The classic knowledge management effort has to do with building or improving a knowledge repository. That includes collecting information as well as making it simple to find/use once collected.
With blogs on the rise and Twitter blowing up in a matter of a few years, information has begun to be consumed not from repositories or web pages, but from streams and communities. End user focus has turned to finding the right streams and the right communities that meet our needs at any given point in time.
Once established, we can sit back and let the content come to us. We monitor streams that are more important to us more closely. While we are not paying attention, the stream continues to flow by and that is OK. If we really want to, we can search later. But, looking back will likely only be necessary/warranted when the information we are seeking is extremely niche. New information is constantly flowing.
This shift in approach can be somewhat alarming to people at first (see “Evolution of Twitter Use“). It shouldn’t be. We have been consuming TV in this way our whole lives. TV streams are still going by even when we are not watching. DVR’s help us capture parts of the stream and repeats give us second chances (like RT’s in Twitter). How many magazine subscriptions do you have? How many of issues do you read? Same thing.
There are two main reasons the shift to streams is taking place:
- technology – RSS is not the easiest thing to use. Twitter apps and other stream readers (eg. Google Reader) are making it easier for even the most novice to watch information streams. This will continue to improve.
- volume – there is so much information streaming now that we can easily find a set of streams on ANY topic. The trick is whittling it down to the few that we have time to read and interact with.
I have recently been fascinated by Twitter’s ability to form communities of people. I believe the next iteration in this knowledge management revolution will be communities forming around certain streams on a large scale. Hopefully those communities will be open and hyper-connected to other similar communities.
Thanks for creating the environment where I can catch up with some old friends and meet lots of interesting new ones. We used KMWorld09 as a platform to launch the new http://KMers.org community and it was very successful in that regard.
As requested from our in-person discussion, here are some specific recommendations for conference improvement.
- Create an online environment where attendees can provide feedback about the conference. Not a survey, but quick comments. Use a tool that lets everyone see each other’s comments and vote on whether or not they agree. Try crowdsound, uservoice, or ideascale. All very cheap and probably free for KMWorld in return for the exposure they would get to KMers. Your audience will help you improve if you give them the tools.
- Create a physical Q&A room where speakers go after they finish speaking so that people can continue asking questions. Put the Q&A room on the schedule. If you don’t want to pay for another room, designate a table in the lobby where the speaker will hold court for an additional 30mins or so.
- Create a track which has only collaborative type sessions. Nancy Dixon’s session was a great example. Here is a description of another good format called Buzz
- Make sure that every speaker, speaks for a maximum of 2/3rds of the time slot. Too many sessions I attended just ended with zero chance to interact with the content.
- Simulcast the keynotes online. This will create significantly more exposure and therefore likely more awareness for next year’s conference
- Provide a place online where people can rate speakers and sessions. Not sure how you were vetting sessions this year, but it seemed that everyone came from a reputable source, but some were downright embarrasingly poor at communicating. I used to work at WSB so I know that the presentation is as important as the content for whether people enjoy and retain.
- Kudos for being on Twitter and for pushing out blog content during the conference. However, the hashtag should be a communal conversation. The tweeters are people and should be connected with as people. The way you used Twitter this time around is akin to walking into a cocktail party and just talking to everyone you walked up to, never listening, and never responding to their ideas. The best conferences are listening to their hashtag streams and engaging wherever they see an opportunity.
- Get the hashtag buzz going before the conference. This will help with registration.
- There are a variety of ways to use Twitter in sessions. Here is an article that I wrote for MPI’s One+ magazine
There are some excellent meeting planners who have great ideas about how to make conferences better
Please let me know if I can help. We all want KM to thrive. Conferences are an important part of maintaining a solid community.
All the best,
There is no doubt that Education is critical to the future of the United States economy. Thomas Friedman talks about it extensively in his very popular book, The World is Flat. Therefore, the concepts in this post on Future Education are not only directly applicable to business, but our success in Future Education will have a direct impact on our abilities in Future Business.
I spent 90 minutes last night on the phone with an excellent visionary from the NYC Dept of Education. Arthur VanderVeen is focused on how best to achieve knowledge sharing for NYC educators.
We talked about the difficulty of turning tacit knowledge into explicit and we talked about the challenges of fostering active communities of interest/practice.
Two of the main tenets of our discussion were
- Give them what they want: the sharing needs to have value to the way they work today or want to work today. There are some technologies (eg. Computer, cell phone) that completely change the way we work, but most enhance the way we already work in a more evolutionary fashion rather than revolutionary
- Work bottom-up rather than top-down. Try various programs in schools and see what works. Where there is success, invest more to work out if it can be scaled up.
One thing that has come to mind since our discussion is the 100-10-1 rule of community involvement. In the case of education it is probably 1000-100-10-1 due to the challenge of getting already overworked educators to even view information.
- For every 1000 educators
- 100 will actively or passively browse the knowledge-base
- 10 will comment on or use existing content
- and 1 will contribute something new
That means that for 80,000 teachers you may only have 80 contributors. This is likely not sufficient volume to create a critical mass of content that keeps the 100 coming back and gets more of the 1000 to view. The larger districts may decide to invest in “librarians” who seek out good content and take the time to get it into the knowledge-base, but this is not the most efficient model and is probably not tenable for the smaller districts.