The Future of Knowledge and KM (Darcy Lemons)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
The Future of Knowledge and KM (Darcy Lemons)

Darcy Lemons, Senior Project Manager and KM Advisor at APQC is presenting on The Future of Knowledge and KM.

APQC = American Productivity & Quality Center

Darcy - Involved in supporting research in KM (benchmarking studies, research in KM & Web 2.0 tools for collaboration, as well as custom consultative work, etc.)

Quick summary (unedited, not proofed)

Q. What is the future of knowledge?

Will the knowledge we have today be sufficient for the future, say five years from now?


Challenges in the synthesis of domain knowledge and new expertise to build on the knowledge we have today to create new knowledge for the future. How to learn from past lessons.

Is there knowledge we can afford too lose? Must we keep everything we know.

Ubiquity of knowledge inside & outside the organization.

Future issue: "what is the staff relationship to knowledge?" "what is their interaction to knowledge?" Tools - build to meet the need rather than so that they will come.

Need to consider the organizational structures that enhance or inhibit KM

What is the future of Knowledge Management?

Are your organizations current activities going to be sufficient to meet the knowledge needs for the future.

Common consensus: NO

Acceleration of technology will make the need for Knowledge Management even more evident in the future...


APQC Perspectives

Bain & Co. Survey 2007: Knowledge Management Usage and Satisfaction. For the first time in 10+ years, KM has topped the list of tools. Shows increasing acceptance and satisfaction of KM as a recognized management practice.

Results of 2008 Annual McKinsey Survey

Expanded use of web 2.0 tools (Wikis, blogs, social networking, etc) for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Those that are satisfied become ready adopters in the use of other tools in the web 2.0 space.  Those that are dissatisfied, are very dissatisfied.

Value in integration usage of web 2.0 tools when integrated into the workflow, combined with a business need.

(Source McKinsey Global Survey Results: Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2008)

Get role models using these tools - is management using the tools.

Forces impacting the future of KM and Social Computing

1. Social Computing and the Wisdom of the Crowds

(Connection one to many or many to many)

Revolution in Social Computing - shift in locus of control is moving from institutions to individuals, communities, and self organized networks. (The individual knowledge worker is now driving and choosing tools he wants to use).
- They pick and launch the tools they want to use
- They invite whom they want to collaborate
- They come and go as they please

Potential of Social Computing

Ability to link people to others with similar interests and knowledge; share relevant and useful content and sources; gathering user driven content is less dependent on content managers. Barriers to usage are being lowered.

Users have more control over the tools, more fun.

The Wisdom of the Crowds - reminder: the theory refers to prediction markets, not crowd-sourcing.
Value is shifting from expertise to experience

Tools enable us to become more aware of one another and we know.

Wikis are the chameleons of social computing tools. (e.g. WikiPedia, project management tools, training aids, training aids, collaborative tools for content development.)

The Wisdom of the Crowds model for collaboration and knowledge sharing is playing out and... it's working.

2. Social Networking at Work

We now expect to see blogs and Wikis, but social networking is less widely adopted in the organization in a substantive way, but it is coming., and quickly  

Younger workers are commonly the early adopters, more experience people are pleased to have a voice.

(Discussion of social networking tools being adopted in the organization.)

Are these social tools being integrated into Messaging systems, Office Products, Workflow? Yes.

       Expertise Locators (Yellow Pages applications)
       Vignette Portal

Does Social networking have a business use (Discussion)

Federal Transit (?) Association will be piloting Social Networking Tools.

NASA - Looking for ways to us social network tools to take the content to the users. (All NASA Spacecraft have MySpace pages, YouTube videos, etc.)

Comment: Social networking has always existed; technology has simply enabled the reach.  Now, from a business perspective, we are looking to implement purposeful social networking to advance business objectives.

Comment about going to the cooler or the Men's rest-room as a social networking tool beginning supplanted by newer vehicles for communication (Not going to touch that one) being

Important, focus on Knowledge transfer, not the tools. We are moving from knowledge hoarding is power to knowledge sharing is power. But don;t get caught up on the tools, focus on the process. (sorry lots of excellent and fast discussion.)

Social networking tools bring emotion to the learning process.

What we found in evolving technologies (2008)

1. growing focus on connecting people to people/decreasing emphasis on collecting and managing content (The social network is the content store)
2. Convergence of expertise locator systems, "people finder", and social nets
3. Companies emulating Web-based tools in the corporate expertise location and profiling systems.

Lesson learned: Don;t bring in the solution  in search of a problem. The successful organizations are those that connect the tool to the outcome.

How to find Someone Who Knows Something

       Expertise Locator Systems
       Social Networking
       Communities of Practice

Discussion of social tools: e.g. which social tools are more individual focused (e.g. FaceBook) vs collaboration focused around topical knowledge.

There is a risk that some of these social tools, focused at the individual level may in fact harm the organizations ability to  share knowledge. It allows you to connect, but that's it.

Some new and Not-So-New Questions

(Some of the questions APQC is addressing)
- Expert, Experience, or Advice?
- Will what works on the Web work here?
- What really makes people hook up, show up, or hide?
- How do we effectively connect those with a need for knowledge or expertise with those who have it?
- How do we identify those with the necessary experience to staff projects or programs?

3. Critical Knowledge Retention and Transfer

How to identify, tap, and capture "specialized" knowledge that needs to be preserved and shared.
It's not just retirement anymore. We have knowledge transitions going on all around us for many reason.

But, as long as we are on retirement:
Baby Boomers
> If I have time, I'm happy to share what I know, Just ask
> Who are these people and why are they editing my stuff?

Gen X, Y, Millennials
> Put it on my fourth screen
> I don;t know what to ask these old guys
> I don;t want to look stupid
> I'm happy to share what I know, Ask me on FaceBook

Note the contact  between Baby Boomers and Gen X

Fourth Screen

       TV, Movie, Computer, Cell Phone

Some people (Like my wife) just want a phone that's a phone.

Discussion of challenges of information security in the context of social networking, ITARs, SEC regulations, Compliance, etc.

Multi-generation: From Baby Boomers to Millennials

> How to mitigate the risk of lost knowledge?
> How to build bridges for knowledge to flow?
> What approaches really work for knowledge transfer?
> Are some of the barriers to knowledge transfer truly generational?
> How to attract and keep the next generation?
> What will Millennials want - and how will they want to learn? Do we need a Millennial Make-over?

The Current KM Toolkit

I wish I could describe the graphic. I'll see if I can get a link.

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