Key Trends in Consulting Industry Knowledge Management

Session Description:  This session examines the consulting industry, with a special focus on knowledge management practices in that industry. The speaker is Robert Armacost, Engagement Director at Iknow LLC.

[These are my notes from a private gathering of senior knowledge management professionals from large law firms. The participants come from law firms around the world.]

  • Business pressure on consulting firms has never been greater
    • data and analytics have transformed the way client services are delivered
    • disruptive competitor models — independent consultants provide services at a fraction of the price of the major consulting firms
      • the biggest competitors sit in-house inside client companies
    • ever-increasing client expectations
  • Consulting firms are doubling down on these strategies
    • professional services firms are focusing on the basic client life cycle. Put the client at the center and then design
      • innovation and product management
      • relationship management
      • account management
      • opportunities and selling
      • service delivery — a key here is using project-based insights to create reusable assets
    • project-based innovation in consulting
      • use and validate an approach or insight. Then create a success story regarding that insight.
      • socialize that success story.
      • memorialize that success story.
      • embed that approach or insight in standardized processes and learning/development efforts.
    • How to make this work?
      • ensure the right motivation: align incentives, cultural norms, ways of working
      • treat knowledge as an asset to be invested in
      • treat the firm as a marketplace of ideas
    • Bain & Co has used the Net Promoter Score to predict customer value and then align investment
    • The new use of data and analytics helps large consulting firms make better-targeted investments in client service delivery
  • Digital enablement is transforming Consulting
    • this goes far beyond old-style digital tools: email, discussion boards, etc.
    • digital enablement refers to technology that is helping firms really differentiate how they work and deliver services
    • business drivers of digital enablement in consulting
      • more efficient and effective working
      • improved client experience — this helps attract and retain clients
      • new business models — monetizing knowledge assets, finding new uses for knowledge assets — they are moving from “services” to “digital assets.” McKinsey has invested heavily in digital assets that they monetize through McKinsey Solutions.
  • Other lessons:
    • People are key to success with these new approaches. So spend a lot of time thinking about how to motivate and support the right behaviors.
    • Confidentiality is key to enabling robust knowledge sharing. The right incentives and culture will promote collaboration and diminish hoarding. The firm’s compensation system has to support knowledge sharing in practical ways.

[Photo Credit: GovLoop]

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The Changing Ecosystem of Legal Services

Session Description:  The legal services ecosystem has changed radically since the turn of the century. This session explores those changes and suggests some responses.

[These are my notes from a private gathering of senior knowledge management professionals from large law firms. The meeting attendees come from law firms around the world. The participants in this session include a Big Law CKO, an in-house counsel, a legal services provider, and the founders of two AI companies.]

  • History of the legal profession: Legal services were largely unchanged from the 12th century to the 20th century. We worked much like the old guilds of craftsmen
  • Context Changes:
    • client businesses have grown in scale and complexity, resulting in bigger and more complex legal issues
    • client businesses have become truly global, so multi-jurisdictional issues abound
    • legal issues are more often multi-disciplinary: economics, engineering, accounting, data analysis
    • our privileged position as professionals has eroded
    • technology has changed the way we work, improving speed but not always improving productivity
    • clients have become buyers, so the nature of lawyer-client relationships have changed and costs are the focus
  • How the “legal species” has evolved in response
    • clients have law departments
    • traditional law firms: Big law, Mid law, etc.
    • some law firms now have “second label” firms to deliver legal services differently
    • law firms have spun off consulting shops
    • temporary staffing agencies augment traditional law firm staffing
  • The ecosystem now is more complex
    • in-sourcing = keeping the work inside the client’s law department
    • out-sourcing
    • multi-sourcing = parceling the work out to a variety of providers
    • procurement
    • project/process management
    • cooptition — where competitors work together
    • virtual firms and networks
    • systems thinking
  • What does the legal ecosystem include?
    • living elements
      • clients
      • law firms
      • law schools
      • alternative legal providers
    • non-living elements
      • increasing regulation
      • increasing concern for privacy
  • Trends in the legal ecosystem
    • the emergence of Legal Ops and procurement practices
    • advances in technology
    • law firm substitutes offer traditional and new legal services
    • VC investment in the legal sector
  • Learning from the Travel Industry
    • What drove the changes from one ecosystem to another?
      • automation
      • alternative service providers — lots of startup offering alternative services and alternative ways of doing things
      • enhanced technology
    • What has happened in the travel industry will happen in legal; the pie will be distributed differently
    • These changes are already happening in the legal industry
    • Assume that the changes will happen faster than you expect
    • Google has found ways to automate the resolution of legal issues internally. Fewer issues will be referred to internal and external counsel.
  • Practical Ways to Respond:
    • Gear up — invest in legal operation
      • find and hire experts in operations, information, and technology
      • give them a seat at the table
    • Standardize everything
      • legal playbooks, decision-making processes, customer interactions — all should be standardized
      • fewer decisions should require human interaction or expertise — only the difficult or complex issues
  • The In-House Perspective on these Issues:
    • Our standard office tools (MS Office) do not appropriately manage legal work inside a company or with external clients
    • Centralization and standardization are key:
      • We need a central platform to enable better legal processes
      • How do we work together when we all have proprietary systems with their own logic and processes
    • All information should follow the same data structure
    • Content should be semantically categorized

