Tuesday, December 04, 2007

KM and the 'learning village'

I have just spent three days visiting 'the learning village', in Cotignac, Provence, South France. It is about one hour from St Tropez and one and a half hours from Cannes and Nice. It reminded me of the importance that inspiration, atmosphere and environment makes to the learning and knowledge sharing process.

The learning village is actually a 'village within a village' and was developed by two very good friends and work colleagues of mine, Claus and Viveca Moller.

Whereas I have always known the power of good storytelling to transfer knowledge by, not least, engaging all of our senses, to create a 'high and very rich bandwidth',
I had never quite thought about creating the same experience, to 'touch all of our senses' by embracing and combining beautiful natural surroundings, works of art and a more natural and laid back atmosphere.

As Claus and Viveca say 'it is as if time stands still - an experience to be savoured by body and soul'. Claus is an internationally renowned keynote speaker, consultant and management guru. He is a superb natural story teller and educator.

So I now see the learning village as an environment very conducive to creativity and to sharing knowledge.

I am sure that there are some strong principles here that we can take back into our workplaces to make us even more effective knowledge workers. I would recommend their learning village "Les 4 Moulins" as the ideal corporate retreat, seminar and meeting venue.

Meanwhile, I will enjoy the spectacular views, the vineyards, the olive groves, the sculpture park and the art, inspired by Hundertwasser and Gaudi amongst others. The wine is very good too!

I look forward to attending Claus's 6 day 'Practical Leadership' retreat in late March 2008.

Views - nature - art - inspiration - atmosphere - recreation

A great, and very pleasant formula for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer.

Any other thoughts and ideas about inspiring learning environments?

Ron Young

More at:


Monday, December 03, 2007

KM and the 'Attention Age Doctrine' Part 2 by Rick Schefren

On Sunday, I downloaded and read the free ebook 'Attention Age Doctrine' Part 2 by Rick Schefren, founder of Strategic Profits, Delray Beach Florida, USA. I was interested because he talks about solid principles, strategies and methods to successfuly create, distribute and sell your knowledge on-line. This report links some of these principles to the phenomena of Web 2.0. Of course, the initial primary messages are about how to gain attention from a world suffering from a 'chronic case of attention deficit'.

As a European, I normally do not warm very well to the often very direct, and sometimes arrogant claims made by many US companies about creating even greater success with your on-line business on the web. I often find them too much 'in my face'.

Rick Schefren is certainly direct with his claims, that's for sure. But he has a reason to do so.You cannot argue with the fact that his reputation, credibility, growth and success is extraordinary and first class. I always have the time and attention, and great respect, for people who actually produce extraordinary results!

So I read the Attention Age Doctrine and, I have to say, I found it to be inspiring and very reassuring. I had, for several years, suspected that much knowledge content should be free on the web, and that's why I became very interested and involved in Open Source Knowledge initiatives.

Here is a quick summary of the points I noted from Rick's Attention Age Doctrine that particularly inspired and interested me. They cannot possibly do justice to his detailed report so I strongly recommend you take a read too. Some of his messages may simply reconfirm what many of us already know and feel, but some are quite new, and some are quite radical. Here are my noted summary nuggets:

* There is a sea change in the Internet marketing landscape

* There is chronic attention deficit disorder, even more information and interruption overload

* So it's all about ATTENTION. Attention is more valuable than money.

* We need to give free and valuable content just to get attention
(He quotes the innovative example of a Japanese drink vending machine that offers free drinks in return for your attention to a certain amount of advertising'

* Generally, people are becoming less trusting of marketers and advertising and traditional proprietary owned media, so you have to build a bridge of trust with your prospects - from pitcher to partner; from salesperson to sage

* People give attention to those they trust and they trust those who have demonstrated that they are here to help and provide valuable products and services.

* It's all about peer to peer trust (P2P) and 'word of mouth' is number 1!

* Become a Trusted Advisor, always providing great insights

Social interactivity is changing everything. Web 2.0 encourages people to join in conversations. Media has become HUMAN.

We are transforming from simple communication to in depth conversation; from talking at people to talking with people.

Remember, learning is lifelong and you need much more time as a student than as an expert.

So who are the best known names? Who are getting the most attention?
Who are the most trusted?

So Rick's recommended strategic actions, in summary, are:

1. Map your market
2. Monitor your market
3. Join your market

then move towards building your own Community :

1. Build your market
2. Lead your market
3. Sell to your market (by asking them what they really want)

Finally, he suggests the following 4 new rules:

1. Your marketing cannot defeat a Community
2. You can't trick people
3. There is nowhere to hide on the web
4. Your secrets aren't safe

(What comes up when you are Googled?)

"The web is emerging as the biggest lie detector and truth finder"

So the new guiding principle is TRANSPARENCY

"There is a big payoff to being honest, ethical and providing value - and it's huge!"

I really like what Rick says here.

When I started teaching knowledge management through seminars and workshops, I devised a model which had 4 key components

1. Trust - as the foundation
2. Communication - open, frequent and two way
3. Learning - as an ongoing result of open information communications
4. Share - knowledge as far and as fast as you can

So, naturally, I resonated highly with Rick when he finally recommended:

"Trust that by being open with what you know, and by sharing your knowledge and ideas, the world will reward your efforts"

So, if this summary inspires you, I recommend you download his free ebook asap.

I would really be interested in knowing what you think about this.

You have my attention, that's for sure.

Ron Young

More information at:


Monday, November 26, 2007

Personal knowledge management and Twine

I have been an interested follower of the writings and work of
Nova Spivak, CEO of Radar Networks in San Francisco.
If you haven't yet come across him, he is the grandson of the late
Professor Peter Drucker
and he has a very enviable track record in founding and
developing web companies to successful IPO's over the years.

Radar Networks have been in stealth mode for quite a while but
recently, they launched an invite-beta version of Twine at
Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco in October 2007.

From their press announcement:

"Radar Networks, a pioneer of Semantic Web technology, today announced the invite-beta of Twine, a new service that gives users a smarter way to share, organize, and find information with people they trust. Twine is one of the first mainstream applications of the Semantic Web, or what is sometimes referred to as Web 3.0"

I have put myself down for a beta version as they expand the
final testing phase.

Nova Spivak believes that we can combine the best of the
people focused social web 2.0 tools together with the
semantic technologies that aim to makemore sense of documents

Watching a video from Web2.0 Summit, I respectfully chuckled at
Nova's remark that he is combining the 'wisdom of crowds' with
the 'wisdom of computers' and that Web 3.0 is Web 2.0 with a brain.

It's certainly worth following Twine. Check it out and please let me know what you think.

Ron Young

More about Open Source Knowledge Management at:


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A lot to juggle at KM Singapore 2007

I was very glad to be invited by Patrick Lambe of Straits Knowledge, in his capacity as President of the Information and Knowledge Management Society of Singapore (iKMS)to give a keynote speech at the Annual KM Singapore 2007 Conference on 1st November 2008.

This conference immediately followed KM Asia, in Singapore, organised by Ark Group.

I think the two events complimented each other extremely well. KM Asia consisted mainly of presentations and an exhibition, with some interactive discussion panels and David Gurteen's Knowledge Cafe, whereas KM Singapore 2007 was mainly interactive group work, reports and feedback on an iKMS survey of member country status with KM, and how Singapore rated to the rest of the world, and very short case study presentations (6 mins) to enable participants to choose two of the most relevant case studies to explore as interactive groups in the afternoon.

My keynote presentation, entitled 'How to Build KM Competencies' was just 30 minutes to put a global KM competence development perspective into a better context for Singapore and to assist and enable the workgroups to better identify and develop, from well prepared archetypes by iKMS and Straits Knowledge, KM competencies relevant to their needs.

The conference and workshops ended with a good discussion on the role that a Professional Society should play for KM practitioners / members in developing personal and organisational competencies.

I think this event is a must for serious KM practitioners. I am sure the participants felt that the highly interactive discussions and participative workshops were of high value.I learned a great deal and made some great new contacts and friends from around Asia.It was great to see David Gurteen actively participating with much enthusiasm during the day.

