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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Stan Garfield: 16 KM Myths Debunked #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: Join our breakfast tutorial led by longtime KM practitioner Stan Garfield, who discusses 16 views of KM that are widely held but not necessarily supported by practice. He debunks these myths and shares research to support the misconceptions.

Speaker: Stan Garfield, Community Evangelist, Global Knowledge Services, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited; Author, Implementing a Successful KM Programme; Founder, SIKM Leaders Community

[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:

  • Download Stan Garfield’s Slides
  • Push.  Believers in Push say if only we publicize it, promote it, shove it into someone’s email inbox, they will participate in and use KM. The problem is that we all have learned to ignore this noise. It is far better to create Pull — demand — for the things you are offering. Make it appealing, make it easy to consume.
  • Someone else will do it.
    • This occurs when leaders initiate a KM project and then leave.  You also see this when leaders delegate participation in KM to someone else — asking someone else to fill in their profiles, write their blog posts, etc.
    • When KM professionals do not use their tools themselves.
    • When organizations benchmark their competitors in order to determine their own KM priorities and actions.
    • The misplaced belief that the KM systems will work perfectly without my contribution or my leadership. If you won’t supply the necessary content, how can you expect someone else to?
  • KM is Dead. Or it’s on life support. Or it’s irrelevant.
    • Even Tom Davenport wrote a recent article on this — proclaiming the death of the child he helped create.
    • Whether we call what we do KM, the need for what we do will never go away.
    • What is dead? Focusing on collections and document repositories, tracking intranet activity metrics.
    • The name, knowledge management, is often derided. Worrying about whether it’s a good name or not is a waste of time — it’s better to learn how to do the work better.
  • Incentives don’t work. Stan believes that well-designed incentives do work. While people will always be tempted to game the system, relatively few actually do.
    • The key thing is to signal the importance of the effort.
    • Incentives work well at IBM and Accenture.
  • Roll it out and drive adoption.
    • This approach focuses too much on a tool or function. “Rolling out” SharePoint doesn’t explain why or what it is for. Telling people to collaborate more is an equally open-ended and vague direction. People cannot act on this.
  • Social is frivolous.
    • People do not often use social tools to post nonsense (e.g., what I ate for breakfast).
    • If employees are being criticized for “wasting time” on social tools, you need to educate everyone regarding why these tools make sense and how they benefit the organization.
  • Don’t Control.
    • There are a variety of views on whether it is wise to control communities online.
    • In Stan’s experience, it is better to limit the number of communities. This makes it easier for the user to find their group. It also increases the chance of building critical mass.
    • This is not about top-down control, it’s about respecting your user and their time.
  • Eliminate Risk. This arises in security-conscious organizations. It is often expressed in the form of shutting down internal social tools or blocking access to external social tools.
    • It’s actually better to enable sharing in a common place where inappropriate sharing can be observed and corrected.
    • If the sharing is happening outside a common shared space, the organization will never know about inappropriate until it is too late.
    • Focus on educating people on appropriate sharing.
    • Hire well and then trust your colleagues more.
  • Be like Google and Amazon.
    • Google and Amazon functionality work best at scale. Most organizations do not have that scale.
    • Asking people to rate content is challenging. It is better to ask simpler questions.
      • Did you find this content helpful?
      • Are you likely to recommend this content?
      • Do you like this content?
  • We need our own. Often people ask for their own online community for comfort or convenience reasons. However, often they do not really need their own and would derive greater benefits from joining a larger group. Encourage them to join the larger group (perhaps as co-leaders) and bring their energy  into that larger group.
    • Beware of the narrow niche — where people are asking for a community/tool for a very narrow need. It is better to work in a larger space with a larger group.
    • If you do not achieve critical mass in a community, it is unlikely to be active.
    • According to Lee Romero’s research, an online community needs at least 200 members before it will be truly active.
  • I don’t have time. This implies that learning is not as important as more mundane tasks.
  • We should work ourselves out of a job. After all, knowledge management is everyone’s job so we should not need a separate KM department. What about finance? Is that everyone’s job? It is naive to believe that people will be able to lead and shepherd KM — this requires specialists.
    • Stan suggests a KM team that includes, at a minimum, someone to focus on people, someone to focus on process and someone to focus on technology.
  • Bigger is Better.
    • The larger the team, the greater the time required for administration and management.
    • More is not better. Google proved that simpler was better.
    • The exception to this rule is: the more active members of a community the better.
  • Make People Do It. It is better to work with volunteers rather than conscripts. If we make people do it,  the will comply — but only to the minimum extent possible.
  • Everything is a community. For Stan, a community is a volunteer group you choose to join because you  want to get something done. It is not an assignment based on a common trait — e.g., gender, ethnicity, etc.
  • Our IP will be stolen. Some companies say that specific content must be locked down or else another part of the company might use that content in the wrong way. Sometimes this is driven by risk concerns. Sometimes this is driven by a fear of internal competition.
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Learning from Federal CKOs #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: A panel of chief knowledge officers from federal agencies discuss key aspects of KM in the federal space. Topics include starting a KM program; quick wins; institutionalizing and sustaining KM; skills needed in the central KM organization; effective KM, HR, and IT partnerships; and KM as a driver of employee engagement.

