Linking knowledge management with monitoring and evaluation


A short while ago, I gave a small brown bag seminar on the connections between knowledge management (KM) on the one hand and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) on the other hand, for a group of people from the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), both located in Wageningen in the green heart of the Netherlands (the country where I now live).

It was somewhat intimidating to give this seminar in front of a really savvy audience, particularly for the M&E part, since I haven’t directly worked much on M&E since I joined ILRI in late 2011.

The seminar I prepared was on Prezi – see hereby:

KM-M&E seminar
https://prezi.com/view/Jww1idvEC608G7wyA8bn/ or https://prezi.com/p/wgggdcmwxz-v/

(Just as an aside: It was done using ‘Prezi Next’ which is related to the classic Prezi everyone knows but has new features. A new learning curve to adapt to the latest design options and it’s clear that since their heyday a few years ago Prezi have gone some way to reduce the motion sickness effect that was the biggest drawback of their otherwise great application. Unfortunately, at this stage, it’s not possible to embed a PreziNext into WordPress, though this might be fixed some time in the near future).

In any case, what was interesting, as with every piece of information that is being presented, is how people reacted to it, and what they reacted on.

The key points we discussed in the interaction revolved around:

How KM is perceived as dead or not

The notion that ‘KM is dead’ was perhaps difficult to digest for some of the KM heads around the table, though in the conversation it became clear that as much as the field is disappearing, the lessons and principles and approaches of KM live on. And in certain areas, sectors and organisations KM is still very much vivid as a field in and of its own.

We agreed that the importance was to shape collective norms about what is KM (or whatever a group calls it) and that a label (such as KM) should only be adopted if it helps clarify matters for a given group. But the conversation about what it is called is useful too.

Archetypes of KM and M&E heads

Another interesting aspect we touched upon was the stereotypes of people working in KM and in M&E. I made a very rough caricature to introduce some of the KM archetypes and the M&E archetype (of the cold-blooded scientist) which luckily has changed over the years. Particularly the M&E community is really transforming, with booming activity as I can judge on the aliveness of the Pelican Initiative. And so it’s only encouraging to expect that there will be more and more alignment between KM and M&E in the future as many individuals that I know are trespassing the borders of either field and are working across the disciplines.

How KM adds value, what makes it special or different? Why bother?

This was one of the challenges posed by the director of one of the host institutes I was presenting to. “Why should we do KM if it’s so similar to M&E, and what are the trends and the approaches we need to embrace from that field”. That’s where we came back to the bottom line of KM=CDL and the fact that KM is a useful lens looking at knowledge and learning, ensuring we leverage knowledge at all stages. It was interesting also to hear that some people assumed KM to be systematically about learning (but what about the ‘KM portals‘?). But the conversation showed that the connection between KM and M&E is not automatically grasped – and perhaps that my presentation didn’t hit home base 😉

 

KM and M&E is not all about the M&E of KM (Credits: MSH/Pathfinder)

KM and M&E is not all about the M&E of KM (Credits: MSH/Pathfinder)

What is the real connection between KM and M&E?

Indeed the big question is: what really is the difference or the overlap between KM and M&E. And it has to be learning, though we recognized, as a group, that not all KM and not all M&E are learning-focused, but both hold that promise and can make it happen. How to bring them together and how to make them benefit from each other is the question. Perhaps this is really worth blogging more about, just as it might be useful to blog about iterative and upscaling cycles of CDL that take KM from a very individual to a societal level with social learning – one of the thoughts that played around my head during this rich learning day…

 

…which leads me to the bottomline of all of this though is that I can sense how much intellectual effusion there is around Wageningen and the development society of the Netherlands at large and I sense that this might fuel another burst of blogging for me. Which can only be good for the short and longer run for me (and hopefully for you then ;)…

Related blog posts:

 

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Ban info-dumping and think carefully how much information you can handle


The paradox of the knowledge age is that we feel ever more lost with information and our capacity to filter it, and yet…

We always want more, more and more of it.