One new contact for me was Naguib Chowdhury, who runs, in Malaysia, KMTalk.
Naguib has blogged this event well and includes pictures too, so I will not repeat his comment on the event, apart from one thing - juggling!

When I worked with Patrick Lambe in Kuala Lumpur is September 2007 I casually mentioned that I taught many workshop delegates, over the years, to juggle in their refreshment breaks and lunchtime. So many delegates have told me how refreshing and exciting it was to do, during an otherwise very cerebral day! I also use the metaphor of juggling to teach the three components of competence - knowledge, skills and attitude. (Those in the group that have the attitude 'Yes, I can, and I will juggle by the end of the day, normally do)

I thought no more of it until I arrived in Singapore and Patrick said, 'I have got all the juggling balls ready for everyone!' Naguib's blog has the pictures.

Seriously, it was a great day with much discussed. Total participation of all, some good conclusions, and great fun.

I would highly recommend iKMS Membership to all serious KM practitioners and Organisations.

Ron Young


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One Global University? - radically new ways to teach

It's the spontaneous insights, that can occur when casually networking at conferences, that can sometime's produce some valuable knowledge nuggets!

Concerning knowledge creation and sharing, everything is moving on the Web towards One!

One Planetary Encyclopedia of Life, inspired by one global Wikipedia etc, and the list will rapidly grow, I am sure.

Whilst in Singapore, two weeks ago, I casually met in a coffee break with David Gurteen, from Gurteen Knowledge, and Roger Smith from the National University of Singapore.

Roger inspired me by telling us how many University students these days take their laptops into lectures. Whilst a lecture is proceeding, some of the students may also be chatting with other students through the Web and comparing notes. Even with lectures in the same building.

Apparently, one student hadn't turned up for a lecture as he had too much to drink the night before, and was feeling fragile. A student sent him a link to an Ipod of the best rated lecturer in the world on the same lecture subject.

I thought - why attend mediocre lectures when you can have world class experts at your fingertips in the global knowledge space? Why not One Global University with the best teachers in the world?

Well, I guess of course that we still prefer many other social ingredients like physical interaction, wherever possible, and a sense of community, I am sure.

But I am also sure that radical and better ways to teach and transfer knowledge in social networks, and what I would call 'best of breed streams', will certainly emerge into the final mix too. Like music producers, students will become increasingly capable, and personally responsible, for mixing, mashing and producing their own educational recipes!

Ron Young

For more information on Open Source KM:


Knowledge Transfer - World's leading conference organizer using Second Life

Yet another radical way to transfer knowledge has emerged!

'The world's leading conference organizer,Institute for International Research (IIR), have recently announced plans to organize, promote, and run events in the virtual 3D world Second Life.

IIR's hard launch into Second Life will take place in November 2007 at the Inaugural conference on Managing Virtual Distance (www.iirusa.com/virtual), where they have secured the Founder and CEO of Linden Labs, Philip Rosedale, to deliver a keynote presentation on the topic of Virtual Worlds Technology. Mr. Rosedale, who was recently named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People on the Planet, will be delivering his presentation in Avatar form at the IIR island in Second Life.

Additional information can be found at www.iirusa.com/secondlifeevents.

Well, for the past year and a bit, whenever I have visited my eldest grandson in the UK (5yrs), within minutes he immediately wants me to connect my laptop and spend the next few hours with him endlessly exploring in Second Life. We both share the same Avatar.

His generation are naturally becoming very skilled in navigating the virtual world and I am sure we will see even more radical ways to better enjoy communicating,collaborating, learning and sharing knowledge!

I must check if there is a virtual community of km practitioners and consultants in Second Life. Anyone interested?

Ron Young

More about Open Source KM at:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A review of KM Asia 2007

I was very glad of the opportunity to visit Singapore, to attend the KM Asia conference and exhibition, and to deliver a keynote and participate in KM Singapore, during the week of 29th October through 2nd November. This blog will focus on KM Asia and I will follow with KM Singapore separately and later in the week.

It’s a rather long blog and I must confess I found writing it of great benefit in organising my thoughts. I have focused firstly on the state of KM in Asia, secondly my views on the KM Asia 2007 conference, and thirdly I focused on some key points and new learnings and insights for me from each of the four keynote speakers, Verna Allee, Jeff Kelly, Bob Buckman and Dave Snowden.

Coincidentally, I found the brochure of KM Asia 2001 that I participated in, before my trip, and I found it interesting to compare speakers, themes and topics and new developments.

Of course, International conferences, whatever the subject, are very great contributors to new knowledge creation, through presentations, papers, debates, networked conversations and, not least, the renewal and building of relationships and communities.

But conferences are also a very visible barometer of the health of the subject of the conference, the degree of new knowledge creation, and the growth and sustainability of the discipline, practise or profession. Also, the number and type of delegates that attend is very informing. If the same delegates choose to return, year on year, as well as attracting new delegates, and especially if there is that ‘buzz’ that ‘sizzle’, that is indeed a sign of a healthy and valuable subject.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see very much of this at KM Asia this year. There wasn’t that much excitement for me. When I knew I was to attend, I called up my contacts and friends, some of which are very influential in KM circles in Singapore and Asia, to see if they were attending this year, so that we could meet up. For a variety of more pressing reasons, they were unable to attend.

So I asked myself and a few colleagues that I met in Singapore, the normal questions:
Has KM reached its peak in Asia? Was it the quality of presentations and content? Should it have been organised differently?

Certainly, Singapore Government and Singapore Organisations, and the Asian Region have been working very hard with KM for many years, and other parts of the Region are just becoming very interested and active in the subject. I know this from personal experience of working with them on developing KM strategies, embedding KM processes and developing KM competencies.

I consider knowledge to be a perennial and an evergreen, and it should always be high on the agenda for innovative organisations to discover and learn new and better ways to create, transfer and apply new knowledge to enable them to better achieve, or even exceed, their objectives – be they for profit, for service, for value creation for stakeholders and/or for the common good of humanity and the planet.

Certainly the new wave of web based social tools has demonstrated some radically new ways to communicate and collectively create knowledge, radically new ways to collaborate and innovate on a mass scale, and radically new ways to learn and share knowledge. We now have radically new instruments to license knowledge through creative commons and knowledge commons, and I am sure there will be much more to come as we grow and globalise our knowledge exponentially.

I would go as far as to say that the web has radically and fundamentally changed the economics of knowledge.

So I cannot believe, at all, that there is a reduction of interest in knowledge as a subject. The evidence is still that more and more people around the world are increasingly even more interested in participating in the global knowledge economy.

And now, of course, we are starting to see a proliferation of new conferences, seminars and workshops on Social Computing, Web 2.0 and even the emerging new Semantic Web 2.0 or Meaningful Web/Computing. Activity and interest and growth and buzz in this area are exponential right now.

So knowledge is very alive and well, and of course, always will be, but the perception of the new wave of web services and tools, and their implications for knowledge driven individuals, teams, organisations and communities seems, for many, to be that it is a different subject, or I have even heard some say, the death of knowledge management.

Then we regularly read about organisations that say they are doing KM through implementing these social tools, especially wiki’s and blogs. There is some truth here, and they are making a great contribution to better knowledge management, of course, but when I consider the complete processes that practitioners and consultants have developed over the years, for creating, transferring and applying knowledge effectively, these Organisations still have a long way to go.

Even worse, I see even less knowledge driven organisations feeling the need for a knowledge strategy. But this has always been a worry of mine. A concern that senior managers do not seem to see the need of a wise investment in some strategic thinking that can make a big difference, and even radically transform the organisation for the better. There is still a sad lack of strategic thinking at all levels, whether it be for the strategic use of time, information, relationships or knowledge, to name a few.

People like novelty. People like new and refreshing perspectives. People like to be associated with exciting new developments. Otherwise, people get bored. That’s why we have ‘fashion’ and that also explains, to a degree, why we have fads. But the problem with this is that we tend to rush into the next search for the quick win, the silver bullet, or even the next holy grail, and repeatedly ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. Such good work has been done in helping us all to better manage our time and our lives, our work, our relationships, more innovative processes, our information and, of course, our knowledge. But I hear too many people saying that these fads are over. They say that time management was a fad of the 1980’s, process reengineering and CRM were fads of the 1990’s that didn’t work, and now knowledge management is a fad.

