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]


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.]


  • 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

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.]


  • 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.

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.]


  • 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.

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.]


  • 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”

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.


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.]


  • The United States Southern Command (“SC”)
    • Website:
    • 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

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.]


  • 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

Intranet Showcase #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: Intranet Showcase

Each year, the global Intranet Innovation Awards uncovers remarkable solutions, sharing them with the wider community. In conjunction with an awards ceremony held at the conference, this session shares highlights from winners around the world. Packed with screenshots, you’re sure to see ideas and approaches that can be applied in your organization, accelerating the pace of innovation.


  • Rebecca Rodgers, Principal Consultant, Step Two
  • Andy Zimmerman (Director, Digital Strategy), McKesson
  • Kristin Lorieo, White & Case
  • Kathryn Gendall (Manager Internal Communications) and Paula Grimsma (Manager Enterprise Collaboration and Desktop ESuport), Goldcorp


[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.]


  • McKesson’s Mobile Channel for Employees.  
    • McKesson is America’s oldest and largest healthcare services company. They are a Fortune 5 (not 500) company.
    • They considered rolling out a mobile instance of their intranet that would replace all the local instances of their intranet. However, this was too expensive — with low ROI.
    • They opted for a mobile channel that delivered a curated subset of the functionality of the full enterprise intranet.
      • the primary stakeholder for this channel sits in Corporate Marketing
    • They created an employee app center where employees could obtain apps.
      • includes apps built internally and apps built by benefits providers
    • They created a mobile center of excellence to provide cross-functional governance for their mobile channel
      • they involved security, legal, corporate marketing, IT, HR, etc.
      • it acted as a compliance and certification body
      • it would not build the apps itself
    • They defined a repeatable process that prospective app builders would follow
    • Once the apps are built by individual app builder and certified by the mobile center of excellence, then the app builder has to market the app to employees.
    • Success measurements
      • key points
        • establish baselines
        • collect (at least) monthly metrics by channel & aggregated across channels
        • check your privacy policy before collecting metrics that identify individual users
        • set realistic goals
      • objective measures
        • site traffic
        • site usage
      • subjective measures
        • rate this app
        • mobile customer satisfaction survey
  • White & Case.
    • Their original intranet was “really very bad”
    • Their new site
      • is built on SharePoint 2013
      • met user request for a simple intranet, the users did not want many social elements
      • has far less content — they eliminated 70% of the content of the old intranet
      • is easy to navigate, both via browse and search
      • reflects the best offerings of their firm
      • is continually pruned and managed
      • they have 350 major sites, accessible through a stripped-down navigation tool. Users are able to increase signal:noise ratio by limiting the number of sites they follow. Most follow no more than 5 sites daily.
        • users
    • they have one search bar in their intranet that is the global gateway to their Recommind enterprise search engine.
      • each search delivers a “best bets” functionality that has been hugely popular with their users
      • they also provide “search accelerators”
    • in the next phase, they will add some small social features: like, comment, share, microblog.
  • Goldcorp.
    • They operate their intranet in 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish
    • Their workforce is distributed and most of them do not have access to technology
    • They collapsed 13 portals into a single consolidated user experience. The only difference is that they present local news for individual users.
    • They include a video channel in their intranet
    • Their old intranet had low trust. Now they include very visible view counts, likes, and comments, so now there is much more transparency.
    • Lessons Learned
      • engage your users and celebrate achievements. They conducted 54 interviews, socialized he design, did prototype walk-throughs, prelaunch training, and a “Go Live event
      • Don’t underestimate data migration
        • create content inventories — do some content clean-up
        • run QA tests on migrated content
        • migration tools are not a silver bullet (they used Content Matrix + a lot of specific scripts and macros added on)
        • consider the users — especially with respect to training going forward
      • Have a permissions strategy
      • Own and manage the system

Digital Workspace Predictions #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: Digital Workspace Predictions

2016 is a tipping point around mobile and cloud-based workplace technology. Our analyst shares twelve predictions including wearables gain traction, mobile-first finally arrives, content management is standard, a ‘chief digital workplace officer, SharePoint, and more.

Speaker: Jarrod Gingras, Senior Analyst and Managing Director, Real Story Group

[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.]


