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 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

1 comment:

  1. Colin Phang8:43 PM

    Hi Ron,

    This is Colin. I am one of the global facilitators and consultants from JT Frank Academy. We met when you visited our office in KL. I read with interest your comments on the role of technology in KM. Maybe some clarification on our view of the role of technology. There is no denying the huge role technology play in any KM initiatives. However, from my experience working with many clients, technology by itself does not ensure success. I have seen many organizations spending a lot of money investing in the latest KM technology systems and tools to kick start their KM initiatives and to drive their KM initiatives but failed. This is because many organizations think KM initiatives are like any finance or HR initiatives which are process driven. Tacit knowledge which has no real form until it becomes explicit, resides in people's mind. So, to manage tacit knowledge, one must start the journey and the journey be driven by the right mindset and habits. Hence, we always advise our clients to start the practice of knowledge management journey with the right mindset and habits first. Of course, technology plays a huge role in facilitating this journey. But it's role is to facilitate and support. We partner with leading technology companies to provide this support to our clients as well.

    Hope the above provides some clarification. You can contact me at my email :