How much information can you eat, really? (Credits: Internet Business Mastery)

How much information can you eat, really? (Credits: Internet Business Mastery)

But as much as slow-food and eco-citizen trends are teaching us (again and again), the best can be the enemy of the good and looking at our real situation is just common sense.

I’ve been involved in a few work assignments and projects where I (or other people) were asked to submit a lot of information. In fact, so much so that it seemed absurd how much of that information was going to be absorbed by the receiving end.

Information greed is the ugly relative of information glut, like a monstrous yin and yang that keeps feeding off each other.

But think carefully, if you are asking to get all that information, how much information can you really handle? What are you going to do with that information? I know it’s tempting to gather information ‘just in case’, and generally to learn, but the central question is and remains: learning to do what? Why? Why? Nine whys!

Image result for information greed

 

 

Or perhaps you’re just trying to hoard it and keep sole access to it? In any case you’re indulging in unhealthy and unnecessary ‘info dumping‘.

If you are sure you won’t be doing something concrete about each piece of information you’re asking for, don’t bother asking for that information, whether you’re setting up a survey, organising a call for proposal or giving an assignment to someone. If you insist on receiving all kinds of extra information, you run the risk of a) being drowned in information yourself as you add a lot of ‘noise’ around what you actually really need b) losing your credibility as a person/team/institution that knows what they are doing and c) turning off the people you are asking to get that information and ensuring there won’t be more work with you in the future.

I’ve seen teams prepare baseline survey questionnaires including over 200, sometimes 300 questions, basically requesting many individual farmers (who are hard working on their plot of land) to spend three, four or more hours on a questionnaire that doesn’t gratify them with any instant result. This is utterly absurd, and disrespectful.

Information is precious, so keep it this way and don’t indulge in ‘info dumping’ please…

Related posts:

Nothing new under the sun? Here’s what’s new: your dying thirst for learning


It’s a natural tendency of skeptics, experts, people who’ve been in a field for a while: they’ve seen it all, nothing is new, why bother?

This is happening currently on KM4Dev in relation with a conversation on what is different about communities of practice now and then. Some people have the tendency to say that indeed nothing is genuinely new.

Every rediscovery of an old topic is like a kaleidoscopic reflection on the same 'ingredients'. Let's keep being amazed! (Credits: EllenM1 / FlickR)

Every rediscovery of an old topic is like a kaleidoscopic reflection on the same ‘ingredients’. Let’s keep being amazed! (Credits: EllenM1 / FlickR)

 

How can that be? That people ask similar questions then and now is not so surprising: it takes much more time to answer questions than to raise them. But then, there’s always new aspects to identify, examine and appreciate. New layers of subtlety, new and recombined ways of looking at things, new perspectives on old topics.

That’s why there’s values in the phoenix conversations (such as M&E of KM), and in reinventing the wheel.

Not recognising the subtleties of change is simply renouncing our curiosity and our -at least as specialised knowledge workers- sacro-sanct thirst for learning. That’s a risky trade-off for appearing to have ‘been there, done that’.

Let’s not fall in that trap, shall we?

Meanwhile, that conversation on communities of practice, and the upcoming issue of the KM for development journal will provide excellent opportunities to blog further about this topic on this blog in the coming months… So keep watching this space 🙂

Moving on after nearly 6 years in Ethiopia, in 6 epitomising posts of the ‘habesha phase’


This Friday – 2 June 2017 – I will be leaving Ethiopia as a resident for good.

I will still be working with ILRI but based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Personal matters have taken precedence over professional ones and we have to be back in Europe. It’s a pity in some way, but it’s also a great opportunity, as every change is. I personally like change. However uncomfortable it is. However difficult it is. However unavoidable it is.

So this change will mean probably adding different perspectives to this blog and to my other blog on agile facilitation.