Speakers:

Turo Dexter, Knowledge Management Officer, US DOT / Federal Transit Administration
Dr. Susan Camarena, Chief Knowledge and Learning Officer, Federal Transit Administration
David Oberhettinger, Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
William Balko, Chief Knowledge Officer, Defense Information Systems Agency

[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:

  • Related Slide Decks:
  • How to begin a KM program.
    • You need an effective executive champion
    • Know your message — be able to explain succinctly what you are doing
    • Be a people connector
    • Start by finding ways to share critical information — a good place to begin is capturing and sharing lessons learned
  • Institutionalizing and Sustaining KM
    • house the KM function in the frontline operation, not IT
      • this gives the KM function credibility and access to frontline information/people
    • recognize pre-existing KM-ish activities — [if possible, build on them]
    • publicize success stories
    • track agreed measures of KM program maturity
  • Success relies on.
    • strategic alignment
    • user involvement and acceptance
    • improved effectiveness
    • information sharing and visibility
    • active and effective sales effort to market the KM effort
  • How to expedite learning?
    • have people shadow each other — this gives them a new perspective on the people and their work
    • create collaborate work spaces where people with different expertise work together for a time
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Pinterest for the Enterprise? #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: Thousands of search results—page after page of ugly SharePoint link farms … Enterprise workers still face the persistent problem of finding what they need in the “fire hose” of content. People are asking less for “the kitchen sink” and more for the very best, hand-picked (curated) content, but that takes work, and traditional content management approaches don’t seem to be enough. Social bookmarking has failed to take hold in the enterprise. But can we learn from newer iterations like Pinterest? Can a consumer technology designed for things like food or photography translate to the enterprise? Can we tap into the crowd to collectively curate the best content? Hsu focuses on a next generation capability, called “collections,” inspired by Pinterest and Flipboard but tailored for the enterprise, that is changing the way people capture and share great content at Accenture. The goal is to make it easy for anyone to collect and present content in a manner that’s as engaging as Pinterest. Content management has never been so exciting!

