Rebooting KM with Purposeful Collaboration #ArkKM

Title: Rebooting KM with Purposeful Collaboration, Silo-Busters, and Ambient Knowledge

Speaker: Stuart Barr, Chief Strategy Office, HighQ

Session Description: Traditional KM has focused on accumulating and organizing knowledge that you know people need and trying to make sure it’s available when they need it. But what about what is known but not documented? Or the knowledge trapped in silos that are completely unstructured and inaccessible? In this session, Stuart Barr will explore how to break down traditional barriers to knowledge sharing, capture knowledge as people get their work done and automate knowledge extraction to drive new insight from your historical data.

[These are my notes from the 2016 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:

  • Traditional Approaches to KM
    • Collecting knowledge
    • Connecting that knowledge to people
    • Tying that knowledge to the organization’s productivity systems
    • Automating knowledge systems
  • Challenges to Traditional Approaches to KM
    • They usually are manual processes
    • They are siloed — both the repositories are siloed and the processes are siloed
    • They often are concentrated on “known knowns” — mainly the obvious knowledge is “hunted down and captured.”
    • People are not always motivated to contribute
    • You need to connect the knowledge to people more effectively
      • connect with experts
      • enable people so they can ask their questions in the open — this openness spreads knowledge and emboldens people to ask the questions they might have been afraid of asking.
    • We are stuck in very old ways of work = Ineffective Collaboration
      • Email is a massive “Black Hole” of knowledge. It is where knowledge goes to die.
      • Most firms have not found a way to collaborate. They do not realize that email was not designed for true collaboration.
  • Why is Social Collaboration Useful?
    • Assuming it is implemented correctly, it can provide a “peripheral vision” or “ambient awareness” of what is happening within an organization. This makes a knowledge worker much more plugged in and effective.
    • It provides passive access to information (e.g., the activity stream, group conversations, etc.)
    • It also enables active collaboration (e.g., shared workspaces)
    • It helps people share information actively, for example, by @ mentioning someone to draw their attention to an issue or to specific content.
  • Digital Transformation can drive KM. That said, KM should be at the heart of your digital transformation strategy. When done properly, digital transformation changes the way people connect, communicate and work.
  • What comes next?
    • Analyzing the data that are captured through your knowledge tools and social collaboration tools.
    • Coupled with machine learning, you can understand what content is important. In fact, you could provide digital assistants that can help knowledge workers find the content they need.
  • Conclusion
    • We need to keep doing traditional KM
    • But we also need to use more social ways of
    • We need to connect our systems of record to our systems of engagement
    • Collect and analyze the data about our work behaviors so we can make our systems and processes better
    • Use machine learning & AI to take these insights and enable digital assistance at the point of need
  • Audience Discussion:
    • How social collaboration helps strengthen law firm information security:
      • Meredith Williams (CKO, Baker Donnelson) noted that phishing is one of the biggest information security vulnerabilities for law firms. Often the dangerous emails masquerade as internal emails. (She estimated that 20% of emails are purely internal.) If you move those internal conversations into a social platform, you reduce the number of emails that can be used for phishing schemes.
Share

Your Clients Want Trilingual Services

foreign dictionaries - guidebooks-1425706-1600x1200Law firms are like professional sports teams in one critical respect: they pay a premium for top talent. Until now, that premium has gone to new graduates with the best grades and lateral lawyers with the best books of business.  Unfortunately, this overly narrow view of talent has been a costly mistake. Instead of focusing on academic pedigree or client numbers alone, firms should be focusing on a specific capability: being trilingual.

While speaking a variety of languages is life enriching, SmartLaw* has clear business reasons for requiring its personnel to speak three specific languages:

  • Law
  • Client
  • Technology

A command of the language of law is the one capability for which law firms have always hired. This one is obvious if you actually want to deliver legal services. However, speaking “legal” is not enough. It equips you to create legal services, but it does not help you do so cost-effectively or in a way that actually connects with clients. That’s where the other two languages come into play.

Speaking “client” means the ability to hear what your client is telling you and to interpret those words from the perspective of that client rather than merely from the perspective of that client’s outside counsel. This empathetic knowledge goes way beyond Google Translate (if, in fact, Google Translate could handle it!) to a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations behind the words. This is a language you learn best by being the client or by walking in the client’s shoes for many miles.

Speaking “technology” means more than just operating digitally. It means understanding the array and logic of the digital resources available. It means an openness to rethinking the way you work so that you can take advantage of the rich possibilities of those digital resources. And, above all, it means being willing to create safe-fail experiments that allow you to try new things as you explore novel ways of working. Without this willingness to experiment, you can never improve and you most certainly will not speak technology well.

It should go without saying that this trilingual capacity is not a requirement limited to lawyers. In a SmartLaw firm, all personnel will be trilingual and respected for it. When everyone in the firm has native ability in these three languages, then your firm is ready for the future of legal services.

*This post is excerpted from HighQ’s ebook: SmartLaw: Expert insights for the future of lawDownload the whole ebook here.

[My thanks to Rick Krzyminski and Richard Robbins for the conversation that led to this article.]

[Photo Credit: Dog Madic]

Share