Carla O’Dell Keynote: Transforming the Way We Collaborate #KMWorld

KMWorld 2013Speaker: Carla O’Dell, CEO, APQC Author, The New Edge in Knowledge

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2013 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

Session Description: External forces are transforming how knowledge managers formulate strategies and value propositions for their programs. New technologies and disciplines are constantly influencing the portfolio, use, and value of available KM approaches. Based on 20 years of KM leadership by APQC, O’Dell discusses how to harness these forces while also dealing with the consumerization of IT, how and when to apply social media tools to collaborative work, and how to use analytics to set the KM agenda.


  •  KM Needs to Start with Business Needs
  • Why KM Exists
    • We need to find experts and expertise
    • We can’t find the knowledge we need
    • We are not transferring best practices
    • We are not using lessons learned
    • We work in silos: we don’t know what the organization knows
  • There is a pressure to Accelerate
    • Be more like Google and Facebook
    • Turn “next-perts” into experts faster: reduce time not competency
    • Sync with competency frameworks (see convergence of learning, talent management and KM)
    • Don’t pull employees away from their jobs
    • Less face to face knowledge transfer
  • Trends that are transforming the way we collaborate
    • The Consumerization of IT: people want to bring the great functionality they experience on the web into their organizations and work lives
      • Cell phone trends are influential
        • 96% of the world’s population has cell phone subscription or access
        • 60% of mobile devices of smartphones
    • Social Media Goes to Work
      • People use for opinion and clarification
      • Helps share expertise
      • Helps locate resources
      • For more information on the power and uses of social media, see Groundswell. In her view, it is still one of the best books written on the subject.
        • This book noted that “Lurking is Learning.”  Less than 3% of visitors to a site will contribute. Therefore, tracking the number of comments is a limited measure of success.
      • See great IBM video: Stop talking, start doing — it’s time to bring the power of social media to work!
    • The Age of Analytics
      • Big Data buzz — but there aren’t many applications of this yet. However, Big Data represents a huge opportunity for KM. Within organizations, our daily activities generate a load of breadcrumbs and “digital dust.” Big Data sweeps all of this up
      • APQC’s Knowledge Analytics Process:
        • Understand business needs/drivers and then develop a hypothesis about what might address that need
        • Align KM strategy and investment to test that hypothesis
        • Deploy KM approaches — be sure to identify the measures you will use
        • Collect Observations and Data
        • Conduct analysis and identify patterns
        • Exercise insightful judgment and critical thinking — applying human understanding/intuition to the data
        • Engage the business with your findings and recommendations
      • Rockwell Collins has shown how you can trace the value path from participation to business results: they have data that show a perfect correlation between participation and the number of lessons learned implemented. Better still, the number of lessons learned implemented is perfectly correlated with the number of defect-free products produced.
    • What approach do you need? It varies depending on the type of problem and the related risk. For example, if the issue is small, you can use a simple, fast, lightweight approach such as internal microblogging. If is a bigger problem, you may need to use methods/tools that recognize quality, expertise, etc.
    • Build your KM capabilities: Strategy > People > Process > Content and IT.
  • “Culture is KEY. But you change it through behaviors NOT posters!”
  • “Knowledge is sticky. People don’t hoard knowledge — they hoard their time and energy.” Therefore, you need to adopt processes that help them to let their knowledge flow.”

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