[Photo Credit: Wikimedia]

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Clients Want an Outside-In Firm

Sometimes everything changes when you look at something from a different angle. Consider a drop of river water: to the naked eye, it looks innocuous enough. However, that same drop of water under a microscope will suddenly appear to be teeming with all sorts of life.

Who knew?

The person who tried a different perspective — that’s who knew.

Consider a professional services firm, perhaps even a law firm. From the perspective of someone who works in the firm, it’s an employer, an institution with a history, a collection of colleagues, a platform for professional successes or failures, a place to shelter from the elements, etc. Sometimes, it can seem almost incidental that it is also an organization that is ostensibly devoted to the service of its clients.

If, however, you take the perspective of the client, what is that professional services firm? It depends on the client and that client’s experience. If that client has had a good experience, this is how that client might describe the firm: a source of useful advice, a partner in problem solving, an indispensable counselor for problem avoidance, etc. If that client has had a bad experience, the picture looks different: a source of delay and aggravation, a frustrating collection of individuals who do not make my job as easy as they should, an expensive part of my budget that I am constantly trying to trim.

For the firm that is serious about meeting client needs, the first step is obvious: make sure you are looking at things through your client’s eyes. To do that properly, you usually have to leave your firm.

What does this mean?

In their book, The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank and Bob Dorf explain this concept very succinctly: “Get out of the Building!” Why get out of the building? According to Blank and Dorf,

Getting out of the building means acquiring a deep understanding of customer needs and combining that knowledge with incremental and iterative product [and service] development.

A little further in their book they say something that should cut close to home for many of us in professional services firms – just substitute “products and services” for “product” in the following quotation:

Of all the lessons of Customer Development, the importance of getting out of the building and into conversations with your customers is the most critical. Only by moving away from the comforts of your conference room to truly engage with and listen to your customers can you learn in depth about their problems, product features they believe will solve those problems, and the process in their company for recommending, approving and purchasing products. You’ll need these details to build a successful product, articulate your product’s unique differences and propose a compelling reason why your customers should buy it.

To quote Blank and Dorf: “There are no facts inside your building, so get the heck outside…. Facts live outside, where future customers live and work….”  Go where your clients are. Interact with current and future clients in their own habitats. Live in their space, walk in their shoes.

In other words,  become the outside-in firm that clients want.

 

[Photo Credit: Flash Buddy]

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Have You Had Your Turing Moment?

2016 is the year I had my Turing moment.

As Wikipedia tells us, Alan Turing proposed in 1950 a test of “a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.” The proposal was that a human and machine would interact via a text-only channel. If a human evaluator observing the interaction could not distinguish the machine participant in the conversation from the human participant, then the machine would pass the “Turing Test.”