Speakers:

Thomas Hsu, Social Collaboration Strategist, Accenture
Steve Berzins, Social Learning Infrastructure Lead, Accenture

[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:

  • What problem were they trying to solve?
    • People spend a lot of time on the internet bookmarking interesting content — but how to share this?
    • Good content is very hard to find
    • Good content hides in a variety of places: in heads, in repositories, on the web
  • How does Collections help?.
    • crowdsourced curation
    • easy administration
    • easy on the eyes
  • How does it work?
    • it is attractive and highly visual
    • it can be privately curated or officially sanctioned
    • you can follow a collection and see who else is following it
    • once you follow, you’ll get an alert when something new is added or when someone else comments on it
    • you can comment on the stream or on individual items
    • it is mobile optimized (responsive design)
    • it is indexed to provide collections at the top of the search results
    • they made it easy to embed a collection in another site — for example, in a practice group’s SharePoint site
    • they provide online social support for the collections tool
    • when you update the collection, every instance of the collection is updated — no matter where it is embedded
  • How to create a collection.
    • go to the Collections home page to download the bookmarklet (similar to Delicious, Evernote, etc.)
    • when you see good content online, click on the bookmarklet to import the content
    • the bookmarklet dialog box enables user tagging
  • Administration Tools
    • a spreadsheet-like web form that will allow the admin to batch import content by adding urls to the form.
      • this automatically generates the thumbnails for this content
    • Now, instead of editing the SharePoint site, they can edit in Collections and be assured that the updates will flow through to every place where the collection is embedded in SharePoint.
    • You can mass edit to the content — change titles, tags, etc.
    • You can reorder items through drag and drop
    • They share content as a whole collection or as a filtered sub-collection
    • Permissions are active directory based — the content can be kept private, made available to active directory groups, provided on an editable or read-only basis. Permissions respect internal security.
    • They are about to release a dashboard with Tableau-like, highly visual view of the metrics they track.
  • Governance
    • If a collection is empty for a period of time, they make it private
    • If a collection contains problematic content, the owner of the collection is asked to take it down
  • Next Steps.
    • They would like to provide recommendations based on user behavior.
    • They will upgrade from importing only one image from the site to importing all available images so the user can choose.
  • Use Cases.
    • The Essentials
      • sales and/or delivery essentials
      • on boarding — key resources for new people
      • useful content for personal or professional use
    • The List
      • a list of people
      • a list of clients
      • a list of vendors or technologies
    • The Newsletter
      • the best new content
      • external news articles
      • repository of past communications
    • The Event
      • key materials from a conference, workshop, webinar
  • Usage. The net promoter score of Collections is 67. The net promoter score of the iPhone is 63.
    • 95% of respondents said that Collections added good or excellent value
    • it is highly used by Accenture executives
  • See the presenters’ own explanation of Collections.
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Measuring the Value of Social Tech #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: When it comes to enterprise social, it’s all about the business case. Whether your initiative is just getting started or relatively mature, sustained adoption and ongoing support depend on demonstrating clear business value. This session showcases an approach and practical examples you can use to model your business case and ensure that your investment in enterprise social creates an open, agile, and networked organization. Take away ideas you can apply immediately in any social technology platform.

