Leveraging KM, Collaboration, & Communication Techniques in the Virtual World: Optimizing Virtual Work Hubs #KMWorld

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Speakers: Kim Glover, Director, Innovative Learning & Knowledge Mgmt., TechnipFMC; and Tamara Viles, Innovative Learning & KM Program Manager, TechnipFMC

Session Description: A few months ago, we thought the virtual workplace was a bullet train. But the COVID-19 crisis has upgraded our journey from bullet train to supersonic jet. Working optimally in the virtual environment went from being a nice to have to an absolute must. This session addresses head-on the challenges of working virtually, including trust and communication issues, isolation, variable productivity, and accountability, and provides practical and creative techniques for addressing the challenges so that teams cannot just survive but thrive in the virtual environment. It shares specific and candid examples that leverage KM, collaboration best practices, and communications tools and techniques to help remote teams ensure productivity, stay connected, build trust, and safeguard business continuity. Take home immediately implementable strategies for leading a strong, productive team in the new virtual work world, whether to lead a team, a project, or just your own self-directed work.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld Connect 2020 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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:

  • 2020 Realities — this year, the Learning & KM team at TechnipFMC had to pivot to focus on how to optimize virtual work.
    • Their organization wants virtual EVERYTHING.
    • Learning & Knowledge are viewed as “first responders” within the organization.
    • They are seeing increased partnerships with back-office functions (legal, communications, finance, etc.)
    • Given the increased demand, the Learning & Knowledge team could not serve each internal customer individually. Instead, the team focused on “teaching people how to fish.”
    • “Knowledge is the currency, and virtual is the exchange system”
  • Tips for Leading Virtual Teams
    • Provide more structure and co-create rules. Keep focused on the things that enable effective work.
    • Establish consistent practices.
    • When developing metrics, focus on results rather than standard operating procedures.
    • Mitigate ambiguity (and anxiety) by explaining the big picture, as well as individual roles and why they matter
  • How to establish structure and rules
    • Over-communicate, elaborate and anticipate needs
    • Create a team charter collectively with your team.
      • This process will create energy and focus. The content varies from team to team. At a minimum, it should cover team goals, values, and expectations.
    • Make sure your charter includes communications expectations when the team is working virtually.
  • Cultivate accountability through visibility
    • Performance
      • Virtual team members needs to take more responsibility to meet deadlines so accountability is critical
      • Set expectations and define success clearly
      • Use results-based metrics
    • Trust
      • Trust elevates team performance — a team that trusts is less anxious and more productive
      • Task-based trust is vital to virtual teams
    • Signs of low trust
      • silos within sub-groups
      • low credibility in the commitments of others
      • virtual leader or other team members micromanage
      • low productivity or missed deadlines
      • open negativity
      • unresolved conflicts
      • information hoarding
    • Ways to increase visibility, accountability, and trust
      • Use dashboards to increase transparency
      • Use a Kanban board or another tool to share what you are working on
      • Use a daily huddle in which each team member discusses what worked yesterday, and what they are focused on today.
      • Use alternative tools to increase knowledge-sharing and fun. Kahoot is a great example of such a tool.
      • Keep your calendars open to your team (including your personal appointments). This helps team members get to know the “whole” you.
    • Increased communication
      • Increased communication reduces anxiety and isolation
      • Connect with your teams 3 times more than you would when co-located
      • Establish regular team meetings
      • Team leaders need to be even more visible and accessible
      • Use one-on-one meetings to keep abreast of work progress and to check on well-being. Being on camera is critical for this.
      • Use the chat function for informal check ins
      • Ask for feedback — try survey tools or just simple conversation
      • Managing conflict is more important — the physical distance can make it more difficult to interpret tone/mood and also can make it easier to ignore issues that are brewing
      • Try virtual coffees and happy hours to keep team spirit alive.
      • Start the virtual practice of “popping your head in the door” by which team members can ask a quick question that will get immediate response.
      • Keep a blog to motivate the team.
    • Foster Community
      • Communities create a sense of belonging, increased trust
      • Virtual water coolers — allow social chat
      • Virtual ceremonies — help you celebrate wins and acknowledge successes
      • Encourage team members to share their own stories
      • Ice breakers help team members learn more about each other
      • Open calendars give more information about team members
      • Identify and share leadership opportunities
      • Have a team nickname
    • Additional Activities
      • Team Workshop on Leading a Team Through Adversity:
        • Start by showing the common challenges of 2020.
        • Then ask individuals how they are responding and rising to the challenges.
        • Finally, play the UNESCO video, The Next Normal.
      • Use a canvas-based tool to build your team charter
      • Ask team members to take a virtual leadership self-assessment. They don’t need to broadcast their scores. But they should use the exercise as an opportunity for self-awareness and reflection.
    • How to have a better virtual meeting
      • use avatars for team members who aren’t physically present
      • schedule consistent team meetings but rotate time zones
      • assign roles and start with a roll call
      • send agendas and materials in advance
      • send questions in advance so that introverts can “pre-ponder” them and respond in writing if they prefer
      • use a “round robin” to develop understanding and consensus
      • everyone should “be on camera” and limit distractions (to prevent multitasking and enable people to “look each other in the eye”
      • make sure all team members know how to use the communications technology and ensure that it works well across all geographies

