Dude, where’s my blog?!?

Dunno, what’s going on – all the stuff’s still in the database, the template hasn’t changed, but the content’s just not showing up on the front page – anyone who sees this and has an idea of what’s up, could you please let me know?

[update: clearly a case of the too lightness of my recent blogging activity - the last entry was 10 days ago and I had the front page set to show 7...]
[update2: thanks to Ton for pointing me to the function that I now remember seeing when I first installed this baby, but promptly forgot - we now have the last 7 posts on the front page rather than any number of days.]

Reports of the death of KM are greatly exaggerated

There’s a dialogue going on, over on the AOK list which has become [my paraphrase] “Is knowledge management dead, dying or actually bursting chock-full of life?” No prizes for which side I’m on and, to be honest, most of the contributors are on too.

My take on this is that Knowledge Management is about as “dead” as Scientific Management was for a great deal of the last century – ie its time as a management fad was finished, but it continued to form the basis of the best thinking about how to run organisations for long after people saw themselves as practitioners of Scientific Management.

For me, the trouble is that we haven’t quite shaken that off – many of the ideas inherent in that approach have become so entrenched in the collective psyche that we still think that management is about control, efficiency and productivity (as in the ratio of outputs to inputs) and that the organisations are actually huge machines, not groups of people at all. There is another way – it’s a bit messy, it doesn’t necessarily conform to our ideas of what a management discipline is, but the ways of working that together we’ve come to call Knowledge Management are the only ways that organisations can continue to thrive as the emphasis of what we do has shifted from industry and manual labour to brain work.

That’s why I started talking here about Kmanagement (the K is silent). It really is just about management of knowledge-based organisations and I do believe that much of the pain we feel at work (anyone not feel pain? – hurrah for you!) is down to us knowing that the old methods don’t work, but not knowing what would.

I think the implications fall into three areas:

  • the changes for individuals in the way that they work and learn (Personal Knowledge Management)
  • the changes for those who lead organisations in the way that they carry out their role (Enterprise Knowledge Management)
  • and

  • the new social institutions that are needed to work alongside commercial organisations to supply their needs and look after those who work in them
  • But social institutions may be for another day’s discussion. Thank goodness there are so many excellent brains working on how to make this all work out for the best.

    Kmanagement isn’t control

    So just give up on the production line stuff.
    Ideas on a production line
    She will not do everything you want exactly as you want it. He won’t comply with your processes (ever). They will talk about it behind your back and come up with better ideas between them than you ever could yourself. And it’s OK.

    When we were making widgets, it was about control.

    “We at Widget Corp have carefully developed the optimum standardised process for widget production. There are 7 key steps in the production procedure. These must be followed by everyone. If you deviate in any way from any of the 7 steps in the widget production procedure there is a significant risk of physical harm to you and your colleagues and an unnacceptably high number of defective widgets. Widgets can only be made on our premises for health and saftey reasons. Our salespeople sell 1,000 widgets a week – we therefore need every employee to produce 5 perfectly formed widgets per day (during their 8 hour shifts between the hours of 6.00am and 10.00pm) in order to meet orders and create reserve stocks. If you cannot produce 5 perfect widgets per day, we can always find someone else who can. Because of the physical strength required in the production process, widgets are traditionally only created by men.”

    All perfectly (ahem) reasonable.

    Now go back and substitute “idea” for “widget” throughout that paragraph.

    That’s why Kmanagement isn’t about control.

    Oh no, it’s the return of the 2×2 matrix

    The boston square, 2×2 matrix has become a lazy way of representing the fact that anything you want to think about in your organisation has (at least) two dimensions. I don’t think they’re big and I don’t think they’re clever but in all the talk about Personal Knowledge Management I keep coming back to this picture – because it helps me think it through rather than telling me anything startling and it reminds me that it’s “both…and” not “either…or”.
    Kmatrix - the 'k' is still silent
    When prompted for a file name, I obviously went for kmatrix (the ‘k’ is still silent). More as this filters through my consciousness.

    Ok some explanations. First, what is this supposed to say? Well it’s a map of the space really and what I hope to convey is that (k)managing a modern organisation involves working in all areas of this space – ie that it’s important to think about both personal and organisational activities and to think about these both as regards dealing with information and dealing with knowledge.

    The x-axis is labelled information-ey to knowledge-ey for two reasons: one, I think it’s important not to be too precise about these things, this is not an exact, scientific model – that’s my way of getting out of endless discussions on the definition of knowledge; two, I think these are two separate but intimately interrelated things rather than a spectrum – perhaps it should be a different sort of line, I don’t know.

    By Organisational on the y-axis, I mean organisational activities, things that the organisation can do, facilitate, encourage to happen etc; while the Personal is, well, um, personal stuff that people can do for themselves whether anyone else in the organisation gives a monkey’s about it.

    By introspective blogging, I mean the activity of developing ideas by expressing them in your blog, regardless of whether they end up being read, understood, or taken up by anyone else. I’m not sure if any of the other things need explanation. Intrabliki is the term we used on Blogwalk 4 to talk about a blog/wiki tool used within the firewall. I realise that I have misspelled del.icio.us

    [update - seems McGee is musing in a similar way]

    PS – When I worked for the Audit Commission, my best ice-breaking joke when doing presentations was to apologise for the 2×2 matrix slides, but that I was contractually obliged to insert an average of 3.724 such slides per presentation in the year up to 31st March. Well, the people who get to listen to presentations from guys from the Audit Commission thought it was pretty funny.

