Productivity, is that all there is?

We seem to have spent so much time in the last 100+ years trying to drive efficiency and effectiveness into our processes. How to do things faster, with more quality, with better outcomes, reduce waste, reduce re-work. These are not bad things, but in our push to be effective and efficient many of our organizations have removed time for reflection, for questioning, for considering alternatives out of the process. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the last 100+ years, there most definitely has been. Whole areas of study have been developed/discovered, new technology is being developed all the time, but what about the “smaller” things, everyday things. What happens when we take away the time to think and reflect? We do things by rote, not thinking about if that’s the right thing to do, we get tired and suffer burnout, we start to make mistakes and treat people badly because we have focused on efficiency and effectiveness to the detriment of the system as a whole (see United Airline’s complete failure to respect passengers  (http://fortune.com/2017/04/11/united-airlines-video/ and http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2017/04/17/innovating-for-a-worse-customer-experience-insights-from-united-airlines/ and http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/03/27/united-airlines-bars-teens-from-flight-for-failure-to-meet-dress-code-social-media-erupts/) How do we bring that space for reflection, for some humanity back into our … Continue reading

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The Art of Innovation Workshops

Innovation and creativity, powerful skills we need for differentiation purposes in business, and to which we are attracted as humans. Sadly, too often we let self criticism and anxiety hold us back from being creative. What can you do about it? Come to one of our workshops in London (June 8 and 9)  or in Berlin on July 4-5. In London we are doing 2 1-day sessions, and if you sign-up early you will get a ticket for an evening event on June 8th. In Berlin we’ve decided to delve a little more deeply into the ideas and experiences that are possible in this domain, so the workshop is 2-days, with an evening event on the first day. Isn’t it time to do things differently?

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World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21, 2017): Everyday Creativity

I have posted a blog post about World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21, 2017) on the GfWM site, you can check it out here.

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Learning and Keeping an Open Mind

Back before Christmas, I tweeted about the necessity of keeping an open mind in order to learn, it was part of the #PKMChat, but it got picked up by several people who weren’t part of the chat, which is nice, because it means that people were reading my tweets even though they weren’t part of the chat that I was participating in. It got me thinking about why I tweeted that, and how important it really is, to keep an open mind, and not pre-judge something or someone. I was delivering a series of training sessions for a client a couple of years ago, and I said to them, “imagine if that’s not true.”  I was trying to get them to think outside of the box, to imagine that whatever they had assumed was the answer wasn’t. What assumptions were they making, why did they think that something was true when it might not have been? Some of them had a great deal of difficulty with this notion, that there wasn’t a right answer, that what they were sure was true wasn’t. No amount of challenges from me was going to change their minds. It got me thinking, there are … Continue reading

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January 2016: The Story so Far, KM and Creativity

[Note: I originally wrote this article for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Knowledge Management wiki, which can be accessed here: http://wiki-nkm.iaea.org/wiki/index.php/The_IAEA_Wiki_on_Nuclear_Knowledge_Management] Creativity and Knowledge Management Introduction, definitions, background Knowledge management and creativity would seem to be two completely different ideas and disciplines, but in fact they can and do enable and enrich each other and in the process of doing that enhance innovation. Knowledge management is defined as: the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organizational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. Creativity is defined as: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts. Another definition says that creativity is the reorganization of experience into new configurations: a function of knowledge, imagination, and evaluation. Innovation is defined as: a new idea, more effective device or process, it can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. The term innovation can be defined as something original and more … Continue reading

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What we can learn from Van Gogh for KM and Innovation