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Creative & Agile Techniques to Facilitate Change #KMWorld

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Speakers: Felicity McNish, Global Knowledge Management Leader, Aurecon; and Sue Stewart, Global Knowledge Culture Leader, Aurecon

Session Description: Change is not one size fits all; it’s dependent and interdependent on the environment, the market, the organization, the strategy, the culture and the individuals involved to be prescribed in a cast-iron process. Compounding the change challenge are the constraints of time, resources, budget, client commitments, motivation, leadership expectations, and, in some cases, pandemics. Irrespective, there are constants; people need a clear purpose for change, the motivation to support, the knowledge to understand, the tools to act, and the reinforcement to sustain. And the change approach needs to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of both the people and the organization. Speakers discuss the critical factors for sustained change and share practical and creative approaches, fusing together elements of change theory with psychology, communication, marketing, advertising, branding, storytelling, and good old-fashioned manners. They share their experiences and outcomes implementing cultural, knowledge, and operational and technical transformations in different organizations over the last 20 years.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld Connect 2020 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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:

  • Audience Poll: What’s the greatest obstacle to success in your organization?
    • Organizational Culture
    • Too much change or lack of prioritization
    • Lack of leadership by sponsors
  • This presentation is not intended to be a “how to” discussion. Rather, it focuses on “what is possible.”
  • Case Studies: The presenters have been working together for 20 years. They will be presenting stories and lessons from where they have worked: Woods Bagot, Unispace, and Aurecon.
  • Creativity
    • Creativity is critical to change because it helps you focus on what is not yet but might be someday.
    • See Tina Selig video that lays out the key elements of the creative approach to change
    • Attitude – make sure that your attitude has a positive impact on the people affected by the change. You will need to design and stage their experience.
      • Understand and listen to the people you are working with. Ask them to tell stories about themselves: tell us about yourself and your family, where you work, your best and worst change experience, and your superpower.
      • Show your appreciation to the people working with you by showing up prepared, thanking them during the session, and following up with thanks after the session.
      • Failure is data — use failure as an opportunity to collect data on what worked and what didn’t work. Don’t lose sight of the small victories — even in the midst of failures. Look for the bright spots.
    • Imagination
      • Chindogu — a Japanese term for coming up with useless ideas. Why bother? Because it cranks your brain into gear.
      • Use warm-up cards with provocative questions that help participants begin to think more creatively about connecting critical knowledge.
      • As you ideate, identify what must happen, what should happen, and what absolutely won’t be acceptable.
    • Knowledge — you can’t be creative without knowledge about the area / problem / opportunity you are trying to address
      • Going in prepared helps prevent a bad experience. “A single negative experience has four or five times greater impact than a single positive one.”
      • MLP not MVP — instead of focusing on minimal viable product, focus on delivering the minimal LOVABLE product.
    • Habitat / Environment
      • Create a warm, welcoming, FUN environment.
    • Culture
      • Edgar Schein’s model explains how culture forms and is maintained: artefacts < espoused values < underlying assumptions. The artefacts are the things and behaviors you see. They are based on harder-to-see values and assumptions.
    • Resources
      • Allies — when resources are constrained, identify and work with allies across the organization
      • Innovate with what you’ve got
  • Agile — enables innovation without sacrificing reliability
    • Team
      • Stable teams outperform temporary teams
      • Recruit T-shaped team members who have or can build relationships across the business. Stay away from Lone Stars
    • Time
      • Time is has two elements: the time spent working on the innovation PLUS the time spent waiting for others
      • Understand that people need time to learn and embrace change. Further, that learning time will be a period of reduced productivity, which can be exhausting.
      • Make sure people have some recovery time so that they can absorb and integrate the learning.
    • Attention — they use three key elements to capture attention in an 8-second era
      • Engage with stories
      • Anticipate the needs
      • Show the return
      • Use Images — still photos and video
      • explain things using the same visuals every time
    • Barriers
      • You do not need to be a scrum master. It is more about mindset.
      • Address the elephant in the room such as lack of budget or abundance of bureaucracy.
      • Understand your sponsors: What are they looking for? What is their ability to actual lead through this change?
  • Recommended Resource: Jason Fox, The Game Changer

