How KM Enables Innovation #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: 

Most companies struggle to find ways to embed innovation into their business. This talk shares the journey of establishing a grassroots movement—a journey fueled by innovation, knowledge sharing, and learnings, and the critical success factors discovered along the way.

Speakers:

  • Wendy Woodson, Director, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Kim Bullock, #innovation Catalyst, ExxonMobil

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • How They Approach Innovation.  There are multiple kinds of innovation — not just transformational, game-changing innovation. Instead, they use the following model [see Managing Your Innovation Portfolio]
    • Transformational Innovation
    • Adjacent Innovation — taking what you do well and moving into a new market
    • Core Innovation — improving your bread and butter functions — this area is ripe for smart KM
  • Brutal Truths:
    • Culture & Behaviors. These beliefs and behaviors are so deeply ingrained in the organization that they can be extremely difficult to identify and excavate, much less reform.
    • Politician & Magician. We are always selling (politician), we’re always performing (magician).
    • Art not Science. There is not a single best approach to innovation. The key is to find business problems worth solving and then working with the affected group to improve their situation. The speakers spoke about a project they did to reduce the burden of exception reporting from  70% of the avaialble time to 30% of available time. This translated into a significant improvement in the quality of life.
    • Warrior. We have to be very thick-skinned and ready to fight for attention, for support, for successful projects. KM often is considered a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have.”
  • Opportunity. For all of the brutal truths, the speakers believe that there is tremendous opportunity in KM for rewarding work.
  • Critical Success Factors.
    • External Network. Just as you create your internal network within your organization, intentionally create an external network that can be the source help, information, and commiseration.
    • Brutal Truths. Be honest about the Brutal Truths discussed above. And be very forthright about your projects and progress. And be very honest with your leadership. They need to know.
    • The Middle Matters. We usually tend to start by looking for support from senior champions or at the grassroots level. However, the middle managers are influencers who often are ignored. The speakers focused on the middle managers — they were explicit about exactly what they expected in terms of influencing up and influencing down.
    • Attention, Attraction, Adoption.
      • Attention — use standard marketing tactics to get their attention
      • Attraction — explain what you are offering and how you can help
      • Adoption — get down to brass tacks, find an issue you can work on with the business, get it done, and then repeat.
    • Tell the Story. Rather than just insisting that KM is good, collect and share the success stories. Capture them in an article, record videos. Both of these are more contagious that assertions by KM.
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KM Tools Lawyers Love #ILTAG128 #ILTACON

Session Description:

Knowledge management (KM) professionals often design and implement tools they are certain their lawyers will love, only to have them fall flat and quickly slip into oblivion. Sometimes KM and IT launch a tool expecting lawyer pushback or disinterest and are pleasantly surprised by immediate adoption. Let’s focus on the KM tools lawyers love as we learn about some of the KM tools practicing lawyers have found most helpful and easy to incorporate into their practices. Whether you are just starting out with KM, looking to refresh a long-standing KM initiative or operating with a tight budget and limited resources, come learn which projects will be the quickest, be the easiest and win big points with your lawyers.

Takeaways:

  • Develop a better understanding of the practicing lawyer’s priorities and concerns
  • Gain insight into how lawyers think about their practice and work with their clients and each other
  • Leave with a short list of winning projects to take on when starting out with KM, refreshing KM or performing KM on a tight budget
  • Establish a check list of things to consider when deciding which KM or legal IT projects to pursue and which to postpone or even ditch

