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Published: 2017-09-12T11:27:00+08:00

 



Blog>> The Magic Taxonomy Consultant

2017-09-12T11:27:00+08:00

Rant Alert: Today seems like the umpteenth time this year that I’ve seen a spec for a taxonomy/metadata project that assumes you can just hire a consultant to look at your existing taxonomy/metadata model and critique and refine it, without any provision for analysis of business and user needs. It’s been getting so bad, that we at ISKO Singapore even ran a special workshop on that problem among others. Then the nice people at Taxonomy Bootcamp wrote me an email suggesting I answer one of three questions to help promote my session there this November. Question 3 was: What’s the secret to getting buy-in and funding for taxonomy projects or to expand their use in the organization? Here’s my reply: There is no secret, it should be blindingly obvious, but it is often ignored. Buy-in and funding (and subsequent support and use) flow directly from the taxonomy and metadata work being USEFUL. (1) It needs to be useful to the people who are supposed to be using the taxonomy either directly within a browsing/tagging interface, or indirectly through such tools as search and auto-classification. It needs to help them do their work. (2) It needs to be useful to the host organisation in supporting and furthering its mission and goals. There is a widespread misconception that taxonomy design is a task for a technical expert who can look at a body of content and design a perfect taxonomy for it, or can critique an existing taxonomy without reference to business and user needs. If you can’t get your feet dirty in the guts of the organisation, you can’t design or refine a taxonomy that will be useful. If you can, then you’ll find you have all the buy-in and adoption you need. If you are scoping a taxonomy project, PLEASE don’t forget to scope in the work required for analysing business and user needs! //End of rant.



Blog>> Straits Knowledge Bulletin August 2017

2017-09-06T07:05:00+08:00

Here’s the link to our August issue of the Straits Knowledge Bulletin. Lots of good stuff on upcoming events, knowledge audits, KM Assessments, and a book review! Enjoy.



Blog>> Is a Happy Worker a Productive Worker?

2017-08-30T09:30:00+08:00

I network with a lot of people as part of scraping together a living, and they tend to mainly come from the HR and IT spaces. These numerous conversations only go towards reinforcing my original theme around the need for rebranding KM… What is becoming clearer and clearer is that the larger classical developed western organisational world of working (with my sincere apologies to those immediately feeling excluded when they may not be working in this arena – but hopefully you will still learn something from reading on) is going through a massive transformation which they have very little control over (or sometimes proper understanding of): this transformation, triggered by huge advances in technology is having large ripple-effects on how we work, literally and figuratively speaking. This covers everything from our physical working environment (transitioning from permanent office fixtures to more hot-spotting / remote-working) to team members (from fixed functional organisational set-ups to more dynamic and agile mixed project-based specialist teaming) to technologies (multiple applications providing similar solutions which are constantly evolving while personal interactions with devices is rapidly-evolving whereby daily use of augmented reality (AR) and voice activation (VA), amongst other disruptors, is not so far-fetched anymore)… Taking all this change into account and how it impacts on anyone who still needs to deliver on daily work is a difficult – and usually negative conversation. Gallup tracks this fascinating employee engagement perspective which opens up some frankly scary reading (scary for employers, that is; their findings make ready sense for those who have experienced classical western organisational environments); they suggest around 85% of the global workforce is not engaged in their work! Obviously the reasons amongst these are very widespread – and while some of these cannot be ‘fixed’ per se by the employer, there are certainly ways and means which can help enhance and reduce these at a team and individual level (organisationally, this is a different beast). But it doesn’t have to be this way! My belief is that we need to (re-)focus on the human intellectual component when it comes to daily work: this means looking at how we as individuals work. The emotional and conscientious connection which a worker makes with his or her work can only really be enabled when that person is properly intellectually engaged (which then enables mental, emotional, sensory and physical engagement) – something which takes a combination of interventions. Funny enough, most of these interventions borrow from the suite of Knowledge Management practices! I’m talking about looking at how one works by adopting the four key pillars as with KM: we look at people, content, processes (and equipment), and technologies as key influencers – and disruptors. This means then putting on an ‘intellectual’ lens when examining how these four key factors impact on how one carries out his or her work: examining these through this lens will not only immediately understand how the individual is approaching and executing his or her task, but also helps raise awareness at the supervisor / manager level around what facilitates this exercise, what current distractions are apparent, and what can potentially help overcome or avoid these disruptions. Adopting this mindset not only shines light on more effective ways of working (= innovation?), but then opens up the up-/down-/sideways-reporting components which enables greater flow of understanding and communication – effectively allowing for better knowledge-sharing. I will go into more detail around each of these four components and interventions in my next postings – but I have seen this approach work (without having recognised it for what it was at the time). And this was accomplished while not having waving the ‘KM’ hat, but rather in adopting an operational improvement approach with a focus on the worker[...]