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Keynote: The Disrupted Mindset #KMWorld

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Speaker: Charlene Li, Analyst & Author, The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail

Session Description: Growth is always hard, and disruptive growth is exponentially harder. It requires companies to make tough decisions in the face of daunting uncertainties. Some organizations beat the odds and succeed at becoming disruptive: Adobe, ING Bank, Nokia, Southern New Hampshire University, and T-Mobile, among them. Their stories make it clear that organizations don”t have to be tech start-ups or have the latest innovations to transform. What they need to do is develop a disruptive mindset that permeates every aspect of the organization. Li lays out how to do so by focusing on three elements. A strategy designed to meet the needs of future customers; leadership that creates a movement to drive and sustain transformation’ and a culture that thrives on disruptive change. Drawing on interviews with some of the most audacious people driving disruptive transformation today, Li will inspire leaders at all levels to answer the call to lead disruptive transformation in their organizations, communities, and society.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld Connect 2020 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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:

  • Disruption is an opportunity for change — and it’s an opportunity for growth. The needs of our customers and clients don’t go away although they definitely change. When things are going well, people tend to disrupt and innovate less. However, when times are bad then time is ripe for disruption.
    • Microsoft was formed during the oilshock recession in the 1970s
    • The iPod was launched just after the tech bubble burst
    • Uber was created during the global financial crisis of the last decade
  • The Disrupted or the Disruptive? Who are you going to be? There are only two choices.
  • Focus on People and Transformation — You must look beyond the technology. It isn’t just about the cool tools. It’s about finding new ways to use them to open new opportunities.
  • Focus on the Future — know where your customers are but, more importantly, figure out where they will be. (Wayne Gretzky: “Skate to where the puck will be.”)
    • In 2010, Adobe realized that the way they distributed their software via CD-Roms was not as efficient as using the cloud. However, their customers were perfectly happy with the current situation. In addition, their employees were perfectly happy serving customers using this model. Finally, as a publicly traded company, moving from software to the cloud would temporarily depress their revenue and ramp up their startup costs. Despite all of this, they moved forward. Even though their net income plummeted, the stock market rewarded them for being forward-thinking. This was due to the fact that Adobe did such a good job of explaining who their future customer was.
    • Lesson: Don’t get blinded by your beautiful, profitable customers. It is important not to be seduced by the ease of your current situation. You need to find and fall in love with your future customers.
    • Audience Poll: a small number of attendees are in organizations whose entire workforce is focused on their future customer. Only one quarter of attendees have a small group focused on figuring this out. A smaller group are not evenly slightly focused on their future customer.
  • Fall in Love with your Future Customers
    • Use Empathy Maps to Spark Curiosity — figure out who your future customer is. What do they think, feel, say, and do?
  • Put Future Customers in your Dashboards — once they are on your dashboard, they become a priority. This is an important signal to your team.
  • Connect your Customer-Obsessed People — wherever they are in the organization. They are the ones who are always seeing opportunities for greater service and sales to customers. This allows you to develop an organization-wide view of your future customer. And it gives your employees an opportunity to cross-fertilize innovation and disruption.
  • Leadership — as always, leadership is critical for success. The best leaders make you feel empowered, inspired, limitless.
  • Disruption Needs to be a Movement — movements take on a life of their own. They continue well beyond the life of the leader. (Heimans & Timms, New Power: “It’s only a movement if it moves without you.”) This happens when the leader constantly and consistently communicates their vision.
    • T-Mobile consciously decided to meet its future customers by becoming the “un-carrier,” the opposite of everything customers hated about the other mobile carriers. They began with a manifesto that fed the passion and directed the actions of T-Mobile personnel.
  • What is your Disruption Quotient? On a scale of 1-10, where 1=status quo and 10=disruptive, where are you? If you are on the low-end, you cling to the status quo. If you are on the high-end, you are naturally disruptive.