This summer I was introduced to a potential business collaborator. We had a brief exchange by email and then decided to schedule a meeting. He said that his assistant would contact me to find a mutually convenient time. She did and we did. Several times over the course of our project, my collaborator’s ever-helpful assistant took care of the scheduling hassles. In fact, I came to value her help so much that I spontaneously wished her a wonderful weekend one Friday. And she kindly returned the good wishes.

Because the readers of this blog are smarter than the average bear, you know where I am going with this. That fabulous assistant was not human. Rather, she was a scheduling bot created by Clara Labs. And in the course of our admittedly brief exchanges, I did not realize I was conversing with a machine. She passed the Turing Test with flying colors.

Why am I telling you this story? Because scheduling bots are only the beginning. Frog Design has just published its annual Tech Trends provocation that provides a glimpse of what is in store for us in 2017.  According to Frog Design, the report identifies “15 technology trends that will unlock opportunities for growth and enable organizations to provide more meaningful experiences to their customers, employees, and society.”

One of the trends on this list is the proliferation of business bots that can do far more than mere scheduling. Here is the scenario sketched by Frog Design’s Toshi Mogi:

Imagine an entrepreneur whose mentor has recommended they start a new venture, selling vintage electric skateboards to the aging hipster market. The entrepreneur will commission an assortment of business bots to bring their vision to reality. The R&D bot will crowdsource the selection of designs from on-demand freelance designers, the Operations bot will manage contract manufacturers and production schedules, and the Sales and Marketing bot will optimize e-commerce channels and product promotions. As business bots become more intelligent, their ability to perform complex operational tasks and harness digitally enabled platform services will help new entrepreneurs scale their ventures, faster and with precision.

Have you had your Turing moment yet? Don’t worry if you haven’t. If Frog Design is right, business bots are coming to you soon and will massively improve your productivity.

Alan Turing would be pleased.

[Photo Credit: Wikimedia]

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Be Agile Not Fragile #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: To be agile in knowledge management, and to innovate, Garfield suggests the following principles: identify three key business objectives, focus more on helping people use processes effectively, improve decisions, actions, and learning, connect people to each other so they can help each other at the time of need, implement, improve, and iterate. To avoid being fragile, steer clear of these traps: maturity models, best practices, metrics for the sake of metrics, certification, tool rollout and adoption, personality tests, corporate speak and more! Sure to spark an interesting discussion so don’t miss this session.

Speaker: Stan Garfield, Knowledge Manager, Author Implementing a Successful KM Programme; Founder, SIKM Leaders Community

