Friday, February 24, 2012
Naturally, Singapore weather is always great, around +31C, but especially so when you have had to come from a cold snowy Europe, as I did a few weeks ago at -14C.
So I spent virtually all of the three weeks working at the National Institute of Education, Singapore (NIE) and I have recently blogged about them and their special interest in both 'Learning Organizations', and becoming more 'Knowledge Driven'.
I also ran another masterclass for Ark Conferences on 'Understanding and Realising the Four Dimensions of Knowledge Management'
However, this blog is to capture my personal new learning's ideas and insights this past three weeks, from running these courses, as a basis for further KM and Innovation course improvement, in Singapore.
1. Again, during this trip, I realized just how strongly people are 'wired for pictures and stories'. We, all around the world, do much prefer smaller, digestible, rich stories to engage fully and keep our attention, and to satisfy our curiosity and desire for learning. I intend to use more and more short, powerful ten minute videos and also teach in short ten/fifteen minute segments, for each learning topic, wherever possible.
2. This will help me to further develop my web based, online, learning management system, and enable practitioners, consultants and students to create their own personalized learning curriculum and topics.
3. Following on from this chunking of short learning topics, I also realized even moreso this trip, that it's too powerful, in fact too overpowering, to teach both Learning Organization concepts together with Knowledge Management concepts.
Although learning and knowledge are 'both sides of the same coin' LO and KM are both incredibly deep and potent disciplines. Each one deserves it's own proper attention and focus and I think it's too much to introduce two powerful disciplines, with quite different strategies, emphases, methodologies, tools and techniques within, say, the same two day programme. I think I risk students becoming confused, or at best, unsure of what to best practically apply first? So I will now teach these disciplines quite separately, and instead, offer a simple and brief discussion and demonstration of how these two disciplines complement one another and how they form a symbiotic relationship.
4. The teaching must be innovative, with rapid two way and engaging interaction, otherwise we risk the 'lecturer' trying to compete with the smart phone, iPad, netbook etc. Why would anyone now want to listen to a one way lecture, unless it is unique, when you can obtain the best of breed in the world video lectures on your iPad?
5. Local case studies and examples are always very interesting to the audience. In Singapore this time, I was asked by several groups to present the Singapore Armed Forces knowledge driven case study about the 'learning Army and the thinking soldier'.
6. In the Asian culture, generally, where many people are reluctant, and even of their own admission, can be shy, I get far more constructive discussion and work done in small workgroups, who then share and discuss across the teams.
7. Asian people, generally, really enjoy fun exercises much more than my European counterparts.
8. The idea of 80/20 time, that is to say giving people 10-20% of their work time to better reflect, contemplate, consolidate and capture new learning's, ideas and insights, as opposed to, in some cases, 100%+ performance driven and measured, is still quite alien and rare, but people really like the concept.
9. Several of my Singaporian friends tell me that they were brought up through the education system to 'shut up and listen' and also, that it is certainly disrespectful to question a teacher, and absolutely not in public. This is quite different, of course, to my American and Australian friends who tell me that it's often difficult for the teacher to speak, due to the constant challenging and discussion from the audience.
10. I teach a model which is a 'virtuous spiral of value' from a foundation of 'trust' to more 'open and two way communications', to increased cooperation and 'collaboration', to 'accelerated learning' and 'knowledge creation and innovation'. the model is very well received in Singapore but, I think, generally considered ambitious in the current culture.
11. I am a very late, and new convert, to creating iPods. But this trip, I recorded everything on a Sony voice recorder and very easily created mp3 files. I now intend to record all my teaching sessions in raw mp3 libraries.I should have started this library a long time ago.
12. Generally, around the world, I am still so surprised that many people are not able to easily assimilate the idea that we need to capture new learning's and ideas and then turn them into better knowledge?
People readily accept and fully understand the sharing of good/best practices, but not as easily the creation of new knowledge through collective and systematic methods and techniques to turn new learning's into knowledge?
13. Too many people around the world talk about 'knowledge needs analysis'. This is vitally important, of course, but it is incomplete. How can we expect people to tell us what they really want if they still don't yet know what is possible with the new breakthrough innovative ways of creating new knowledge? Did people say they wanted the iPhone and iPad in their needs analysis, or was it the result of Apples's vision?
What I believe we need is both good knowledge needs analysis and innovative insight from leading practitioners/consultants.
14. A good Singaporean friend/colleague reminded me again, on this trip, that we need to let people come to their own understanding through the slower process of self discovery. Sometimes we have to patiently wait until people realize some key fundamentals, at their own pace.
15. Even moreso, from this trip, I realize that as KM practitioners, we need to 'teach people to fish' for themselves, through providing and teaching internal KM teams proven KM methods tools an techniques, and coach and support them, rather than just telling them and ' giving them fish', as one way KM consultants.
Last, but not least, I always (seem to) write better with my iPad, and a glass or two of good Chardonnay wine, and especially, as I am writing now, on an Singapore Airlines Airbus 380 back to London :-)
Saturday, February 18, 2012
We had coffee and hot chocolate at Starbucks in Orchard Road, Singapore.