Speakers: Patrick DiDomenicoPatrick DundasSally GonzalezMeredith Green

[These are my notes from the International Legal Technology Association’s 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • What is Knowledge Management?
    • KM 1.0 = Improving client service delivery (plus, in the UK: current awareness, professional development, sharing knowledge with clients)
    • KM 2.0 = Winning more business — experience management, knowing the client, business development activities
    • KM 3.0 = Improving processes
    • KM 4.0 = Leveraging AI
  • How do you measure success? A tool is successful if
    • it is used by the lawyers themselves — they don’t delegate its use to others
    • lawyers call you immediately when the tool is down
  • Tools that help GENERATE WORK PRODUCT.
    • Schulte’s Forms Project
      • Know-how: forms stored in iManage folders
      • WARNING: a forms project is extremely time-intensive and effort-intensive. So do not begin the project unless you know for sure that there will be sufficient use of the form. In addition, creating it is less useful if you can’t/won’t keep it up-to-date.
      • Whee there is a business need, these forms will help make the practice of law more efficient.
      • At Schulte, the put drafting instructions in footnotes. They use MS Word’s commenting function to explain the reason why certain language is being used.
    • McGuire Woods uses an external provider such as the Practical Law Company (PLC)
      • PLC provides forms and practice notes
      • For junior associates, this was a godsend — especially since the firm did not have a vast bank of current forms
    • Ogletree has model/form docs, augmented with Lexis Practice Adviser
      • they have homegrown “cream of the crop” model/form documents that their practice support lawyers maintain
      • these materials are collected and available in their Knowledge Resource Center in their intranet, in the document management system (DMS) AND via enterprise search.
      • they use Lexis Practice Adviser to fill in the gaps
  • Document Automation.
    • See the article by Patrick Dundas in the recent ILTA KM white paper
      • Documents drafted using the Schulte document assembly platform (HotDocs) results in substantial reductions in cost and effort
    • At Ogletree the have both internal-facing and client-facing document automation. They did a large-scale document automation process for a multinational client. It resulted in substantial savings of time and costs. And the work product was more consistent. The client was so delighted that they awarded a bonus for this work.
  • Finding what you need.
    • Ogletree uses Recommind. (They are transitioning to Handshake search.) Enterprise search was the most important tool they have implemented to help lawyers find what they need: content, people, matters.
    • McGuire Woods is just starting their KM program so enterprise search is a bit too ambitious for them right now. They have deployed Lexis Search Advantage (LSA) to help lawyers find content in the DMS and in the Lexis collection. They can also tag content with established tags or new tags you create yourself. In their experience, LSA is more intuitive than their DMS native search.
    • LSA does a great job of classifying content. At Ogletree, they have discovered that some of the LSA filters are better than the filters in their DMS.
  • Client/Matter Pages.
    • Lawyers love these types of pages because they give easy access to critical information.
    • These pages provide on demand, instant access to information that was previously buried in PDF reports generated by underlying systems like the time and billing system. Therefore, they do not have to step away from their work to ask someone to generate a special report for them. They can stay “in the flow” of their work.
  • Cara by Casetext. This tool is a great asset for litigators. It allows you to drag a brief into their web interface. Then the tool identifies what cases are relevant to that brief but were not cited by the brief. You can use it to check your own briefs; you can use it to identify the holes in an opponent’s brief.
  • Harvesting PTI. “Pardon the interruption” emails are commonplace in law firms. While they may surface in-the-moment assistance, the content is usually buried in private email threads.
    • In response, Schulte has set up a shared iManage folder to harvest these emails and permit later search and retrieval. As a result, it saves time and money, and causes fewer interruptions. Plus, it costs nothing to implement.
    • Ogletree also has an iManage folder. In addition, because it is stored in the DMS, it is retrievable via enterprise search. Therefore, the lawyers do not need to check the shared folder; all they have to do is run a search in the enterprise search system.
  • CRM Systems. Valuable client information is stored in the client relationship (CRM) system. However, while the Marketing Department might be able to manage the CRM interface, it may not be as easy for lawyers.
    • If you make the data stored in the CRM system accessible via the enterprise search system, then the lawyers can find it without having to tangle with the CRM interface.
  • Experience Management. There are some focused experience management tools.
    • An alternative approach is a simple grid in an MS Word document that details the breadth of legal experience/competencies across the lawyers of the firm.
    • You can also do this via a simple database. However, chances are that the lawyers won’t like the interface of that database.
    • With enterprise search, you can search time entries and matter profiles to infer experience
  • Document proofreading tools. Wordrake and EagleEye are very popular with attorneys.
  • What tools have been less successful in their experience?
    • Task Management System
      • lawyers like a resource that helps them organize themselves, but the lawyers are unwilling/unable to dedicate the time necessary to maintain the system.
      • Baker Donelson is using K2 to provide task management support
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Guiding the Goats in Your Firm