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Fragile things typically are:
    • Large
    • Overly optimized — they are too smart for their own good; they are obsessed with standardization and efficiency
      • this works if everything goes according to plan
      • BUT things rarely go exactly according to plan — Randomness is the Rule (not the exception) — in the face of random errors or problems, the fragile system cannot cope with the variability
    • Brittle — they don’t have the innate ability to fend off stress
  • Fragilistas:  these are people who try to eliminate volatility.
    • Helicopter parents try to make life as safe as possible for their children but in the process they deprive their children of the ability to learn how to cope with variability and randomness.
  • How to avoid becoming a Fragilista? Avoid these behaviors
    • Maturity models and benchmarking: it’s good to learn from others but don’t try to conform to a rigid model.
      • Seth Godin: “Benchmarking against the universe actually encourages us to be mediocre, to be average, to just do what everyone else is doing.”
    • Best Practices suggest that the ideal has been achieved. Rather it’s better to look for (and then adapt for your context) “proven practices” that fit your environment.
    • Metrics for the sake of metrics — avoid tracking every random thing. Make sure there is a business reason for tracking something.
    • Certification — taking a one-week class in KM is not enough to be a KM expert. Focus on learning not on certification.
    • Tool Rollout and Adoption — don’t fixate on rolling out tools and then “driving” adoption. The better approach is to start with understanding the needs of the organization rather than finding a use for the tool you have purchased.
    • Personality Tests — each person is unique, not an oversimplified archetype. Why do we need this categorization? What is the practical use?
    • Corporate Speak — don’t use buzzwords, insider jargon, or corporate lingo. Refuse to use them —  use words and expressions that are widely understood if your intent is to communicate clearly.
    • Do as I say, not as I do — you must practice what you preach.  Your senior management must lead by example. (And the KM team must lead by example too.) People will closely observe the actions of leaders and mimic them. Therefore, model the desired behaviors.
    • Secrecy — don’t give lip service to transparency while continuing to operate in a closed manner. Communicate frequently, truthfully, and openly.
    • Mediocracy — man organizations have leaders have little (if any) talent and skill who nevertheless are dominant and highly influential. Leaders should serve their people and  treat them with respect.
  • Unfragile behaviors
    • people can’t find information
    • People are reluctant to ask for help in public
    • organizations want to push information out
  • How to Move from fragile to agile?
    • Make content easy to find
      • let users tag content to indicate “I reused this document” or “I found this document helpful”
      • figure out what documents are most important to your organization and force those to the top of the search results
    • Assist people when they ask for help
      • make it easy to figure out where to ask a question
      • train people to ask questions in community spaces
    • Use the power of pull
      • don’t force content on others
      • make your content/tool so attractive that people are eager to opt in
  • What would a “self-healing” KM system look like? (Question from Christian de Nef)
    • Simplicity
    • Mobility — easy to switch from one platform to another
    • Knowledge systems that do not rely on technology
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Innovation Through KM, Process, & Quality #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: KM is but one of the legs that comprise the tripod of an innovation framework. The other two legs are efficient processes and a culture of quality. The need for this triumvirate is focus. Generally, to be successful, KM strategies must be planned and executed in steps. These steps require that KM be introduced through projects both to show progress as well as to limit the impact on an organization’s resources at one time. That’s where process comes into play. as specific processes must be targeted for improvement. The techniques of process improvement enable the focus needed to choose KM projects that are endorsed and supported by senior leadership. The final element of the innovation tripod—a culture of quality—means that the measurement of KM results is expected and conducted.

Speaker: Jim Lee, Sr. Vice-President, Knowledge Management Director, Fulton Financial Corporation

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Who are KM’s best allies?  
    • Scientific Management — Frederick Taylor
    • Project Management — Henry Gantt
    • Quality Management — Walter Shewhart
  • This is how KM, Process, and Quality play together to move the business forward:
    • WHY — the business objective, outputs, outcomes of your process or activities
    • WHERE — quality management thinking and measurement do this — how can KM help?
    • WHAT — process improvement focuses us on this — how can KM help?
    • WHEN — the process map tells us when something is to be done
    • WHO — knowledge management uncovers who is best for a project or for a question
    • HOW — best practices are forms of knowledge embedded in the process
  • Real Innovation: it requires seamless cooperation among KM, process management, and quality management.
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Future-Proofing Organizations #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:  As our world continues to change at a rapid pace and take unexpected turns, our organizations have to be prepared to deal with what’s coming next even if it is unanticipated. Our popular speaker shares his strategies for future-proofing your organization.

Speakers: Dave Snowden, Director, Cynefin Centre, Bangor University, Wales Cognitive Edge

