The real treasure

On holidays, we visited the village and the castle of Brançion, in France.


The audio guide mentions there is no hidden room with the gold and silver treasure. No, the real treasure was the archive. Sounds like the first knowledge management problem : ‘If only we knew what we know."

This is fourteenth century knowledge management.

Pic by PhillipC.

Is knowledge sharing a culture or a process ?

People often ask how one can install a culture of knowledge sharing.

Being an engineer, I look at the processes. What we do consciously are processes. What we do unconsciously is culture.
We sort of forget it is just a process.

In this great post by Nick Milton, Nick gives the example of a CEO who stretches the targets of the projects to force people to look for more and better knowledge.


pic : apesara

What starts as a formal process : ‘check with your collegues to do it better’, becomes company culture

A Social KM system for only 20 Euro ?

If you only have 20 Euro to spend on your new social knowledge management system … buy pizza


Order pizza, get your team together, pick a topic to start the conversation and … enjoy the pizza and the knowledge exchange

pic : Foodies

Usability of knowledge management tools.

When talking about technology the focus is often on which technology to use.  But far more important for user acceptance (hence succes of your program) is the usability of the tools.

This is a great quote from Dave Snowden :

Hand axes from the Acheulian period 

Technology is a tool and like all tools it should fit your hand when you pick it up, you shouldn’t have to bio-re-engineer your hand to fit the tool.


… Systems, processes and tools will only work when they match the way people think, work and connect.






Image via Wikipedia




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Wiki myths


Wiki wiki wiki. Probably the most popular web2.0 tool around for the moment.

Wiki’s are expected to be able to solve every knowledge and information problem in the book.

But is this reality ?

A good post by Dorthe R. Jespersen from J. Boye pricks some of the balloons.

Myth #1: A wiki will heighten motivation and spark contributions.
Installing a wiki will not motivate employees to contribute new content.
A clear purpose must be communicated and new processes must be implemented to avoid the empty wiki syndrome.
Adding unauthorized content and re-editing each other’s contributions can be a major cultural hurdle.

Myth #2: Employees will know how to contribute
The wiki concept is simple, but it is not always that simple to use. Wiki interfaces are very basic and often require some html knowledge.

Wiki’s, being structured around links, are not so transparent as a book with a table of contents.
Users may struggle to find where and how to add new content. And if they do, they may break consistency and structure.

Myth #3: Wikis will always surface the information you need
Even with a good usage of a wiki, this is not a guarantee that :
– the content is updated
– the content is correct
– the content is not duplicated (contradictory)
– the content is present
– the content is findable

Conclusion : you need guidelines, processes and people for managing the information in the wiki.

Picture by Squirrel Cottage


Birds twittering foto

I started using Twitter a couple of weeks ago, with the primary intention to synchronise my status messages on all the networks I’m a member of.

After two weeks, I realized people use Twitter to communicate (= ask questions and give answers).

And some are really good : Just look at a recent question about knowledge management maturity models.

Stan Garfield answered with a link to this presentation. V.P. Kochikar describes 5 levels of knowledge management maturity.

What I really like is the baseline of each level … :

Level 1 : “Knowledge, we’ve got plenty of – what we need is to work hard!”

Level 2 : “We need to leverage all our knowledge, but we’re too busy to do that”

Level 3 : “At least we’ve made a beginning in managing our knowledge”

Level 4 : “We’ve reached where we are by managing our knowledge well, and we intend to keep it that way”

Level 5 : “We’re sharing knowledge across the organization, and are proud of it”

Sounds familiar ??

Picture : David James Campbell

Knowledge cafe

I attended a knowledge cafe. My first ever, and it was hosted by David Gurteen himself. So I got the real experience 😉

Look at this presentation on how to run a knowledge cafe

A knowledge cafe is all about knowledge exchange through conversation. There is no formal feedback or wrap up in a knowledge cafe, but David invited us to blog about our experience. Bruno already did. He points out the importance of the group composition in the quality of the conversations. I think a homogenuous group leads to new insights and knowledge creation. In a heterogenuous group there will be more knowledge transfert (teaching and learning)

So both settings have value, in the right context

Bringing order in a world of chaos

An excellent post from Jeff Jonas on how we bring order in chaos.

He uses the metaphor of solving a jigsaw puzzle.



The first pieces are irrelevant.  Just take one or two.  The most important thing is to take action.  Starting from the border or the extremes may be helpfull though.

For the next pieces, we look for simularities, links, relations.  Our initial choices will now influence how fast we can proceed.

We will cluster similar pieces, without knowing if they really belong together or not. 

By adding more pieces to the puzzle, we start seeing the picture, it starts making sense.

The last piece is the easy one.

This is a similar approach of moving from the chaotic domain to the simple domain in the Cynefin framework.

Picture : romanlily

Cognitive Edge Accreditation

I attended the Cognitive Edge Accreditation this week. 

London Wetland Centre


In the beautiful environment of the London Wetland, we were immerged in complexity, narrative, sensemaking and statistics.

Full details are available on the website of Cognitive Edge.



The Cynefin framework was not new to me.  But I was really impressed by the amount of knowledge one can extract from a set of indexed stories or fragments.

To build a common identity, we broke the world record of knocking over a glass of beer (in speed and style, not in amount).  And another one on the fastest catching of a falling glass.  You get the point, all records were broken in the pub, none during the course 😉

The future of search

The october meeting of SuperCoP, the community of practice of knowledge managers in Belgium was around ‘Search’. We invited Paul Hermans to share with us his thoughts on ‘The future of search’.

Some trends :

-The switch from searching to finding. Data mining will help to find the answers to your questions.

-An improved user experience. Clustering and visualization of the search results will give access to better information than the first 20 hits we normally scan.

-The semantic search. Relations between data will be created automatically. Data finds data.