Blog>> ISKO Singapore Events and Resources

2017-08-01T00:13:00+08:00

ISKO Singapore continues to run its monthly series of events around topics in knowledge organisation and knowledge management – some nice events coming up: UPCOMING EVENTS August 8th-9th ISKO Singapore is supporting the Asia Pacific KM Summit which will take place in Yogyakarta and has some great speakers, including David Gurteen, Nick Milton, and our own Gopinathan R. ISKO members are eligible for a 10% discount on the conference fees. http://kmsummit.org/p/agenda August 25th ISKO Singapore will be conducting a half day workshop on how to avoid poor implementation in taxonomy and search projects. The facilitators will be Patrick Lambe, KK Lim and Maish Nichani. Free to ISKO members, $20 contribution for non-members. More details at http://www.iskosg.org/Taxonomy_And_Search_Disasters.html September 21st ISKO Singapore is delighted to be hosting Larry Prusak and former NASA CKO Ed Hoffman for a talk on the past and future of knowledge management. Free to members and $20 contribution for non-members. http://www.iskosg.org/Past_Future_KM.html October 23-25th ISKO Singapore is collaborating with ISKO India to organise an “Innovations in Knowledge Organisation” Day as part of the KOIM Conference in Chennai (IKO Chennai). http://www.ikoconference.org/programme-2017.html November 23rd ISKO Singapore is organising a one-day Masterclass in implementing the new ISO KM Standard, conducted by Paul Corney, a member of the British Standards Institute, and who helped to develop the standard. This Masterclass is $280 for ISKO members, and $350 for non-members. Registration includes a copy of Paul’s new book: “Navigating the Minefield: A Practical KMCompanion”. http://www.iskosg.org/corney_masterclass_iso30401.html November 24th ISKO Singapore will hold its 2017 AGM and Exco election. Paul Corney will give a talk on “Working with Consultants: How to Ensure Two-Way Capability and Knowledge Transfer”. Free to members, $20 contribution for non-members. http://www.iskosg.org/agm_2017_paul_corney.html RESOURCES FROM PAST EVENTS The archive of materials from past ISKO Singapore events is now quite rich and freely available – with slides, briefing papers and videos of presentations. Here’s a taste of the topics from the past 18 months: July 21 2017, Singapore What Does it Take to Transfer Expertise? – Gary Klein June 30 2017, Singapore Knowledge Management in Frameworks and Standards – KK Lim, Praba Nair, Ron Young May 26 2017, Singapore Governance for knowledge management and knowledge organisation – Panel with Kan Siew Ning, Eileen Tan, Paolina Martin, Joseph Busch, Matt Moore, Marita Keenan ​April 21 2017, Singapore Predicting Crowds on Public Transport – Marianne Winslett and Zhenjie Zhang February 24 2017, Singapore Behind the Black Box of Search: Risk, Findability and Discovery – Patrick Lambe and Maish Nichani January 20 2017, Singapore Building the NASA taxonomy – Joseph Busch October 7 2016, Singapore Site Visit to SMU – talk on “Building a Successful Institutional Repository” – Yeo Pin Pin September 2 2016, Singapore Telling Stories with Data – Maish Nichani August 19 2016, Singapore Site Visit to SPH Information Resource Centre – Idris Rashid July 20 2016, Singapore Agnes Molnar and Maish Nichani – IKO Workshop – Getting Started in Search Tom Reamy – IKO Workshop – Getting Started in Text Analytics May 25 2016, Singapore Douglas Oard: Search Among Secrets May 13 2016, Singapore Cor Beetsma, Praba Nair and Gopinathan R: Getting and Sustaining Buy In for KM/KO Projects April 15 2016, Singapore Neo Kim Hai: The Singapore Power KM Experience March 11 2016, Singapore Matt Moore, Chris Khoo and Leong Mun Kew: Reporting on the Knowledge Organisation Competencies Survey February 12 2016, Singapore Mary Abraham: Unlock your Social Capital January 15 2016, Singapore Maish Nichani: Planning for Enterprise Search November 27 2015, Singapore Patrick Lambe: Planning a Knowledge Portal