Good bye Addis! (credits: Wardheernews)

Good bye Addis! (credits: Wardheernews)

The past – nearly – six years have been extremely rich, as testified in this post about personal changes, just from last year to this one. I haven’t been able to keep up my blogging practice over the past few months because of the personal reasons forcing us to move back to Holland and because ever since I’ve been back in Ethiopia, in late April, I’ve been super busy winding things down here and turning the page of our Ethiopian life chapter. But I thought it might be worth a shot to look back at the ‘Ethiopian (habesha) years’ in six posts that marked the most prolific blogging phase of my professional life.

Here they are, I hope you enjoy them (again, perhaps) and please share your reactions and ideas about these and possible future posts!

Communication, KM, monitoring, learning – The happy families of engagement 

I wrote this post very soon after leaving IRC and joining ILRI. And those first few months were actually very prolific and qualitatively strong for my blogging. Perhaps stronger than any other blogging period for me. Hence my anticipation about this new period of change. In any case, this post has been referred to by various people and institutions as an inspiring one. I’m not sure about that but I had fun writing it. It is all about ‘engagement’ which became my ‘bread-and-butter’ at ILRI in various shapes and forms.
KM=CDL, on the journey to universal sense-making

This is the post that finally helped me nail down my own definition of what knowledge management is and I keep referring to it for that reason. In an environment where there was no KM or comms strategy (for ILRI) and no unified understanding of what knowledge or KM is, writing this post proved very helpful to me. I hope it is somewhat to you too.

I share because I care!

A lot of my ILRI work is about role-modelling behaviours that I hope others will take up to some extent. And when it comes to knowledge sharing, this was the post that helped put in writing what I felt intuitively all along. It’s been my gospel at ILRI and beyond ever since.

I hope you care to read it and to share your own spark too!

Portrait of the modern knowledge worker 

We are in the knowledge age, and knowledge workers are everywhere. This is probably the reason why this post was picked up by the World Bank and was thus promoted quite vividly for a while. I offer some characteristics and traits of a typical knowledge worker. I’d love to hear your views on what that entails.

Tinkering with tools: what’s up with Yammer?

This is the post that got most popular on my blog ever, with a (humble) peak of nearly 350 views on one day, when the Yammer team found out about it. Yammer has also been an interesting experience for me with ILRI as we’ve promoted it as the social network that our colleagues should use to access information they want to pull. With measured success. Bottom line for me: I don’t care about the tool – I do care about the result (sharing is caring).

Of ‘healthy human systems’ beyond ‘the field’ and facilitating conversations that change the world: an interview with Sam Kaner and Nelli Noakes

The post is an interview with two people that radically changed my personal work life, with their ideas, practice, reflections, and an ongoing conversation about our collaboration. Sam Kaner is one of the inventors of the field of facilitation, and together with his partner Nelli Noakes they share here their very generous overview of why they try to get people to collaborate.

Ok, and because 7 is a magical number, here is my #7 pick:

Jungian types, personality pigeonholing and finding my pathway and ‘contribution’

 

This is one of the most personal posts I’ve published on my blog, as it explains what I see as my calling in (the professional) life. I hope you find and share your own contribution. And I look forward to engaging a lot more with all of you from my future new home, The Hague 🙂

Hello The Hague! (credits: unclear)

Hello The Hague! (credits: unclear)

Bonus info: this happens to be my 300th post on this blog 😉

Videos: What is KM/Why KM? Taking stock


Knowledge... and knowledge management saw the light (Credits: Iqbal Osman / FlickR)

Knowledge… and knowledge management saw the light (Credits: Iqbal Osman / FlickR)

It was about time!

After a successful series of posts about ‘facilitation videos‘, a A visual tour of KM and illustrating common challenges and opportunities of Knowledge management in cartoons, I was meant to highlight some videos about ‘what is knowledge management’ and ‘why bother?’.

Tadaa! Now job done. And done after googling for these videos, since I only knew a handful of videos about KM.