Continuing with my recent menagerie theme, today let’s think about goats. Goats? Yes, Moroccan domestic goats, to be specific. As you can see from the picture in this post, these goats are quite extraordinary; they have the ability to forage for food — in treetops. Why is this interesting? Because by nature goats know how to climb hilly terrain but they do not know how to climb trees. So what gives?

Here’s how Nicholas Bakalar, writing in the New York Times, tells their story:

These domestic goats live in southwestern Morocco, where the climate is dry and in some seasons the only available forage is in the trees. So the goats climb up to get it.

Goats are good climbers — some sure-footed species live happily on mountains, leaping from ledge to ledge. But these domestic goats are not born with an ability to climb trees. They learn the technique as kids.

Their keepers help them climb, and they trim the trees to make it easier for the kids. The goats eventually learn to do it themselves. In the autumn, when there is little food on the ground, they spend most of their time grazing the treetops.

Because the readers of this blog tend to be smarter than the average bear (sorry — I am obsessed with animals this summer!), you will probably have figured out exactly where I am headed. This story has some great lessons for knowledge management personnel:

  • The goats in your firm — and you can define who is a goat in your firm! — are not born with the natural ability to do most of the things you and your knowledge management colleagues know how to do.
  • To train goats properly, you must start by teaching them when they are kids — grab them when they are summer associates and help them learn how to work efficiently and effectively. Above all, teach them early to question “the way we’ve always done it around here.”
  • You will need to provide support for the kids until they master the necessary skills. This support is especially critical because some older billy goats will be dismissive of the value of the knowledge you have to impart. And, some of those billy goats will be worried that these new skills will reduce billable hours. So you will have to help the kids withstand the negative pressure from the goat gerontocracy.
  • You will need to trim the trees to make it easier for the goats.  This means creating sensible, frictionless systems and then removing any unforeseen roadblocks that might arise.
  • The goats must eventually learn to do things for themselves. You cannot hold their hooves forever.
  • This is a matter of survival — it will help them be productive in the lean seasons and the busy seasons.

So here are a couple of question for you: Can the goats in your firm graze in treetops yet? If not, when will you start guiding the goats in your firm so they can learn to do things they would otherwise never be able to do?

***************

For more critical knowledge on goats and goatherds, see this extract from the greatest movie ever made 😉

[Photo Credit: Arnaud 25, Wikimedia]

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Key Trends in Consulting Industry Knowledge Management

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

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

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

[Photo Credit: GovLoop]

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Be Agile Not Fragile #KMWorld

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

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

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

Speakers:

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

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

NOTES:

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

Davenport and Prusak Working Knowledge coverWhat KM books are you re-reading? No, this is not a trick question. You are, of course, keeping up with your professional reading, aren’t you?

If you are, please let us know via the comments below what is on your KM reading list.

If you are not, we need to talk.

When I first began to work in knowledge management, I eagerly sought out as many KM books as I could find and then dutifully read them. They were awful. It’s not that the authors did not have something useful to say. The issue was that I was not ready to listen to them.  In part this was because I did not have the vocabulary to understand what they were saying. However, the bigger problem was that I lacked sufficient experience in KM to appreciate the lessons those authors were trying to teach me. So I slammed those books shut, put them on the shelf to gather dust, and set about to be a knowledge manager.

After a few years of KM work, I noticed an interesting pattern. When I found myself dealing with one challenge or another, I would say to myself, “Surely someone else has encountered this issue and solved it already.” After this happened a few times, it occurred to me that those dusty KM books might contain some insights. So I pulled them down from the bookshelf, blew off the dust, opened the books, started reading, and discovered…answers! Not just answers, but amazingly useful answers.

