In the second day of the 2011 KM Singapore conferencePatrick Lambe from Straits Knowledge offered great insights on how organisations are often prone to follow negative patterns and take bad decisions, in spite of the talent of the individuals that form them.
According to Patrick, organisations are subject to what he defines “programmed behaviours”: some patterns of behaviours are handed to us by our culture and pushed to us by the situation we are in. Patrick identifies some ‘tyrannies’ that determine negative pattern behaviours: amongst others, the tyranny of plans, of culture, and of infrastructure are often the cause of negative patterns.
How to avoid this situation?
For Patrick, the first step is to be aware and accept that these tyrannies exists and negative pattern behaviours do happen. Secondly he stresses how leadership teams need to be more aware of the programmed behaviours that they themselves are exhibiting, especially the phenomenon of “mutual ignorance“. This occurs when we are just imagining what other people wants and act on those assumptions rather than exploring how other people are thinking. Senior leadership drives the behaviour of an organisation in lots of ways. That way they should become more “questioning of each other and more interested in the drivers and motives of colleagues”.
The last presenter at the 2011 KM Singapore event was Aw Siew Hoong (Ash). Ash is Knowledge Advisor at Shell Global Solutions and in this role he oversees KM strategy development and implementation, and change management. In his presentation he shared with participants how Shell is addressing the issue of retaining tacit knowledge of its employees through the ROCK process.
ROCK (Retention of Critical Knowledge) has been running since 2005 and basically it consists of a structured interview process. According to Ash, not all the tacit knowledge of Shell’s employees needs to be captured and ROCK starting point is to identify what’s the critical knowledge that needs to be retained and passed on. Once this critical knowledge has been identified, the process deep dives into the experience the person has and the tacit knowledge is brought to the surface.
ROCK has proven to be very successful so far especially in the sense that the people to whom knowledge is transferred enjoy the process and find a lot of value in it.
Gary Klein was the international keynote in the second day of the 2011 KM Singapore conference. Gary is the author of Sources of Power (named one of the best books of the millennium) and Intuition at Work. He is a research psychologist renowned for his pioneering work in the field of naturalistic decision making.
In his presentation, Gary highlighted the importance of capturing tacit knowledge that experts have. Experts see “patterns we don’t see” and we have mental models more sophisticated. How to capture this tacit knowledge is essential and very difficult at the same time.
According to Gary, one possible way to succeed in the efforts of expertise retention is through storytelling. Stories are a medium for communication and representation; they are not just mere illustrations but are the way “you calibrate what’s in the bullet points.” Moreover, stories can rescue us from the problem we often encounter when different people mean different things with the same words. Through stories, these difference can surface and we can have a richer dialogue.
Last presenter in the first day of the 2011 KM Singapore event, Roxanna Samii from IFAD in Rome engaged the audience with an interesting presentation on how her organisation is using social media and harnessing its potential. Starting from her personal journey in the ‘social media realm’, she shed light on steps that brought IFAD to use different social media tools.
Roxanna explained that the main added value of social media for IFAD, as well as the other UN Rome based agencies, is to give their work more mileage. Agriculture and rural development are not very likely to make it to the front page as they are normally not considered as newsworthy issues. By using social media, not only IFAD can make these topics “heard and retwetted” but UN agencies at large can support more easily each other work and project a more unified message. Moreover, social media helps in blurring the boundaries of the different UN agencies and break down the institutional silos. Finally, it is also about using social media to connect with the younger generations: these are the future decision-makers of tomorrow and organisations such as IFAD need to engage them with positive messages and attitudes from today.
Among others, one specific example that Roxanna brought to the floor was the use of Twitter for promoting IFAD 2011 Rural Poverty Report. By posting links to it on Twitter, IFAD got an impressive amount of requests for this publication; quite simply, this is hard to happen when a document just sits on your website. In this case instead, the link to the report went viral, it was twitted and re-tweeted and this really made the difference. Put it in a different perspective, with a small investment you can get huge returns.
Maish Nichani is principal at PebbleRoad, a user experience consultancy specializing in intranets, websites and apps. In his keynote speech in the first day of the KM Singapore 2011 event he offered his perspective on why many intranet projects are often not successful as organisations would expect.
In his views, we often put much effort in the vision and design of intranet systems but we often underestimate that the real challenge is taking these systems from products to success. In particular, according to Maish four key issues need to be addressed: mindset, leadership, governance and adoption. These are what Maish considers the ‘bottom part’ of the iceberg as there is normally little attention which is given to these issues. Adopting specific tactics can help in overcoming these barriers and successfully move not only from design to products but from products to success.
James Robertson, Managing Director at Step Two Designs is a thought leader on the topics of web content management and intranet strategy. Today he was the first speaker on the floor at the KM Singapore 2011 and offered participants great food for thoughts on how to design and deploy intranets that are supportive of KM objectives.
In his opinion, there are 3 life stages of intranets:
Ad hoc intranets: they are still new often lack of structure;
Useful intranets: they have a governance structure and they provides the information employees need. Staff use them but they do not really love them. This is where the majority of intranet systems normally sits;
Essential intranets: they are key for the day2day work and fundamental for organisations to deliver their business products.
An ‘essential’ intranet is what organisations should be aiming for as this is the future for intranets, where they are used as a business tool.
Looking at this issue from a knowledge management perspective, according to James it means delivering intranets that are smart and are able to deliver information at the point of need. Equally important, a smart intranet system needs to be able to connect people so that they can get the information they need from each others.
Whit the official opening of the 2011 KM Singapore just few hours away now, some 70 people participated today in a pre-conference masterlcass on social media, facilitated by Michelle Lambert. Michelle is a Change Management expert who specialises in capability building in organisations. She is the creator of the Change Management Cards, a set of method cards designed to help managers plan and implement successful change and she facilitates the Knowledge Management Roundtable (KMRt) in Victoria, Australia.
In today’s workshop, she did a great job in sharing her experience regarding the approaches and techniques that have proven to be effective when organisations want to develop and implement an effective social media strategy.
Michelle kicked off her presentation with an overview of what it is social media and how organisations are using and benefiting from it. In her views, social media is changing the way organisations and people work and interact; in a nutshell, it’s about empowering people and creating spaces and opportunities for conversations, peer exchange and collaboration.
Business can ignore social media but this is at their own risks. Evidence shows that business that is already using social media to connect with staff and customers are indeed thriving. But the question is: how do you get there and make sure that you can successfully develop and deploy a social media strategy that works at organisational level?
According to Michelle, the key point is to identify the business requirements that social media can address instead of identifying “solutions that look for a problems”. In other words, it’s about making sure that staff in the organisation have a shared understanding and agree on what are the business needs that can be addressed using social media and why they are important. Moreover, it’s about developing a shared understanding on what issues and barriers are present in terms of governance of social media. Mostly, it’s about the people, and if social media initiatives inside organisations do not address the people issue and engage with people, these initiatives are bound to fail.