I read Peter Bregman’s post in Harvard Business Publishing on why be believes that small businesses will win in this economy. Several things he said have me thinking about the opportunities in this up economy. At a time when many large organizations are downsizing to try and become more productive, I believe there are significant opportunities for small businesses to leverage KM and PKM principles for competitive advantage.

The author explains why small businesses are poised for significant advantage over large companies.

Some key points that I took away:

  • People in senior positions don’t trust the decisions being handed to them.

  • Customers value the personal relationship.

  • Small businesses give their employees a sense of security, which they in turn pass along to their customers/clients.

  • The gap of confidence between small businesses and big ones is growing.

  • We don’t trust companies any more; we trust people.

  • Small companies with low overhead, reliable owners, a small number of committed employees, personal client relationships, and sustainable business models that drive a reasonable profit are the great opportunity of our time.

Clearly, there’s an opportunity to model leadership and ethics here. There’s also an opportunity for KM and PKM to support these growing small businesses. One of the commenter’s, Dan Collins, had this to say:
“There’s so much the little guy can do that large corporates can’t – communicate internally, react quickly to client demands and make priorities to name just three.”
I may be looking at this through KM-colored glasses, but I think that KM can be a powerful tool to support a) communicating internally, b) react quickly to client demands, and c) making [informed] priorities.

With so many businesses going out of business, I believe now is the time for ethically-led and well- informed knowledge-driven, customer-focused businesses to flourish.

What do you think? Do you agree with the author? …with my takeaways? …with the opportunity for KM/PKM to support small business service and competition?

SOURCE: Why Small Companies Will Win in This Economy

I’m Tickled by the GTD Tickler File

Thursday, March 26th, 2009
I used a recent gift card from the GTD Summit to purchase the 43 Folders known as the David Allen Tickler file. Today, a I received a package from Ludmila at The David Allen Company store with my folders.
20090326_DavidAllenTickler43Folders 004.jpg
Inside the box is an instruction card and 43 heavy duty blue plastic folders with attractive labels: 12 folders for months and 31 folders for days. As I have come to expect, the quality is outstanding and the labels are laminated into the folder so they won't wear off. Unlike paper folders, they won't wear out, either.

I prefer to use the digital tickler file that's built-in to eProductivity, but for things that can't be digitized the David Allen Tickler files are ideal. Another benefit is that, like all David Allen gear, they are attractive. By attractive, I mean that I'm more inclined to use things that attract me to them. That's why I like certain tools, products, or services.

Continue Reading "I'm Tickled by the GTD Tickler File" »

IBM to cut 5,000 jobs to Improve Productivity

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
According to this Reuters news story, IBM will cut around 5,000 jobs in the United States. This is a sad but increasingly common turn of events as companies react to the changes in the market. Companies are losing good people and good people are now looking for jobs. This quote got my attention:
The company has not disclosed how many jobs it has cut so far this year, but has said it was making "structural changes" to reduce spending and improve productivity.
I can't help but wonder what the impact will be on the people who remain - who will be expected to do more with less.

This got me thinking: IBM wants to improve productivity. IBM employees all use Lotus Notes. eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes can help users become more productive, save 20-30 minutes each day, and get things done. I don't know if leadership at IBM gets this yet, but I know many excellent and productive employees at IBM that do. How do I know this? because they are purchasing eProductivity with their own money.  

What does it say about a product when employees of a company see enough value to justify purchasing it even when their employers won't?

And, it's not just IBMers, either. Many of the eProductivity subscriptions and license purchasers are individuals who want to get things done while increasing their value to their organization. At less than $1 a day for a subscription to eProductivity, it certainly makes sense.

Link: eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes
I am evaluating Web 2.0/Office 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 applications for our company and clients. Today I signed up for some trials and in the registration process I noted that by registering I was "agreeing" to the "terms and conditions". So, being the kind of guy that actually reads the fine print, I did.

I found this section most reassuring: (Name redacted)

Continue Reading "Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud" »
Today was a great day at the GTD Summit. We are hanging out with some of the best and brightest people in the world - key thought leaders and leading innovators from around the world. The day was full of inspiring conversations. Some, however, were less than inspiring - at least until I got a new outlook on how to receive what I was hearing.

I've just  blogged about my experience over on the Notes On Productivity blog.

It was indeed a great day at the GTD Summit and I'm having a wonderful time. I've taken many photos of the event, but have had no time for blogging beyond this one post. However, IBMer Chris Blatnick is blogging the event so be sure to read it or follow the #GTDSummit Twitter Feed.
The GTD Summit is now under way. This is going to be an amazing conference!