So hereby I have selected a few vids that in my -totally subjective- view are more worth your while than others. I’ve also added in a second list the contenders that were easy to find when googling ‘KM video’. Both lists are ordered from shortest to longest video length, so you can decide how much time you have. I’ve provided a quick description, pros and cons and my biased rating about them. I hope you enjoy this selection, and please let me know what videos about ‘what is/why KM’ you personally like that are missing here, so I can review and perhaps add them here 🙂

The toppers’ selection

KM in brief (KMPlus Consulting, April 2015 – 1’39”)

This animated video emphasises particularly the knowledge retention aspect of KM for commercial companies which then face either hiring inexperienced staff or expensive experienced staff.

Pros: Good visuals, good introduction to the knowledge retention issue. Short thus easy-to-absorb video. Provides some examples.

Cons: Too narrow a scope. Very corporate-focused. Not a good introduction to ‘KM’ in general. 

It’s a neat and well done little video but very narrow in terms of the scope of KM. It seems to be part of a series covering other KM challenges/opportunities (e.g. see this video on communities of practice) which is a good thing – but the title here remains misleading.

My rating: 6/10

What is knowledge management (November 2010 – 2’40”)

Chris Collison (co-author of ‘learning to fly’ – one of the bibles of this discipline) is one of the KM pundits among the people who shot such videos. His definition looks at the family of fields related to KM, e.g. learning, network, social media, the culture of an organisation etc.

Pros: Collison touches upon some of the fundamental aspects of KM and has a very learning-centric approach to it which resonates strongly with me. I enjoyed hearing the excitement he feels about KM.

Cons: The audio quality is not great.

The subjective quality of this video and the good contents covered make it a good intro video to KM, despite the fact it’s visually quite ‘bare’.

My rating: 7/10

Knowledge management (Deloitte Belgium, December 2015 – 3’01”)

This Deloitte video about KM introduces the Deloitte approach to KM in 6 elements and zooms in on some specific tools that help deploy it in an organisation.

Pros: Useful look at 6 areas important to any KM initiative (content, processes, strategy etc.); very good audio quality.

Cons: The tour of all the areas starts with the tools and zooms in on those, giving a false importance to what appears to be perhaps the easiest aspect of KM (do I sense tool obsession here?). Very much based on ‘organisations’ not KM in networks or across multi-stakeholder processes.

Overall, the video is ok but the key message’s over-emphasis on tools is risky, especially for people who are discovering KM for the first time and are bound to fall in that trap already.

My rating: 5.5/10

Why should you be interested in Knowledge Management today? (K3Cubed, December 2012 – 3’06”)

David Griffiths is a regular KM blogger with his K3Cubed website. This video emphasises the complexity of the environment and dealing with the signals that come from this complex environment as well as how KM helps respond to these signals and develop a resilient organisation.

Pros: The natural emphasis on resilience and complexity is great, it shows the very dynamic nature of KM and its relation to innovation.

Cons: There is in this video not a great deal of details about what KM looks like in practice. The audio quality is not great. 

The messages of the video are in subtle ways quite distinct from other KM videos of this lot and touch upon the difficult side of KM. I like this approach, even though it may not be the most straightforward introduction to KM here (compared with other videos in the selection).

My rating: 7/10

BKBC animation introducing knowledge management (BKBC, August 2015 – 3’28”)

This whiteboard video (from the UK’s National Health System) tracks back the history, the purpose and nature of KM, what people can do with it and what can one expect out of it – whether with large or scarce resources.

Pros: By far the most visually appealing video in this selection – as is the nature of most whiteboard videos – and it touches upon many of the key features of KM. It also offers questions, effectively ‘walking the talk’ about KM. Importantly it stresses the fact that ‘KM already happens anyway‘.

Cons: The language is still referring to knowledge as a commodity. And of course, there could be other elements brought into this (e.g. apprenticeship, knowledge retention etc.) but that applies to all other videos here.

This is one of the best videos in this selection (in my view) – a great starting point if you want to have a comprehensive overview of KM.