I would like to make an appeal to conference organisers. I would like us to be better reminded, through conference, of the underlying and even timeless and unchanging principles of our subject, and the need to combine BOTH the timeless principles AND the ever changing, naturally emerging knowledge, methods, tools and techniques. Just focusing on the new emerging and rapidly changing tools, or indeed, just the principles, is not enough. Put them together in new combinations and the extraordinary emerges naturally!

As far as KM Asia is concerned, I heard criticisms from several delegates about the model that favours financial sponsorships of different levels of vendor speaking and of chairing the conference. The Chairperson for the conference was Gary Szukalski, Vice President, Field Marketing, Autonomy Inc and I thought he was an excellent Chairperson in the way he conducted and facilitated the conference and the way he distilled key points. But even Gary said on the platform on day two, in the afternoon, that ‘the good news is that there are no more vendor presentations and we know you want more objective presentations from organisations and practitioners’. I was told, at dinner later in the evening, that in Australia people now increasingly walk out of vendor presentations in conferences as a principle.

Let’s not forget the hard facts of commercial business life and if it were not for organisations like Ark Group, who take all the risks and who need to be funded adequately, we would not be able to enjoy events like KM Asia. But the challenge I put to commercial conference organisers is to continually examine better alternative ways to fund models that will bring about more objectivity.

David Gurteen brings enormous enthusiasm and objectivity to any conference, but I arrived in Singapore too late to attend his Knowledge Café. I would have liked to do that.

But all the keynotes were from organisations and practitioners and were very objective. And there was some good new learning, insights and new knowledge for me here.

Unfortunately for me, I could not get to day 1 keynotes but I studied the presentation slides from both Verna Allee, Verna Allee Associates, on ‘Knowledge, networks and value creation’ and Jeff Kelly, Director of Knowledge Strategy, Hinchcliff & Co on ‘Enterprise 2.0 and knowledge management. I also talked to delegates about the day 1 keynotes. We all concluded that they were very informing indeed and we thought they added very great value to the conference.

From Verna, in particular, I liked the way she describes ‘Three Meta Capabilities’ – Business Innovation, Social Innovation and Technology Innovation and also her thoughts on ‘Dialogue vs Critical Thinking’ and the art of dialogue. I rather liked
‘An Emerging Value Model’ that describes broadly accepted categories of Intangible Assets. This led her to a Value Conversion Strategy Model and a Value Network Strategy Model that make very good sense to me. One of her concluding slides entitled ‘Increasing Prosperity’ has an excellent quote from Alan Briskin ‘The capacity to honour the collective consciousness and to act on behalf of the whole is truly the work of the next 100 years’. That’s cool.

From Jeff Kelly, I learned the working definition for Web 2.0, from their Web 2 University perspective to be:

“Web 2.0 is networked products that explicitly leverage network effects.”

His presentation confirmed many of the discussions I have been having recently about the disruptive effects and challenges that Web 2.0 poses for the established Enterprise and he has some good recommendations for an E2 strategy, not least ‘Start small and keep expectation low on a small budget’ You can see the work of Web 2.0 University at www.web20university.com

I did attend both keynotes on Day 2 from Bob Buckman and Dave Snowden.

Bob Buckman never fails to inspire me. I have heard him several times before and I had the fortune to have a few words with Bob in the VIP breakfast just before he kicked off Day 2.

It is not so much that I learn new things from Bob, although I have certainly learned from him from time to time, but, as I said earlier, he never fails to inspire me. And that is what Leadership is all about. I would certainly and completely trust Bob to ‘pack my parachute’.

How encouraging to hear a successful leader of people say ‘ I believe we should establish the cultural paradigm of creating unlimited opportunities for our associates to grow and to be the best that they can be’ and ‘We need to invest in knowledge systems like any other investment that will redefine an organization if we want improved collaboration and innovation’.

He reminded me, when discussing collaboration, networks and Metcalf’s Law that ‘the value of a network increases as the square of the number of users on the network that we are all building’. I realised again, that we are building a huge new neural network out there on the web with increasingly new and massive flows of thoughts, ideas, insights and valuable conversations.

I liked his powerful statements on collaboration, firstly to ‘reduce the number of transmissions of knowledge to one, to achieve the least distortion of knowledge’
And secondly, to ‘focus on changing the speed of response to any need toward instantaneity’.

But what I resonated with the most was Bob’s presentation of a ‘Community of One’.

Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, he has a powerful point here. I believe that he is also talking about the emergence of the global individual and not just the global organization.

Whereas Bob inspires me emotionally the most, Dave Snowden never fails to inspire me intellectually the most. He gets me to think, whether it’s through challenging my thoughts and beliefs, and certainly challenging the status quo, or whether it is through excellent new thinking.

I haven’t heard Dave for a while, so I was not sure in which direction he was moving.

He started by repeating his challenge that he said he first made in 2004/5 that ‘KM is at the end of its life cycle’. I have made my views on that too, earlier in this blog.

I certainly liked ‘Switch from fail safe design to safe fail experimentation’ and his comment that the IT profession is stuck in an old age. His messages on creating evolutionary environments and his criticisms of the SECI model and the data/information/knowledge spectrum are well known.

But the greatest new insight for me was the way he talked about “knowledge in the human brain as ‘fragmented’ and is reassembled in the context of need” I resonated with his explanation of fragmented patterns and especially “the way we know is not the same as the way we describe what we know”

It is quite a compelling argument to talk about fragmented narrative and not structured knowledge bases, although I see a need for BOTH/AND albeit much more fragmented and, as Dave calls it ‘messy knowledge’ rather than structured.

I think Dave is an ‘upside down thinker’ which I mean as a compliment, as he tends to favour opposites from standard perception, like ‘tolerated failure’ and one tolerated failure can be better than 20,000 successes.

Generally, I am quite familiar with his good work on Complexity and Narrative Development.

He advised:

Make it all available
Learn in the sandpits of Wiki
Consolidate blogs into Wiki’s
Allow freedom
Ban email attachments and
Hotlink into document repositories

For the first time, I heard Dave say that the new technologies of Social Computing are matching the theory of KM.

His best theory for me was simply ‘order – mess – order – mess’

His truism that ‘facebook creates an allergic reaction on Management’ made us all chuckle. I have just leaped into Facebook, thanks to David Gurteen's prompting, and together with my personal experience of blogging, wiki's, youtube etc I realise the fears and concerns that many, less enlightened, managers will have.

I remember giving an after dinner talk on KM in Hong Kong several years ago, focusing on the true power of knowledge sharing. Afterwards, the Chief Executive from a large mainland China business said to me 'I love KM, I want you to come to China and teach me everything you know about KM, but don't tell any of my employees!' I realised that either I had not communicated very well about knowledge sharing and/or he may have had a great hidden fear to lose control. I see lot's of this all around the world in many management teams today.

But, getting back to Dave Snowden's keynote at KM Asia, although I have heard it from him before, it was still refreshingly provocative and entertaining for Dave to tell the audience, especially in Singapore, that ‘you know when you have reached the end of a cycle when Government adopt as Industrial Best Practices what traditional Industry has abandoned already’

Generally, in KM Asia 2007, I would have liked to have heard more discussion in the conference on Open Source Knowledge, Knowledge Commons and other emerging instruments, which are my special interest at the moment, and which I think will make a big impact and contribute to even more radical KM developments in the future.

Talking about Knowledge Commons, I could not get to KM World in San Jose, but Stuart Henshall has done a great job in blogging it and he refers to a talk by Richard McDermott – Tragedy of the Knowledge Commons – which didn’t do much for him. I hope to be able to talk about the developments and implications for Open Source Knowledge in KM conferences next year.

I feel that we need more than one Dave Snowden, we need a few actually, to keep challenging us on everything from BOTH underlying timeless principles, to knowledge policy, knowledge strategy, knowledge processes, new knowledge technologies AND naturally emerging properties, complexity, chaos and messy knowledge. We need some more new blood too. No disrespect to the oldies, and I am one of the senior members that’s been around for a long time, but we need some new stars to inspire us and move us forward with new thinking, alongside the established thinkers.