    • Note: the goal is not to be a 10 on this 1-10 scale. If you are a 3 and your organization is a 1, then you are a leader. If you are an 8 and your organization is a 10, then you are a laggard.
    • Audience poll: attendees say they are 6.2 out of 10, on average. However, they say that that their organizations are 5 out of 10 on average. This is close to the usual result where most people tend to believe they are approximately 1.5 points more disruptive than their organizations.
  • Shift your Culture to Support Disruption — if you want to change your organizational culture, you need to change your organizational beliefs.
    • Orange Bank created their “Orange Code” to drive cultural transformation:
      • You take it on and make it happen
      • You help others to be successful
      • You are always a step ahead
  • Three Beliefs of Disruptive Organizations:
    • Openness
    • Agency
    • Bias for Action
  • Openness — Openness in information sharing and transparency in decisions builds trust and accountability
    • According to the chairman of Nokia, Risto Siilasmaa, sharing is good. To make this clear, he had the following principles:
      • “No news is bad news. Bad news is good news. Good news is no news.”
  • Openness Best Practices
    • Create a safe and inclusive environment. It is hard to share if you do not feel safe. The first step is to make sure they believe
    • Put vital data where it can best be use. It is important to share as much information as possible, as widely as possible.
    • Breaking down silos may not be the best approach. They are important because they enable expertise. The better approach is to install windows in your silos.
  • Agency — This gives every employee the opportunity to act like an owner. (It is different from “empowered,” which relies on permission received from someone else.)
    • Sponsor agency in every employee
    • At Amazon, they have adopted the principle of ownership:
      • “Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say, ‘that’s not my job.’”
  • Best Practices for Agency
    • Demonstrate trust in their judgment — people will not act boldly if they are uncertain of your support.
    • Shift ownership and authority in chunks — give them what they need to act decisively.
    • Connect emerging leaders for peer support — it is hard for some employees to view themselves as owners — particularly if they feel as if they are acting alone.
  • Action – sometimes the thing that is holding you back is a critical bit of information. So you and your organization should identify and share the Minimally Viable Data required to take action.
    • Southern New Hampshire acquired the Daniel Webster University in FIVE days. They did this by developing a bias for action and distributing widely the necessary decision-making power. [Of course, this also requires tremendous trust in your team.]
  • Best Practices for Action
    • Develop Extrasensory Skills — invest in and develop your employees’ extrasensory skills to seek out growth.
    • Force decisions and action by imposing impossible deadlines. This requires decision making without complete information. [It acknowledges that despite our fondest wishes, we rarely have complete information. So this approach reduces analysis paralysis.]
    • Define the decision field — most decisions are reversible. So be clear about which decisions can be revisited safely and which ones need to be done right the first time.
    • Define your edges of action — if people don’t know what the edges are, they tend to stay in the center and avoid discomfort. So help your people understand how far they can go. Then they can push themselves to the edge and still feel safe.
  • What Beliefs Hold Us Back?
    • Some people believe that they need permission from someone else to make change,
    • Some people say that they don’t have the right role / position / title to make change,
    • Some people say that they do not have the budget / people / resources to make change. However, this is more a matter of priorities and allocation of resources. When do you set aside the urgent and focus on the important work of defining your future?
  • Comfort Zone is Danger Zone — during these turbulent times, it is very natural to want to stay within your comfort zone. However, that is a recipe for stagnation. Instead, push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone. This teaches you how much more you are capable of. “Look over the precipice and see what is there. Then take just one step back and operate there. Build the scaffolding within your organization to support you at that edge.”
    • “You don’t know how far you can go until you reach the edge.”
  • Charlene Li encourages us to be in touch with her. She would like to hear how we are figuring out how to stay at the edge of discomfort and disruption. Here are her contact details:
    • Twitter: @charleneli
    • Email: Charlene@charleneli.com

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An Introduction to Microsoft’s Office Graph #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker:  David Pileggi, Senior Consultant, Earley & Associates