Speaker: Euan Semple, Director, Euan Semple 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
  • Numbers.  How do you establish the value or ROI of social tools? The numbers may be interesting, but they do not always tell the full story. Unfortunately, numbers  are relatively easy to gather and are, therefore, sometimes all organizations track.
  • Monitoring. The better approach is to actually get into the social activity streams yourself and then monitor them. What’s happening? What patterns emerge? What does this tell you about the impact of the social tools? Euan actually subscribed to every community/activity stream in his enterprise social network (ESN). Over time he became more proficient and efficient at following the conversations. This helped him understand what was really going on in a way the numbers simply could not reveal.
  • What to report?  At the beginning, don’t set up the wrong expectations based on the numbers you offer to report. Remember that you are interpreting and communicating the data to people who do not always understand the tools, the context, and the nature of the activity that happens on the social platform. Even if you grasp the data, you won’t really be able to do anything with it unless you are truly a part of that activity.
  • “If you can measure it, it is probably not worth managing.”  Too often people/organizations get obsessed with their numbers and then allow those numbers to distort their behavior:
    • “Everyone from BuzzFeed to the Washington Post seems to be chasing after viral content because of the traffic it brings — but all this does is reinforce how doomed the page-view model really is.”
  • What should you monitor?  Treat your ESN as an ecology rather than a mechanical system. As you monitor activity, track where the energy is. Then deploy tools that help you follow and amplify that energy. What should you look for?
    • Who is using the ESN?
    • What are they doing with it?
    • Where are they using it from?
    • How often are they using it?
    • What are the reactions?
  • Thanks. The most important metric is the extent to which the system is actually helping people. To show this, Euan did a monthly search for the word “thanks.” Next he dug deeper to identify what help was provided and how that help made a difference. Then he told stories that explained the impact. A member of the audience reported that they have introduced simple hashtagging so contributors can tag success stories as #forthewin. Then the KM group can track that hashtag to collect the success stories.
  • How to report the ESN activities? While there may be pressure to report numbers, try to keep the focus on stories that matter in the context of the person enquiring about value.
  • The biggest value of an ESN? Often the biggest value of an ESN to an organization is that is shows what actually is happening inside the organization. Admittedly, sometimes uncovering this pushes the organization to a dark place. However, it is necessary if we want to manage and improve the organization’s performance.
  • Senior Sponsorship? Euan was lucky that he had sufficient network clout to move (several times) to a new sponsor who could provide the support necessary for the ESN initiative. His advice is to find a new boss and move if you need something your current boss cannot provide.
  • Reverse ROI. Euan pushes back on ROI inquiries. In his view, the social business activity is happening, so we should go with the flow rather than using ROI inquiries as a means of stopping the activity. He asks the inquirer to provide the cost of ignoring or disallowing ESN activity.
  • Fix Problems. Makes things concrete, not abstract. Find ways to fix problems for real people.
  • Work Horizontally. If you cannot go upwards, go horizontally. If you cannot get support from above, pull in people at your own level across the organization who can become involved, become persuaded, and then become part of the success story of the ESN.
  • Use the tools to manage and report on the tools. Try working out loud to surface things that may be challenges in the network. If you see tension or problems, work out loud by asking the network what is going on and what to do about it.
  • Good networks self-heal. It’s important to revert back to the network any issues, queries or concerns. Then let the network address it. This is important for its health and growth.
  • Get used to being misunderstood and under-appreciated.
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Sparking Innovation: Cognitive Computing & KM #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description: Agility, speed and flexibility are key requirements for organizations today.  Enterprises need a new approach to handling, analyzing, and acting on complex information—as it arrives.  Feldman, a long-time technology analyst discusses a new approach to knowledge management that addresses the complex problems enterprises face today.  She considers the impact of cognitive computing on the IT industry and how it will affect our jobs and our lives. She raises issues and possible impacts for those in the search, discovery, content management and knowledge management areas, and demonstrates why KM professionals are uniquely well suited to understanding and using these new technologies.  She’ll end by giving us a glimpse of a future fueled by cognitive computing.

Speakers: Susan E. Feldman, CEO, Synthexis Cognitive Computing Consortium

[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:

