KM Blog August & September 2007





Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Knowledge Management and 'The Search'

I am reading 'The Search' - How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture, by John Battelle.

For me, as a knowledge management consultant, putting the search developments and future intentions into a global knowledge management context is very exciting.

So far, this book is blowing me away!

I love the concepts, thoughts, insights and ideas like:

'search has become a universally understood method of navigating our information universe' or

'search defines our interactions with the Internet'

'massive click streams'

'we trust you to not do evil things with our information'

'the future of search will be more about understanding, rather than simply finding'

'what does the world want?'

and best of all, so far:

'harness and leverage the intelligence already extant on the Web - the millions and millions of daily transactions, utterances, behaviours, and links that form the Web's foundation - the Database of Intentions'

This really stretches my brain and aligns my mind to the evolution of planetary intelligence. Read John Battelle! Cool ...

Knowing what you know

So here I am again, back in S W France, reflecting on lessons learned and my trip to Asia and Scotland this past month.

Most times, I am asked to create new knowledge management presentations around new themes. For example: focusing on identifying and developing the core competencies of knowledge management consultants, as in Asia, or how to achieve much better knowledge retention, as in the case of the Oil and Gas sector in Scotland.

What always amazes me is that I never can know what I truly already know until I am given a task and context to think about. In other words, preparing presentations around themes are great knowledge creation and better knowledge organisation techniques.

I know that there is the well known maxim 'You teach to learn and you learn to teach'. But it is so true.

Sometimes I think that I should pay conference and workshop participants for giving me the opportunity to consolidate my learnings and experiences and learn more as I teach!

But then I would not be able to afford to travel and learn at such a fast rate anymore.

So please keep inviting me to speak around the world and I will do my utmost to provide high value by sharing my experiences, learnings and new insights...and , of course, continue to better know and share what I know!

Ron Young

Monday, September 10, 2007

KM Technologies are nothing and everything

Today, I find myself sitting in a Starbucks Coffee lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with a great mug of cappuccino coffee and a lovely sunrise.

It’s 10.30am and I am waiting for a 12noon flight with Malaysian Airlines direct to London Heathrow. A cool 12 hours of flight, with a specially requested Asian vegetarian meal, which I love, and with time to read and reflect on the weeks work with an international team of KM Consultants. No doubt I will also get time to take in some music and a movie.

As I look out onto the tarmac, I cannot help but be quite awe struck by the queue of Boeing 747 Jumbo jets that are lining up on the runways towards takeoff. Such technology has simply changed the world. I cannot help reflecting on the technologies around me that have radically transformed my life as a knowledge worker this past 20 years.

Incredible Jumbo jets with onboard personal entertainment and personal telephones, together with an extraordinary 21st Century airport with driverless trains, a wifi coffee lounge and, of course, my wireless enabled Sony Vaio personal computer that is connected to the web and the global blogsphere. Of course, my mobile phone enables me to receive emails, pictures and video’s and text my wife as often as I like, using Sony handwriting technology on my PDA, without having to worry about the cost.

I may even get feedback to this blog post from anywhere on the planet before my aircraft lands at LHR International later today!

How did I get invited to Kuala Lumpur from Europe to talk with KM Consultants about KM Consultancy Competencies in the first place?

Well I owe it entirely to new tools to support the knowledge worker. Blogging tools, a personal website building technology, a Google search from a consultant in KL and the World Wide Web. And all of this technology created the invitation to Kuala Lumpur ‘as a simple and natural by product of my knowledge work’.

You see I have always, as a teacher, writer and consultant, disciplined myself to write down what I have learned, and to capture new ideas, new insights and new inspirations. I was taught, as a young consultant many years ago, that the discipline, the process, the habit, call it what you will, of writing this down is of great benefit to me, personally, in organising and developing my knowledge.

What’s new?

Well I used to write this down on odd pieces of paper. Not that effective. Then I captured my learnings, ideas and insights into paper journals. A little better. Then I captured them on my PC in an MS Word document. Even better. Then into a personal PC Journal. Great.

Now it is captured in a blog. Simply fantastic! When I get feedback to my blog, my knowledge expands. Furthermore, at the end of each month I transfer my blogs to the www.knowledge-management-online.com website, and I then discipline myself to distill the learnings into website knowledge content improvements. And then I benefit from even more feedback from visitors to the website - to create even greater knowledge!

You might say I conduct a simple personal knowledge management process, but with the added great benefit of feedback from a growing global community of interested students and experienced practitioners and consultants.

So, although I still do the same knowledge work as I did 20 years ago, in capturing my learnings and ideas and experiences, as a discipline, the new supporting 21st Century Web 2.0 technologies of capturing and sharing have radically changed the quality and capacity of my knowledge work. There is no doubt that the Web has radically transformed the economics of knowledge, and will continue to do so as new tools and technologies appear. Would you go back to central community telephone booths only and throw away your mobile?

The technologies have massively transformed my reach, literally, and I have evolved from being an 'individual individual' to becoming a 'global individual'.

One Google search later, in Kuala Lumpur, while I was asleep in the south of France, searching for ‘knowledge management’, pulls up my website and blogs. A few emails and a couple of weeks later, and I book my flight – on the web of course!

Those KM Consultants that say KM is not about technology are so right and so wrong! They need to wake up and get a new life. They need to get really real!

Knowledge technologies are nothing and everything!

So, what about my learnings and insights after a week working with KM Consultancy Competencies and a great team of consultants from throughout Asia? Simply great!

But the learnings, insights and experiences that I have gathered and distilled this week (maintaining strict confidentiality of specific people and content, of course) will be the subject of my next blogs next week. The flight is closing now and I must switch off my laptop PC.

I certainly do not want to miss out on being able to move my body and my mind around the planet so fast. Such great technologies for the knowledge worker!!

Ron Young



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