Session Description: Pileggi discusses the recently introduced Office Graph that offers an innovative foundation for designing and delivering information rich experiences to users based on behavior and their relationships to both their peers and content. He explores how these contextually relevant experiences can be delivered through custom developed apps such as Oslo and how components of information architecture including taxonomy and metadata can be used to enrich these search-driven solutions.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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 is it? Office Graph is an extension of Yammer’s Enterprise Graph. It is a tool that does not operate independently. It needs another tool such as Office Delve to surface insights. Office Graph combines 3 buzzwords: Social, Cloud and BigData. 
    • According to the Office Blogs: “The Office Graph uses sophisticated machine learning techniques to connect you to the relevant documents, conversations, and people around you.”
  • What’s driving it? Data is doubling every year; information workers are overwhelmed by content. Further, people have been relying on the Verizon Search Engine (i.e., picking up the phone and asking for help) or Email trees.
  • How does it work? Office Graph records what you are doing. What people, sites or documents are you following? What have you posted? What have you shared? With this data, Office Graph then starts identifying relationships and relevancy. Then it can present relevant content to you via Delve.
  • What works with it? SharePoint Online, Office 365. In time, it will work with Yammer as well.
  • What does this mean for us? Office Graph is to unstructured data as taxonomy is to structured data.
  • Governance: Office Graph is either turned on OR off for your ENTIRE enterprise. At this point, it cannot be turned on for some uses/users and off for others. Be sure that this is acceptable under the data privacy rules of every jurisdiction in which your organization operates. Delve respects the permissions in SharePoint, so Delve will deliver and display only the content from Office Graph that a particular user has permission to see.
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Energizing Organizational Learning through Narrative #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker: Dr. Madelyn Blair, President, Pelerei

Session Description: Narrative intelligence is a critical approach that helps an organization to strengthen its organizational vision, enhance communication, share organizational knowledge, externalize and internalize tacit knowledge, encourage innovation, build communities, and to develop effective social media strategies. The speaker shares strategies, cases, and exercises on how using narrative intelligence through channels offered by social media and organizational communication can energize how the organization is communicating through digital channels.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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:

  • Sense-making is Key: There’s nothing more frustrating and de-energizing than feeling confused. In our lives, we like to make sense of things. “Turning experience into a story is a fundamental mode of sense-making.” When you listen to a story you become connected to it.  This opens up the possibilities of narrative becoming a learning tool. 
  • What’s Narrative Intelligence? It’s about how you approach a problem, using a mindset that understands that a story is the smallest unit of knowledge (to quote John Seely Brown). “It’s the search for the meaning that does not confuse.”
  • Narrative vs Story: Story concerns a specific event. Narrative is a collection of stories. In that collection, you can begin to see the patterns that exist across the stories. Through a collection of stories, you can imbue an organization with specific values. For example, at the Disney Company, they tell many stories about Walt Disney. These stories are all about creativity, imagination and entertainment.  They are also about making a difference and doing it well. Employees feel empowered by the stories. This is how the people in the company share and reinforce their company values. In effect, the stories create communities of practice.
  • Structure: Each story needs to answer some basic question –  who, how, why, when, where and what happened.  This is necessary to engage the audience. Narrative looks for common threads, emotions, values. While the story helps the storyteller make sense of a specific event, a narrative helps people within an organization with broader sense-making of the larger patterns.
  • Solve Problems by Turning Stories Inside Out: Start by identifying the business problem you want to solve. Put that “in the middle” of  a story that you’re about to create. That problem is the “what.” Then add to the story to provide the other elements (who, why, where , how, etc.). This helps identify possible solutions.
  • Want to learn more? For further information, see Making it Real: Sustaining Knowledge Management, edited by Annie Green.
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Understanding the Power of Twitter Chats at USAID #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeakers: Zachary Baquet, Knowledge Management Specialist, US Agency for International Development (USAID); Maciej Chmielewski, Communications Specialist & Digital Media Producer, Insight Systems Corporation

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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.]

Session Description: For the past year and a half, USAID Bureau for Food Security has experimented with #AskAg Twitter Chats to drive engagement and knowledge exchange inside and outside of its Agrilinks.org community. Part of Twitter’s value lies in its ability to foster global, multidirectional communications between users that can lead to real and meaningful knowledge exchange. The #AskAg Chats have moved from one-way, ask-the-expert type events to lively conversations in which participants share their experiences with the experts as well as each other. Speakers describe the process for implementing the chats and how it has changed, other products developed from the Twitter Chats, metrics used, and more.

