Strategies for implementing knowledge management

ad hoc knowledge management tools. In a follow-up to my quick look at Ideagraph I spent a little time going though my bookmarks for similar… [Way.Nu]

Slowly catching up with stuff that came through my aggregator over the holidays. This is some excellent thinking on the right frame of reference for thinking about knowledge management. Some key excerpts:

…while a batch of VC dollars have been spent on intranets and portal creation software, the whole concept of centralized knowledge management feels wrong to me…

What’s more the knowledge that workers create must be portable, for no matter how much companies wish to lock up employees’ ideas as intellectual property, the cross-pollination that occurs when people move from company to company is critical to innovation. We should be building tools to encourage innovation and collaboration, not constrain and control it….

The integration of personal and published web content, content and concept sharing, RSS aggregation and publishing, blogging, email filtering/storage/extraction and powerful collaborative searching is bringing a real revolution in knowledge working productivity into view.

There’s a marketing challenge here. While the answer is decentralized, solutions typically get sold to someone who’s been put in charge of the problem. Until you’ve thought long and hard about knowledge management from an operational point of view, the centralized solutions promoted by technology vendors are certainly going to sound like a faster and easier solution to your (i.e. newly appointed chief knowledge officer or equivalent) problem.  That they aren’t won’t be immediately apparent and won’t easily be traced to adopting a centralized approach.

Making knowledge management work requires a delicate blend of technology tools, organizational sensitivity, patience, and persistence. A difficult message to get across in a technology marketing environment addicted to peddling instant miracle cures.

More fine print on RIAA, CSPP, BSA agreement

Demand be damned.

Eleven initials RIAA, CSPP and BSA have conspired to produce a “groundbreaking agreement on an approach to digital content issues” that this press release by the RIAA says “promotes cross-industry coordination to elevate consumer awareness of piracy issues, a unified consensus on how content creators should be able to use technology to protect their property, and an agreement between the industries that government technical mandates are not the best way to serve the long term interests of consumers, record companies and the technology industry.” It mumbles on…

Specifically, the BSA, CSPP and RIAA have agreed on seven principles to govern their activities for the 108th Congress. The associations call for the private sector to be able to continue driving digital distribution. In addition to focusing on areas of agreement rather than divisive matters relating to government-dictated technology mandates, the associations stated that, how companies satisfy consumer expectations is a business decision that should be driven by the dynamics of the marketplace, and should not be legislated or regulated.

To combat piracy, the industries will promote privately funded public awareness efforts, as well as approach Congress regarding any federal role. Both industries stated their support for private and federal enforcement against copyright infringers as well as unilateral technical protection measures and they agreed that legislation should not limit the effectiveness of such measures. The industries also expressed support for actions by rights holders that could limit the illegal distribution of copyrighted works in ways that are not destructive to networks or products, or that violate consumers privacy. [emphaisis added]

The industries said they would continue to work together on technical measures that protect content, in addition to pursuing common ground in policy debates.

The associations will begin implementing the shared principles immediately.

That’s eleven initials versus millions of customers, which is what those “consumers” really are, dudes.

Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em, huh? So why listen to ’em, hm?

As Dan Sickles says, The RIAAs pro-consumer spin is transparent. They found technology partners that are as scared of customers as they are.

Thanks to Dan for the link, too.

[The Doc Searls Weblog]

I’ve highlighted the part of the announcement that worries me. Seems as though this agreement was motivated out of concern that legislation might actually attempt to balance the concerns of customers and vendors. Wouldn’t want that to get in the way of the status quo.

Supreme Court decides copyright case

Challenge to Bono Act Rejected 7-2 – “Here’s the decision (via Copyfight via Lessig). Copyfight and Law Meme will be burning up the blogosphere on this one.” [via The Trademark Blog].

First of all, I want to say that Larry Lessig is to be commended for his heroic efforts. I haven’t read the opinion but I am sure that it will reveal that larger forces dictated the ruling. I don’t think that there is any way that Lessig could have won the case. I hope one day to have the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for trying.

[Ernie the Attorney]

Ernie pretty well sums up my thoughts at this point.

OODA Loops and point of view

Boyd and The American Way of War. It’s one of the apparent paradoxes of conflict that technologies can change the nature of battle, but not win wars. Col. John Boyd’s insights into that conundrum produced some important thinking, and led to the concept of 4th Generation Warfare (4GW)…. [Blogcritics]

This leads into a whole series of fascinating items that link into strategy and knowledge management as well as food for thought about the broader environment we now operate in. A rich vein of material to mine and think about.