  • A True Employee-Centric Digital Workplace is about to be a priority for most enterprises.  A TRUE digital workplace means more than just an intranet and a few add-ons.  Currently, only 12% of enterprises have a TRUE digital workplace that is truly employee-centric.
  • User-Centered Design Makes its Way into the Enterprise. Move beyond the technology stack; start with what the employees actually need and want.  Currently, most enterprises start by acquiring promising technology and
  • New Roles on the Digital Workplace team. You will now need new roles such as designer or UX designer on your team.
  • Enterprises will Continue to Struggle to See Beyond Features. Most enterprises start with a list of features (e.g., a blogging tool, a coauthoring tool, etc.). The better approach is to identify first what you are trying to achieve. Then look for the right tool that helps you achieve your intended outcome. Typical work goals:
    • knowledge management
    • external collaboration
    • internal collaboration
    • case management
    • communities
    • innovation support
    • social Q&A
    • expertise location
  • Enterprises will Continue to Struggle with the Gap Between Executive and Staff Desires.
  • Smart Enterprises will Start Managing Applications as Products. More enterprises will bring an application manager onboard to supervise the care and feeding of an application as if it were a product;
  • Emergence of Chief Digital Workplace Officer Role. More enterprises will be hiring into this position — sometimes called the Chief Employee Experience Officer. This person is responsible for the employee experience within the enterprise
  • Continued Product/Platform Divide.
    • Platforms: IBM, Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle
    • Major Suites: Drupal, Google, Jive, SAP Jam, Verint
    • Smaller Suites (Intranet in a box): Atlassian, Atos, Igloo, Interact, Thoughtfarmer, Traction Software
    • Social Enterprise Layers & SharePoint Supplements (services that bring the ability to collaborate to the place where you are working): Microsoft Yammer, neudesic, Salesforce Chatter, Sitrion, TIBC, vmware
  • Mobile Capability Becomes Critical. This is no longer an option; we have no choice. But there is a big deficit. Currently, these are the levels of mobile access:
    • 100% email
    • everything else is MUCH less available and effective on a mobile device
  • Major Shift to the Cloud. Increasingly, organizations are moving their social collaboration technology into the cloud. Currently, 45% are primarily on premises, only 27% are primarily Saas / Cloud-based
  • Slack will not Kill Email. Currently, Slack barely makes a dent in email. Its impact is much smaller than Yammer, Chatter, Jive
  • Facebook Repeats Google’s Mistakes. Facebook at work will not work for the enterprise — their technology fundamentally not built for the enterprise. Therefore, enterprise IT directors will lots of unpleasant surprises when they discover that the functionality they need is not there — especially permissioning.

Design Thinking for the Digital Workplace #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Title and Description: Design Thinking for the Digital Workplace

“Design” is a powerful word in modern business and a key element of a successful digital workplace (intranet). Design ensures that the right solutions are delivered and that they work in a simple and delightful way. “Design thinking” provides a toolbox of techniques for understanding needs, designing systems, and prototyping. This session explores these techniques and shows how they can be applied to the future of work.

Speaker: Rebecca Rodgers, Principal Consultant, Step Two

[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.]


  • Four streams of the digital workplace.  
    • Technology
    • Business
    • Design
    • People
  • Start with a deep understanding of the people you are serving. You can’t deliver effective solutions to people you haven’t actually met. You need to understand what they need, not just what they want.
  • How to research the people you are serving.
    • “retro” research methods don’t work
      • surveys
      • focus groups
    • modern field research does work:
      • one-on-one interviews: talking to them (at length)
        • ask them to tell you their stories – what is hard, what is easy, etc.
      • workplace observation: spending time with them as they work
      • co-designing with them
  • Emotions are critical. Explore the emotions that are behind the behaviors and actions of the people you seek to serve.
  • Be open. Channel your inner four-year-old — don’t start with judgment, start with inquiry.  Ask why, then ask why (many times) again.
  • Look for patterns. Expand your inquiry, look for confirming and conflicting data points from similarly situated people.
  • Capture what you learn. Document what they say, do, think and feel.
    • use quotations
    • use photographs
    • document their stories
  • Address the Fundamentals of Good User Experience.
    • Empathize — Start with needs
    • Define the problem
    • Card sorting — to understand how users group and label information
    • Create architecture using that card sorting, then test that architecture with more users. Can they navigate easily?
    • Ideate using all the rich research you have done — preferably put the results of that research on your walls — surround yourself with inspiration from your research.
    • Prototype – this is a manual process so get out from behind your computer, use your hands, use physical objects.
      • prototype with the user in mind
      • each prototype should answer a specific question
    • Test — repeatedly