On November 11, 2015 I participated in a #PKMChat called, “Van Gogh on Learning” http://kneaver.com/blog/2015/11/pkmchat-van-gogh-on-learning/ it intrigued me as both a knowledge management professional and an artist and definitely gave me something to reflect on over the last week. (Note: the #PKMChat was based on work that Ger Driesen is doing, he facilitated the #PKMChat along with Bruno Winck, more about Ger’s work can be found by clicking on the link in #2 in the references listed below) I have been investigating the linkages between/among creativity, innovation, and knowledge management for more than three years, picking up ideas along the way, and experimenting and talking to people. Informally, there seems to be an agreement that there is a connection among the three things, but it’s in the background, below the surface, not immediately obvious to a lot of people. The #PKMChat helped shed some light on these linkages for me, so I am sharing them with you. There are three main ideas that we discussed in the #PKMChat, Thinking inside the box Practice Reflection As well as some secondary topics, like qualities of an artist, and how to balance social vs. solo learning. One of the first things I noticed about … Continue reading

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Designing a Successful KM Strategy

I guess I have been busy, it’s been 6 months since my last post. One of the things that I have been busy with is finishing the book that I have co-authored with my Knoco colleague, Nick Milton. Nick and I have written and book called, “Designing a Successful KM Strategy,” it’s being published by Information Today, Inc. Advance copies will be available at KM World, where I will be doing a workshop based on the book (Workshop W4) and a book signing. I’ll post a link to their website once it’s available for order. Also, I’m doing a second workshop at KM World called, “W14: Sparking Innovation: Creative KM,” in case any of you are interested in that.

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KM Standards vs. Principles

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted a blog; I’ve been busy working with new clients and I just haven’t had any earth-shattering KM thoughts to share; no ba in my schedule lately. [Aside: I wrote this for a side-project that I’m working on, so it may eventually appear somewhere in another format.] There seems to be a lot of talk about KM standards lately, so here are some initial thoughts I had… What does “standards” mean? According to Wikipedia, standards are “any norm, convention or requirement.” What does “principles” mean? Again, according to Wikipedia, principles are “a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something.” How are they different? Principles are abstract, whereas standards provide something to be compared to/measured against; standards are more tangible. How are they the same? They can both be used to provide direction, guidance, and/or insight into a situation. As with everything we have to come to a common understanding, a common lexicon. We have to figure out what terms and ideas mean in our own context and in the context of the organization or … Continue reading

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The Art of Context

This past weekend I saw an art exhibit, you can read more about it on my Stephanie Barnes Art blog, but what struck me about it was the value of context, or knowledge to the understanding of the paintings. The paintings are abstract blocks of colour, meant to elicit emotions and a reaction, to me they have a meditative quality to them. They have value in the colours that they use, the textures, and the shapes. Seeing the exhibit revived me. I walked through the exhibit first on my own, but then joined a guided tour, where I learned more about the artists, and what was going on at the time, why they painted the paintings they way they did, what had come before, and what came after: context. Learning about the context added more meaning to the artworks my second time through the exhibit. It strikes me that this is the same with knowledge management. We can look at the end result of a process or project or activity and know if it was successful or not, but we don’t necessarily know what worked and what didn’t until we start asking the questions: what worked? what didn’t work? why? … Continue reading

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Knowledge Management, Creativity, and Innovation: Part 2

Talking about design and balance and creativity and knowledge management makes me happy, joyful even. Bring on the joy. In Part 1 I talked about how important TIME is knowledge creation and reuse, creativity practices that allow us to take knowledge and either transform or apply it in order to create something new. What does it mean to design time for this into our activities? Well… Design thinking is characterized by being purposive; human centered; a balance of analytical and creative; uses abductive reasoning, i.e. inference from best available explanation; and iterative, it uses prototyping and play testing to achieve success. Here’s how these principles are applied in knowledge management: Purposive: we look at the organization’s strategy, goals, and objectives and assess how knowledge management best supports those activities. The knowledge management strategy outlines how the organization’s goals and objectives are furthered through the application of knowledge management activities. Human centered: the best knowledge management implementations consider the people of the organization, e.g. how they work, what makes their work-lives easier, what the culture of the organization is like and works with those requirements to make the organization more efficient and effective in its knowledge processes and activities. A balance … Continue reading

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