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 🙂

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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…

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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…

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