Blog>> Developing a KM Maturity Assessment that Supports Action Planning

2017-07-31T06:19:00+08:00

I have always been very cautious about KM Maturity Assessments. They carry a lot of assumptions about how KM should be implemented, that may not always be true for everybody. They often have features that get in the way of action planning that really matches the need of the organisation concerned. They can just be paper exercises to support a check-box mentality rather than supporting a real capability development. Then late last year, we were challenged by a client to look at whether we could design something that would overcome these challenges. This white paper describes the thinking and design process we went through, and contains the content of the post-pilot KM maturity assessment that we ended up with, which we are releasing under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. Enjoy! Developing_a_KM_Maturity_Assessment_v2.pdf



Blog>> Interview by Ana Neves on Knowledge Audits, Evaluation and Organisation Culture

2017-07-11T12:02:00+08:00

I was honoured to be interviewed by Ana Neves of Social Now – see the interview on LinkedIn here.



Blog>> Re-branding KM

2017-07-06T07:16:00+08:00

KM per se is not a sexy term - when speaking to others, particularly those I’m keen on building relationships with, flaunting the term ‘KM’ does not often jump-start inspiring and enthralling conversations - more the opposite! I believe that in repositioning what KM brings to an organisation under a new mantra or title can kick-start much more exciting and relevant conversations. My term for rebranding KM concepts? Intellectual effectiveness at work… Having worked with KM in different forms and facets for over 10 years, I have also seen its previous rise(s) and fall(s) across industries and geographies. I believe that today KM is undergoing a renaissance (its third or fourth, depending how far back you want to track it) as a recognised value-adding approach in any given workplace or setting – albeit more often labelled as something else. Indeed, beyond most international organisations and a handful of MNCs, the actual term of ‘KM’ is increasingly failing to trigger the right conversations – or instant recognition – regarding its intrinsic value as it should or has in the past. Case in point, I know of organisations either undertaking or launching KM initiatives today which have pointedly avoided adopting the ‘KM’ term or title, simply to achieve a more appealing and stimulating image as well as to ensure buy-in from key internal functional stakeholders. This is a shame for the term – yet understandable. For me, I think KM as a concept has as much, if not more, a valuable role to play today in how we, as individuals and in teams, work. How so? When framed amidst the growing disconcerting chatter of how new and emerging innovations will displace how we work (e.g. robotisation, AI, machine learning) on top of the mounting stress in actually achieving our daily grind, we can borrow from many of the classical frameworks and fundamental approaches, methods and tools embodied by KM to allow us to make immediate sense of how we currently work and figure out how we can improve. The key criteria when adopting KM approaches in how we can improve, I believe, is to refocus on what got us into our jobs in the first place – the human quotient of ‘intellectual engagement’ insofar as the motivations, ambitions, and desire to work. If we want to ensure that we – and those around us – are as productive and effective as possible in the context of our current working situations, whilst under the cloud of all these potential changes, we need to enable as much intellectual stimulation as possible. This is, for me, one of the few key drivers which will not only allow us to be successful in our outputs but achieve these in both an engaging and emotionally rewarding way. What exactly do I mean by this? I will elaborate on this concept in a series of blogs over the coming weeks and months. But for now, my appeal to those working in KM (under whatever name or guise) is to have faith in what we do because our chosen profession / passion unwaveringly focuses on the one true key component which will always ride the waves of innovation and technological r/evolutions – individual human beings and our intellectual capabilities.



