20071106_KMWorld2007-HubertSaintOnge02.JPGKM Pioneer, Hubert Saint-Onge, Principal, Saintonge Alliance, & Author, The Conductive Organization: Building Beyond Sustainability.
Technology plays a key function in most knowledge work. Much work now gets done through virtual tools, allowing unprecedented levels of interaction and collaboration.

A challenge before us...

...managing the evolution of the collaborative organization with the free flow of capability and knowledge.

[Hubert is creator of the "Knowledge Assets Framework." he is also listed in many of my KM texts - it's wonderful to meet and hang out with people I've followed from a distance for years.] Hubert's focus is on the need to increase the level of collaboration in organizations.
Collaboration is the engine that will make KM work across the organization

Key propositions:

1. Developing collaborative networks and heightened level of collaboration in an organization will...
- engender the free flow of capability and knowledge
- create closer connections with stake holders (customers, suppliers, etc.)
- enhance innovation and agility and give the organizational greater "emergent orientation"
2. Developing a knowledge platform will make it possible to collaborate with low transaction costs.
3. Exercising conducive leadership will be key to enhancing collaboration
4. Collaborative networks for a second dimension of the organization structure can function in a complementary way to the hierarchical structure.

Collaboration is becoming more important because...
  • client want seamlessly integrated solutions
  • we now have a global marketplace
  • extensive, global supply chains
  • organizational life is more complex
  • need for greater access to knowledge
  • generation of creativity, innovation, synergy
  • expansion of networks and influence

Overcoming the 'organizational island' syndrome

Organizational and hierarchical barriers
business processes and project-specific barriers
disparate geographic distribution
organizational islands

as a bunch of organizational islands, we will never succeed in becoming an innovative, customer-centric organization.

Three dimensions of the new enterprise (fundamental dynamics)
  • The geographic/functional dimension
  • The customer dimension
  • The product/services dimension

The vertical axis is currently emphasized in the organization ... collaboration places more emphasis on the horizontal axis of the organization.
The shift to a networked organization:

See slide on "the Network effect"

We are stuck in our organizations today, because of Taylor's work. Taylor looked at low-knowledge activities. We don;t work that way anymore.

It used to b expensive to bring people together to collaborate. Now, the transaction cost for collaboration is near zero. yet, many organizations are still working in Taylor's model.

[see slide] benefits of inserting collaborative networks into the organization.
II. Collaboration is essential to organizations

Speed of change X complexity = Ambiguity

In times of ambiguity, the capacity for collaboration becomes even more important.

... the distinction between 'reliable' and 'emergent' organizational orientations.
  • Organizations are build more for reliability (predictability) than for validity (doinggthe right things in the face of changing markets).
  • The tend to fall behind tin adapting to the emergenct busines environment
  • Silo's, fear of failure and defensive reactions drive out the capability to manage emergent conditions.

A more emergent orientation can be developed in the organization by building a greater capability for coillaboration and by ensuring the free flow of knowledge and capability across the organization.
Leadership must explicitly change to build interdependence and bring forward the multi-disciplinary, enterprise-wide responses required.

[See slide] Characteristics of emergent organizations...

III. Client Centricity depends on seamless collaboration

You can't be client centric with a silo spirit...
... different levels of relationships with customers (See chart)

the collaborative coherence model...

IV. Implementing a knowledge platform for collaboration

Leveraging technology to make judicious use of face-to-face time.

See chart: same time/same place to different time/different place

A knowledge platform can be seen as a two cylinder engine for generating capability...

Information access        Information exchange

Nobody believe what they read (e.g. in a knowledge database) but if you find the object and if you can contact the SME you can have an excellent conversation and collaborate. The exchange builds more knowledge objects.

      Place information in context

Content                Collaborative spaces

Contribute new knowledge (learning)

SNA, Knowledge maps: ...networks can either weave or balkanize organizations.

[Impressive use of a collaboration map to evaluate effectiveness of an organization's collaboration infrastructure.]

... purposefully structuring collaborative networks in a global technical community
      The operations knowledge forum
      Centers of excellence
      Communities of Practice

V. Leadership is the key to building an organization conducive to collaboration
- build a high-trust climate
- a shared perspective on the customer
- sustained strategic dialogue
- forums to surface issues... (missed that)

Move people from dependence to independence to interdependence. (Independence is key to helping them become interdependent)
Someone in a state of dependence will be unable to collaborate interdependently!

... leadership mind sets to make collaboration work
  • a fundamental shift: from 'authority-based' relationships to 'capability-based' relationships...

After the session, I enjoyed meeting Hubert in person and talking with him about collaboration and Knoweldge Management.

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