My rating: 9/10

Knowledge management introduction (Nick Milton, August 2011 – 4’01”)

Nick Milton is probably THE most prolific writer about KM. He posts on a daily basis on his Knoco blog. Unlike most selected videos here, this one is not with the author’s voice-over. It’s a dynamic photo-presentation with backgroung music.

Pros: The presentation touches upon all key challenges of KM in a very clear way and it’s debunking a few KM myths (e.g. it’s all about ICT tools and data); It offers some examples of real return on investment. The author focuses on 5 KM benefit areas: innovation, collaboration, learning from experience, knowledge retention, rapid on-boarding.

Cons: The animations are a little annoying, as is the music. And while the video focuses on the human aspect, this video could have had a more human feeling to it.

All in all, though, a great clear video to introduce KM!

My rating: 8/10

Knowledge management – in 5 minutes or less (Knowledge MT, February 2017, 4’46”)

This video is one of a series by KnowledgeMT and it offers a broad understanding of what KM is, in its various aspects.

Pros: The welcome focus on values and intuition, and the emphasis on the fact that expert knowledge cannot be ‘dumped’ into a repository etc., the agreement that failures are ok; the clear difference between KM and information management; the summary at the end and its emphasis on capitalising upon knowledge assets.

Cons: The language used is still about ‘knowledge transfer’; there is no mention about some of the incentives for people (and management); visuals used are not really great. The audio quality could be sharper.

Overall quite a good video, which could have been even stronger on either the narrative or the visual side, but the content is straight and delivered clearly.

My rating: 7.5/10

Silvia Capezzuoli talks about KM (IMA, March 2017 – 5’03”)

This video gives a narrative tour of all the issues that KM tackles directly or indirectly, particularly in development cooperation. It is a more recent video than most in this selection.

ProsA very good tour of the different aspects of KM, narrated in an interesting way, and with particular emphasis on the ‘fluid’ elements of KM ie. learning, innovation etc. without seeming to fall into the SECI model trap that most other videos have gone by; it encourages starting from what is there already; and focusing on the culture of sharing and learning, joining the dots etc.

Cons: It’s a development cooperation-focused approach so may not resonate with corporate KM folks.

Overall, one of the strongest videos from this lot and a very good, thorough understanding of where KM is at in 2017. A great introduction and in my top 3 here along with the whiteboard video and the Milton one.

My rating: 8/10.

Why knowledge management (Antoine Tawa, January 2011 – 5’06”)

A personal (read: not corporate) video, this one focuses, like many of these selected videos, much on tacit/explicit knowledge and the SECI model.

Pros: Introduces the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge, as well as the SECI model very well. The author’s voice is clear.

Cons: Not much liberty away from the SECI model. Very focused on the corporate sector only. The text slides are rather poorly designed. Not much critical thinking about the challenges of KM.

This video is not bad, it says a lot of things that make sense. It is just a bit too narrowly associated with SECI, which arguably is not the be-all-end-all on KM. On the plus side, this video is also available in French.

My rating: 6.5/10

 

Other contenders (ahem what is there to be found)

These videos didn’t quite make it to my selection – and some of them are downright awful – but you’ll find them nonetheless if you Google ‘KM video’, so you might as well be prepared 🙂

Knowledge management in 87 seconds (InToTo, November 2013 – 1’27”)

…is in fact a promotional video for Intoto Knowledge. Very organisation-centric, and like many videos focusing on knowledge retention. Nice little animation video though. My rating: 4/10 because it’s not a real introduction. Visuals deserve a higher scoring, they’re fresh (and yet from 2013!).

Knowledge management (Rajiv Chakravarty – Nov. 2015 – 2’26”)

A short animated video without sound. Introduces KM, tacit/explicit knowledge, the SECI model, why we need KM, knowledge systems. The only benefit I see of this otherwise nice little video is to illustrate the SECI model in a visually more entertaining manner. But I’m not taken by the content. My rating: 5/10.

