Dec 15, 2010

Speaking up for Baldrige from a DownUnder Aussie ASQ Global Influential Voice for Quality

Baldridge funding to be axed ? What ? Why should someone from DownUnder Australia even care ?
It seemed only hours after the latest award winners were announced, that the Baldridge itself was under threat. Today in Sydney Australia at ISO TC 176 SC2, I shared with Lorrie Hunt & Denise Robitaille how important my ASQ membership has been for me. Likewise for me the Baldridge has been an inspiration, like the Olympics of Quality.
To be honest I found Denis Arter’s views very provocative but definitely worth a read : sort of like ... that winners of awards like Baldridge are too often what we in Australia call “oncers”. They put in a big effort to get the award, only to slowly undergo “quality fade”. But my thoughts were more in tune with Paul Borawski’s and I too am part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. (Note - While I receive a variety of quality resources as honorarium from ASQ in exchange for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own.)
I have been associated with three organizations who won the Australian Quality Awards, before the awards disappeared. After a while, they were eventually replaced by the Business Excellence Awards run by SAI Global.
1.0 My employer, a manufacturing organization, won the award 20 years ago, after initiating a TQC program. We’ve maintained our ISO 9001 certification since 1991. There’s a photograph of the trophy on the shelf in my office. I often glance at it and ponder on the cultural transformation involved in winning the award. Which was the greater achievement I wondered ? That award ? Or the organizational transformation ? And quite simply put : if the organization hadn’t maintained its certification, it would lose huge market share – many customers simply demand at least ISO 9001.
Now in our organization’s quality management team, we use Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 IT tools to stay current with emerging trends in quality and certifications. That includes ISO & ASQ’s RSS feeds& Twitter streams, Sharepoint wiki’s etc. I shared some of these experiences at a Knowledge Management conference, ACTKM10 in Canberra Australia last October. Back In the office, we’ve had robust debates on future directions to keep improving. We cannot afford to stand still – currently we’re looking to a maturity matrix tool as part of our internal quality audit program.
2.0 The Library Manager of the University where I served on the governing Council was totally committed to the quality paradigm. The Library won the Australian Quality Award and later the University Administration department was certified to ISO 9001. No doubt exposure to the Library’s National Quality Award raised the quality paradigm within the university campus.
3.0 Sadly the third organization, a local City Council did not maintain the commitment – it had been regarded as a leader in the field in Australia not only in winning the Australian Quality Award but in other innovative operational ways as well. As an elected Local Government Councillor I was very proud that the City won the Australian Quality Award. Unfortunately the quality vision was lost with the departure of the Lord Mayor to State Government. So winning the award ended up being only a project – it needs to be a process without a sunset.
No, we shouldn’t immediately dismiss the value of quality awards like Baldridge, nor tag all award winners as “oncers”. We have awards in so many fields of endeavour such as sport –so why not quality? Over the last year or so we’ve seen the effect of large organizations dropping the quality ball. Unimaginable human consequences and more, rippling through economies and the environment. We need organizations to aspire to quality performance and recognition helps. We need Quality role models to be the “light on the hill” for others.
Of course awards such as Baldridge may need to evolve, just as we found with the Australian Quality Awards becoming the Business Excellence Awards.
Over the last week I have been very privileged to work with experts from the international quality family. They have travelled from across the globe to Sydney Australia to participate in ISO TC 176 SC2’s activities. We’ve been led by Nigel Croft, assisted by Charles Corrie & Jose Dominguez in imagining possibilities for a future ISO 9001. My team from India, Indonesia, Colombia, UK, Denmark, USA, South Africa, UK & Australia, has been led by a Spaniard. It has been inspiring to meet people like Lorrie Hunt & Denise Robitaille, women of quality who had until now been names on articles in quality magazines to me. Our times see ethics and corporate social responsibility (ISO 26000) emerging, not to mention exploding social media/mobile web IT in quality. So lots of ideas considered this week - some may actually turn into reality and others may not. But it is important to reflect & consider if there is to be innovation.
So let’s not let Baldridge go – maybe change - but not extinction !