What changed? I finally had both the vocabulary to understand what the authors were saying AND the experience to appreciate what they were saying.

So now I find myself reading and re-reading KM books, and find the time well-spent.

If you would like to replicate this experience, let me recommend Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know by Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak (affiliate link). Written by two of the early thinkers in KM, this book provides a great introduction to the discipline, as well some useful warnings about the mistakes we make when we do not learn from the experience of others. With the benefit of some KM victories and challenges under my belt, I now find that parts of their book that could have been written for me or for the organizations I have worked with. Here’s an example:

Too often, knowledge transfer has been confined to such concepts as improved access, electronic communication, document repositories, and so forth. We believe it is time for firms to shift their attention to the more human aspects — from access to attention, from velocity to viscosity, from documents to discussions. Obviously, firms need to exploit both the hard and soft aspects of knowledge transfer, but in the Western business culture there are usually too few advocates of the soft stuff. [p. 106]

It took me several months of working in KM to figure this out for myself, yet unbeknownst to me Davenport & Prusak had written about it a couple years before my own epiphany. Think of the pain I could have spared myself if I had only read their book earlier. For this reason, I go back and re-read their book regularly. And I find new gems hidden there every time.

So what KM book or books are you reading? Please share your recommendations in the comments section. You might inspire a colleague and save them a boatload of pain.

[This blog post was inspired by a discussion on the Leonard Lopate show (January 28, 2016) during which Jane Smiley, Philip Lopate, Leonard Lopate and several listeners talked about the books they re-read and the value they obtain from reading those books over and over again. If you are looking for some non-KM reading, I recommend that episode of the show to you.)

 

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The Knowledge Supply Chain #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: The business value of knowledge is to enable the knowledge worker, and support them in making the most effective and efficient decisions. Knowledge is as much a raw material for the knowledge worker as parts and tools are for the manual worker. We can therefore think of KM as being the supply chain for knowledge, providing just-in-time knowledge to support  the front-line knowledge worker. This allows us to take models and insights from other supply chains in order to improve how KM works, including the “elimination of 7 wastes” from Lean Supply Chain theory, and the clear focus on the knowledge user.  Hear about the supply-chain view of KM, its implications, and ways to develop and/or improve a KM Framework.

Speaker: Nick Milton, Director & Founder, Knoco Ltd

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2015 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Slide Deck
  • Peter Drucker.  The biggest management challenge of the 20th century was to increase by fifty times the productivity of manual workers in manufacturing. The biggest management challenge for the 21st century is to increase by fifty times the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge workers.
  • Manual Work Productivity.
    • The manual worker. Nick’s grandfather was a blacksmith, a manual worker, a craftsman.  When he made something, he made every part of it. His workmanship was superb.
    • The manufacturing worker. Management achieved a productivity increase in manual work by moving from the solitary manual worker to the manufacturing worker who made only one part of a finished product. By dividing labor, factories could make products significantly faster.
    • Other causes of increased productivity in manual work:
      • mechanization
      • a ready and available supply of the materials needed to create the product
  • Knowledge Work Productivity.
    • The knowledge craftsman is the expert who knows it all
    • The knowledge worker.  Today, however, the knowledge worker no longer needs to know it all. Knowledge is held collectively by the community and the network. In fact, an expert is almost always outperformed by a network. This is the knowledge work equivalent of improved productivity through the division of labor. However, in this case, it is a division of knowledge.
      • this requires a cultural shift = a fundamental change from knowledge as personal property to knowledge as collective property
        • this is challenging to some people because they believe that knowledge gives them worth and security
    • Automation: The knowledge equivalent of mechanization is automation.
    • Knowledge supply change — if you no longer own/have all the knowledge you need, then you need a reliable supply chain that gives you the knowledge you need when you need it.
  • Lord Browne of Madingly
    • Lord Browne was a former CEO of British Petroleum.
    • In Unleashing the Power of Learning (an interview published in the Harvard Business Review), he stated that if a company wants to gain and keep a competitive edge it must learn better than its competitors and then must apply that knowledge faster and more widely than its competitors do.
    • In the same interview he also stated that anyone who is not directly involved in profit-making activities should be fully occupied in creating and sharing knowledge that the company can use to make a profit.

