Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thoughts and Learning From KMWorld Conference

As I think back on the conference, sessions, keynotes, and conversations, here is a brief snapshot of what I learned, observed, and confirmed, all though the particular lens of my own biases of course, and without referring to my notes!

(Note that I focused on the KM track exclusively. For a more detailed look at what I got from individual sessions, as well as what two colleagues learned from their focus on content management and taxonomy tracks, visit http://wazzupkmworld2006.blogspot.com/ )

Knowledge management is enabling and facilitating productive conversations between people for better decision making and innovation. A mechanistic view of KM has limited value and lifespan.

Decision making and organizational innovation are critical core capabilities for organizations to easily adapt to the anticipated, and unanticipated future.

Management thinking needs to quickly change from Tayloristic / mechanistic modes and models to sense making in the context of organizations as complex systems filled with knowledge workers (volunteers) where cause/effect relationships are not accurately identifiable looking forward to any great degree of certainty.

Information provides a key role in supporting productive conversations provided it is all considered metadata, is tagged with meaningful metadata, and can be fluidly organized in a variety of ways not by an "expert" but by users themselves based on their needs at any given time.

Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies are moving past "early adopters" and becoming mainstream in leading organizations.Technology has a significant role to play, not in the creation of central repositories of information that never get used, but in providing a suite of social technology tools to:

  • enable conversations, decision making and innovation
  • seamless capture, publish, and aggregate the results of those human activities
  • provide easy, user-structured/user-driven access to information

(Additioanl ref: IBM Executive Declares Web 2.0 Technology to Drive New Business Applications)

Organizations need to spend more time contemplating the work environment / technology that Gen-Ys will be demanding - a radical shift from what we're familiar with today - and begin experimenting and implementing it in the near term. They need to plan for and take action for the future.

Socially constructed narrative and anecdotes are high-value information objects for exchanging knowledge in the absence of a direct person-person connection. The transfer of expertise /deep smarts is only truly possible when the expert and the learner co-create new knowledge through joint problem solving, and making their thinking processes explicit in the process.

Overall, a very good conference. Most appreciated - key speakers like Snowden, McDermott, Weinberger, Semple, Pollard etc. and their reasonable accessibility for follow-up conversations - opportunity to meet people talking about and struggling with common issues, including Gordon Vala-Webb, who I'd met previously at a Conference Board Knowledge Strategy Exchange Network meeting.
I'll definitely consider going again next year, speaker dependent. The St. Clair Hotel was awesome. San Jose has good food, nice weather and friendly people.

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