The big question. Will I go to KM Asia next year?

If I were living in Asia – most certainly

As I live in Europe - If I am working in Asia at the time – most certainly

As I live in Europe - If I am invited as a speaker, certainly.

If not invited, and it is at my cost from Europe just to attend the conference, maybe, unlikely, but totally depending on the speakers, the themes and topics.

Good luck Ark Group and congratulations on running successful conferences over many years.

Ron Young

For more information on Open Source KM go to:


Monday, November 05, 2007

KM and the Wikinomics of Mass Collaboration

Later this week, I shall be blogging my review of KM Asia that I visited in Singapore last week.

But before that I simply had to share a fantastic book.
At the conference I met an old friend and colleague, David Gurteen of Gurteen Knowledge. He recommended I read 'WIKINOMICS - How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything' by Don Tapscott (best selling author of The Digital Economy) and Anthony D Williams.

Sure enough, at Singapore airport, I bought the book.

I started to read it at 8am local time and I read the whole book, non-stop
on the flight in 10 hrs. It is a brilliant read, and if you haven't discovered it
already yourself, please get a copy.

I am particularly interested in Open Source Knowledge and Knowledge Commons, so the book was a great confirmation for me about these developments too.

I agree with Klaus Schwab from the World Economic Forum, it's "a deeply profound and hopeful book, Wikinomics provides compelling evidence that the emerging 'creative commons' can be a boon, not a threat to business"

Thanks David G

Ron Young

More information at: www.knowledge-management-online.com

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Knowledge Management – the known and the unknown

Sunday 28th October 2007

I seem to get many of my new learnings, new insights, and most ‘aha’s’ in airports and especially during flights. I guess this may be something to do with having time on my hands, for reading and contemplating, and also, maybe, it has something to do with breaking with routine and literally, and metaphorically, pointing in a new direction at a greater height (broader perspective).

Today I find myself in Toulouse Airport, South of France, awaiting the morning flight to London. From there I will be connecting to fly this evening to Singapore, to attend KM Asia and KM Singapore 2007.

It’s a sunny morning in Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, the home of Airbus Industries and the exciting new A380 aircraft (the largest airliner in the world).

This morning I reflected on the ‘known’ and the ‘unknown’.

It may be said that Knowledge Management provides more of a certainty of the ‘known’ by better sharing, to as many people as possible and appropriate, what is ‘known’.

It may also be said that an aspect of Wisdom may be the application of the best knowledge.

But also, I have learned about the creative mind and that, in detachment from the known, we can enjoy the ‘Wisdom of Uncertainty’.

The big difference here is that we can become detached from time and place and the known past. Total attachment can be a major limitation to our creativity. Attachment has even been called a ‘prison of past conditioning’.

However, if we are willing to step into the ‘unknown’ it will take us into the field of all possibilities, known and unknown. Quantum Physics also talks about the field of infinite possibilities.

So we need to remember to both surrender ourselves to the creative mind, to the unknown, and also to attach ourselves to that which is known, as appropriate.

Therefore, to the degree that we can detach ourselves from the known, we can be more creative in our thoughts and actions in each new moment.

This may be a worthy ideal for an individual but I wonder, for knowledge driven organisations, to what degree knowledge leaders and managers are prepared to allow the wisdom of uncertainty whilst striving for measurable performance and certainty?

Ron Young

For more information go to:


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

KM and links within links

I still find it simply amazing to be sitting in my home office
overlooking the golden and green autumn vineyards in SW France,
on the one hand, and replying to friends around the world who
have given such feedback to my thoughts and insights, as I try to
understand what is happening in the global knowledge space.

Blogging really is so powerful and I truly believe that we are still
only able to see the tip of the iceberg. I look forward to what is coming.

When I first started to blog, I really wanted and hoped for
lots of direct two way communication and feedback. I then quickly
learned the nature and motivations of different bloggers, and how we are all trying to deal with so much more information of interest, but no more time.
Probably even less time to absorb all that we wish we could.

So meaningful filtering of information is even more critical to
effective knowledge working.

But what caused me to write this post was the simple realisation
that there is something as important, even more important sometimes,
than feedback.

The links that I get from people who read my blog, but do not
directly feedback, tell me what information and what solutions
people are looking for. The links contain the search requests.
That is of course interesting. But when I examine and follow
their searches further, I discover so many other interesting
things that greatly add to my knowledge.

Most of them are so relevant to my interests in knowledge management.

This can be so revealing and sometimes, so inspiring.
So I do get valuable feedback from every single searcher and
reader of my blog too!

Of course, I love the feedback, as direct communication, and I
am finding, more and more, that people find my blog through
searching for information, not just from what I write, but
the searches are finding results to comments that others write.

So there is an increasingly complex set of links, and links
within links that are naturally emerging.

The web is naturally emerging as a complex global organism
of thoughts, insights and ideas.

Now it's back to a cup of coffee and a walk in the vineyards to
retain my sanity :-)

Ron Young

For more information on Open Source Knowledge go to:


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Knowledge and a commitment to Openness

I am very interested in the growing debate that is developing concerning
Open Knowledge on the Web.

I was drawn by a colleague to read a very interesting article in
The New York Times 'Libraries shun deals to place books on Web'
of 22nd October 2007

In particular, I agree with the following quote, especially too, from a KM Consulting context,

“There are two opposed pathways being mapped out,” said Paul Duguid, an adjunct professor at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. “One is shaped by commercial concerns, the other by a commitment to openness, and which one will win is not clear.”


To a degree, I understand the arguments that have been put to date, that information and knowledge developed from public funds should be available for the common good, and "some libraries and researchers worry that if any one company comes to dominate the digital conversion of these works, it could exploit that dominance for commercial gain.", and I understand the need for commercial concerns to make a profit to live and grow, but I think there are several other issues that are emerging on the Web that are just as challenging and fundamental.

I believe that the greatest challenge to a KM Consultant is to take his/her own medicine too and 'think differently about knowledge'.

I fully accept that "many in the academic and nonprofit world are intent on pursuing a vision of the Web as a global repository of knowledge that is free of business interests or restrictions." and I would suggest that this will extend further into the profit world than we, perhaps, realise.

As a KM Consultant, I have realised that I will never be able to develop and compete on knowledge, personally, compared to developing knowledge through open collaborative knowledge communities. It's insane to keep thinking in competitive ownership terms.

Where I believe I can excel as a 21st Century KM Consultant, is in my experience gained, and in my competencies developed, around applying the best available knowledge.

I think that increasingly, the Web will certainly be a growing global repository of knowledge for all, that is free to use for both business interests and non-business interests.

Maybe it will be the case that people will continue to 'compete' on ideas and innovation, and 'collaborate', for the common good of creativity and innovation on knowledge development?

For more information:


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

KM Singapore and KM Asia 2007

I have been asked to give a keynote address at KM Singapore on 1st November
and the title is 'How to develop KM Competencies'.This is very close to my heart, as I feel that the biggest difference to achieving excellence in KM is made through KM competency development of individuals, teams, organisations, knowledge networks and communities of practice.


I shall attend KM Asia on 29th - 31st October, in Singapore also, catch up with old friends and listen to all the keynote speakers. I am particularly interested to see if any new challenging thinking, trends, strategies, methods and tools are developing within the conference context of 'enhancing knowledge culture and discovering new possibilities'. I am pretty sure Dave Snowden will deliver some constructive and challenging thoughts. He always does!


My aim, for this trip, is to observe, learn, blog and share any new insights and ideas that I gain. If you have a special interest in these conferences and speakers and are not planning to attend, and if you have a special question or challenge, please let me know and I will do my best to help, if I can.

Ron Young

more information at :


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Knowledge Management and 'The Search'

I am reading 'The Search' - How Google and its rivals rewrote
the rules of business and transformed our culture, by John Battelle.

For me, as a knowledge management consultant, putting the
search developments and future intentions into a global
knowledge management context is very exciting.