NOTES:

  • Challenge: how to distribute knowledge housed in the organization to all the field staff and affiliates around the world.
  • History: They had a very elegant “Ask the Experts” system in place. However, those experts didn’t have the bandwidth or incentives to engage with everyone in the field who had a question.
  • Why Twitter Chats: they are quick, easy and globally distributed. By doing an 60-90 minute Twitter chat, they were able to concentrate the focus of the experts and the field staff.
  • Method: The chats have a structure to help people understand what the conversation is about and how it will proceed. They are conceived as a highly controlled Q&A session where it is ok to say no. Behind the questions is a Google Docs spreadsheet for each chat. That spreadsheet contains the themes that will be asked during the chat. These themes are then translated into 4 guiding questions. The experts can type their answers into the spreadsheet before the chat. Then a guiding question and the related answers are released every 15 minutes. This eliminates dead space on the chat. After each chats, the gather the tweets via Storify. Storify provides a recap of guiding questions. Further, it might also include a specially written synthesis plus an aggregated list of links and resources that were shared during the chat.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: They work with approximately 100 experts who are the chat players. There are also chat operators: 3 individuals to run a particular chat:
    • Curator
    • Controller
    • Director
  • Lessons Learned: 
    • Encourage a conversation. You need to show participants how to participate and gain value. (The structure helps — especially for newcomers to Twitter)
    • Have a framework so people know what the conversation is about. This helps them find order in the chaos of Twitter
    • Summarize and curate the knowledge shared.
  • What value emerged? After their first 12 Twitter chats, they prepared a chat report tat desceibed the process, metrics, feedback and recommendations. Their spreadsheet for each chat is available in Google Docs for others who want to use it.  Finally, they gave their experts a guidance document that explained roles, respsonsibilities and expectations. You can find these resources at Agrilinks.org/TwitterChats
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Integrating Learning and Development with KM #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeakers: Dr. Susan Camarena, Chief Knowledge and Learning Officer, Federal Transit Administration; Turo Dexter, Knowledge Resources Manager, US DOT / Federal Transit Administration

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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.]

Session Description: KM coordination may reside in any of several parts of an organization—for example, human resources, research, or IT. At the FTA, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, KM is tightly integrated with the Learning and Development function in its own group within the Office of Administration, where FTA’s chief knowledge and learning officer is a peer with the director of HR and the director of IT. The powerful synergy of FTA’s integrated Learning, Development and KM strategy supports employees as learners—and also as teachers—from onboarding to exit, throughout every branch of the agency. This dynamic presentation illustrates FTA’s strategy development, describes the major program activities that support FTA as a learning organization, reviews the metrics used to evaluate program effectiveness, and offers a template and process to help participants identify key facets of knowledge related to each business function in their own organizations.

NOTES:

  • Not just KM, but LKM: They focus on Learning AND Knowledge Management to enhance individual, team and organizational effectiveness by connecting people with what and how they know, what they need to know and how they can find it.
  • Evolution of LKM at the FTA: Initially their KM effort had neither staff nor budget. They started with a knowledge audit, appointed local knowledge coordinators in each of their 20 offices, provided facilitation for meetings across the organization. Then they created an initial KM strategy. When their Training Officer retired, they merged their learning & development organization with their KM organization. This created the Learning, Development and Knowledge Management department. These functions together became a real force multiplier within the organization.
  • Learners and Teachers: Their overarching goal is to support all FTA employees as learners and teachers from onboarding to exit. It is those individuals who “manage the knowledge,” not the KM department. (The KM department make manage some information from time to time, but they support individual KM.)
  • Initial KM Strategy:
    • culture of knowledge and experience sharing
    • efficient and effective business processes
    • leverage knowledge and experience for decision making and strategic planning
  • Current Strategy: They are creating a strategy that integrates learning, development, communications and engagement. All of this needs to be responsive to the agency’s goals (i.e., to the business goals).
  • Metrics:
    • They do regular audits
    • Learning and knowledge assessments
    • Employee viewpoint survey
    • Training evaluations
    • Testimonials and success stories
    • Increasing course enrollment
    • Increasing requests for services.
  • Lessons Learned:
    • Facilitate and support — It is our job to provide facilitation and support throughout the organization
    • Just say yes! —  We may sometimes say “later,” but we will never say “no” to any request for help.
    • No ask, no get — This is particulary
    • Never stop learning! —  Ask after every engagement and every interaction, what did I just learn?
  • How to Prioritize Resources? Is KM in service to L&D or vice versa? Both are in service to the agency (the business). The department cross-trains its personnel so that they can perform both functions together.
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Using Tangible Interfaces for Predictive Knowledge Delivery #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker:  Lorin Petersen, Software Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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.]