Knowledge Supply Chain.

A supply chain is “a sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.” A knowledge supply chain is a sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of knowledge. In other words, a knowledge supply chain provides “the right knowledge at the right time to the right people, so they can make the right decisions.”

To have an effective knowledge supply chain, we need the following:

  • We need a set of knowledge processes:
    • Knowledge creation
    • Knowledge capture
    • Knowledge synthesis
    • Knowledge seeking
    • Knowledge application
  • We need the related knowledge roles.
    • Knowledge managers
    • Knowledge engineers
    • Practice owners
    • Knowledge workers
  • We need the supporting technology .
    • Lessons learned management systems
    • Community portals
    • Discussion
    • Knowledge bases
    • Search engine
  • We need Knowledge Management Policy = Governance for this set of processes, roles and technologies.
  • Attributes of good supply chains:
    • They are user-focused (focused on the profit-maker)
    • Everyone in the organization is committed to this system
    • The supply chain must be reliable — when someone seeks knowledge, it should be there
    • The supply of knowledge should be high quality
    • Efficient
    • Pull-driven
    • Lean
  • Lean = a systematic method for the elimination of waste within a manufacturing system, and a focus on value add
    • Waste #1 = overproduction:
      • Info overload
      • Technology complexity overload
      • Producing more than and /or ahead of demand = a massive oversupply of knowledge
      • Davenport & Prusak, Working Knowledge: “Volume is the friend of data and the enemy of knowledge.”
    • Waste #2 = waiting = clock speed = the speed of learning
      • Waste = knowledge that is waiting to be used
      • Huawei has the Rule of 3 Ones:
        • you should be able to find something in one minute
        • you should get an answer to a question in one day
        • you should circulate new project knowledge within one month of the close of the project
      • Read Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto
        • they use checklists to speed learning
    • Waste #3 = unnecessary transport = unnecessary steps or handoffs
      • This usually is the result of too much bureaucracy/hierarchy
      • You can eliminate this by allowing people to connect directly/horizontally with each other
    • Waste #4 = inappropriate processing = doing more work than is necessary
      • When knowledge is in a jumble, everyone who needs that knowledge will need to sift it and sort it every single time. The way to eliminate this form of waste is to sift and sort the content once on behalf of everyone.
    • Waste #5 = unnecessary motion = going to multiple places to get your knowledge
      • Some organizations have too many collaboration tools (e.g., yammer, jive, slack, etc.) — this is waste
      • In some organizations, every division has its own lessons management system
      • Schlumberger has provided only one tool for each knowledge function. They built a successful expertise locator. Later, when they deployed SharePoint, they turned off MySite because they believed it would function as a duplicate expertise locator.
    • Waste #6 = excess inventory
      • A lessons management system is helpful provided it has just enough lessons to cover the work being done. One lesson on an issue is good. Ten lessons may be better. However, 100 or 1000 lessons constitute an oversupply. A knowledge worker will never be able to read and apply all of them.
      • Don’t give users too much — give them just enough. Overproduction constitutes waste.
    • Waste #7 = defects = the cost of wrong knowledge
      • this arises when you fail to clear out of your knowledge systems old or outdated materials
  • Best approach to lessons learned
    • Complete the project or activity
    • Identify, document, store the new lessons learned, best practice, cases
    • Review, validate, take action >> update the practices and training
    • Access the database and apply lessons learned
  • The Knowledge Supply Chain
    • Raw materials = experience
    • Supplier = team members
    • Manufacturing = creation of lessons
    • Distribution = lessons management
    • Assembly plant = improved process
    • Consumer = knowledge re-use and application
  • How to incentivize knowledge seeking and re-use?
    • Make it easy
    • Promote success stories
  •  Questions:
    • If you view your own KM system as a supply chain, where is the waste?
    • How will you eliminate the waste?
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Learn It! Do It! Share It! #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: Knowledge management is in the business of helping organizations learn, use, and remember-the antidote to corporate amnesia. O’Dell shares APQC research aimed at helping organizations get smarter. She talks about the need for speed and ways of accelerating learning-not only for individuals and groups but for organizations themselves. Get KM best practices you can use to nudge people in your organization. Grab O’Dell’s nuggets of information for those who are at the beginning of their KM journey, those who are in the messy middle of their efforts, and those who are operating in mature KM marketplaces. Good tips for all!