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • What’s the Current State? 
    • We are suffering a modern malaise — too many years of struggling to fit the complexity of life into the simplified, engineering view of the world dictated by systems thinking.
    • We have used tools like Myers-Briggs that contrive to squash and flatten people so they fit into predefined boxes. Snowden ran a controlled experiment at IBM that established that astrology was a more reliable way of staff identification and team assignments than Myers-Brigg.
    • Techno-fetishism
      • The Nonaka Model launched thousands of failed KM initiatives.
      • The reduction of an artisan process to a simple methodology. The latest version of this is design thinking. You cannot master artisan processes in a two-day workshop.  It takes 2-3 years for the brain and body to co-evolve to the point that we can drive and talk at the same time. It takes 3-4 years for the brain and body to co-evolve sufficiently to apply expert knowledge. This is why apprenticeship is such an effective approach.
    • The false dichotomy of Order and Chaos. Despots throughout history have created or exploited chaos so that they can appear like heroes who promise (and occasionally deliver) order. We should adopt a more nuanced, less Manichean view of the world.
    • The Cult of Measurement. Six Sigma is a cult — its priests have different colored belts. Black belts do no real work because their job is to impose cult discipline.
      • PROBLEM: Whenever people are working for explicit rewards (e.g., measurements), this destroys intrinsic motivation.
    • The Intolerance of Deviance — HR departments create norms of how we should be. However, people are natural deviants. Yet we are forced to adhere to a particular view of how we should be.
    • The Obsession with the Strong Leader. This obsession ignores the fact that we work best with distributed leadership where different people contribute their unique talents and judgment.
    • The Anglo-Saxon Malaise: this is related to our over-emphasis on the individual. Yet we work best in communities.
    • The Tyranny of the Herds. The principle of democracy is that people should make individual decisions and those decisions collectively produce the wisdom of the crowds. However, if you permit opinion polls, then people start gaming the system and produce the tyranny of the herd. (He asserts that opinion polling should be banned during election season.)
      • Crowdsourcing is NOT the wisdom of the crowds.
    • The Naturalistic Fallacy — David Hume teaches that you should never derive an “ought” from an “is.” Just because you want it does not mean you should have it.
  • When to try novel solutions?
    • Start by asking: Where is the ecosystem? What stage is it at?
      • Snowden maps Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm with S-Curve theory.
    • Dominant Predator Theory
      • During a period of dominance of a standard methodology, your best bet is to conform.
      • Once you see that the dominant predator, the standard methodology is not working so well anymore , then you have an opportunity to try something new because the old way is no longer reliable.
        • Six Sigma developed to try to wring efficiencies out of an old manufacturing system. Therefore, you should look for new manufacturing methods.
    • Past competency stops us from seeing future novelty.
      • We see only that which we are trained to see.
      • Drew, Vo & Wolfe published a study in 2013 that reported when 24 radiologists were asked to interpret a scan, 83% of them failed to notice the seriously enlarged picture of a gorilla inserted into the scan. Even those who looked directly at the gorilla did not realize they were looking at a very large picture of a gorilla. They saw only what they were trained to look for.
  • The Issues with Case-Based Evidence.
    • A fundamental obsession with Cases distorts our learning.
    • The Cobra Effect — when the British were in India, they decided there were too many cobras. So they announced an award for every cobra head turned in.  Then people set up cobra farms so they would have a supply of cobra heads.
    • The Butterfly Effect — a small thing can combine with other small things to create a big effect.
    • The Hawthorne Effect — if you do something new and pay attention to people, it will nearly always work the first time. However, you should not assume you can scale it. Until you really know WHY it worked, you should not replicate WHAT you did.
    • Cases are useful for explaining a situation. However, few cases have any predictive power. (Good science should have predictive power.)
      • if all you have is observations, you cannot scale
      • you need to be able to explain WHAT happened using reliable science
  • The Nature of the System Constrains how we can Act in It.
    • Start by understanding the nature of the current system
      • Ordered system — there are effective links in the system
        • checklists work
        • predictable, repeatable behavior
        • the whole = sum of the parts
      • Chaotic system — there are no effective links in the system — if you cannot contain the system, you have crisis; if you can contain the system, you have an opportunity for innovation.
      • Complex system — not a rigidly defined structure, it is ambiguous
        • variable links, permeable container
        • the whole is not the sum of the parts
        • use real-time feedback to moderate/modulate behaviors
    • The Law of Unintended Consequences — this is the only guaranteed feature of Complexity. If you know unintended consequences are inevitable, then you are ethically responsible for those consequences. Therefore, you should not make large, unmanageable interventions. Instead, make small safe-to-fail interventions in the present situation and then, once you have a body of evidence, announce the existence of these interventions.
      • This is in contrast to the usual corporate approach:  start by announcing a major initiative. In Snowden’s view, this inevitably dooms the initiative to failure.
      • The better approach is to set out on a journey rather than setting goals.
  • Distributed Ethnography.
    • Allow individuals to describe for themselves what is happening, rather than relying on experts. This empowers them and triggers novel solutions to tough problems.
    • Peer-to-peer knowledge flows are more effective than top-down mediated knowledge flows. Therefore, we need to engage people in the sensemaking.
  • New Theory of Change.
    • Discard the systems approach that starts by identifying a future perfect state and then tries to drag everyone into that future state. This appears in KM when we try to create the ideal future: a knowledge-sharing culture.
    • The better approach is to amplify what is working and diminish that which is not working. So, instead of striving for a distant goal, aim for the “adjacent possible.”
    • This translates into “nudging” the system into a better state rather than attempting to drag the system into that better state.
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Hacking the Old Way of Working #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: Hacking the Old Way of Working

