(Blog hols) Time to leave KM aside again, life morphs on :) … and some ideas for you…


Another little hand to catch and shake (Credits: Thomas / FlickR)

Another little hand to catch and shake (Credits: Thomas / FlickR)

Nearly three years after KM became irrelevant to me for the first time, another similar event is about to happen, so I will leave this blog for a while and come back to it, hopefully with fresh ideas, probably not with fresh energy ha ha ha.

In the meantime, here are some recent posts you might find useful:

You could find ways to participate differently in a community of practice (CoP), navigating the 90-9-1 rule, as I am trying out, leaving the core group of KM4Dev and trying to influence that CoP from another side

You might find out how to cope with overwhelming and badly run virtual meetings.

You could see if you’re using all parts of your identity to the best of your KM capacity.

You could find four practical approaches to deal with complexity through space and time.

You could ponder on the overall importance of capacity in global development (cooperation).

You could read an interview I gave to APQC about the importance of getting KM and communication accepted and budgeted for.

You could see a prezi about navigating complexity in monitoring and evaluation with the help of KM;

You could find a simple way to deal with information overload and filter failure;

You could discover the idea of ‘blurred boundaries’ at work in development in this interview with Michael Victor.

And here is the top 10 posts of the past 3 months:

  1. Managing or facilitating change, not just a question of words (Shouldn’t we embrace change proactively rather than fear it reactively?)
  2. Tinkering with tools: what’s up with Yammer? (a first ‘Tinkering with tools’ post about Yammer in general and in use within the CGIAR)
  3. What is common knowledge about knowledge? A visual tour… (8 pictorials about knowledge and what worth they are)
  4. (You’re not welcome) On the dark side of co-facilitation (what are some traps in co-facilitating an event and how to get over it).
  5. Settling the eternal semantic debate: what is knowledge, what is information… (a very popular post because of the interest around the DIKW pyramid – though I criticise it here)
  6. Portrait of the modern knowledge worker (A popular hit, listed on the World Bank’s KM portal – what are the skills and attitude required to be an effective knowledge worker nowadays)
  7. Leaders, innovate please! (A rant about managers just not getting what leadership in a complex world means)
  8. Anatomy of learning: how we (individuals) make sense of information (building a framework about learning conversations, between individuals and collectives)
  9. I share because I care! (very short and simple reasons to share knowledge and information)…
  10. Putting learning loops and cycles in practice – a more pragmatic take on single/double/triple loop learning

See you in a few weeks!

Ripples of influence in a CoP, moving through the 90-9-1 rule


After seven years – the unavoidable and symbolic seven years – I have finally given up being a core group member of KM4Dev (Knowledge Management for Development), my favourite community of practice. But I haven’t given up getting involved, far from it. And because KM4Dev is one of the most fabulous examples of communities of practice, all that follows here might bear some useful lessons for your own communities and networks…

The main reason for me to leave the core group of KM4Dev is that I am going to become a father for the second time and that requires, as you understand, quality time. The other reason is that seven years is quite some period, and while I totally believe in the importance of having a group of dedicated people, in a community of practice, to steer the group with the bigger picture in mind, I also see a danger in having such a group made of people that have been staying there for too long.

90-9-1 in a Community of Practice

90-9-1 in a Community of Practice

This leaving is not a joke, unlike Steve Wheeler’s fake intention to quit blogging (to better explain, eventually, what he sees in blogging.

No, but it’s an excellent reason to try to move from the 1% to the 9% of the typical 90-9-1 rule of participation in communities of practice (oh, btw, another pyramid – see this post about debunking the myth of learning pyramids). And my (not-so) hidden agenda in this move, is to shift the 9% toward the 1%, or in other words expand the 1% heavy contributors to 9%. Because a healthy community needs more people that contribute, all the time. Oh, and let me remind you that I don’t have any problem with the 90% ‘lurkers’ (err, ’empowered listeners’, please)…

As I explained in a past post, being part of KM4Dev and its core group has been a wonderful opportunity to learn, explore, make friends, try things out, gain confidence, find my professional family etc. But there are various ways to influence such a vibrant community of practice from various other angles, e.g.:

More time to work on my other related KM4Dev affiliations:

But more importantly:

  • More time to contribute to KM4Dev from another angle, proving (like other former core group members like Nancy White and Lucie Lamoureux, among others) that it IS possible to do a lot for KM4Dev even when you’re not formally part of the 1% ‘heavy contributors’;
  • More opportunities to help other members find their way without the intimidation of being part of the formal ‘centre’ (as I understand, a lot of people feel they don’t really understand KM4Dev and may not feel comfortable asking core group members how things work, or even how to contact those core group members);
  • More opportunities to invite other people to join the core group and to ‘buddy up’ with them to guide them on that path if they are interested;
  • More opportunities to take a step back from crisis mode and admin work and to reflect more profoundly (and share those reflections) about a community that is so dear to me and changing so fast – the way Nancy White did recently;
  • More opportunities to bridge the gap between core group and other members, as we’ve learned from an excellent little paper that there is a lot that can be done to improve formal leadership in KM4Dev. In a recent discussion that Carl Jackson and I facilitated, there are lots of ideas already just concerning the domain of core group transitions…

I hope all of these activities will help more people get involved closely with some part of KM4Dev, hoping they will also find their energy and passion to drive some agenda and activities forward, and to ever expand the ‘inner circles’ of 1% and 9% even to the remaining 90%.

KM4Dev 2013 - and generally who will step into the circle? (Credits: unknown)

KM4Dev annual gathering 2013 – and generally who will step into the circle? (Credits: unknown)

And although I’m already out of the core group – and some might say I’ll suffer from withdrawal syndromes – I really want to update the core group pages on the KM4Dev wiki, to help clarify to new KM4Dev members and all how the core group works, what one can expect from it etc.

The point is: communities of practice like KM4Dev keep on expanding and changing nature (just seeing how many local KM4Dev networks exist is mind blowing), and as such they need more people to join in, to get closer to the essence of the group, to want to understand what’s going on, to try and hone their leadership skills.

In the complex world we live, facilitating engagement and facilitating complex networks such as KM4Dev are excellent skills to possess, so hopefully my freed place will inspire forthcoming leaders to take it and play about, and my new place as an active member will help other members move away from the edge to the core, to try navigating chaos and become confusiastic. That would be a nice present back to KM4Dev…

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