How-to Guides>> Cross-Post: Practitioner Guidelines on Conducting Knowledge Audits

2017-05-03T12:08:00+08:00

These guidelines were compiled by the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Knowledge Management Roundtable, May 3 2017, hosted by Securities Commission Malaysia. 1. BEFORE THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT a)Framing: Examine the organisation’s structure, and the distinct functions of each department. Get hold of the department business process workflows. Have preliminary conversations with management to sound them out informally on the idea, identify the pain points and business issues they are concerned about. Make informal observations of the current culture, business processes, and knowledge types being used in the business. Make sure you understand the culture of the organisation, the business environment and ecosystem, as well as current organisational change initiatives under way. Consider the best model of audit, and audit methods to use for that culture and situation. Identify key potential influencers, supporters, partners, naysayers. Speak with potential allies first (e.g. HODs of friendly departments) and socialize them on the knowledge audit concept, seeking their feedback on how it could be made most useful to them. Be clear on the objective of the audit, i.e. what we want to achieve, the potential ROI of the audit, the main issues to address, how it connects to and supports business objectives, who are our stakeholders, who are our sponsors, who are our target audiences and respondents. Consider what label you are going to use for the knowledge audit, appropriate to the organisational culture – (e.g. KM assessment, KM evaluation, knowledge audit, KM audit, knowledge mapping, KM needs analysis, KM planning exercise, etc.). Make sure you have sufficient resources to conduct the audit, scale the audit to your resources. If it is a discovery audit, be sure you have sufficient resources to pursue additional lines of enquiry if new issues come up during the audit. Determine the audit type, and the appropriate audit methods considering your objectives, your capabilities and resources and your organisation culture. Get formal support and buy-in for the audit scoping from senior management – be clear about the level of resources, participation and time required, from them, and from their people. Be clear about the need and benefits of a knowledge audit, the intended goals, desired outcomes, and guiding principles, and be clear about the importance of their role in implementing the recommendations when the audit is complete. Connect the audit to your understanding of the business strategy to show how KM assists the business strategy. Share examples of how similar organisations have used knowledge audits to produce business benefits. Ask them for a clear mandate and for their assistance in nominating the right participants in the audit. If it is a discovery audit, let them know that the activities may change based on issues discovered as the audit progresses. b)Planning: Define what outcomes you want from each step in the knowledge audit process, and identify risks to the outcomes, and mitigation strategies for those risks. Identify constraints that could impact the project plan – e.g. other organisational initiatives, annual cycles of events, holiday periods etc. If you are using an external consultant, identify potential candidates, and scope their work and role in the project. Define the requirements and deliverables. Make sure you have the resources and budget required. Identify the roles and resources required from your own team, and ensure they have the time and capacity to perform their roles. Identify the right respondents for your knowledge audit (based on audit type, and audit goals) – e.g. subject matter experts, department representatives, representatives of different types of staff (functions, levels, years of service). Come up with a detailed project plan and timeline, with major deliverabl[...]