During the past three years, the Port of Antwerp Authority designed a new process for generic knowledge work, supported with new kinds of tools. Our concept got awarded in Washington, which was a true confirmation, but it also started an important change project. The people factor (new skills, culture, communication) in change was underestimated. Hear about the dilemmas, disruption, tools, and trajectory and coping mechanisms.  It’s a process of thought and action combined in design, learning, experimentation and especially perseverance. Filled with tips and insights!

Speaker: Filip Callewaert, Head Information and Knowledge Management, Port of Antwerp Authority

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Don’t focus on the Eggs!.  We tend to focus too much on the eggs — the eggs are the results, the outputs of knowledge work. However, there is insufficient ROI on storing and organizing eggs that will inevitable rot over time. Instead, we should focus on the messiness and complexity of knowledge work itself.
  • How to focus on the knowledge process? Currently, much knowledge work is done in the dark, in solitary work or in Therefore, the answer is to enable observable work — by “Working Out Loud.” This serves to “lower the sea level,” thereby making more of the previously hidden iceberg of knowledge work more visible.
  • Keep testing your current ways of working — some of this works and some of it doesn’t:
    • Meetings — why do we have so many? How to have better meetings?
    • Project Management — why do so many projects fail?
    • Business Process Management — why are your process manuals covered with dust?
    • Personal Task Management — Me, Myself and My Silo
    • Team Task Management — how to introduce yet another tool for this?
    • Time Management — how to stop your head from hurting because of multitasking
  • How his organization improves knowledge work.
    • They work in the open (by default), where the content is available for immediate feedback.
      • Adaptive Case Management / Dynamic Case Management / Intelligent Case Management  — this is a process to “manage” knowledge work.
        • whenever they have a business challenge/ problem, they open a case
        • when problems get too big — open a case
        • their main ambition is to close the case
        • the case is “the single spot for action” for solving the problem — everyone involved in the problem does their work inside the case site in their social platform
        • they use templates to help structure their case site
    • They have 100% engagement/contribution. Because the case space is WHERE they work, there are no lurkers. This solves the 90-9-1 problem endemic with many social tools.
    • The case is a “container” but that container is open — people are invited in to help solve the problem.
  • New ways of working require new skills, attitudes, and behaviors.
    • content curation
    • community facilitation, platform building
    • conversation facilitation, moderation
    • “classical” information management
    • knowledge work management
    • critical thinking
    • meta-management (social learning)
    • information design
    • way-showing (wayfinding)
    • design thinking
    • working out loud
    • “Tweeting” (give the essence of information in 140 characters of less
    • empathizing
  • Book Recommendation: When Thinking Matters in the Workplace: How Executives and Leaders of Knowledge Work Teams can Innovate with Case Management by Keith Swenson.
  • How to Succeed in this work.
    • get acquainted with the “new stuff” and how it impacts your work
    • remain an “eternal learner”
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KM in Reality: Tools & Techniques #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description:  KM in Reality: Tools & Techniques

Our speakers look at using KM fundamentals, concepts, leadership, and processes to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of planning, problem- solving, decision making, collaboration, continuity, knowledge capture and sharing, innovation, and learning. From using knowledge repositories/ forums on SharePoint to maximize learning to the use of chat, online meetings, OneNote, etc., to enhance knowledge sharing, and after action reviews, they illustrate how to transform knowledge-intensive activities into knowledge processes with related goals and objectives supporting the organization’s mission and vision.

