- thought structuring and ordering
- adding more focus and flow
- developing richness, through visual means, and metaphor.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Like all consultants, I was trained to use a journal. To not only capture notes from meetings and interviews with clients etc, but also to capture my new learning's, insights, and ideas. So, as a young and impressionable consultant, keen to be a success, I naturally I followed leading consultants and their image by using, at least, quality 'black and red' type journals and a nice high quality pen. The image made me feel good and more confident.
The journal is a great tool, don't get me wrong, but many years ago, in fact ever since I was specialising in knowledge management, I realised that it is so much better to capture electronically rather than to capture on paper. I quickly learned that if you just capture on paper, as one task, you then have to then capture those new learning's and ideas again in an electronic document and/or system to then be able to easily share them and develop them, collectively and systematically, into new and better knowledge and innovative products and services. Also, it can be so time consuming to try and find things in a series of monthly paper journals quickly. And you cannot carry all your journals around with you.
Then the laptop computer arrived. Aha. No excuse now. At least I thought so, until a few clients, not all, found the laptop to be a sort of barrier between us, or, in a very subtle way, objected to the irritating clicking. So I battled on.
The next step was in 2005, when the blog arrived. I took to the blog like a duck to water. I was so excited with the blog as my electronic journal, and still am today. I even created a professional blog, a personal blog, a travel blog, a personal development blog etc etc.
The problem is, I started to notice how my subconscious was already starting to battle with the new and better discipline of blogging. It wanted to continue to write with a pen in a journal.
Not unreasonable, I thought, as I had been in the habit of writing a journal for a good 20 years. Also, as the blog is a web based tool, I didn't always have access to the internet at that time. So I battled on. I recall a recent quote 'how long does it take to change?' Answer given: 'As long as it takes for the present generation to die off!'
Then smart phones arrived and, to be fair to myself, I did capture quite a few learnings and ideas with my iPhone, and still do, using the 'notes' app. But if I tried to capture them in client meetings that way, clients would give me a strange look, as if I was busy with other things, and not focusing fully on them.
Then the tablet arrived. Eureka! Now I had the perfect answer. The tablet is not seen to be obtrusive by most clients. On the contrary, the tablet is cool and spells out loud 'well organised' 'information at my fingertips' 'powerful'. And also, for the first time, I could write very comfortably indeed in aircraft when my clients sent me economy on long hauls. And the iPad and the iPhone make me feel very good too. In the old days we had the elite 'jet set' now we have the elite 'Apple set' and I truly love the atmosphere of the Cambridge Apple Centre UK as it is truly buzzing with exciting people! I go there quite regularly, and I am always uplifted.
Have I cracked it? Have I thrown away my paper journal?
My subconscious is now having an even bigger battle each day. It is now declaring war on the iphone, the ipad and my Macbook Pro, all together. I purchased the MacBook Pro 15 months ago, eventually, after a tremendous subconscious battle defending MSDOS got lost one weekend when I was introduced to some excellent French wine. Also, the Mac is very cool and more silent, and so much better designed than the louder, more bulky clicking laptops that were around at the time. Things are different now.
Just this week, I had a breakthrough. My habit has eventually changed to writing in the ipad first, rather than second or third to the paper journal. I have made a remarkable quantum leap in turning my new learning's and ideas into valuable knowledge so much faster. At last, I can join the generation that were brought up on tablets and smart phones only. I feel lighter already. A huge weight has lifted from my troubled shoulders. My subconscious is liberated. I want to scream with joy!
But guess what. I went downtown for a coffee today and the wifi was down. I wanted to capture some very important thoughts and ideas that I had, while having a haircut, that will help a client solve a major problem. But in the coffee shop, my iPhone was too small and my iPad doesn't have 3/4G yet. I had to get my lonely journal out of my black rucksack (cool too) and write some notes and drawings with my nice Waterman pen. (I remember the days of a leather briefcase!).
Sitting next to me were an elderly couple. The lady remarked "how nice to see someone write these days". I initially thought she was still suffering from old fashioned ideas too, and needed to get out and see the world.
It turned out, in the conversation that followed, that she and her husband had just returned from 16 years in silicon valley, mainly around Palo Alto, and before that 10 years running a multi-national organisation in Australia and New Zealand. She remarked that she had just returned from attending a funeral in silicon valley and, even at the graveside, one person was buying/selling shares with his stockbroker on his iPhone. She said life goes on 24/7 in the valley, regardless.
So what do I now think? Of course, you may have the obvious answer, but it took me a long time and a long subconscious struggle to realise that all these tools, physical and electronic, elegant and effectively cool, have a special and a right time and place, and our challenge is to know when best to use these tools, and then take on the subconscious, fully, to change the habit of years.
I think I will strive to use my electronic iPad more than I do, as a primary mobile tool, to be more effective in knowledge management, and resist the strong temptation to write in a nice journal with a nice pen, unless I am inspired, from time to time, to this more creative art form of journalling for my family to read, some day. After all, come on, I am a management consultant!
What do you think?
Thursday, January 30, 2014
On Saturday I will be flying for 2 hours, the Boeing 737-800 flight simulator again, together with an airline captain, at Cambridge Airport, UK.
I have been an enthusiastic pilot for over 20 years, and this is great fun and a great passion for me, but what has this got to do with knowledge management?
Well checklists, based on the best possible knowledge and experiences, and especially lessons learned from flight incidents, are well known and have been practiced by the aviation industry for many years indeed.
Furthermore, the flight deck, especially on landing, is one of the best places to witness a team 'working together as one' with complete trust, respect and competence. This is a great example of effective communications, cooperation, collaboration, rapid learning, knowledge transfer, and information and knowledge management.
But I am flying the 737 for another reason. For the past two years, we have been working on a 'business simulator' that teaches, accelerates, and tests many of our knowledge working skills. On saturday, we are blending established team challenges and skills with new skills required of the knowledge worker into a knowledge team challenge, based on a flying challenge that requires high performance teamwork.
The team will have a 2 hour briefing from the captain to fly the 737 from Manchester to London Heathrow. They will be given as much information as they can absorb in 2 hrs. Then they fly. And because it is as real as it can get, in the latest professional flight simulator used to train airline pilots, it throws you out of your comfort zone in minutes!
If you are interested in following this work, contact me and I will keep you in the loop. If you have any ideas or experiences to suggest that might help us build the 737 simulator challenge to high performance knowledge team working, please please let me know.
I promise to blog post our experience gained on Saturday.
Knowledge Associates Cambridge
Saturday, November 23, 2013
In recent years, at Knowledge Associates Cambridge, we have focused more on innovation management, and the link between effective knowledge management and innovation. We have been working hard with 'mainstreaming innovation' across the organisation, or if you prefer, 'innovation for everyone'.
This last year, we have focused far more on 'Co-Creation'. In particular, the creation of new value with our customers. In essence, the customer becomes a key part of the process of developing products and services together. This has only become possible in recent years due to the dramatically improved communications, collaboration and knowledge management methods, tools and techniques that have become available. We can now work in radically new ways.
But this blog post has been inspired by my realisation, this morning, that finding new and better ways to interact with the customer, and get the customer totally involved in the value creative process, is not new. For Knowledge Associates Cambridge, it started in the 1990's with Accelerated Value Methodology and today, leading in to 2014, it has been much further developed into the discipline of Stakeholder Co-Creation, and especially, Customer Co-Creation.
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?