Friday, January 28, 2011

Annual Lecture at CASS Business School, London, 24th January 2011



Well, it’s that time of the year again.

For the third year running, I gave my annual Knowledge Management lecture to 2nd year MBA students at CASS Business School, City University.

I always enjoy this time, primarily because it is very refreshing, always, to talk with students who have their lives and careers ahead of them, versus senior management of corporates, who, naturally through life long business experiences, have a more pragmatic, and even cynical business view. But, of course, we need the balance of fresh new, creative, no limits thinking, and knowledge and experiences from practical business realities.

But this year, I was even more conscious of the ‘one way’ channel of lecturing. This is because I am so much more conscious of the added power of more rapid, interactive, two-way, open discussion as a faster and richer way to learn. Of, course, I have no idea how much tweeting or blogging was going on whilst I was speaking (not much, judging from my direct questions to them about personal blogging and tweeting) but, generally, I felt ‘too one way’ and wanted to interact much more.

But afterwards, several students kindly complimented my talk and felt they had learned much, and I know that would not have been possible, to the same degree, if we had a different, and perhaps less focused, conversation.

At least, my lecture objectives for the students, were achieved.

So my new learning’s came at the end of the talk when I was questioned by students individually, and of course, through updating my lecture annually, based on new developments in KM as I travel the world.

My annual update lunch at CASS afterwards, with my long standing colleague Professor Clive Holtham, and lecturer Martin Rich, was a delight as always. Clive and I have one big thing in common, we both enjoy ‘walking meetings’, so much more invigorating, constructive and productive.

I look forward to my next CASS KM lecture.

My CASS lecture slides, and others, are available at: 

More information at my website

Ron Young

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rapid Knowledge Transfer across generations


So what do you think is happening here? Is grandad teaching grandson maybe?

Well I am the apprentice! My grandson Joel, in my opinion, is a ‘Master of the iPad’. He started as a three year old and he will be four in a few days. He has been using the iPad for several months on a daily basis. I received my iPad a couple of months ago as a present from his mum and dad.

He has been teaching me how to naturally, and intuitively, navigate, interact and play, in ways I do not get in any manual or book.

If you look at the pictures, what do you think we are doing on our iPads?

He is having fun, and learning fast,with an interactive educational game that he plays almost daily. Like all children, he loves fun and games. This is the way to learn. We learn so much faster when it’s fun.

Here is the paradox. ‘Fun is serious business in the 21st Century Knowledge Economy’.

I am landing a Boeing 747 jet into San Francisco airport using instruments. As a past pilot for 20 years, I now love flying the iPad flight simulator, to keep my skills fresh, and, I am having so much fun too. But instrument flying requires both intellectual and experiential skills.

But now, after Joel’s teaching,  I can fly the simulator even better!

What can we learn from this in effective learning and knowledge transfer for the future?

Ron Young

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tools have a major impact on our knowledge creation and transfer



First of all, I should say that it has been several months since my last blog, primarily because of an intensive honeymoon with Twitter over the past years. I thought it replaced blogging, and to a degree that is true for me. But, nevertheless, I have had a growing feeling inside that I needed to blog again. I realised again, the power and need to capture and organise my learning’s and insights in ways that blogs can do well. The interesting thing is that it has been new developments for me, in technology tools, that have brought me back to blogging (and tweeting). Let me explain a little more.

As a KM consultant, I still get bombarded by people who say KM is not about technology, its about people.

Well they are half right. People create and apply knowledge, but the tools can have a major impact, and make a huge difference to how we create and apply knowledge. In fact, technology has been the fundamental cause of a revolution in information and knowledge throughout the world. I need say no more than World Wide Web and mobile wireless communication and computing technologies.

In the continual pursuit of better tools for myself, for capturing, storing, sharing and applying knowledge, as an intense and passionate knowledge worker, I found a better way this month. This has made a great difference and improvement in my productivity and knowledge creation.

Before, I found it messy and time consuming to integrate my photo’s and words into blogs instantly. So, as a result, I didn’t do it very well.

Now I still take pictures on my iPhone, plug them into my Samsung Netbook while travelling, and using Windows Live Writer, I can simply post pictures and words and links into my blogs, and publish without thinking. I imagine you will say, ‘I have always been able to do that, so what?’. Well maybe the tools were there and I didn’t see them easily, but this one appeared and works for me fine.

Equally, last night, I discovered yet another amazing app on my iPad to draw creatively, called ‘Penultimate’. Together with the app iThoughtsHD, I am creating mindmaps again in a much better and naturally creative way.

My point is that it is these mobile wireless tools, together with global web technology and infrastructure, have made a major impact in my knowledge creation and publishing ability and productivity.

I look forward to more amazing tools for the knowledge worker.

Ron Young 

(PS The above pic is of a simple but miraculous free skype personal videoconference with my daughter Emma and our family)