Session Description: Thanks to Google, today much of what enterprise users interact with is a standard search box on a web page. Though simple in design, there is an explicit action that needs to be taken by the user to discover information and knowledge. In an effort to better integrate the physical workspace with backend knowledge systems, MITRE explored how implicit actions through everyday interfaces could aid in delivering information and knowledge to that same enterprise user. For example, it looked at how content from e-whiteboarding collaboration sessions can be scraped and parsed to obtain the context of the session, then at how the context could be automatically fed to the search mechanism on behalf of the user. The results were then delivered without any explicit action on the user’s part. MITRE also explored allowing the user to embed tags in their e-whiteboard drawings to perform implicit actions such as “<#find me an expert >” or “<#email this to xyx>”. This session highlights lessons learned on the effectiveness of using tangible interfaces to deliver predictive knowledge to the enterprise user.

NOTES:

  • Tangible Interfaces: These are things all around us such as whiteboards, flip charts, post-it notes., smartphones, badge readers, digital signage These materials contain a great deal of corporate knowledge, but it is not easily retrievable and shared. People will take photos and email them, but this is a sub-optimal pathway for knowledge. It does not allow people to build on top of the knowledge.
  • Pathways of Knowledge: capture; capture and tag; capture, tag and deliver; recall and deliver; sense and deliver.
  • Whiteboard Example:
    • Capture: ideation sessions often happen on a whiteboard surface, but there is nothing on that surface that makes that content portable. While they looked at some digital whiteboards, they found that they were more complicated than most users liked. There is a steep learning curve, there is no clear path for recalling digital artifacts and you need to use unnaturally large writing. Mitre created a Collaboration and Capture system (CoCap) using a standard whiteboard that they equipped with additional hardware so that it could send the content to email. a printer,  or an FTP site. From the FTP site, it can be delivered to a SharePoint site. (There is a SharePoint site for every whiteboard.)
    • Capture and Tag: The key issue tat there was no way to attribute the digital artifact to the creator. So they added a simple keypad so the creator could enter their employee ID. Next they used OCR technology to recognize special patters for identifying a user. The challenge was that the user had to remember to write their name on the board in a way that was findable. Finally, they designated a small portion of a board in which the user is supposed to write their username.
    • Capture, tag and deliver: As users are ideating, there may be topics or keywords they want to learn more about. Users can circles these keywords and when the board is scanned, a backend search is performed and additional knowledge is delivered to the user via email (and delivered to SharePoint).
    • Recall and deliver: Now that the digital artifact is tagged and attributed tot he creator, it can be easily printed without using a computer or a downloaded to a mobie devise. Each corporate printer has a QR code. The user can scan the QR code using their mobile device and this will trigger the printer to print a folder of content on the fly.
    • Sense and deliver: Schedule a meeting and then recommended participants based on the topics they have been brainstorming.
    • Future Possibility: Meeting connection assistance = the system senses that you are in the room, but haven’t yet connected to the meeting. The system then sends you a message asking if you need help connecting. If you reply “yes,” the system will provide the help.
    • Future Possibility: Sensing location = a user is traeling and enters a new office building. An ap prompts them for ehlp in finding an office to work in while they are visiting there. (This is their version of AirBnb for office space.)
    • Future Possibility: Sensing conversations = a sensor determines a group in a conference room is having difficulty coming to a consensus on a project and then offers assistance to facilitate the discussion (e.g., conflict management help or brainstorming facilitation help, etc.)
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Pushing the Envelope: From CMS to KCMS #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker: Laurie Nelsen, Sr. Manager – Ontologist, Mayo Clinic

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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.]

Session Description: Mayo Clinic’s delivery of high-quality, affordable healthcare depends on integrating knowledge to promote innovation across patient care, research, and education. Providing the best current health information and services requires an agile and responsive content management ecosystem for creating and managing content as well as meeting the emerging needs for the delivery of “smart” content. The Clinic’s solution was to extend traditional CM technologies with a semantic services layer to support standards-based knowledge interoperability within and between organizations. Nelson shares the technical architecture and design choices made to build and deploy its Knowledge Content Management System (KCMS). KCMS’s solution to the problem of knowledge integration and flexible access is twofold: First, it utilizes the capabilities of the CMS to author, manage, and deliver the information. Secondly, it tightly integrates the CMS with a semantic services layer that provides the intelligence that enables users to find the right information, no matter who authored it or how it is stored.

