One of the most interesting presentation in the first day at KM Singapore was given by Patrick Lambe from Straits Knowledge.
Patrick started from the failure of the transit system in Singapore in December 2011 to illustrate very important failure points in other kinds of organizations. One of the lesson from this case was that the traditional model of controlling organizations and information flows does not work well when a crisis is large scale, complex and fast moving.
What does this mean for knowledge management?
According to Patrick, the first important lesson to reflect on is the increasing important role of social media: especially in crisis situation, information is picked up and shared much faster through uncontrolled, social media channels rather then the formal crisis management mechanisms that are now in place. Secondly, the role of knowledge management in these situations seems to focus much more on knowledge sharing capacities rather then traditional information management functions.
As a consequence of these lessons, senior management in organizations needs to understand how important the capacities of knowledge sharing processes are, as well as the competence to be able to deal with the external social environment.
Jason Chan from the RAHS (Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning) gave an interesting talk at the 2012 KM, focusing on the role that social media can play in crisis preparedness, relief and recovery.
According to Jason, there’s a lot of good work and effort that citizens can bring to the table to help governmental agencies to put together some of the key insights of a crisis that is unfolding. The research that Jasons has conducted brought clarity on how these insights can be put to use in a strategic framework within governments to better understand how a crisis is shaping up, and how to respond to it.
Jason’s presentation has to be seen as a think piece and the journey ahead is still very long. Nevertheless, there is a lot of excitement in thinking about what social media and citizen participation can offer to help solving crisis situations.
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.