Speaker: Dr. Carla O’Dell, CEO, APQC Author, The New Edge in Knowledge

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2015 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • The Velocity Challenge.  Speed of execution has increased, but so has speed of learning.  There are three different speed challenges:
    • getting new employees up to speed quickly
    • helping “Nextperts” learn more rapidly
    • absorbing knowledge, which is growing faster and faster
  • What is driving the need for speed in your organization?
  • People and organizations learn differently.
    • Start by reading How We Learn by Benedict Carey.
    • We can said to have learned something if we can recall it at the appropriate time and put to use.
    • Focus attention and reading does not enhance learning.
    • Space and recall enhances learning. Walk away from the reading and ask yourself what you learned. Then go back and fill in the blanks.
  • People learn better when they realize that something is missing. They learn better when they are trying to solve a problem.  This is when they are most motivated to learn. It is a key teachable moment. That is why Googling at the moment of need is so important. It is a valuable mode of informal learning.
  • Forgetting is the Brain’s Spam Filter.
  • Primacy and Recency Effect. People remember the first thing you tell them and the last thing you tell them. That is why onboarding is so important.
  • People remember how you make them feel more than what you say. Therefore you need to create a rich tapestry of emotion.
  • KM is how organizations learn. Just because I know it doesn’t mean we know it. Therefore, KM is critical to help overcome organizational amnesia.
    • KM can alert people when something has changed in business rules and practices.
  • Avoid dead ends, empty shelves and desert islands. There must be a human being watching to make sure that people get the answers and resources they need. Otherwise, they will never come back.
    • Desert Islands = expertise location. People don’t want to be alone, they want an expert to help them.
  • What does it mean to say that the group has learned something?
    • The power of a group is the power of the collective. As long as there is trust in the group, members are assured that if one person knows it, everyone knows (or can know) it.
  • Communities are KM’s killer app. My allegiance to this voluntary group makes me willing to contribute and learn. According to MIT, the most productive and creative groups do two things:
    • the members of the group seek new ideas outside the group and bring them in
    • inside the group, they vet the new ideas and use them to improve their own ideas and work
  • What is the best way to learn?
    • The people approaches to learning make the system approaches work. In-person or virtual training, mentoring/apprenticeship are far more effective than remote efforts such as content management and document repositories.
    • The technology matters, but what matters more is the change management processes we use to help with technology adoption.
  • Making the Business Case for KM
    • see www.apqc.org for information on their maturity model
    • There is a correlation between KM maturity and financial performance. As KM maturity increase, the financial performance increases (in terms of sales and assets).
    • When making a KM business case, it is important to explain clearly what the payoff for the organization will be. You will be 3 times more likely to get a KM budget and 5 times more likely to expand it.
  • Why conduct financial analysis and documentation of benefit to show the value of KM investments? It secures and expands the budget, you get senior leadership support, it gives you traction to grown the KM program.
  • Cognitive computing and machine learning are on the horizon for KM.  What will this look like for us in the near future?
    • We are on the Gartner hype curve, so expect lots of expensive failures until we learn how to use these tools.
    • We will be able to give better and more customized search results.
    • With narrative tools, machines will be able to write up our lessons learned. (See NarrativeSciences.)
  • If we in KM do not get ahead of the cognitive computing curve, things could end badly for KMers. (Spoiler alert: the computer almost never loses.)
    • “Not since ‘2001 : A space odyssey’ have things ended badly for the computer.”
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