Knowledge management presentation (October 2012 – 3’50”)

Like Milton’s a dynamic photo presentation touching upon definitions of knowledge and how to manage it. Some good ideas and focus on innovation, adaptation, learning here. On the other head, this is another video with annoying music and visuals. And again too much focus on data, information, knowledge. Also no real red thread or framework on which this seems to be based. And what is this countdown at the beginning? This video seems to me mostly useful for people who already know about KM. But then again, because they know about KM it may not be useful. With some rearranging and some clearer frame – as well as different media choices – it could be a useful video. Right now, it isn’t really.

KM – Managing tacit and explicit knowledge (Cipher Ultra, May 2010 – 4’00”)

Much emphasis on the SECI model. This video actually goes through the whole model. It has the merit of giving some concrete examples of each of the SECI stages; and also introduces some of the biases of that model; adds quite a few references at the end. On the other hand, the use of corny pixelised animations and horrendous commercial music in the background, and the insufficient information on every slide make it a weak video that is also wrongly themed. It should have been about SECI. My rating: 4/10.

Knowledge management (CaReDe productions, September 2011 – 4’28”)

A video with extremely annoying music – to the point that it almost distracted me from its contents. The latter revolve around ‘what is knowledge’ (though 1 minute into the video that is still now known/shown). “Knowledge needs to be managed, processed, shared” Duh! Why? How? Two and a half minutes into the video you realise it’s not meant to tell you anything about KM but rather entertain you in a really odd way with mottos like ‘gain the brain’. 3/10 (and 7/10 for the entertainment value).

Knowledge management through the whole world (Marina Vugalter, November 2013- 4’47”)

This funny video looks at the problem of intercultural communication and preserving endangered languages. The story mixes this background with the case of knowledge retention and using a KM software to help on that front. The combination is clumsy and the final slide reveals the confusion: “KM is useful, is about people and can be used everywhere for anything”. This is such a broad sweep statement that it’s more likely to put people off KM than attract them to try it out. My rating: 3/10. There seems to be a number of these videos developed through the same animation maker program.

Knowledge management (Ryan Christman, November 2010 – 5’00)

The most mythical of all videos from this selection – and one video that glorifies ‘tacit knowledge’ as the force that can help us unite and combine our efforts. Other than the quirky nature of this video, there is hardly any connection with KM. Don’t bother – or see it as infotainment and enjoy! My rating: 2/10  (8/10 for entertainment).

KM basics – learn and gain (Lear[n]Gain, November 2015 – 5’04”)

Stems from the perspective of ‘right knowledge to the right person at the right time’. This is not so much about defining what KM is as defining what the different elements associated with it mean. A bit long for such a video. Not a topper here by any means. On the plus side, it does attempt at providing clarity on terms such as data, information, knowledge. On the minus side, it focuses too much on information and data and places itself over-emphatically in the risky tradition and definitions of DIKW. My rating: 5.5/10.

Knowledge management (William Owen Ponce, September 2011 – 5’09”)

A good strong and clear beginning of an introduction to KM. Also offers an outlook to the future of KM. But after the good introduction, the video continues onwards to a mixture of statements, questions, overviews, in a rather uncoordinated way. The background clashes with the text (makes it difficult to read). The choice of background picture (here above a.o.) clashes with the message about human collaboration. The language again (knowledge transfer) is not great. It could have been so much stronger. My rating: 5/10

Knowledge management (unclear, April 2016 – 5’16”)

This video seems like a student project. It comprises various peoples’ voices and covers some typical elements of early KM (best practices, databases etc.), and moves on to tacit knowledge (the ‘know-how’). Though the animation is lovely, it is at times distracting from the narrator. Considering it’s a student project, it’s not that bad. But I wouldn’t start there unless you work in engineering – the sector in which the authors of the video are working. My rating: 5.5/10.

Introduction to knowledge management tools and concepts (David Wiggins April 2012, 8’59”)

This video is seemingly a(nother) student presentation. In fact it’s a monologue 😦 with an interesting twist about the learning/sharing culture backlash… Certainly not a top priority video to watch though. And the narrator’s voice is not clear. My rating: 4/10.