  • Ingredients of Innovation: 
    • Problem or research direction
    • Opportunity
    • Cross-fertilization
    • Colleagues
    • Passion
    • Open Mind
    • Curiousity
    • Opportunity
    • Accident
    • Serendipity
  • What is Innovation?
    • A new idea, practice or object
    • rarely entirely novel — this is one reason why knowledge management can be so helpful for innovation
    • most successful innovation occurs at the boundaries between subjects or organizations
    • group, rather than individual effort — developers, users, partners, colleagues
    • tends to occur at lower levels of an organization — top-down innovation is rare
    • may disrupt industries or companies
    • risky and rewarding
  • Business Case for Supporting Innovation.
    • successful innovation drives growth in the economy
    • increases company revenue, especially when you are first to market
    • facilitates market dominance
    • helps a company attract and keep customers — it builds customer loyalty and market buzz
    • helps you avoid being disrupted — you stay competitive and expand into new markets
    • it helps create a fertile envionrment for R&D
  • The Innovation Process.  This process requires flexibility and time. It cannot be too tightly managed because that strict management will constrain creativity.
    • Engage in open discussions, wide reading, input from colleagues, customers, partners — all of this leads to a growing awareness of a need
    • define the problem
    • eliminate common, prosaic ideas
    • simmer — put it on the back burner and let it develop further
    • explore broadly
    • filter, winnow, focus
    • rethink, iterate, start from the top again
    • develop
  • Standard view of the innovation process. This is only half the process because the standard view presents innovation as a linear process. However, thinking is not always linear. Here is the standard linear view:
    • define problem
    • research
    • develop
    • commercialize
  • The iterative Innovation Process. By contrast to the standard view of the innovation process, the iterative innovation process is not a linear process. It looks more like spaghetti.
    • it involves lots of conversation, reading
    • it involves iterating, backtracking, pivoting
  • The Role of Information Access and Analysis Tools. We have tools that are pretty good at finding things we have and things we know. However, innovation requires that we get better at discovering what we do not know. Therefore, our tools need to help us
    • improve exploration and discovery
    • introduce related information without drowning us in superfluous information
    • improve and/or eliminate queries, then help the user frame the question broadly
    • discover unexpected relationships
    • search on a concept level rather than by keywords
    • unite multiple sources of information, including some you may not know
    • collect and share
    • enable information and people interaction in one application
    • save time
  • Cognitive systems are key for serendipitous exploration. Cognitive computing makes a new class of problem computable. This new class of problem:
    • is ambiguous, unpredictable
    • involves conflicting data
    • requires exploration, not searching
    • depends on uncovering patterns and surprises
    • involves shifting situation, goals, information
    • requires best answers that change based on context
    • requires problem solving that goes beyond mere information gathering
  • Context is a differentiator. Every problem may surface in completely different contexts that lead to completely different answers. Cognitive computing is best at addressing these different contexts.
  • Cognitive computing is...
    • meaning-based
    • probabilistic — you get several likely answers rather than just the ONE answer
    • iterative and conversational
    • interactive
    • contextual
    • learns and adapts based on interactions, new information, users
    • it has a big data knowledge base – multiple sources, formats
    • analytics
    • highly integrated set of technologies
  • What cognitive systems do:
    • analyze BIG data
    • understand human language on multiple levels
    • analyse and merge all formats and sources of information
    • uncover relationships across contexts
    • understand and filter content and context
    • find patterns and uncover surprises
  • Examples of cognitive computing at work:
    • Are there new drugs that might be MORE effective for controlling diabetes?
    • Who is funding this terrorist organization and how are the funds delivered? Is this organization a threat?
    • Can I identify the MOST RISKY product or customer problems before they blindside our company?
    • Which company will be the MOST PROMISING M&A target?
  • What cognitive computing is NOT
    • just big data or AI
    • robotics
    • drones
    • humanoids
    • entirely autonomous
    • the singularity
    • a human replacement
  • Cognitive system:
    • start with a question
    • analyze the question — define the kind of question it is and what kind of answer might be required.
    • enable exploring by expanding the problem statement and generating a variety of hypotheses
    • the orchestration element of cognitive computing determines the best way of answering particular type of question — this matches the likely answers to the most appropriate context
    • the cognitive processor is analogous to an index — it matches concepts, it provides confidence algorithms
    • the outcome is the dataset, which is then put through a series of filters
      • who, what, why and when?
      • who else has asked this question?
      • in what context?
    • sent the filtered results to the exploration loop = a set of tools that help visualize and analyze the information
  • Cognitive computing requires a large array of tools — this is necessary because, in many ways, it is trying to replicate the extraordinary ability of the human brain such as
    • facial and feature recognition
    • speech recognition
    • interactive voice response
    • content intelligence
    • about 20 more tools!
  • Barriers to Innovation
    • lack of organizational support
    • party line thinking
    • no time to think
    • too-rigid innovation systems
    • lack of encouragement of innovation
    • too much information
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Taking an Agile Approach to the Digital Workplace #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:  Organizations are looking beyond a sea of separated systems, with the goal of delivering a seamless digital workplace for staff. This brings together intranets, social and collaboration tools and business systems to provide radically better workforce solutions. While the vision is becoming increasingly clear, the question remains: How to get there from here? Robertson explores how to take an agile approach to delivering the full vision, sharing real-world examples from leaders and innovators.

