Friday, 28 October 2016

6 killer knowledge management quotes

"Knowledge Management is not an end in itself.  Companies do not exist for the purpose of propagating and advancing knowledge - they exist to sell products and services. But to the extent that competitive advantage relies on informed decision making within the business - knowledge management has a crucial role to play."  Bechtel Corporation
"It is the attempt to recognise what is essentially a human asset buried in the minds of individuals, and leverage it into a corporate asset that can be used by a broader set of individuals, on whose decisions the firm depends."  Larry Prusak, IBM

"Most activities or tasks are not one-time events. Our philosophy is fairly simple: Every time we do something again, we should do it better than the last time. John Browne, BP          
"Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes."  Peter Senge
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Charles Darwin
"Knowledge is experience; everything else is information."  Albert Einstein
More KM resources, tools and templates are available on the Knoco website.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

6 connections between good cookery and KM

I cooked a Sunday roast dinner for my family at the weekend - something of an (all too infrequent) family tradition now that the autumn is upon us here in the UK.

As I cooked, much like when I went camping last year, I was reminded of several things about knowledge management (KM):
  • In conversations with clients, I often use a 'cooking analogy' to explain the difference between information and knowledge.  For example, a recipe in a cookery book usually contains 2 main elements - a list of ingredients and a method.  The list of ingredients is 'information'; the method is 'knowledge'.  Both are essential to cooking a good meal.  If all we do is share information with one another, people will certainly learn 'about' stuff but not how to do stuff, which of course is at the heart of KM.  Analogies like this are handy when explaining what remains KM which, for most organisations, remains an unknown discipline.  Other tools to explain KM that this blog has already covered are the infographic mentioned here, and the video that I put together, linked here.
  • Again with regard to recipes - these are effectively 'knowledge assets' and the best of them contain plenty of photos to help the would-be cook to understand the techniques being described.  As with recipes, so with work - when creating guidance material for ourselves and colleagues, we should use plenty of pictures, diagrams etc. to help convey the knowledge. 
  • Wikis and blogs are great ways of communicating new knowledge with colleagues and should always contain attractive and relevant visuals to encourage the reader to continue to scroll down - a friendly and funny cookery blog, for example is this one by up and coming cook, Olivia Potts, with stacks of high-quality photos that show us all what the dishes look like.
  • Having cooked a particular dish, I always seek feedback from the family, perhaps not in the formal sense of a Retrospect or After Action Review (that would be a bit much!) but there is certainly a learning loop in play, with their comments and my own thoughts giving me a great chance to improve next time.
  • I have many recipe books but am increasingly drawn to finding a recipe online; I tend to print one off and then, having gone through the learning loop mentioned above, I scribble notes on the page and keep it for next time, so as not to forget the knowledge that I've gained.  This is an example of knowledge synthesis, explored by my colleague, Nick Milton, in his blog here.
  • Finally, there are some aspects to cooking that are not well reflected in a recipe.  For example, knowing how long to parboil potatoes before roasting them or, indeed, what a good roasted potato looks like - these are examples of tacit knowledge that is acquired with experience and harder to unpick.  Mentoring or a thorough knowledge harvesting interview might enable the finer details to be revealed and the recipe updated accordingly.
Of course, the main thing is that my efforts went pretty well and my daughters went to bed with full tummies, having cleaned their plates twice!

For a conversation about introducing KM tools into your workplace, kitchen, school, factory, hospital, barracks, airport, hotel, office, trading floor or charity please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

Friday, 21 October 2016

8 signs that you're not managing your knowledge

Ever said or heard these phrases at work? 

1. “Why do we keep having to re-learn this?”
2. “How do I know where to find this knowledge?”
3. “Someone must have done this before - but who?”
4. “When that guy left, he took all that knowledge with him.”
5. “It was a complete fluke that I met Kathy – she had just the answer I was looking for!”
6. “I’m sure I heard someone mention that to me the other day, now who was it?”
7. “That went very well – how can we keep doing it like that?”
8. “We made this mistake in our other office as well.”

If so, they're usually a sign that knowledge isn't being managed effectively, if at all.

This means they're also a sign of wasted time, money and effort.

Perhaps they're also a sign of unnecessary risk to our colleagues or vital equipment. 

Can you think of any more?

For a chat about knowledge management (KM), please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

We don't work safely by chance so why would we manage knowledge that way?

This morning, dropping off my daughters at school, I had a brief chat with another Dad about knowledge management (KM).

He works for a local engineering company and has been investigating KM over recent months, using the toolkit we at Knoco produced for the aerospace industry for guidance.
He's planning on producing a KM policy but has yet to put pen to paper.

Our chat went something like this:

Him: Haven't got round to it yet...I need a cost-code from my Engineering Director as I'm not doing this on my own time.
Me: Ah, that old chestnut...cost-codes.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Yes, some companies do have cost-codes for KM, where they've allocated a specific budget.  But what you really want is to go the whole way and just accept that KM stuff is part of everyday working.
Him: Part of the culture, you mean?  We're a long way from that.
Me: Of course you are, but that's where you want to be headed. Think about safety, as an example.
Him: I don't follow.
Me: Well, you don't use a separate cost-code to don your safety equipment, perform safety checks or tests or do any other safety-related activities, do you?
Him: No....
Me: That's because that argument has been won.  We all see that safety is an integral part of everyday working.  That's what proper KM looks like also.
Him: That's a good analogy.
Me: Yes, I use it sometimes when people say "But surely we manage our knowledge anyway? It just's common sense."  But nothing at all gets managed without deliberate effort, does it?  People don't work safely unless they are trained to work safely, equipped to work safely and expected to work safely.  So it is with KM.  That's why it takes the time, money and effort to get to the stage where it just becomes part of everyday working.
Again, you don't work for 7 hours a day and then do an hour of 'working safely', do you?
Him: [laughing] No!
Me: And you don't have a safety team that are the ones that do 'the safe working' either.  They're the ones that help, encourage, support and require everyone to work safely.  So it is with a KM team.
Him: Yeah, that's a great example.  Thanks! 

So next time someone says they don't have time for KM, ask whether they have time for safety and, if they fail to see the connection, explain that it's all about making better ways of working, not more work.

For a chat about how to win the argument for more KM, please contact me direct or via the Knoco website.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Leading the way - latest Knoco newsletter - KM and leadership

The latest Knoco newsletter on the relationship between Knowledge Management (KM) and leadership is now out!

Follow this link for:
  • How does leadership affect KM?
  • What do good and bad KM leadership look like?
  • How to manage leaders in lessons capture meetings
  • How to win leaders' support
  • The power of the 'CEO video'
  • KM tools to deliver good leadership
  • News from around the Knoco family
For a conversation about KM leadership, please get in touch direct or visit the Knoco website.