NOTES:

  • Start by defining the problem: Content management system (CMS) technology provides content, authority and delivery functionality, but is fundamentally different than vocabulary and annotation (tagging) management technology, which provides the semantic context of the content to support findability.
  • Then learn to tell the story well: Create success story about how the problem could be solved and then told it, over and over again. Their story illustrated “semantics in action.”  (For an example, see their MayoClinic.com guide on Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Their approach: Their approach involved creating a pattern with a semantic overlayer to the content manager. This could be used to create one or one thousand disease guides. They were also able to replace manual links with new dynamically generated links that were organized by the semantic layer. As a result, the organization banned all manual links.
  • Vocabularies: While they try to use as many of the standardized vocabularies, they found that there were not great standard patient-facing or consumer-facing vocabularies. So they had to create those themselves. They have a series of ontologies: people, organization, medical condition, clinical studies, etc. Once they started identified the connections among these ontologies, they found powerful relationships.
  • Next stage: They are working on integrating their systems into a single system. They have learned that innovation does not end with implementation of the technical solution. You need upgrades and you need to continuous improve. They also need to find and tell new stories.
  • True adoption is a really long process: you need to keep nurture the tool and you need to keep telling potential users about how it works and how it can help.
  • Understand and exploit your tools and systems: Why drive a Honda when you have a Maserati in the garage?
  • Biggest Lesson Learned: It’s really about the story. Read The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling by Stephen Denning.
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The Disruptive Collaborative Organization #KMWorld

kmworld-socialSpeaker:  Mark Alarik, President, Sales Overlays, Inc. Ariel Host Professional Services

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2014 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, 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.]

Session Description: Alarik focuses on enterprise system thinking and continuous collaboration.  He illustrates with real world examples how systems thinking can build bridges between organization silos to align all units, projects, processes, and personnel with the company’s true mission – to serve the customer better, and for the long term!

NOTES:

The Disruptive Collaborative Organization: How KM can lead innovation & transformation

  • Mark Alarik uses Systems Thinking to solve organizational challenges.
  • Silos are dangerous:
    • Most organizations are organized by silos. In fact, “silo-ization” is so bad that there are sometimes silos within silos. All of this makes sense if you are trying to support a command-and-control organizational structure, but it serves to preserve the status quo. It squashes innovation.
    • Silos cause us to constrain ourselves since we are limited to the information we have within our own silo.  All analyses of problems are based on a small group of decision makers, from a limited number of perspectives. This leads to far too many unintended consequences.
  • Complicated versus Complex problems: With complicated probems, there is broad agreement on the definition of the problem, range of solutions, etc. By contrast, when you have a complex problem, there may not even be basic agreement as to the definition of the problem.
  • Systems Thinking: Systems thinking recognizes that the value of the system is not in its parts. The value is in the interconnectedness of its parts. Therefore, you can’t introduce a new part without disrupting the rest of the parts. When Lou Gerstner arrived at IBM, he found not only silos, but kingdoms! So he forced collaboration across silos by basing performance management on the success of all parts of the systems. Cutting cost and waste is not a strategy. It is a benefit of systems thinking.
  • System of profound knowledge: it gives you freedome from trapped policies and mindsets. It gives you the freedom to pursue the Idealized Design (i.e., what your organization would look like if you built it tomorrow from scratch). It also creates a process of continuous improvement.
  • The boundary-less enterprise: This is an organization that looks outside its walls for innovation. It may even look beyond its industry to find that innovation. The Gutenberg printing press was based on a wine press that Gutenberg found on a farm. By going outside his industry, he found inspiration and innovation.
  • Theory of Constraints: What is the most vital thing this organization should focus on? And what should we stop focusing on? Once you’ve found your area of focus, identify the constraints and bottlenecks. In addition, find the waste in the organization. Once you eliminate that waste, you’ll surface excess capacity and resources that can be redeployed more productively.
  • Increase velocity of change: Build the ability of your organization to increase the speed of change from years, to months, weeks and even hours. This will make your organization extraordinarily responsive and adaptive. Alarik citing Jake Chapman: The whole organization learns only when everyone in it has access to the learning (and provides feedback).
  • KDSD Team: Knowledge discover, sharing and distribution team. This team should be made up of systems thinkers. They should work with right stakeholders. Then find the appropriate technologies that fit with your systems thinking approach.
  • To learn more on Systems Thinking: 
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