Speaker: James Robertson, Founder, Step Two

[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:

  • Three Key Elements of the Digital Workplace.  The hard part is not defining the digital workplace. The hard part is planning (and taking) the journey from where we are to the digital workplace of the future. To take this journey, we need to address three key elements:
    • Technology
    • Business – how we work in the new way that meshes with and supports the digital workplace
    • Design — use design as the “force multiplier” of the digital workplace
  • Coles Case Study. Coles is a large retailer in Australia that had a significant number of employees who were not connected digitally. They did not set out to deliver an intranet, but they did that. They did not set out to deliver Office 365, but they did that as well. The project was owned by the Staff Engagement team. Although the initiative was entirely voluntary, they achieved 100% adoption within the first month.
    • Their approach: they adopted an agile approach that they called Walk, Run, Jump. This means they had a lot of smaller subordinate work streams
  • Robin Partington Case Study. This is an architectural firm that moved to a digital workplace by aggregating a series of small, well-executed projects. The workforce was highly visual and had great design expertise. So these projects are attractive and well-designed. They built this digital workplace from the beginning of the firm. Each piece was built at the point of need and seamlessly integrated into the pre-existing resources. Best of all, they spent a relatively small amount (100 pounds sterling). [James Robertson put this in context by saying that other organizations spend at least this much on a month or two of SharePoint developers and consultants!]
    • their approach was to deliver small solutions deployed an incremental way
    • the challenge is to keep a firm view on the big picture throughout this iterative process
    • part of keeping the big picture in mind includes careful data architecture that is coherent
  • Telstra Case Study. When they created a new HR intranet presence, their goal was to reduce significantly the number of requests for help with HR information and processes. Part of the secret of their success (i.e., significant reduction in help requests)
  • Technology.
    • Take an agile approach — IT is familiar with this and can be a great partner in your efforts.
    • Use the intranet as the test bed for delivering high-value incremental improvements. In other words, test on staff before you try something new with your customer-facing site.
    • Prophet case study: they are constantly looking at what is in the consumer world and then trying to bring the best of the innovations back into their intranet. For example, they have taken the best of the Pinterest and crafting it to fit the work needs and work flow of the organization.
  • Business.
    • Get out from behind your desk/computer to find out how the organization really works.
    • Use true field research to understand how the business operates and how staff work.
    • Prestige Financial case study: they used SharePoint 2013 search to dramatically improve their business processes.
  • Design.
    • Build a strong internal design capability within the digital workplace team.
    • This means usability and information architecture expertise.
    • Commonwealth Bank case study: they have customer experience teams that have completed redesigned how the bank interacts with its customers. They have changed everything from the layout of physical bank branches to the  client-facing mobile applications. This is the ultimate in customer-centered design. (If stodgy, conservative, risk-averse banks can to it, so can the rest of us.)
  • Lessons Learned.
    • Quick wins are not good enough. Low-hanging fruit are not good enough. Instead, focus on small projects that you can deliver rapidly and iterate PROVIDED that they keep moving you towards your ultimate goal AND generate momentum to carry you towards that ultimate goal.
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Integrating KM into Practice Management #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: The Evolution of Practice Innovation:
Are We Successfully Integrating and Embedding KM within Practice Management Systems?
Law firms continue to re-examine traditional approaches to the practice of law, and along the way many have implemented a wide range of changes that enable firms to deliver client services more efficiently. These innovations touch virtually every aspect of our practice and the way our firms are run. Clearly, KM has not been left behind or subsumed into other support functions. However KM must continue to evolve in step with demands that are reshaping the business of law and redefining service delivery models. This discussion will seek to characterize the foundation of a true practice management platform, as well as the ever- changing issues and challenges that KM is trying to navigate. Is KM the cornerstone of a “post-silo” law firm strategy? Or is practice innovation squarely focused on “Business Intelligence” and financial data points, while missing the context in which KM solutions can be deployed?