CSC has just published the 'Knowledge Management Field Guide' and Gopi is the author.
For the past 10 years, Centre for Organisation Development (Centre for OD), has been educating public agencies on the practice of Knowledge Management (KM) through its workshops, and has been advising agencies how their KM efforts can be shaped. CSC decided, as a result, that it is timely to develop a field guide which will serve as a starting point for KM practitioners.
The field guide will provide a point of view on how KM can be practised effectively in the Singapore Public Service, drawing on the body of knowledge and experience the Centre for OD has gathered through work samples in the public agencies as well as good practices of the larger KM community in Singapore and globally.
I was very glad to be involved in KM training development and delivery, in the early years at CSC, and I am so pleased to see the developments over the years.
For more details, Gopinathan R can be contacted at Gopinathan_r@cscollege.gov.sg
more at www.knowledge-management-online.com
Sunday, October 09, 2011
It’s Sunday lunchtime and I am sitting by the Singapore river having a coffee.
I have my netbook connected to SingTel and I am thinking about my work this next week. This is with teams of people who are wanting to explore knowledge management to see how it might help their work in supporting teachers, and how to create and share even better knowledge, practices and methods for better teaching. They are the teachers training college, the National Institute of Education, NIE Singapore, and they support a community of over 30,000 teachers in 650 Singapore schools.
The question I have been asked by NIE to discuss thoroughly is ‘Why should they consider the latest developments in knowledge management in their work? What effects, if any, could the most effective knowledge management strategies, methods and tools have on even better teacher support, quality, productivity and even more innovative education? They are an innovative organisation with a mission and passion for excellence.
In considering the ‘why’ for any industry sector, it’s good to consider first any radical innovations that are already taking place.
So I will first point out to the group the work of the ‘University of the People’ the first tuition free global online university, more details here
Then I will present to the group an overview of the MIT free online courseware, with over 2000 titles freely available on the web today.
I will then tell the story of a lecturer who I met at the ‘KM Asia conference’ three years ago, from Singapore University, who told me that students now come to lectures with iPads and wireless PC’s and smart phones, of course, and if they are not happy with the lecture they can instantly google the subject, find, for example, a world class professor from Harvard who has a free video lecture on the same subject, and circulate that to the class virally, whilst the lecturer continues unaware.
We will also discuss how students and conference delegates often tweet key messages and key new learning’s, ideas and insights to people around the world, as it happens, because their followers also like to learn from what the audience think and feel, and not just what the presenter/lecturer says.
I thinks these four examples show disruptive innovation in a radically changing education environment, where the people can now choose and engage with the best in the world and, increasingly, free or very low cost.
Of course, online education and the more traditional physical, social, university campus and school learning experiences are both extremely powerful ways to learn, share, experience, develop and grow.
But I suggest to you that we are learning from the disruptive innovation in creating, distributing and delivering entertainment, like music, video and films, to major disruptive innovation in the education sector. And it is happening now. And I suggest that what I have just described above, is the ‘warm up’ act, with much more radical innovation to follow.
I suggest that effective knowledge management is a disruptive force, supported by new scalable tools and technologies that will contribute greatly to new and better ways to educate, across the world.
Let’s see what people at NIE think about these developments next week.
What do you think about education as the next key sector for major disruption through effective knowledge management? Is it happening in your country?
Friday, October 07, 2011
Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011
It was Steve Jobs who greatly inspired me in 1987/8 to start working with his vision in the practice of knowledge management.
Five years later, based on his vision, I founded Knowledge Associates in Cambridge UK. Today, I travel the world constantly teaching organizations ways that Steve Jobs could see in the late 1980's for people to work with information, learning and knowledge in radically new ways globally.
My business involvement with Apple, and Steve Jobs inspiration actually started in 1982 when my software company at the time, Systematics International Microsystems Ltd, was inspired to develop for Apple 'Apple Accounting' on the remarkable and radical Macintosh.
But in 1987, under Steve Jobs inspiration, Apple produced a video vision for the future called 'The Apple Knowledge Navigator' and, even at that time, he saw the prototype of what we now call the iPad. Twenty years later, that part of his vision became a reality.
But for me, he really inspired me the most through his further vision in this remarkable video, to link all the Universities together across the world, with key people communicating, collaborating, learning, sharing and applying knowledge together.
He had a vision for individuals, teams, organizations and communities to be able to practice knowledge management globally through the use of remarkable new mobile information and communication tools.
Ever since then I have been trying, with difficulty, to turn that part of his vision into reality.
What is remarkable for me, is that although KM practitioners had developed some exciting new KM theories, strategies and processes over the years, we never really had the simple to use, and powerful tools needed to support the theory. Then came Web 2.0 social tools in 2004 and, eventually, the iPhone and, especially, the iPad appeared to support knowledge workers in radically new, intuitive, and powerful ways.
So our challenge now is to show organizations how they can use these mobile and web based tools in the way Steve Jobs predicted.
I am currently working and writing this blog post from Singapore and I first heard the breaking news of Steve Jobs death in the morning coffee break yesterday, for the course I am running for the National Institute of Education at the Nanyang University Campus.