So far, this book is blowing me away!

I love the concepts, thoughts, insights and ideas like:

'search has become a universally understood method of navigating
our information universe' or

'search defines our interactions with the Internet'

'massive click streams'

'we trust you to not do evil things with our information'

'the future of search will be more about understanding, rather
than simply finding'

'what does the world want?'

and best of all, so far:

'harness and leverage the intelligence already extant on the
Web - the millions and millions of daily transactions, utterances,
behaviours, and links that form the Web's foundation - the
Database of Intentions'

This really stretches my brain and aligns my mind to the evolution of
planetary intelligence. Read John Battelle! Cool ...

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

Knowing what you know

So here I am again, back in S W France, reflecting on
lessons learned and my trip to Asia and Scotland this
past month.

Most times, I am asked to create new knowledge management
presentations around new themes. For example: focusing on
identifying and developing the core competencies of
knowledge management consultants, as in Asia, or how to
achieve much better knowledge retention, as in the case of
the Oil and Gas sector in Scotland.

What always amazes me is that I never can know what I truly
already know until I am given a task and context to think about.
In other words, preparing presentations around themes are
great knowledge creation and better knowledge organisation

I know that there is the well known maxim 'You teach to learn
and you learn to teach'. But it is so true.

Sometimes I think that I should pay conference and workshop participants
for giving me the opportunity to consolidate my learnings and
experiences and learn more as I teach!

But then I would not be able to afford to travel and learn at
such a fast rate anymore.

So please keep inviting me to speak around the world and I will
do my utmost to provide high value by sharing my experiences,
learnings and new insights...and , of course, continue to better
know and share what I know!

Ron Young

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

Monday, September 10, 2007

KM Technologies are nothing and everything

Today, I find myself sitting in a Starbucks Coffee lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with a great mug of cappuccino coffee and a lovely sunrise.

It’s 10.30am and I am waiting for a 12noon flight with Malaysian Airlines direct to London Heathrow. A cool 12 hours of flight, with a specially requested Asian vegetarian meal, which I love, and with time to read and reflect on the weeks work with an international team of KM Consultants. No doubt I will also get time to take in some music and a movie.

As I look out onto the tarmac, I cannot help but be quite awe struck by the
queue of Boeing 747 Jumbo jets that are lining up on the runways towards takeoff. Such technology has simply changed the world. I cannot help reflecting on the technologies around me that have radically transformed my life as a knowledge worker this past 20 years.

Incredible Jumbo jets with onboard personal entertainment and personal telephones, together with an extraordinary 21st Century airport with driverless trains, a wifi coffee lounge and, of course, my wireless enabled Sony Vaio personal computer that is connected to the web and the global blogsphere. Of course, my mobile phone enables me to receive emails, pictures and video’s and text my wife as often as I like, using Sony handwriting technology on my PDA, without having to worry about the cost.

I may even get feedback to this blog post from anywhere on the planet before my aircraft lands at LHR International later today!

How did I get invited to Kuala Lumpur from Europe to talk with KM Consultants about KM Consultancy Competencies in the first place?

Well I owe it entirely to new tools to support the knowledge worker. Blogging tools, a personal website building technology, a Google search from a consultant in KL and the World Wide Web. And all of this technology created the invitation to Kuala Lumpur ‘as a simple and natural by product of my knowledge work’.

You see I have always, as a teacher, writer and consultant, disciplined
myself to write down what I have learned, and to capture new ideas, new insights and new inspirations. I was taught, as a young consultant many years ago, that the discipline, the process, the habit, call it what you will, of writing this down is of great benefit to me, personally, in organising and developing my knowledge.

What’s new?

Well I used to write this down on odd pieces of paper. Not that effective. Then I captured my learnings, ideas and insights into paper journals. A little better. Then I captured them on my PC in an MS Word document. Even better. Then into a personal PC Journal. Great.

Now it is captured in a blog. Simply fantastic! When I get feedback to my blog, my knowledge expands. Furthermore, at the end of each month I transfer my blogs to the www.knowledge-management-online.com website, and I then discipline myself to distill the learnings into website knowledge content improvements. And then I benefit from even more feedback from visitors to the website - to create even greater knowledge!

You might say I conduct a simple personal knowledge management process, but with the added great benefit of feedback from a growing global community of interested students and experienced practitioners and consultants.

So, although I still do the same knowledge work as I did 20 years ago, in capturing my learnings and ideas and experiences, as a discipline, the new supporting 21st Century Web 2.0 technologies of capturing and sharing have radically changed the quality and capacity of my knowledge work. There is no doubt that the Web has radically transformed the economics of knowledge, and will continue to do so as new tools and technologies appear. Would you go back to central community telephone booths only and throw away your mobile?

The technologies have massively transformed my reach, literally, and I have evolved from being an 'individual individual' to becoming a 'global individual'.

One Google search later, in Kuala Lumpur, while I was asleep in the south of France, searching for ‘knowledge management’, pulls up my website and blogs. A few emails and a couple of weeks later, and I book my flight – on the web of course!

Those KM Consultants that say KM is not about technology are so right and so wrong! They need to wake up and get a new life. They need to get really real!

Knowledge technologies are nothing and everything!

So, what about my learnings and insights after a week working with KM Consultancy Competencies and a great team of consultants from throughout Asia? Simply great!

But the learnings, insights and experiences that I have gathered and distilled this week (maintaining strict confidentiality of specific people and content, of course) will be the subject of my next blogs next week. The flight is closing now and I must switch off my laptop PC.

I certainly do not want to miss out on being able to move my body and my mind around the planet so fast. Such great technologies for the knowledge worker!!

Ron Young

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Knowledge Management and Open Source Methods?

We are all very familiar with open source software, and there are several offerings available for KM, but I do not see much open source consulting methodology for KM available.

As the original idea for open source was conceived around 'open knowledge', for which we are starting to see significant develops, eg wikipedia, I was wondering if anybody knew of any open source methodologies for KM. At www.knowledge-management-online.com we are starting to do this and, naturally, we are interested in working together with other groups.

Ron Young

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

This km consulting blog has the following tags

Thursday, July 12, 2007

KM and the Geneva Declaration 6th July 2007

It was very interesting to read the links sent by Dr. Donat Agosti
Science Consultant Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum der Burgergemeinde Bern,concerning the signing of the 'Geneva Convention' on 6th July 2007. After reading, I could not help but put this into the context of the contribution that knowledge management could make to achieving the Geneva Convention goals.

Here are the links to the Global Compact declaration signed last week in Geneva. The GC is an initiative between the UN and the business world based on the hind sight, that it needs both for a better world.



"Some 4,000 organizations from 116 countries -- among them trade unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and some 3,100 businesses -- have so far subscribed to the Global Compact, pledging to observe ten universal principles related to human rights, labour rights, the environment and the struggle against corruption.

The Geneva Declaration expresses the belief that “globalization, if rooted in universal principles, has the power to improve our world fundamentally -- delivering economic and social benefits to people, communities and markets everywhere”.

The key theme that I resonated with throughout reading the Declaration, Principles and Actions was 'global sustainability'.

Surely the global knowledge economy, the development of more knowledge driven organisations, and knowledge workers, will make a huge difference to reducing the use of valuable natural resources, on the one hand, and transforming our cultures to more open and trust based on the other.

Traditional Business economies tend to be based on competition for scarce valuable natural and tangible resources, driven by scarcity and knowledge power politics. Sustainability in this economy, based on a scarcity mentality, is almost impossible.

Knowledge economies are based on cooperation and collaboration with unlimited valuable intangible resources, driven by abundance and knowledge sharing power politics. Businesses in this economy, based on abundance, are naturally sustainable.

We are firmly in the era of 'global' individuals, teams, organisations and communities, and I believe that these new knowledge driven entities will substantially contribute to bringing about a more naturally knowledge sharing global society.

I think that effective knowledge management, at the personal, team, organization and inter-organizational levels will make a significant contribution to all of this.