Speakers:

Toby Brown, Chief Practice Officer, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Keith Lipman, President, Prosperoware

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  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 practice management? Managing matters to achieve client satisfaction and firm profitability.
  • What is the goal? Revenue and Profits!!!  How do we do this? By lowering the cost of delivering services to clients. The answer is not just buying cheaper pencils. It means you need to push work down to the lowest-cost resource within the firm. You need become more efficient in the way you work.
  • What’s the strategy?
    • Few law firm partners are empowered to understand their own contribution to revenue and profits.
    • Far too many law firm partners experience “pro forma surprise.” They do not really know what their matters have generated in terms of maximum billable suntil they see the pro forma. If their team has not billed as much as expected, then their maximum billables are down.
    • You need to know your firm’s profit margin. And you need a clear methodology for achieving that profit margin. Profit measure must be clear, simple and understandably
  • State of the Legal Market: Hyper-competition and flat demand. Corporate Counsel have bigger budgets, but not spending on law firms.
    • Now outside counsel are just a vendor to be handled by the client’s procurement office. In Toby Brown’s words, we are just another toilet paper vendor. This leads to more RFP processes to try to standardize the process for purchasing legal services.
    • Corporate legal departments are growing. They are both controlling the spend and spending differently. In fact, they are moving legal work in-house.
  • How can KM Participate?
    • To quote Kingsley Martin, think about every KM project and ask how far from the bottom line.
    • Consider yourself the provider of “Knowledge Services” rather than a “knowledge manager.”
    • Help lawyers see that increasing their own mastery of KM tools will help them become more efficient.
    • An obvious place for KM concerns “the numbers.” This means providing information and context for numbers such as the cost of a matter: what goes into that cost, what are the variables, etc?
    • Toby estimates that only 10% of law firms actually measure true profitability rather than some proxy for profitability. When the audience was polled, most did not know if their own firms actually measured true profitability rather than some proxy for profitability.
    • Become the best friend of the pricing person in your firm. They will know where the pain points are and which partner is really in pain.
    • There is a great opportunity for KM to help manage outside counsel guidelines and then track performance against those guidelines. At a minimum, read these guidelines to get an early look at emerging trends (e.g., clients are less willing to pay for online legal research).
  • 2016 is going to be really hard
    • The M&A cycle is coming to an end.
    • There is no major litigation wave on the horizon
    • The prospect of significant bankruptcy work is poor.
  • KM needs to be front and center in making 2016 more tolerable (and even successful) for law firms.
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Build a “KM Rapid Response Team” #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: Firm Mergers – How to Build a “KM Rapid Response Team”

When key groups join law firms, or when firm mergers occur, KM is often left standing on the sidelines. Finance, IT, Records, (etc) all spring into action—but what about Knowledge Management? Shouldn’t KM really be the ‘keeper of the playbook’ and able to ‘prep a program’ that can be triggered on a moment’s notice (see: cross-office training and team-building, professional development, experience capture and dissemination, systems integration, exposure of laterals to firm expertise and leadership)? This discussion will explore how firms can leverage KM to support rapid change initiatives in relation to mergers and acqui- sitions. How does a firm’s value proposition change following a merger? And who’s job is it to disseminate, redefine, and characterize the breadth of expertise at the firm? What tools and methodologies can be employed to help integrate new practices and/or resources—while maintaining a common sense of identity or culture?

