KM Conversation

The monthly SIKM Boston* meeting is usually an eclectic mix of member-focused discussion, and today was no different. We even had a visitor from my old stomping grounds in KM Chicago. The discussion covered a range of topics from personal knowledge management to KM technology rollouts to "how to" to social business and more. Here are some thoughts and links inspired by the conversation. 

The discussion gets kicked off my people introducing themselves and letting everyone know what interesting things (generally KM-related) are happening in their world. As often happens, the full meeting was discussion inspired by these simple "check in" comments and then others asking more questions or pointing to interesting things they've found that relate.

I brought up Personal Knowledge Management, as I had done Harold Jarche's PKM workshop last month. People always giggle when I reference the personal information management element of PKM - how much email is sitting un-handled in your inbox. That is only one element of PKM. Several others percolated with comments and questions around this as well. Someone thought that Harold's Seek-Sense-Share model sounded a lot like Steve Spear's See-Solve-Learn model (but I can't find reference to it), where the Learn component emphasizes learning by doing. 

And the topic of learning bubbled through the conversation as well. There was an interesting aspect of organization learning - we don't want to keep using the same mediocre responses, or keep banging against the same problems. And that is tied up in the ideas of ongoing improvement and ties into personal learning as well.  This discussion also pulled in some more practical elements around how to do a better job of delivering training materials / content (video snippets, conversations). And this led to some discussion of the connection between learning and social interaction. People learn a little in formal training, but they learn so much more in trying and failing and asking questions. Our discussion dove somewhat into the idea of how we encourage people to ask questions and interact with one another as they learn new things. And of course, I just loop back to PKM: we are always learning new things. How well do we recognize that?

And the discussion of social learning morphed into some discussion of social software and where organizations are in their own journey of encouraging / embracing / fearing the idea of social business. We touched on familiar elements of information overload (back to PKM!) and cultural readiness.  

One example that I think is a great "social learning" example, but is decidedly low tech.  One organization gets people (experts) together on the phone to discuss a particularly thorny problem. Others are invited to listen in, but the goal of the phone calls is to jointly find a way to solve the problem. Nothing is recorded or formally written down.  But the act of getting people together in this way creates energy around the situation. Result: within a year, those thorny problems have turned around and are generating revenue for the organization.

There were other topics that wove in and out of the discussion, but these are top of mind for me several hours later.

* Note that the SIKM Boston wiki is private to encourage discussion amongst members. If you are interested and in the area, please use the SIKM Boston to ask permission to join.

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