Ron Young

For more information:


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Trust and Web 2.0 Technologies

I was running a KM executive briefing this week, in the UK, and I was again reminded in our discussions of the huge dilema facing large organisations, especially Public Services organisations. Most large organisations have developed silo's and, therefore, the knowledge doesn't flow very freely across them, if at all. This leads to knowledge fragmentation. The larger and more dispersed the organisation is, the less knowledge flow and the less people feel adequately 'in the know'. This eventually breeds a fear based culture, and of course, we all know that a natural knowledge sharing culture can only be based on a trust based culture.

Making matters worse, many people in the UK spend much of their working hours based at home, even more dispersed, fragmented and even less in the know.

But then I thought, if you look at the Web 2.0 technologies and the phenomena of social networking tools, not least the wiki's and blogs, they are totally dependant on open, collaborative, learning, sharing and trust based environment, and they are very successful indeed.

The same people who might not share knowledge freely from within their organisations, seem to be willing to share with the world! Also, they are not being paid anything for it either!

So is there, perhaps, a learning here? I have some views on this but I would like to invite and encourage your feedback and comment first, and then publish the overall conclusions later.

Ron Young

More at:


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Open Source KM Wiki

We have embedded a KM Wiki into our website and invite you to browse, learn, discuss, question, share and contribute your topics and articles.

Be patient, we have just launched and we all have to start somewhere, but we are expecting a continuous flow of topics and articles over the coming months from the Open Source KM Community.

Ron Young

More at:


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Knowledge as a Global Public Good

I enjoyed this article on knowledge from the World Bank.

I received it from
Dr. Donat Agosti
Science Consultant
Research Associate,
American Museum of Natural History
and Naturmuseum der Burgergemeinde Bern

So thanks, Dr Agosti

You can read the article here by Joseph E. Stiglitz


Joseph E. Stiglitz

Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
The World Bank

Ron Young

More at:


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Knowledge Management and the pasta machine

I was reminded today of the story of the pasta machine

and its relevance to tools to support KM.

A couple were given a pasta machine for a xmas present.

Because it was given to them, and not in a situation of real

need, at that time, they were very thankful and put it into a

kitchen cupboard. There it remained for three years, unused.

But if the couple had a real need or desire to make pasta, they

would have bought a pasta machine and immediately started

to use it properly.

It's the same with technology tools that are thrust upon us.

If there isn't a proper need, and proper understanding for how

the technology can really help us work better, it will not be used


I hear people who say, 'Oh yes I tried blogging and wikis when they

first appeared, but I don't use them now'. And I think to myself,

do they really understand what these new tools can do for us,

as knowledge workers, or are they like the couple with the

xmas pasta machine present?

Ron Young

More information at:


Monday, June 11, 2007

KM and a WebOS as the ultimate personal mashup

I have highly recommended before, the work of Nova Spivak and his article on Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web.

He also talks about a Web Operating System replacing much of the PC OS and/or acting as a hybrid OS . Makes great sense to me.

In a personal knowledge management context, I am interested in, to quote Nova "the WebOS as the ultimate personal mashup!" RDF, SPARQL, OWL and the Semantic web will become more prominent to support such a personal platform. I am interested in how personal information management tools could develop into personal knowledge management tools through such Web 3.0 developments.

Ron Young

You can read more from Nova Spivak at:


For more information go to:


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Most popular KM website searches

In an analysis of our website visitors over the past
18 months, the two most popular searches, by far
were, and continue to be:

Q1 What's the difference between information and knowledge?

Q2 Who, What, Why, Where, When, How?

Interestingly, they are not confined at all to a
particular area, but come from all parts of the world.
Furthermore, they not only come from schools and
universities and education sector, as you would expect,
but from a wide cross section of industry, public and

So, clearly, there is a healthy appetite for understanding
and applying better knowledge!

More at:


Monday, June 04, 2007

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology and Tools Version 1 is now available

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology and Tools
Version 1 is now available to members for downloading.

So become a member today.

Immediately download Open Source KM Consulting
Methodology and Tools Version 1.

Start reading, learning, applying and helping us all
to further develop and improve towards Version 2.

Let's harness the global knowledge and experiences
of members around the world, and demonstrate
rapid new knowledge creation, for the good of the
whole KM community.

Ron Young

More at:


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Exponential Knowledge for Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has certainly helped us move even faster
from incremental and episodic knowledge creation
to continuous knowledge creation and sharing, at
an exponential rate!

People, all around the world, are creating
inspirational videos, commenting and sharing
knowledge in video and blogs, creating new knowledge
in radically new ways with wiki-editing tools and
hybrids, and tagging, organising and distributing
information and knowledge in all sorts of clever ways.

It feels like this process of creating, sharing and learning
is now happening so fast around the world, that it has
become 'beyond human' comprehension.

The richer and increasingly varied inter-connections,
and increased collaboration, with people we don't even know
but who we increasingly depend on, to make it all happen,
is quite extraordinary.

As a KM consultant, I am particularly interested in rich
and complex informational associations and connections that,
even when made explicit on the web, are increasingly
resembling knowledge forms and representations of the brain.

I believe that progress in this area, for Web 3.0 will be staggering
and exponential over the next 5 years.

Ron Young

More at :


Monday, May 14, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life - The world's knowledge about plants and animals

It was so exciting to read in the Daily Telegraph,
Thursday 10th May, 2007, about the launch of
the Encyclopedia of Life - The whole story of life
on Earth to go online at:


The aim is to list 1.8m known species and animals
and other forms of life, and the project could take
another 10 years to complete. So far, £30 million
has been pledged in grants from charitable foundations
and academic institutions to complete it. The design
looks very good.

From a knowledge management perspective, I am
very interested in the collaborative effort to achieve this.
No doubt, some inspiration has come from the wikipedia
initiative to demonstrate radically new ways to
collectively create new knowledge.

The Encyclopedia of Life website says:

"Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and
personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem
of websites that makes all key information about life
on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. "

I do particularly like the reference to an 'ecosystem of
websites'. I think that there is much we can do to further
develop more natural knowledge ecologies. It's also
interesting to see that the information and knowledge
will be with contributions from scientists and amateurs
alike. So I imagine an academic 'peer review' process
acting together with 'wikipedia like' capturing of new
learnings, ideas and insights?

Dr Richard Lane, the Natural History Museum's director
of science said:

" It is a monumental project that will open up the world's
knowledge about plants and animals we share the planet

I am sure that the Encyclopedia of Life is the start of an
exciting trend in global knowledge management initiatives
for the good of all on Planet Earth.

Ron Young

More at:


Thursday, May 03, 2007

India and/or China lead Knowledge Management

Once again, Europe and USA have become complacent.

Last time it was Quality management. This time it is
Knowledge Management.

I remember Duran saying that although he developed his ideas
around Quality management in the USA, he could never get
people to truly see what he was trying to do. They were too
busy, couldn't easily see the ROI and were generally cynical
of anything new.

They were not hungry enough for new innovative ideas and

Eventually, the Japanese embraced Quality Management the
way he envisaged, and the rest is history. We learned how to
do QM properly from the Japanese.

I see the same with Knowledge Management.

The West has still not got it entirely.

We are still playing around the edges of the field.
Also, we are too busy, cannot immediately see the ROI
and are, also, generally cynical about change.

I predict that India will get it fully. I predict China will get it
fully. Why? Because they have deep and rich cultures that
have always highly valued knowledge. Because they are
incredibly intelligent, talented and innovative in this area.
Because they know this change has to happen, and they want
it. The Far East will continue to provide innovative
technologies to support innovative knowledge creation and

Then, I expect that Europe and USA, at least, will all learn from
India and China how to do KM properly.

One example: Take a look at the Vedas and Upanishads,
the great spiritual heritage of India.

The first books of knowledge of several thousand years ago.

Then you will see that they will undoubtedly understand
what 21st Century knowledge management should be,
if they don't already!

Ron Young

More at:


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Knowledge Asset Management on Wikipedia

I have started a new topic on wikipedia to define and
expand the management discipline of Knowledge Asset
, that I have been actively engaged in
since 1996.

I would welcome like-minded km practitioners to
contribute to this topic.