Blog>> Practitioner Guidelines for Knowledge Audits

2017-05-03T11:59:00+08:00

These guidelines were compiled by the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Knowledge Management Roundtable, May 3 2017, hosted by Securities Commission Malaysia. 1. BEFORE THE KNOWLEDGE AUDIT a)Framing: Examine the organisation’s structure, and the distinct functions of each department. Get hold of the department business process workflows. Have preliminary conversations with management to sound them out informally on the idea, identify the pain points and business issues they are concerned about. Make informal observations of the current culture, business processes, and knowledge types being used in the business. Make sure you understand the culture of the organisation, the business environment and ecosystem, as well as current organisational change initiatives under way. Consider the best model of audit, and audit methods to use for that culture and situation. Identify key potential influencers, supporters, partners, naysayers. Speak with potential allies first (e.g. HODs of friendly departments) and socialize them on the knowledge audit concept, seeking their feedback on how it could be made most useful to them. Be clear on the objective of the audit, i.e. what we want to achieve, the potential ROI of the audit, the main issues to address, how it connects to and supports business objectives, who are our stakeholders, who are our sponsors, who are our target audiences and respondents. Consider what label you are going to use for the knowledge audit, appropriate to the organisational culture – (e.g. KM assessment, KM evaluation, knowledge audit, KM audit, knowledge mapping, KM needs analysis, KM planning exercise, etc.). Make sure you have sufficient resources to conduct the audit, scale the audit to your resources. If it is a discovery audit, be sure you have sufficient resources to pursue additional lines of enquiry if new issues come up during the audit. Determine the audit type, and the appropriate audit methods considering your objectives, your capabilities and resources and your organisation culture. Get formal support and buy-in for the audit scoping from senior management – be clear about the level of resources, participation and time required, from them, and from their people. Be clear about the need and benefits of a knowledge audit, the intended goals, desired outcomes, and guiding principles, and be clear about the importance of their role in implementing the recommendations when the audit is complete. Connect the audit to your understanding of the business strategy to show how KM assists the business strategy. Share examples of how similar organisations have used knowledge audits to produce business benefits. Ask them for a clear mandate and for their assistance in nominating the right participants in the audit. If it is a discovery audit, let them know that the activities may change based on issues discovered as the audit progresses. b)Planning: Define what outcomes you want from each step in the knowledge audit process, and identify risks to the outcomes, and mitigation strategies for those risks. Identify constraints that could impact the project plan – e.g. other organisational initiatives, annual cycles of events, holiday periods etc. If you are using an external consultant, identify potential candidates, and scope their work and role in the project. Define the requirements and deliverables. Make sure you have the resources and budget required. Identify the roles and resources required from your own team, and ensure they have the time and capacity to perform their roles. Identify the right respondents for your knowledge audit (based on audit type, and audit goals) – e.g. subject matter experts, department representatives, representatives of different types of staff (functions, levels, years of service). Come up with a detailed project plan and time[...]



Blog>> Knowledge Audits in Practice - Report on Global Survey

2017-04-04T06:55:00+08:00

Let me thank the 150 respondents from all over who generously responded to my survey on knowledge audit perceptions and experiences. Some very useful insights from the responses, which I summarise below. The detailed report can be found in the attached pdf. Many of you expressed willingness to be contacted – I will be working on the interview plan over the coming weeks.Thanks again for all your help! Main Insights: 1. There is a wide array of understandings of what a knowledge audit is (both in the research literature and in practice). 2. People experienced in knowledge audits focus less on audits for compliance, quality or benchmarking – more general perceptions of knowledge audits amplify the importance of those types. 3. Knowledge audits are composite activities, combining several audit types, most usually an Inventory of knowledge stocks and flows, combined with an internal or external review of KM practices. 4. People experienced in knowledge audits tend to narrow the range of audit types used in combination, compared with general perceptions. 5. If an Inventory Audit is not conducted, the most common types used are internal or external reviews of KM practices, and audits of the quality of KM. 6. Knowledge audits most commonly focus on knowledge stocks and flows, KM processes, strategic knowledge needs and KM capabilities. 7. Knowledge audits are most commonly used to understand organisational knowledge needs, as input to a KM strategy, and to improve operational-level KM. 8. Knowledge audits use a very wide array of methods, with interviews, workshops and surveys being most favoured. The most effective methods are considered to be interviews for their depth and richness, and workshops for building knowledge maps and building consensus. 9. The biggest challenges in conducting knowledge audits relate to getting reliable, comprehensive and accurate data covering non-obvious knowledge sources as well as the obvious ones. This is partially connected to how the audit is scoped, the engagement methods deployed, and how communications are managed, particularly in getting consistent understandings of the goals. The second major cluster of challenges relates to the time required for an audit, getting management buy-in, and getting participation from the right people. 10. The most cited benefit from a knowledge audit is its ability to build consensus and provide underpinning evidence for KM planning, and for a KM strategy and roadmap. A second major benefit (particularly relating to Inventory Audits) is its value in locating important knowledge and ensuring effective knowledge access and use. Download the detailed report here If you are in Europe in May, don’t forget to check out the Social Now Conference in Lisbon, May 10-12 – it will be packed with KM thinkers and practitioners, with some excellent masterclasses and a very practical, case-based approach. I’ll be leading a Masterclass on Knowledge Audits at that event. For more resources on knowledge audits, click here