Some reflections about these videos

Many of these videos are focusing on tacit vs. explicit knowledge – and relate to the SECI model – which seems to indicate there is no other recognised background for KM. I personally prefer to see knowledge as essentially tacit anyhow.

Quite a few reflect on the importance of the enabling environment, including management buy-in etc. The more recent videos pay more emphasis on innovation, learning and all dynamic processes. They seem to have moved away from ‘knowledge capture’ both as a concept and a practice.

In any case, technology features in nearly all videos but is mostly rightly put to where it belongs: as an important – but not THE essential – element of any KM initiative. A few of these videos are talking about the future of KM, particularly around artificial intelligence etc. Not so much about the future of face-to-face learning and related processes.

Hopefully more videos will come up on the topic.

Meanwhile, a final gem for you: David Gurteen undertook a really nice series of short interviews with many people asking them all the same simple one question: ‘What is knowledge management?’. Go have a look on Google, it’s great stuff!

And as mentioned earlier, please share with me other videos about knowledge management that you think should feature here 🙂

Thank you 🙂

Related posts:

 

 

Dedication and determination, in the name of CoP’s


Communities of practice are cool again in my corner of the world.

Determination (Credits: Dana Lookadoo / FlickR)

Determination (Credits: Dana Lookadoo / FlickR)

They were always around, but it seems they really are coming back in a big way. From the recent Knowledge Management for Development Journal issue on the topic of CoPs, to the couple of projects that are instating communities of practice in my ILRI work, to the different posts and topics are that are emerging here and there (it could be a bit of a serendipity glass effect though).

Thing is with communities of practice, as with KM and life, it’s all in the attitude. And that attitude, for whoever is championing or facilitating a community of practice, is one of utter dedication and determination.

There’s a lot of stuff that might happen to your CoP.

And so if you don’t even have the attitude that sets you up for success, you just have to pray that all the other elements in the cosmos are aligned with your plans – and you better be one lucky b@stard!

Because let’s face it, if:

  • You can’t see that conversations in a CoP can take you much further than the typical conversations inside your own organisation
  • You don’t care about what others in your CoP may have to say about the topic that brings you together…
  • You can’t imagine spending any time on a CoP if it’s not just in your working hours
  • You have no inkling towards making your community one of the coolest places there is because you have the latitude to shape it and co-create with other invested people
  • You don’t see the beauty of a nascent community of practice with people turning up as other champions and heroes

…then don’t wonder why your community of practice doesn’t work.

Just get to it, and see it as your personal and yet collective gardening initiative, and draw pleasure out of it as you do from seeing trees grow up, soil sing and flowers blossom…

It’s all about determination…

Related blog posts:

The uneasy step from conflict management to collaboration


We all aspire to collaboration. We all want it, we all heed it, we all crave it.

But as we know, in trust we must trust.

And sometimes trust just isn’t there. Even quite the contrary. Conflict might be looming about, whether insidiously or openly.

It is difficult to let go of our desired image of harmony. We are keen on ignoring the elephant in the room, on putting our heads in the sand and pretending we live in heaven.

When bravely we face the truth we realise that conflict is not all that easy to understand, to recognise, to apprehend – let alone to prevent.

For a recent gig I was supposed to co-facilitate, I put together the following presentation about conflict management, on the basis of many great presentations and documebts that I could find on the topic.

I hope it starts unraveling some of these hidden issues…

The idea is that conflict can also be leveraged to get us back on the more important quest of building trust and through collaboration building the castles born from our dreams.

How do you use conflict in your work? Do you talk about it openly? Do deal with it upfront or guerrilla-like? Why?

What is it about conflict that makes us so averse to it? And how can we really build on its generative potential without being strife seekers?

What is the place of conflict in modern, agile knowledge management? You tell me…

Related blog posts:

Blogging on hold – until soon?