Knowledge Asset Management is a management discipline
that takes its roots from both Asset Management and
Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Asset Management strives to enable the
application of an inclusive, yet standard method of
measuring, reporting and auditing critical and common
knowledge assets within Industry sectors, and across
Industry sectors, as a whole.

It goes beyond the Process-centred and Product-centred
approaches of recent years. It focuses on the identification,
development, application, measurement and reporting of
critical and strategic knowledge assets in an organization
or community, that make a significant difference to
organizational performance and decision making.

I am increasingly working with organizations that seek to
measure and report (and even start auditing) their
key knowledge assets.

Maybe knowledge asset auditing is not as far away as we
first thought?

Ron Young

More at:


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Knowledge Management and the 8 United Nations Millennium Development goals

I have two sets of websites and blogs that I normally keep
seperate. My professional knowledge management development
and practices and my spiritual development and practices.

Sometimes I find it difficult to know which blogs to choose.
Maybe I should just combine them.

This is one, today.

Like an increasing number of people in this world, especially
those working with global technologies, I can understand and
experience, in my daily work, a strong sense of Oneness,
interconnectedness and interdependence with all.

I fully respect all religions, spiritual traditions, beliefs and
non-beliefs, and I think Oneness is common to them all.

In fact, if you work with global connectivity, communications,
collaborative workgroups, learning, creating, sharing
and applying knowledge globally, you cannot help but think
this way, naturally.

Recently, in working with UN agencies and their need for better
global knowledge management, I became much more aware of
the 8 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

From both a global knowledge management perspective, and
from a spiritual perspective, I realised that if we all had a
better perspective and understanding of Oneness on this
planet, it would have a major, and immediate, effect on
achieving these MDGs.

In this new way of thinking there would be an immediate
impact on global ethics.

This would immediately impact world terrorism, general
violence and all forms of crime.

I believe that there would be an immediate impact on
extreme poverty and hunger, primary education, gender
equality, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS,
and other diseases, environmental sustainability and
global development partnerships.

So I decided I would express these feelings to Ban Ki-moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Knowledge management has greatly accelerated my sense
and experience of Oneness over the years, so I blog it here.

I have met a few km bloggers that have shared this view with
me also. I would greatly appreciate hearing from anybody else
who shares these views.

If you are interested in my letter to the UN on Oneness, you
can read it on the home page of:


Ron Young

More at:


Monday, April 23, 2007

Discover What You Know

Well, being a Lotus Notes/ IBM fan since the early 90's, I just had to include this one.

Ron Young

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Knowledge Ecologies

In preparation for a meeting on conserving global ecosystems,
from a knowledge management perspective, it occurred to me

a key component of a thriving and sustainable ecosystem,
or any type of global ecology, has to be the underpinning of a
global knowledge ecology to support and ensure wiser global
policies and decisions are made

To my mind, if an ecology is made up from a biodiversity of
inter-connected species, of minerals, water, micro-organisms,
insects, plants, animals, humans etc, all naturally inter-dependant,
then a knowledge ecology might be a diversity of inter-connected
technologies, processes, strategies, tools, methods and practices,
individuals, teams, organisations and communities?

Ron Young

More information at:


Monday, April 16, 2007

Global Knowledge Management and its contribution to global biodiversity and conservation

I shall be attending a workshop in Switzerland this week that
will be examining the state of the art and the developments with
open source and knowledge management standards for global
biodiversity conservation.

If anybody has any experience or useful links in this area,
I would be most grateful to hear from you.

Ron Young

More at:


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Knowledge values and Wise principles

I am doing quite a bit of work around effective decision making
and its link to knowledge management.

So I am back talking about wisdom again, as I had the following
insight to share:

We act, and make choices and decisions, based on our underlying
values and beliefs. If they are good and right values and/or beliefs,
we should be making good decisions. If they are wrong values
and/or beliefs, then we may be making bad decisions. So, we might
also say that the decision is based on the quality of the knowledge
that supports the values and beliefs.

No rocket science here!

If we are able to act, and make choices and decisions, based on
underlying principles, that have stood the test of time, and are
globally acceptable (Wisdom), then we should be making the
most effective decisions - wise decisions. I think?

As the most relevant and contextual knowledge and wisdom,
required to make a decision, is best found in communities and
teams, as opposed to codified knowledgebases, (apart from
very specific domain knowledge), we need to find better ways
to embed the decision making process into the community
and team work practices.

This may sound obvious, and easily understood intellectually,
but, in my experience, it is not that well developed, if at all,
in practice?

I am looking for anything that can improve the decision making
process, to making 'wiser decisions', more often, within the

Ron Young

More information at:


Monday, March 26, 2007

KM, as a discipline, has been disrupted by distruptive technologies

It was Professor Charles Handy who first introduced me to the idea
of disruptive technologies, and the impact they have, in his best
selling book 'The Age of Unreason' in 1989.

It was Intel that reinforced the disruptive power of rapidly emerging
technologies in Business, in the mid 1990's, when they talked about
significantly disruptive inflexion points.

Today, I put to you, the new technologies that we happily refer to as
Web 2.0, have totally disrupted Knowledge Management, as a
discipline for practitioners.

We started, in the 1990's, by developing methodologies and processes that
would enable us to better capture, store, share, amplify, create and
apply, new knowledge, for individuals, teams, organisations and
communities. Very good work at the time.

But today wiki's enable a radically new way to collectively create new
knowledge, and blogs enable a radically new way to capture, store
and share new learnings and insights, and YouTube, Flickr, Myspace
etc are all enabling richer and more collaborative communities,
although somewhat disparate at the moment .

I realise, as written in an earlier blog of mine, that Web 2.0
technologies do not address the higher stages of the KM process,
but I am confident that the promised Web 3.0 tools, the Semantic Web
developments, automated meaning and metadata technologies
will address this stage soon.

So, I put it to you that Knowledge Management, as a practitioner
discipline, has been significantly disrupted by disruptive

Having said that, I believe, therefore, that the need for a good
Knowledge management strategy, of which technology is a key
part, is even more important.

Ron Young

More at:

Friday, March 23, 2007

KM and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today, whilst researching UN initiatives to highlight the importance
of biodiversity for the well being of the planet, I came across several
organisations who are striving to improve open acces to data,
information and knowledge, relating to biodiversity conservation,

That's simply great!

Conservation Commons seems to be leading in this area, and within
their 'Principles of knowledge sharing' they remind us of Article 19
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"that every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference
and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any
media and regardless of frontiers"

Keep blogging!

More information at:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Open Source Knowledge Management - beta membership

I am glad to say that we are now starting to get interest from around the world to registering for the free beta programme. We hope to be able to start soon.

If you are interested in the beta open source programme for KM education, methodologies, processes, tools and techniques, read the home page and register at


The rationale for 'Open Source Knowledge Management' is very simple: When KM practitioners around the world can read, edit and add, redistribute, and modify the source KM education and KM methodologies, processes, tools and techniques, based on their experiences, the education and methodology will rapidly evolve.

People around the world will improve it at an extraordinary speed compared to the speed of development of proprietary methodologies.

We fundamentally believe and endorse the open source community who have learned that this rapid and collaborative 'community created' evolutionary process produces better knowledge creation and knowledge transfer than the traditional closed model.

Open Source is the only way to create, transfer and apply the best knowledge.

Its an idea who's time has arrived!

We believe that Open Source KM requires both an open and free collaboration and sharing, and a core group of competent KM practitioners to challenge and review through discussion and dialogue.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Knowledge Management and Wisdom

I seem to be going on quite a bit about the difference between knowledge
and wisdom, in my recent blogs.

I think this is because I see, much better now, how important wisdom
is, and always will be, to business and to life.

Whereas we now have robust processes and knowledge networks for
capturing new learnings, ideas and insights, sharing them, amplifying
them and creating new knowledge, we don't seem to have developed anything
like the same attention to how wisdom is created and applied.

We talk about the wisdom of children, in their natural, creative and blissful ignorance.

We talk about the wisdom of elders, through learning and experiences and time.

We talk about the wisdom of teams.

So I see wisdom displayed as both naturally spontaneous and creative, and as a
result of some processes.