We were actually working at that time on the module that discusses the best practical tools to help individuals and teams practice personal and team knowledge management. We were discussing the use of the iPhone and iPad to tweet, blog, work with wiki's, work in social networks, web telephony and video.
I then felt compelled to play to the group the 'Apple Knowledge Navigator 1987' video on youtube. I am so glad this video is still available on the web today.
I would urge you to watch this 24 year old video and reflect on the accomplishments of Apple since.
Steve Jobs was a genius visionary and such an inspirational leader, within Apple, and to so many successful companies in silicon valley, and to so many people around the world.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I have now completed Days 1 and 2 of a 5 day programme 'KM Competencies' organised by the National Productivity Council of India(NPC), with headquarters in New Delhi, and also sponsored by the Asian Productivity Organization, with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
The 5 day programme is available from NPC here.
The reason we launched a practical programme is because we know that people will never appreciate and realise the full power and benefit of KM in their daily lives by simply listening to KM teachers expressing concepts and theories.
Its rather like the vast majority of people who drive cars today. They are only really interested in getting from A to B. They are not interested in how the car or engine works, unless they are enthusiasts and engineers.
However, in the early days of introducing automobiles, they were unreliable and so they needed engineers who understood how they worked to drive them. I often think that this is where KM is today for many. They are not getting the results reliably from many teachers of theory only, but just from the few that have actually succeeded with KM practically themselves.
Furthermore, until people experience KM for themselves, they will never know what it really is. Its rather like flying. Imagine that I am trying to explain to you what it is like to fly in an aeroplane. I can talk about it all week long, but until you actually fly yourself, you will never be able to experience it.
Then you get the 'aha! so does that mean that I can now do ..... in my daily work?'
In Days 1 & 2, of the 5 day programme, everybody started to use the tools and think about them in the workplace in more meaningful ways. We focused on personal knowledge management and started to work with alerts and blogs.
So, first thing tomorrow morning, we will all review and share our new learning's and insights in a totally new way on the web together, and in the workshop.
Then we will work with tweets and personal social networks and wiki's.
But, primarily, tomorrow we will focus on team knowledge management, and we will use team wiki's and collaborative work spaces, and team blogs and generally work through the effective collaborative team process.
I look forward to writing about Day 3.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
At least the cafe latte is good, and the tuna sandwich is pretty ok too.
So what am I doing?
I am updating all my KM materials and producing a new version which will be ready for publication for January 2012.It encompasses all my new learnings and insights that I get through my KM consulting engagements, workshops and conference speaking around the world.
The great thing about doing this update, which I do religiously every year, is that this very process always triggers new creative and innovative thoughts. In fact, I get so excited by these new revelations that I sometimes forget the original purpose.
This makes me realise, once again, that the creative process of knowledge creation is often a function of time, to reflect, analyse, consolidate, synthesize, and update new thoughts and ideas with established thoughts and concepts.
Imagine how much more creative individuals and organisations could become, if only they gave more time and value to learning, reflecting, creating and applying knowledge?
I was told that Google demand that their employees spend 20% of their work time to learning, reflecting, creating and innovating. I am told that 3M were pioneers in doing this 80/20 time week.
I wonder how many of the really valuable, and maybe even radical,innovations come from this 20% usage of time for more effective knowledge working?
When will management understand and properly value knowledge creation against performance?
Meanwhile, another cafe latte? a glass of wine? 4 hours to go. I need some 80/20 time.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Well, for many people around the world, it's normally because we have all been working hard during the week and its a time to relax. But, in Singapore, even more so because Singaporeans work very hard, very fast, and quite often, very long hours over the weekend too.
For me, my work finished about 10pm on friday night, after a skype videoconference with Kevin and Donovan in their Singapore office, and Douglas in Washington who was enjoying the friday morning, twelve hours behind Singapore.
This saturday morning I sat outside my hotel for breakfast, at Clarke's Quay down by the Singapore river. Just like every morning this week, but this time it was very different. Instead of gulping my breakfast and coffee,and reading notes in a very detached sort of way, about my meetings that day, I was able to sit and listen to the birds chirping away. Across the street, I noticed a guy was watering the plants around the building, smiling, and saying hello to people passing by.He was probably there every morning, but I hadn't noticed before.
What I really loved this morning, was that the beautiful green and lush plants under the palms were full of glistening white water jewels. Pearls of white that looked so fresh for a new day. They were especially magnified by the Singapore sun and bright light.
For me, only on a saturday morning, I had time to just browse through the Singapore Strait Times, and even just read articles I would simply not have the time to do during the week.
And the coffee even tasted so much better today.
Before I knew it, in a flash of timelessness, it was 11.30am and several beads of sweat were making themselves known on my forehead. It was time to go in to the hotel to cool down.
My first thought, back in the bustling lobby was 'how nice it would be if we could enjoy the beauty of our surroundings every morning'. Then I thought, 'but then we wouldn't have special saturday mornings'.
Happy saturday to all, everywhere.