    DO NOT BE FOOLED

    It has come to the august attention of the Perfect Path Management Board that a couple of myths are circulating around the Perfect Path readership and clientele, relating to the availability of our lead consultant (L Davis, Esq.)
    and the fees charged for our services.

    Do not be fooled

    The maintenance of the Perfect Path blog is a trivial exercise requiring minuscule amounts of Mr Davis’s attention and working time [you'd know this if you had a blog yourself - get one, it's cool, it's easy, and it's fun - if you don't believe me ask my mate Alison].

    The man is available NOW – you could have his world-famous creative juices working for your organisation tomorrow (does not apply if reading this on Friday or Saturday). And forget any ideas about having to employ him for a whole day. If you can get his attention with a shiny cool project or problem – you can have him running around like a maniac for as little as £50 per hour.
    Yes that’s
    One Hour
    for
    images.jpg
    (rate is dependent on coolness of project as measured by the Perfect Path coolometer. Rates can go up as well as even further up)

    Call him now to see if your project is cool enough to qualify for our special entry-level rates.

    ArtRage-aholic

    I may never do a solid day’s work again! [Readership {groans)...what new toy have you found today Lloyd?]

    I ignore you, faithful readership [at my peril, I know] but LOOK at ARTRAGE – I stumbled over it in one of the less-quoted paragraphs of Scoble’s message-in-a-bottle and

    It’s…..

    ArtRage - fan-funkin-tastic

    It’s painting Jim, but not as we know it (you know, stinky, messy, gets in your hair, means you have to starve to death in a garret – or MSPaint, ’nuff said) Apparently, it works great on a std PC with a moose, but on a Tablet PC (or with a graphics tablets, sez their PR) it’s really cooool. And…it’s…free… Go see, Go get and start making a goooey mess all over your desktop.

    Now with added burned bits

    This morning, I replaced the Atom XML feed with a Feedburner one. It’s called Perfect Path – duh!

    The main reason is for me to get stats about what’s happening to the feed without wading through lines and lines of server log (which I admit, I enjoy on occasion) so I’d ask anyone subscribing through an aggregator to switch feeds.

    Of course, me being me, I may not have done everything exactly as I should have (Read Instructions, Forget Instructions, Jab, Wonder Why It Doesn’t Work) so your feedback is, as ever, welcome.

    Looking & Recording in Different Ways

    robephoto
    More of an art day than the last few sales sales and more sales.
    Spent an hour at the V&A this morning drawing.

    robesketch
    And was struck by the difference and similarity between the two images I created of the same robe.
    robeclouds
    Especially in contrast to the “reality” of the photograph. I know this isn’t a new idea in art but in management (even Kmanagement) it’s rarely this clear to me.

    Looking & Recording in Different Ways

    robephoto
    More of an art day than the last few sales sales and more sales.
    Spent an hour at the V&A this morning drawing.

    robesketch
    And was struck by the difference and similarity between the two images I created of the same robe.
    robeclouds
    Especially in contrast to the “reality” of the photograph. I know this isn’t a new idea in art but in management (even Kmanagement) it’s rarely this clear to me.

    Kmanagement (the ‘K’ is silent)

    It came to me on the tube this morning. We were between Pimlico and Victoria and it made me giggle and snort (to the annoyance of my fellow passengers) which is when I know that it’s good enough to blog.

    I’ve been rattling on recently (less so here, more to anyone who will listen to my voice) about the trouble with talking about Knowledge Management – yes it’s true that “so what is knowledge management” is a useful opener to another conversation, say “how can I help you out with your current problems and as the merest by-product you give me a large amount of cash” but it also can end up as an argument about all sorts of other things (explicit & tacit, what’s a knowledge worker, personal or corporate etc. etc.) that take us… forward… very… slowly…

    So, Ladies, Gentlemen and those who aren’t sure… I give you Kmanagement (the ‘K’ is silent) I pronounce it ‘ manidjmunt’ but I grew up in Birmingham, so I can’t be trusted – those in the know may like to add a little glottal stop where the ‘K’ is, a little beat to distinguish Kmanagement from Management.

    Because IMHO that’s all it is – it’s ()management for today as opposed to management for yesterday. The thing I want to be talking about is not so much “how do you manage tacit knowledge?” or the such like, but rather how do I manage this organisation, or hey, just my team, given that everything I learned on business courses told me to manage this way and every instinct I have tells me that I need to do something different – because I’m not managing manual workers and production lines, I’m managing clever, talented, wild-thinking people who are currently creating the next great version of what this organisation really is.

    This is how it’s going to be here for a while – thinking about what Kmanagement is and what it isn’t.

    For starters:

    • Kmanagement isn’t control
    • Kmanagement isn’t either/or
    • Kmanagement is about people not machines (and people, even groups of people aren’t machines nor do they behave remotely like machines)
    • Kmanagement is about being creative and innovative
    • Kmanagement is about nurturing creativity in your group
    • Kmanagement isn’t about mine is bigger than yours – it’s about if I put yours together with mine, we get something even better
    • Kmanagement is about what works, today, for you