I think we need to talk a lot more about business wisdom, how to identify it,
how we might better develop and apply it.

A good friend and work colleague of mine is doing a PhD in Knowledge
Management. Naturally, for any higher degree, he has to do a critical review
of the literature first, before identifying new knowledge areas with his Professor.

Imagine, within our education systems, students having to do a critical review
of the timeless wisdom that has been handed down over thousands of years
before embarking on new knowledge creation. Imagine 'sharing timeless
wisdom'as a more common procedure than it is in organizations today.

But maybe I am again too naive and totally wrong here?
Still its a nice thought on a sunny saturday morning :-)

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Friday, March 02, 2007

What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Increasingly today, students in my KM seminars
are very interested in wanting to understand and discuss
the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

There are lots of views on this, but here is mine:

Knowledge changes over time.
Wisdom is unchangeable and is timeless.

Knowledge may be a partial truth, at a particular point in time.
Wisdom is complete truth.

We can develop complex knowledge. We can know simple wisdom.

What's your take on this?

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Knowledge at the centre of decision making

Recently, I discussed the importance of applying knowledge,
and not just creating and sharing knowledge. Taking this further:

Nothing can be more important than deploying the best knowledge
available, to support decision making.

Whether it's a simple medical diagnosis, or a major decision on world
ecosystem conservation, or a critical policy to help eradicate global
poverty or a strategy to reduce global terrorism.

Knowledge is at the centre of decision making!

Therefore, surely effective knowledge management is more important to the world today
than it has ever been.

Ron Young

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Knowing is just half the story

I am constantly reminded how important it is to go beyond just knowing
in my daily life.

I have the best knowledge on how to gain ideal health, but am I there yet?

I have the best knowledge on financial success, but am I there yet?

I have the best knowledge on how to create the best knowledge,
but am I there yet?

The best knowledge is not much better than no knowledge, unless we
APPLY knowledge.

So many KM initiatives have an end objective to create, store and share
knowledge, but very few put enough emphasis on how to then best
APPLY that knowledge.

I think this is the other side of the coin - 'competence'.

We need both the best knowledge and the competence to know
when and how to apply it successfully!

For me, that's wisdom!

Ron Young

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Planetary Knowledge

Why, today, do we still try to compete with just the 'content' of our own proprietary knowledge?

Web 2.0 tools, and the promise of Web 3.0 tools, must surely teach us that the 'process' of continually profiling, alerting, accessing, creating, sharing, amplifying and applying knowledge, is now far far more powerful to sustain competitive and collaborative advantage.

After all, if the knowledge process is the best - the knowledge content will also be the best!

We can now design and set up a personal 'knowledge value chain' process, using these tools, and harvest what the world is thinking and creating.

Cool !

Ron Young

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

KM and strategic planning

Are managers improving?

During the 1980's, the findings of a survey amongst managers and executives
suggested that only 10% thought strategically, and valued time and resource
to be allocated to strategic planning.

KM can be transformative and can be highly strategic to an organisation. It can
even help organisations make quantum leaps in performance.

But it can also help improve business operations in many worthy ways,
although not normally as innovative and transformative.

I often wonder how many managers think about knowledge and
knowledge assets strategically today?

I suspect not more than 20% at the most.

One of my work colleagues doubts that it is still not more than 10%,
even after 25 years. Another colleague argues that the worst thing
for KM is strategic planning?

I still believe in the power of strategic planning of knowledge assets to help
organisations better achieve or exceed their objectives; supported by robust
knowledge processes, together with naturally flourishing networks and
communities, underpinned by developing knowledge competencies and

What's your view on KM and strategic planning?

Ron Young

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

KM and One cause for everything

I remember a wise old management consultant telling me 30 years ago, 'Ron if you want to be a good consultant you need to know that all the organisational problems that you will encounter all have the same one cause!'

This sounded too good to be true, so, foolishly, I ignored it for many years.

He said that the primary cause of any problem is 'communications'. If, for example, you can improve the quality and quantity of communication of information in an organisation by just 10%, then many surface problems will simply fall away!

Now, in my later years as a management consultant, specialising in KM since 1993, I realise the profundity of the advice.

There is a virtuous circle :

...improved communication of information (two way) naturally leads to improved collaboration, which naturally leads to faster learning, which naturally leads to faster competence and confidence development, which naturally leads to better knowledge sharing.. and .....

Consider the example of KM blogging. So much more is communicated, much faster, more spontaneously, and far more openly than ever before. I certainly learn from KM bloggers much much faster than I did just 10 years ago.

So, I guess that management consultant (who told me this before the days of email and internet and, even, personal computers), would be quite happy with developments of global web 2.0 and beyond :-)

Ron Young
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Web 2.0 needs IM & KM Consulting more than ever!

Once again, the pendulum swings. From structured to
unstructured. From planning to instant gratification.
Yet it has always been both/and and not either/or.

Apparently, now, we do not need KM and KM Consultants
because blogging, wiki's, RSS feeds, iPod, Flickr,
MySpace, YouTube ..you name it..will do it all for us!

Google, Semantic Web and Autonomy still march
on, developing and improving multimedia search and
better meaning.

So now we have lots more of our valuable tacit knowledge
captured all over the place, everywhere, easily, and found by
others, everywhere, easily, within hours globally. Fantastic but ....

I remember, at a KM conference in the mid 1990's, the story
of a legal firm who were so please to give everybody in the firm
a laptop PC. Such a powerful tool for mobile email at the time.

The only problem was that nobody filed their correspondence in
the traditional 'paper based' client file anymore, only
on their own PC, so nobody could get at a central repository to
see the complete picture. The valuable information was
scattered around all the personal PC's instead. This is not a reason
to go back to snail mail, but a reason to teach people how to use these
new tools to maximise personal, team, organisational, and
inter-organisational knowledge.

I cannot help but see the same thing happening with these
wonderful new tools. Even more valuable, rich information
and knowledge is captured and scatterd throughout the Web.

This is simply fantastic, but, what organisations need, even more
than ever before, is:

1. help to develop effective information and knowledge strategies, that
maximise the best processes, methods, tools and technologies,
to better achieve objectives, at the top level

2. help to develop more naturally flourishing knowledge communities
and networks, using these new tools and technologies

3. help to produce more innovative business processes,
embedding these new tools and technologies

4. help to teach knowledge workers how to use these new methods, tools
and technologies, to better communicate,
collaborate, learn, share and apply knowledge

Web 3.0 tool developers, like Radar Networks, promise even more
meaning and automation!

So I put it to you that Web 2.0, and future methods, tools
and technologies that emerge, will give us all simply unbelievable and
extraordinary potential to work in totally new ways.

But to optimise them, will require even more information management
and knowledge management consulting - strategic, people centric,
process centric and effective knowledge working centric - than ever

Ron Young

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

From knowledge couch potato to knowledge creator

I enjoyed participating in a Webinar this week on Web 2.0 Metrics.

One of the speakers presented an interesting 'Participation Pyramid'
for web browsing.

The pyramid has four levels:

Level 1 - Couch potatoes

The bottom wide layer he called 'couch potatoes' who don't 'participate' but simply browse.

Level 2 - Collectors

The next layer up in the pyramid, fewer in numbers, participate as the 'Collectors' who find something useful and save it. I remember a friend of mine once referred to extreme types of collectors as 'magpies'.

Level 3 - Critics

The next layer up in the pyramid, even fewer in number, are the 'Critics' who actively participate in thinking, reviewing and commenting and providing feedback.

Level 4 - Creators

The top layer in the apex of the pyramid, even fewer in number (maybe as little as 1% only of the total pyramid) are the most participative - they are the creators of the content.

I think this is simple and cool !

The challenge, apparently, is to gradually develop couch potatoes into creators ?

I like the notion of thinking about knowledge couch potatoes, knowledge collectors, knowledge critics and knowledge creators !

It reminds me of another statistic I came across in my earlier change management consulting years.

In any organisation:

20% Ludites - they will never change
50% Pragmatists - I'll believe it when I see it !
20% Enthusiasts - boy do we need these supporters
10% Creators and Innovators

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