Boyd developed the notion of the OODA loop which has begun to gain currency in dynamic strategy thinking. The Fast Company article on The Strategy of the Fighter Pilot” looks to be a good starting point.

OODA is an acronym for Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. Conventionally this is depicted as a loop, but I think is might better be represented as a mini-web with Orient at the center. Something like the following:

That would link this to another of my favorite Alan Kay observations that “point of view is worth 80 IQ points.”

A ship date for the next Harry Potter book

“THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE SUMMER so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive … The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.” That’s the opening sentence of the new Harry Potter novel, now scheduled for publication June 21.
Plus, Larry Tribe emailed the other day that the long-awaited second volume to the third edition of his Constitutional Law treatise will appear about the same time. It’s going to be a big summer around the InstaPundit household. [InstaPundit.Com]

Viridian design

Viridian books.

Former colleague Paul Beard to made reference to “Viridian Design.” I haven’t really groked what that means yet, but I did found a list of Viridian recommended books. There are some very interesting titles on that list; if these books are related to the Viridian movement, I’ll have pay more attention to it.

[Paul Holbrook’s Radio Weblog]

Any movement launched by the likes of Bruce Sterling is worth paying attention to for entertainment value alone. Beneath the entertainment, however, are some deep thoughts about what kind of future we need to be about creating for ourselves. Some excerpts from the Virdian Manifesto of January 3, 2000

What is culturally required at the dawn of the new millennium is a genuine avant-garde, in the sense of a cultural elite with an advanced sensibility not yet shared by most people, who are creating a new awareness requiring a new mode of life. The task of this avant-garde is to design a stable and sustainable physical economy in which the wealthy and powerful will prefer to live.

The task at hand is therefore basically an act of social engineering. Society must become Green, and it must be a variety of Green that society will eagerly consume. What is required is not a natural Green, or a spiritual Green, or a primitivist Green, or a blood-and-soil romantic Green…The world needs a new, unnatural, seductive, mediated, glamorous Green. A Viridian Green, if you will.

The current industrial base is outmoded, crass and nasty, but this is not yet entirely obvious. Scolding it and brandishing the stick is just part of the approach. Proving it requires the construction of an alternative twenty-first century industrial base which seems elegant, beautiful and refined. This effort should not be portrayed as appropriate, frugal, and sensible, even if it is. It must be perceived as glamorous and visionary. It will be very good if this new industrial base actually functions, but it will work best if it is spectacularly novel and beautiful. If it is accepted, it can be made to work; if it is not accepted, it will never have a chance to work.

An excellent example of Alan Kay’s dictum that the “best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Does knowledge management imply digital?

KM Irony. I find this ironic: I’m sitting next to a woman who is writing copius notes on letterhead with the title: “Office of Knowledge Management.” I wonder if she meticulously files those notes in a government issue SteelCase filing cabinet? [Windley’s Enterprise Computing Weblog]

I don’t find this terribly ironic. I find that taking notes by hand is still the most effective way for me to take in information in meetings and interviews. I’ve tried taping but that just leaves me with the problem of transcribing or of listening to the interview twice. Even with a good outliner, I can’t really pay attention and type and the same time (although I am essentially a touch typist). There is something about the mechanical act of keying that takes enough more brain cells than scribbling notes by hand that it interferes too much.

My practice is to keep a spiral-bound notebook with me for notetaking in interviews and meetings. I also use those notebooks (I have a collection going back to 1986) to sketch out diagrams and mindmaps. In the early stages of noodling around with new ideas I still prefer pen and paper.

Back in my Ph.D. research days I started a habit of writing up interviews and notes as trip reports. I have Jim Cash to thank for that.  They used to be done as Word documents. Later I started filing them as entries in a private weblog that I maintain on my laptop (using “Radio” and “Manila”). Diagrams generally turn into Visio documents. Recently I’ve started using MindManager to create machine-readable versions of the mindmaps I draw.

I’ve experimented with scanning my handwritten notes so that they are potentially easily at hand when I travel. I haven’t gotten as diligent about it as Gordon Bell has however.

For times when I can’t carry a notebook with me, I generally have a collection of blank notecards (about the size of a business card) and a pen in my pocket. But I’m not above jotting ideas down on the back of a program or agenda or on hotel notepads. This habit has gotten me in trouble from time to time.

More often than note, the first glimmerings of ideas from me take analog form. They soon get transformed into bits. Maybe Scoble’s peans to the Tablet PC will convince me to start the bit collection one step earlier.