Dear all,

This is just to inform you that this blog is currently not being updated for personal reasons that have nothing to do with blogging. As soon as possible I will resume my blogging practice. For now it’s a matter of…

Hereby a recent overview of top posts on this blog:

  1. Great and poor metaphors for knowledge, learning and change
  2. Knowledge management in cartoons – A selection
  3. Managing or facilitating change, not just a question of words
  4. Share Fair Addis: Fishbowl and fishbowl battle
  5. Settling the eternal semantic debate: what is knowledge, what is information…
  6. Enjoy the year of the’fire rooster’ and let’s toast old habits!
  7. KM=CDL, on the journey to universal sense-making
  8. Revisiting the links between communication and knowledge management
  9. A knowledge management primer (1): KM as simple as ABC
  10. Putting learning loops and cycles in practice

I hope we’ll be able to engage again very soon on this blog 🙂

Principles of life to live with good heart and intelligence


Big Ideas go beyond discrete facts or skills to focus on larger concepts, principles, or process" (Credits: Ken Whytock)

Big Ideas go beyond discrete facts or skills to focus on larger concepts, principles, or process” (Credits: Ken Whytock)

Over Christmas holidays I had an interesting exercise with my father to identify what would be the principles of life that guide our life and that we would like to leave as our philosophical legacy to our ‘next of kin’s’.

I am coming back to this because, just like a contribution statement helps you become an effective person, worker, leader, principles of life help ground you in life and -if you manage to really live by your principles- give you real pleasure and a sense of harmony.

Needless to say, principles in knowledge management and communication are just as important. But today this is more of a personal set of principles. Still, some of them are useful for collaboration, group communication and knowledge management.

Hereby the list from our conversation…

From my father…

  • Love yourself
  • Love the people around you
  • Remember there are other ways to look at things, out there
  • Show (illustrate), don’t just tell
  • Remember that how to do things comes before you let others know how things should be done
  • Always be serious (in your intentions) but never take yourself seriously

Which I subscribed to and to which I added…

    • Believe in the good of people
    • Be humble because you (we) don’t know very much
    • Be curious about others and about everything, get out of your comfort zone
    • Listen to others and the world with all your senses
    • Do not be afraid, trust yourself
    • Create and then give, don’t just criticise and destroy!
    • And finally: Believe in the goodness in others and draw it out.
Come Together (Credits: Hartwig HKD)

Come Together (Credits: Hartwig HKD)

And these are some principles that hopefully will give my life, and perhaps at intersections other lives, some sense and grounding too.

Do principles dictate your life? Your work? Which ones? Why?

Related blog posts:

 

Enjoy the year of the’fire rooster’ and let’s toast old habits!


The fire rooster is coming our way (Credits: PhotoStylist1 / FlickR)

The fire rooster is coming our way (Credits: PhotoStylist1 / FlickR)

This is a bit ahead of time since the Chinese new year doesn’t happen until February but hey I can’t resist to share the joy of soon entering the year or the fire rooster.

 

I’m delighted by it because firstly I’m French and the rooster -silly animal as it were- is our national totem animal, and secondly because I work on a project focusing on chickens). So something has got to happen around my world this year.
This also leaves me curious about what will happen generally and what I will generally do to make good things happen. Balancing ‘fortuna’ with ‘virtu’ as Macchiavelli would have it.

And when it comes to changing practices, last year will be difficult to beat!

Indeed in 2016 I expanded my set of practices to:

What will it be in 2017?

What would you advise me to do?

What have been your recent aha moments in terms of personal and collective development and improvement?
A few tracks lay open ahead of me for sure: focus on group development rather than (just) my own, and move from independence to interdependence; explore conflict management more openly (I’ll soon be giving a presentation on this topic); keep exploring the best ways I can fulfill my contribution statement; develop my listening skills much more profoundly…

The options are many, and the year has just begun  Let the fire unleash itself!

In any case  I also wish you a fiery year full of satisfaction of different orders!

Happy 2017!

Happy year of the fire rooster! (Credits: Dreamstime)

Happy year of the fire rooster! (Credits: Dreamstime)