Speakers:

Silvia LeBlanc, Director of Knowledge Management, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Vishal Agnihotri, Chief Knowledge Officer, Akerman LLP
Ginevra Saylor, National Director, Knowledge Management, Dentons Canada LLP

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  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:

  • KM has the benefit of broader perspective.  KM tends to operate across silos. It works with a variety of people and functions within the firm. This gives KM professionals diverse knowledge and the ability to connect the dots. This also makes KM the perfect group to create the law firm merger playbook or new hire onboarding resources.
  • Why involve KM? When the firm is in merger mode, the firm will call in marketing, finance, etc. They don’t think to call in KM. However, the KM department is one of the support functions that thinks about business problems the same way
  • Communication. Marketing is extremely good at external communication. KM needs to be just as good at internal communications. Focus on the concerns and anxieties of the people who are on the receiving end of change. If the people in the firm are unhappy or anxious, they cannot deliver great service to clients.
  • Getting a seat at the table.  Bully your way to a seat at the table. Then justify your place at the table by solving problems and getting things done.
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KM’s Role in Leading Innovation & Managing Change in Law Firms #ArkKM

Session Title and Description: KM’s Role in Leading Innovation & Managing Change in Law Firms

Innovation and change management are processes, not projects. And in today’s law firm setting, there is demand for both but great sensitivity around how much change the organization can endure at one time. This next case study will explore the theory and process behind successful innovation as well as how to make change stick—transforming best intentions into best practices—sharing examples concerning the role of KM in innovation and change projects at White & Case.

Speakers:

Alicia Hardy, Director of Professional Support, White & Case (UK) Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case

[These are my notes from the 2015 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  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:

  • How they innovate.
    • Innovation is about accelerating the cycle at which small experiments fail.
    • Turning successes into processes by normalizing them and then scaling them up for wider adoption across the firm.
  • Innovation in law firms is hard.
    • Innovation is often the result of a big crisis. However Big Law does not feel that it is in crisis. So the drive to innovate diminishes.
    • Lawyers and law firms are risk averse.
    • Lawyers and law firms are not tolerant of failure.
  • KM should become the R&D function inside law firms.
  • Managing Change.
    • Focus on the emotional and psychological reactions. A tone-deaf approach to change management will amplify natural human emotions of fear and anxiety.
    • Be aware of dangerous assumptions such as one way is better than another.
    • The stages of acceptance of change are not dissimilar to those in Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ study of the five stages of death and grieving. So be aware of this inevitable journey for every one of your internal clients when you propose a change in the way they work.
  • Kotter’s 8 steps to change
    • (See the wikipedia summary)
    • the burning platform = a sense of urgency
    • pull together the guiding team
    • develop a shared vision and strategy for the proposed change
    • plan at the very beginning for good communication to enable understanding and buy in
    • empower others to act
    • produce short-term wins
    • don’t let up — persistence pays
    • create a new culture — this is about anchoring the new way of being/behaving so people cannot backside
  • Lessons from case studies.
    • Communication is key. People will resist that which they do not understand.
    • Be flexible. Your original plan will  inevitably have to be adapted to special or local conditions. Be open to this — within reason.
    • There is no change without casualties. So be strategic when you pick your casualties (i.e., when you decide who will pay the price for change).
    • When there is real risk attached to project, create a cushion. For example, when you are making dramatic change to the work environment (e.g.,  the DMS), allow people to work in either the new version of the DMS or the old version for a transition period.
    • Because people do not read email, they tried alternative forms of communication. Their most successful method of communication turned out to be sending everyone a postcard.
  • Conclusions:
    • Understand the problem.
    • Adapt the solution to fit your firm.
    • Have a plan, but be prepared to change if..
    • Communication is key. Communicate and promote at every opportunity.
    • Prepare to play the long game. Then everything is possible!
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