Speakers:

Shellie Glass, Chief Knowledge Officer, United States Southern Command
Peter Barcelo Jr., Knowledge Management Officer, United States Southern Command

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • The United States Southern Command (“SC”)
    • Website: http://www.southcom.mil/Pages/Default.aspx
    • Area of Responsibility:
      • Central (excluding Mexico) and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
      • They protect the southern approaches to the United State
      • They carry out humanitarian missions in their area of responsibility
      • They manage Guantanamo
      • Their commander’s mantra: “Fast, Flat and Agile.”
  • SC Knowledge Management Structure.
    • The KM Office reports to the SC Chief of Staff (a two-star Air Force general)
    • They have a KM Working Group — it involves each of the functional groups within SC.
  • KM Principles.
    • They use the 12 Army Knowledge Mangement Principles
      • built on a foundation of People and Culture
      • Then a layer of process
      • Then a layer of technology
      • Then multiple columns (like the Parthenon) — see first slide
      • All under the “roof” of a Culture of Collaboration
  • KM Hands-On Tools & Techniques.
    • Emphasized use of:
      • Chat — this proved to be very fast and effective during their Hurricane Matthew response. They used WhatsApp to good effect — it allowed them to connect with other government departments and NGOs working in Haiti.
      • SharePointCollaboration Site — SharePoint is the authorized vehicle for the DoD. It was the “landing area” for posting, finding, searching.
      • All partner access network (APAN) — see Hurricane Matthew Response site
      • Video teleconference (VTC)
      • Sharing, collaborating, transparency
      • continuous battle-rhythm
      • Senior Leader Engagement
    • Deemphasized (whenever possible) EMAIL = a single point of failure
      • they found that email traffic decreased significantly during the operation
  • Knowledge Processes.
    • Knowledge Management Institute Model
      • Acquire information/knowledge
      • Produce knowledge — collaborate, refine, create
      • Integrate knowledge — publishing, structuring, instructing, presenting
    • SECI Model
      • by Nonaka & Takeuchi
      • Socialization — collaboration / share knowledge
      • Eternalization — capture knowledge / write reports
      • Combination — build knowledge / transfer best practices
      • Internationalization — learning by doing
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Using Lenses to Right Fit Social & Collaboration #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: Using Lenses to Right Fit Social & Collaboration

Organizations have been deploying new digital work platforms and services the past few years. Quite often we hear that the tools don’t matter that much, just get one and use it. Adding a community manager and digital transformation specialists helps, but the tools don’t seem to do what is needed. The question is constantly, “Do the tools fit our needs?” and also “We see value but it seems like it isn’t quite right.” Well, not only is getting the right help important, it is important to right fit the tools to the needs and uses. The uses and needs can be complex and diverse. This session helps break down the diversity, enabling the dimensions and their elements to be viewed properly so what is relevant for your organization can be seen through the use of social lenses. Using the lenses as a diagnostic tool to understand what works and fits and where there are gaps and needs helps bring clarity. But, greater clarity is provided when pairing the lenses to view different perspectives clearly.

This is particularly helpful for improving use and knowledge flows through the organization’s understanding of the right fit of tool(s) and services. Using the lenses to see the relevant dimensions and how they intersect not only helps organizations understand the needs for today, but works as a valuable method for framing an adaptive road map for the coming years. Having clarity to see the smaller actual pieces enables sensing their changes in order to adjust and adapt with more clarity of understanding.

