which is why I’ve been spending lots of time tinkering about with new, all-singing, all-dancing CMS solutions. And learning about the awesome work that publications such as Time and Wired have been doing with the mighty iPad – there have been lots of excited noises in the IK office of late.
For now, I’d like to provide a little bit of signposting to our new Facebook group, which was established a couple of weeks ago. We’re going to be posting some of the magazine’s best content, along with discussions on topics raised not only by you, the subscribers, but also delegates from global conferences. We’re also hoping that some of those who hit the ‘like’ button will also begin to wax lyrical on our wall.
My absence from this group is merely temporary. Many of you will recall my ranting around this time last year, about never ever using Facebook for professional purposes (I have far too much to hide). But I’m beginning to think that I need to hop down from my high horse and get involved. This means creating a separate Facebook profile, of course, but I’ll look forward to making some new friends over the coming months.
While I get my act together on this, I hope that you enjoy this issue, which has something of a soapbox feel to it, with lots of opinion pieces. Those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the second part of Dave Snowden’s series (the first, ‘Breaking the engineering paradigm’, published in August) will probably turn straight to page 22 – and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Elsewhere, Chris Collison has some interesting thoughts on a speed dating/knowledge sharing hybrid (see page 7) and David Gurteen explains why sending an e-mail isn’t always the best way of guaranteeing a response (page 11).
We’ll be back in December. If you have an exciting development or story that you would like to share, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Its official: talent management is on the rebound. Human resources (HR) professionals are returning to claim the territory, consultancies are back on the bandwagon and conferences on the subject and sharing of best practices are de rigueur. The battle for brainpower has recommenced. The economic crisis forced organisations to undertake cost cutting with hiring freezes and redundancies, which has had an adverse affect on employee workloads, workplace stress and work/life balance.
Cloud cuckoo land?
Over the past two years the UK business software market has changed considerably two years ago there were nearly 2,000 business software authors, while today there are less than 600. Some business software suppliers sell their products directly but a large number distribute through resellers. Two years ago there were 3,500 resellers, today there are less than 1,000. The technology sector has certainly seen massive consolidation due in part to the impact of the global recession.
These changes have brought about a significant problem for companies looking for business software: there are fewer products available from fewer suppliers. The knock-on effects are even more worrying. What happens if you buy software from an author that subsequently gets taken over, or from a reseller that goes out of business?
Tough times ahead?
Public sector knowledge and information management has some good stories to tell but right now its main concerns are about politics and finance. Delegates at Arks recent KM in the Public Sector 2010 conference shared a wide range of experiences and discussed the latest thinking and activities in their organisations, but they were also very aware that the Spending Review (SR2010) was only three weeks away. And a number of familiar and long-running KM issues remained firmly in the spotlight as effective ways of dealing with public sector cuts and changes.
The problem with paper...
Since the invention of the Gutenberg press in 1495 there has been a permanent information revolution. In every year since there has been an exponential increase in the amount of information in the world. For example, in 2010 UK public organisations are estimated to store enough information in paper format to build a forty billion foot tower that could stretch upwards from Londons Tower Bridge to Jupiters fifth moon, Io.1
Eliminating dodgy data
Sir Philip Greens recent report into government efficiency raised some serious questions about public sector policies on data management. To many, the issues raised were nothing new. Poor quality data, duplicate contracts, procurement problems weve heard them all before. So why do these problems continue to stifle service efficiency?
Enabling an ecological model, preferably with intelligence
In part one, Breaking the engineering paradigm (see Inside Knowledge, August 2010), I used an s-curve model to show the progression of ideas in management from scientific management, by way of systems dynamics to cognitive complexity. I argued that while the engineering models that dominated period from the 1980s to the current day had (and continue to have) considerable utility, we have reached the limits of their applicability, and in many cases (sick stigma, for example) taken them to access to the detriment of human intelligence and innovative capacity. In order to use technology a symbiotic augmentation of human intelligence, we need to break with the structured and directive thinking, and practice, that characterised both scientific management and systems dynamics, then shift to approaches based on the natural sciences.
The cult of KM
Several months ago, while conducting knowledge management (KM) branding research, I was delighted to discover a typology of social movements based on the work of the late anthropologist David Aberle. His model proposed four types of social movements that revolved around two questions: (1) Who is the movement attempting to change?; and (2) How much change is being advocated?.
The Gurteen perspective
I was at a conference recently and in a knowledge café that I facilitated, a young woman complained that she often asked people for help by e-mail and she rarely received a reply.
The implication was that as KM practitioners we were not walking the talk.
I found her at lunch time to share with her my thoughts on this and I decided I would write about them more broadly here.
The last word
Where were you when the war for talent was in full swing? I know exactly where I was: in Silicon Valley, interviewing executives about best practices in recruitment and retention for a book I was writing, The Human Side of High Tech: Lessons from the Technology Frontier.
For the past few years most companies have stopped worrying about retention because the tight job market has employees staying put and feeling lucky to have a job. Any job.
But as the economy rebounds, the retention issue will resurface. And, if the past is any predicter of the future, the impact will be most notable in the ranks of your best and brightest.