Ryan Heathers is planning to guest blog at the Notes On Productivity site and Chris Blatnick will be blogging over at Interface Matters. In fact, Chris is assembling a list of GTD Summit peeps.  

I've decided to make a special offer to commemorate the event. In short, for every individual license of eProductivity purchased, I'll provide not one but two license keys.

Now you can increase your own productivity and help a colleague get things done at the same time.

Details here.
Here's one way to make your presentation more interactive: encourage your audience to Twitter away while you speak.

"Presentation trainer" Olivia Mitchell, recently shared 8 things she learned about using twitter as a participation tool. In her blog post, she describes a presentation in which Twitter was used to solicit feedback and questions from the audience.

I think tools like Twitter can be used effectively in a live presentation provided that you have the people, process, and technology to make it work. I would not have said this until I was asked to present for 5 days straight at the Beyond Planning conference, in Manila, Philippines. I had thousands of people in the audience and I wanted to include as many people as possible by allowing them to ask questions during the sessions. The use of microphones or question cards simply was not feasible due to the large audience and the size of the auditorium.

The conference host provided a real-time SMS text system to solicit questions from the audience and display the results on floor monitors for me to consider and address (or not) in my presentation. The screened questions were also broadcast on 30' screens around the auditorium. It was awkward at first but the screeners did a good job and the audience really got into it. It changed the dynamic from a lecture to a conversation. Since pictures are worth so much, here are some photos that tell the story better than these words can...

We displayed an invitation for people to SMS Text us their questions... We display the invitation on the big screen and invite the audience to respond with their questions...
As questions are received, they are screened and organized in real-time to descide what to show to the presenter (me)...Selected questions were displayed on the floor monitor so that I could see them while I was speaking...
We displayed the questions I chose to address to the audience on large overhead screens...This is an example of a question that I received and addressed during the conference...

It took a little getting used to but I thought the process actually worked quite well.

What do you think? Can twitter make presentations more interactive?

Twitter and the need for brevity

Monday, March 9th, 2009
This Tweet from my friend and KM specialist, Rick Ladd, says it all:


How much information can YOU convey in 140 characters?

Is TweetDeck Twittering over the Twop?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
I signed up for a Twitter account over a year ago but seldom used it, mostly because I had plenty going on and I was concerned about it becoming a distraction. One of my knowledge management professors  asked the class to sign up and use Twitter for the term so that we can evaluate it as a tool for sharing information and knowledge. I took the challenge, although I have only seen a few folks in my cohort using it.

So far, the experiment has been a good one and I am finding new and innovative ways to embed Twitter into my PKM systems. It will definitely be a part of my PKM tool kit.

While Twitter is great, I quickly outgrew the Twitter web interface  - too inefficient for me. My first thought was to find or create something in Lotus Notes, perhaps even to add to eProductivity. I decided to see what was out there  first. I decided to try TweetDeck. I've posted a screen shot and a few comments on the Notes On Productivity Blog:

Is TweetDeck Twittering over the Twop?
Several times a week, I receive testimonials from people that write to share their experience using eProductivity. Today, I received two fun ones.

The first needs no explanation:
Just to let you know.  I worked on setting this [eProductivity] up till about 2 am last night.  I had an empty in box when I went to bed last night for the first time in I don't know how long.  This morning I started dealing with email at 9 and now again have an empty mail box.  What a feeling.  I still have to finish setting up all my projects/commitments and I don't feel confident yet that I am using the software as effectively as I could, but I am very excited.  I really think this may be the tool that keeps everything together for me and allows me to "clear my brain" as David Allen would say.

I can see even at this early stage that this is a program I think I should invest in. I think I will look at GyroQ as well.
This is a pretty common theme from first-time users but I enjoyed reading every one.

The second is from a customer that had uninstalled eProductivity in order to experience and evaluate vanilla Notes 8.02. That experience wasn't as productive for him as he had hoped, so he switched back.* This morning, he wrote:
I'm very happy to be back on eProductivity -- EOM
I love it. eProductivity is about Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes. Time and again, we are learning from our customers that David Allen's GTD methodology and the eProductivity software are having a huge impact on the way people get things done. It's also changing the way people think about Lotus Notes.

I think that's cool.

* eProductivity works well on Notes 6.5x, 7.x, and 8.x, 8.5x on Win/mac/Linux. We have many customers happily using eProductivity with Notes 8.02 and 8.5. This particular customer was extremely productive and proficient with Notes 7 and eProductivity. His move to Notes 8, from a productivity perspective, simply wasn't. Your experience may be different.  If you have an eProductivity experience to share  would love to hear from you. (If you are not using eProductivity yet, get started.)