Wednesday, October 24, 2007

actKM conference

Just back from the actKM conference held in Canberra ( (Conference presentations here: I have never been to anything titled 'knowledge management' before and I must say that the term does kind of hit me as a confusing bit of language (is it my science background?). To me, the techniques people talk about could quite easily be packaged up as ‘good business management’, ‘valuing tacit knowledge’, ‘valuing people and their input’, ‘good communication’ etc. etc. Anyway, I pursued with my concentration and in the end found that my above ideas of packaging what knowledge management (KM) meant – were ok! What KM means to one organisation may be different to another but it’s useful to talk about it all.

Some key highlights for me were:
Hearing some amazing stories of incredible communication break-downs.

* The history of actKM: originally an ACT event but now it attracts international attendees.
* The question ‘isn’t knowledge management everyone’s business?’ ‘Yes, but who owns what – for example IT do the intranet, HR do the training, what is the role of a knowledge manager?
* There is knowledge that needs to be identified and acknowledged at different levels: the personal to the organisational. And there are interesting dynamics between these.

We did a questionnaire to identify if people tend to being a natural broker or not. Quite interesting. I was an 8/10 but the point was made by Laurie Lock Lee that many people who are not naturally the brokering type learn the skills and do a great job of it because it’s part of their work – so those with 4/10 don’t really need to worry :).

Laurie also talked about the importance of networks and ways to encourage energy in networds – all useful things to know. He passed on a reference to Kelley 1998 ‘Star performers: Nine breakthough strategies that you need to succeed’.

And an inspirational story was told by Troy Mallie from the Aboriginal Rainforest Council which represents 18 tribal groups in land and cultural heritage management issuers. He talked about some of the indigenous knowledge capturing work he has done while developing a system that holds images, sound, documents – anything really. And the systems he’s been involved with have been developed by and for aboriginal people to use and segregate their knowledge of particular places by the cultural divisions they need – eg. by gender, age, individual to family group to clan.

And finally David Gurteen gave a talk about the technology he uses in his day-to-day work: blogs, RSS feeds (eg. Feedburner <-- the one we use for this blog), Skype, Flickr, Facebook, his iPod to download podcasts to look at on the train, Google tools & reviews of anything technology by Robin Good (** some really good stuff on here).

Some other bits and pieces to come out of the conference: a wiki site about creativity, innovation, problem solving etc.

Arthur Shelley’s ‘Organizational Zoo’ book: about classifying and working with the various people (animals) that make up the organisation (zoo)

Until next post - bye,