Speaker: Thomas Vander Wal, Sr. Consultant, Adjuvi, LLC

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2016 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Don’t Start with a Tool or Service First.  Most organizations end up with an enterprise-wide platform because it was bundled “free” with another tool. Often, the free tools and services do not quite fit the need. 
  • Start by Understanding Your Needs First.
    • Common, shared working spaces
    • Increasing knowledge sharing
  • Don’t Default to Closed Node System.
    • Top down
    • Approval-centric
    • Slow to spread
    • Slow to change
    • Knowledge is buried — it is hard to search, it is hard to find knowledge. Therefore, the focus is on training to help spread the knowledge
    • Email is the “poster child” of the closed node network
  • Open-Node Systems.
    • Emergent
    • Sharing-centric
    • Nimble and adaptive
    • Understand that things are constantly changing — this is both accepted and accommodated by the way we work
    • Knowledge is searchable and linked — even among disparate services or repositories. By having things in an open-node environment, the links among knowledge “light up the dark web inside your organization.”
    • Focus on helping rather than on training
    • Open digital conversation
    • Supports collaborative and collective living documents — they change to reflect current realities
    • All history and transitions are viewable and available
    • Conversations around objects occur with those objects in clear sight –e.g.,  connecting comments to the object that is being discussed
  • What’s the most valuable? While the final decision is good to know, it can be even more helpful to have access to the thinking that led to the decision. This allows a later pivot, without having to redo the entire decisionmaking process.
  • Social Progressions. This is how to develop and scale new ideas
    • Sparks — individual ideas that arise in disparate places and seem to be pointing to a useful pattern or direction.
    • Campfire — bring together the various disconnected items into a central place where a a group can discuss it “around the campfire”
    • Bonfire — add more fuel, bring in more people, widen the discussion in an open environment
    • Torch — safe, reliable, repeatable in different environments. This is what you have to create in order to share the ideas that emerged from the sparks to campfire to bonfire process.
    • Organizations with 1 social platform have a high probability of having two or more platforms.
  • Differing Perspectives.
    • Personal — in a social environment, people need to know what they are working on, information regarding who and what they need to know to get my job done are within easy reach.
    • Collective — getting into the open the information from individual understanding that now needs to be made available to others.
    • Cooperative — once the information is the open, allowing people to draw connections between those materials and themselves. (Example: seeing that someone else has an understanding of an issue that is similar to mine. We have a connection that might be worth exploring.) This operates at several scales:
      • Individual
      • Team
      • Group
      • Community
      • Network
    • Collaborative — this involves moving a disparate group of individuals into a single whole.
    • Social Working Array — you need to be able to see all of these perspectives as they occur across the platform and across the organization: Collective, Cooperative, Collaborative
  • Social Scaling.
    • Humans are mostly social by nature but often are not social at scale.  (See Reed’s Law.) People move up and down the scale. This needs to be accommodated by social platforms.
    • Most people are most comfortable interacting with a small group of others they know; their comfort decreases as group size grows.
    • Humans naturally build groups and clusters to ease interacting with large groups
  • Team Needs. The most frequently occuring group is the Team. They interact at the 70% level. (By contrast, Communities online tend to interact at the 30% level.) You need to understand the needs of a team as it operates:
    • tasks
    • status
    • process
    • progress
    • calendars
    • decisionmaking
  • Social Groups and Walled Gardens.
    • Closed groups (closed node) tend to have high adoption and activity rates as compared to open groups. This relates to a lack of comfort with sharing in a more open environment.
    • We need to create comfortable spaces with permeable walls. See Donald Appleyard’s “Livable Streets” for a similar approach in a physical (rather than digital) environment. Having front porches helped people in their houses feel more comfortable coming outside and hanging out on the street. Having front windows helped people on the street understand the people in the houses better.
  • How to Improve your online groups? Have a team that includes the following:
    • Community manager
    • Social interaction designer
    • Social scientists — they see strengths and gaps in the social interactions within the group
    • Knowledge manager
    • UX/User Research
    • Change Manager
    • IT Dev/ Integrator
  • Typical Problems.
    • Services go away — so plan redundancy/failovers
    • Change is constant — so plan to be nimble
    • Plan for continued security, privacy/permissions and changes in scaling as they occur
    • Plan for the many pieces that exist in your system — you need integration/interoperation, umbrella services, community managers/navigation

    • Selection & review — have a six-month tool review, understand the balance between change and stability and long-term assessments; keep your vendor assessments fresh
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