Working at KM Brazil 2011 was a learning experience! We were hired to work as interpreters for the three international keynotespeakers: Jay Cross, Nick Milton and Bob Boiko. Knowledge Management is a subject of interest, and this was a motivational factor that contributed to our enthusiasm when searching for their videos on the Internet. We had received some of their presentations beforehand, but if there was something we can say that was crucial for the job’s success, it was the interaction they all made possible.
Jay Cross is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. Since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix (www.jaycross.com), he has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn. He talked about informal learning, how it happens in our lives and inside organizations. We met Jay shortly before his talk, but we had already found videos where he spoke about informal learning.
Compared to formal training offered by organizations, which follows rigid programs, informal learning is a new way of creating innovation and it happens through good management (managers). Companies should also be more aware of the influence of WEB 2.0 and how will continue to grow as the great converser of human beings. There is an acceleration of knowledge sharing and knowledge availability, which is more conducive to informality (web jam, feeds, wikis, blogs, tweets, social bookmarking…). It seems there is an evolution here. These activities are flexible, based on a self-service platform (text from the presentation) and there are plenty of them. It seems people will have to assume more responsibility for their own learning. After all, in Jay’s own words, “People can train you but they cannot learn you”.
Nick Milton is a director and co-founder of Knoco Ltd - a Knowledge Management consultancy comprised of seasoned knowledge management practitioners, mentors, and coaches. Knoco Ltd has been delivering successful and sustained Knowledge Management implementation to clients since 1999. Nick Milton focused on showing us how to create an organizational culture to support knowledge management. It is important to understand that sharing knowledge and asking questions can be met with resistance due to many factors. Employers/Employees wonder whether implementing knowledge management will represent a burden to their day jobs. The counter argument to this view is quite simple. It is important to seek, share and re-use knowledge for the good of the organization, but the best tools in the world will not work if people really don’t want to use them. There is an urge to change knowledge emphasis inside the organizations and it can only be done by taking into account the individuals that work in them and are part of them. The old culture considers knowledge a personal property or advantage. People can perceive new knowledge as a threat to their own knowledge and admitting ‘I don’t know’ can be thought of as a sign of weakness.
Shifting to the culture of “we know”, perceiving knowledge as collective or community property and advantage, will make the same individuals feel that sharing knowledge helps them, that new knowledge improves personal knowledge and that admitting “I don’t know” is the first step to learning. Nick Milton also showed a video (leadership from a dancing guy – available on YouTube), which was a successful way of showing how to create a movement and how following great ideas is important for implementing or creating something new. The role of the leader treating his followers as equals and being easy to follow – even instructional - is very important. But without followers no movement is created, and leadership has been over-glorified. All people in the organization are important for the creation of a culture that supports knowledge management. Nobody should be left apart.
Boiko is the founder and president of Metatorial Services Inc., and is a faculty member of the University of Washington Information School. Bob has sat on many advisory boards and is the recipient of many awards including the 2005 EContent 100 Award for leadership in the content management industry. He is author of two editions of "The Content Management Bible" and "Laughing at the CIO: A parable and Prescription for IT Leadership". Bob is internationally known for his lectures and workshops.
Bob Boiko presented the theme ‘Social Media and Information Strategy’. He linked the concepts very intelligently. Presenting the importance of information and how it can and should be developed strategically, he was able to show that social media and its applications should be included in a company’s strategy. If we deliver the right information to the right people in the right way, it will help us meet our goals! In order for any information strategy to succeed it is important to know the company’s user. Some people are speaking (creating information), others are ‘listening’ (consuming information), some are responding, and others are repeating. Whenever choosing your social media channels (facebook, twitter, Wikipedia, Linkedin, blogs, etc), align your company strategy to your user’s behavior: inform listeners, facilitate responders, promote speakers and supply repeaters. The importance of information strategy is the same as any strategy. We need to find out how to use our key resources to meet our goals. To use social media in a strategic way we need to know our target public user behavior. Although the three key-note speakers spoke about different topics, they all complemented one another - a great contribution for the Brazilian Society of Knowledge Management. We all left very motivated to create, share and learn!