Nov 27, 2010

America - Some Climate Change Skeptics - Others Draft Carbon Capture CCS Rules

I've been interested in CCS for a while (see my 2007 CCS corrosion blog & accidental global walk against warming posts).
So while scrolling my CSS RSS feeds in Googlereader, I was intrigued to read of the CCS Facebook page and the New Technology Magazine article on world's first proposed standard for deep underground storage of carb
There are great hopes for CCS to solve the Climate Change debacle - refer World Energy Outlook & CCS analysis. But the corrosion challenges had seemed substantial to me a few years back in 2007.
Concurrently the IEA has developed a CCS model regulatory framework, whilst US EPA has been drafting rules on CCS to protect drinking water (see Duke Uni / NYT / more refs on leak concerns) and on Greenhouse Gas reporting requirements for CCS, arising from President Obama's Interagency Taskforce on CCS. In October 2010, the 1st ever USA Congressional Geo-Engineering CCS Report was released with a key message : "You're better off looking into managing the climate than ignoring it."
The Global Carbon Capture Storage Institute has developed a "CCS Ready policy assists policy makers to clearly define the project standards necessary for CCS deployment as part of a transition to a low carbon economy,” says Global CCS Institute CEO Nick Otter.
Alberta has also released a Bill on key CCS legal issues :
  • "clarification over ownership of the pore space into which the sequestered carbon dioxide (CO2) is injected;
  • allocation of long-term liability for the intended permanent sequestration of the CO2;
  • addressing the risk of the 'disappearing corporation'; and
  • the creation of a post-closure stewardship fund. "
The standard drafting technical committee (TC) consists of over 30 experts from Canada and the USA - seeking to create a Canadian-USA standard. Fortunately the committee has "representation from government, industry and environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs). A full list is available online at also deeply involved is the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC-CO2 Research Inc.)
Rick Chalaturnyk, a geotechnical engineering professor and holder of the Foundation CMG Endowed Chair in Reservoir Geomechanics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is the chair of the TC. Sarah Forbes, who leads the CCS work at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., is the vice-chair of the TC."
They are aiming to have public discussions in 2011 and have the standard published in 2012 to provide guidelines on scientific and commercial industrial CCS (eg power stations, refineries, cement plants) for regulators and industry. Given that ultimately the TC hopes for it to be the basis of an ISO standard, it is important that those interested in CCS across the globe keep an eye on its progress. Current or proposed projects across the globe include :
As for how CCS will work - Air Pollution Facts has an interesting Youtube animation clip & another Youtube interview explaining how it works. There seem to be, broadly, three different types of capture technologies : post-combustion, pre-combustion, and oxyfuel combustion
There are a number of conferences being held covering CCS - the May 2011 conference in Bariproposes to look at onshore vs offshore CCS. An interesting analysis presented at Brussels November 2010 conference - see Miguel Bunuel.
In order to win environmental and community acceptance it will be essential that CCS can be unequivocally shown to be safe, reliable and that risks are identified and properly addressed. Strategies for community engagement on CCS are being developed by the World Resources Institute (Youtube / Platts). Mostly onshore CCS projects have been centred around sandstone, however the USA Wallula project is trying out basalt and will be monitored by the Batelle Institute.
Interesting in that Shell apparently canned a project in the Netherlands after Barendrecht community opposition. And there are other canned projects, including Ireland. Some are worried about its safety in a general sense, & liken it to nuclear waste stories from their childhood. Others raise concerns with the pipelines transporting the gas to the sequestration sites - although it is countered that such pipelines have existed for many years in the USA. Of course it all depends on temperatures, pressure & moisture levels in the CO2 gas). German research projects are also strongly opposed by community members. Costs worry many - although a Canadian amine capture method is supposed to be less resource & money demanding. More on the maths behind CCS.
Some cite : "In 1986 a large leakage of naturally sequestered carbon dioxide rose from Lake Nyos in Cameroon and asphyxiated 1,700 people. While the carbon had been sequestered naturally, some point to the event as evidence for the potentially catastrophic effects of sequestering carbon. "
It's not an issue being taken lightly : "If carbon capture and storage (CCS) fails as a method of providing clean coal, it will probably mean the end of coal-fired electricity generation in Western Europe, International Energy Agency (IEA) Clean Coal Centre manager Robert Davidson ... addressed the Fossil Fuel Foundation of Africa in Johannesburg, says that Western Europe is relying on CCS to transition coal from being a dirty unacceptable fuel to being a clean one that can be allowed to continue to fuel electricity generation."

More info on CCS from

Nov 14, 2010

Global Influential Voices - Conversations on Overcoming Crises - Big Yellow Taxis and Can ASQ Beat the Race to the Bottom

I've been updating my Facebook page - moving it beyond just family and school friends as colleagues wanted to friend me. So I've created some lists including an engineering / quality management list - which includes Quality bodies such as ISO & ASQ. I've been following both of them on Twitter but wasn't so sure about Facebook - but more professional bodies seem to be moving beyond their webpages into LinkedIn and then over to Facebook, Twitter, RSS & YouTube. Time had come to make some lists.

I'm in manufacturing and I've been a member of online digital global communities for about 15 years now in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 worlds. And I continue to be delighted at the generosity of my buddies across the world. I've learned so much from them and been happy to share in return across my professional and community involvements.

My professional world stretches from product quality control to ISO 9001 Quality Management to Records Management to Knowledge Management to Forensic Engineering to Safety Management. I've really needed to learn from others in a more informal way, especially in the Global Financial Crisis era which trashed our formal training budgets.

So my membership of ASQ, an organization of quality professionals, has been an absolute life saver with its amazing breadth of online resources available to members globally. Recently I gave a presentation at a Knowledge Management conference in Canberra Australia on how social media tools have helped me to efficiently monitor emerging trends in quality management & technical barriers to trade. I need this in order to be on top of international trade trends in order to help my company gain & maintain access to international markets, via achieving 3rd Party certifications such as the EU's CE Mark.
As an Australian member of ASQ I was recently honored to be invited to participate in the ASQ Global Influential Voices program - (see our Moderator Paul's first blog). So I am delighted to be able to give back to those in ASQ Communities who have helped so many of us in the recent difficult years. And I find it incredible that I can be reading what quality guru's like Denis Arter are saying in almost real time. He's no longer just a book on my Quality Management bookshelf - but a real authentic person.

I'm also a member of several Standards Australia committees on Quality Management and also on Pressure Equipment, which is more at the coal face of quality. Get Pressure Equipment wrong and the outcomes can be serious even fatal.
What does that mean in reality ? Well I am a passionate traveller and over the last 5 years the overlapping spectra of quality/records/knowledge management has become very real to me as I travelled around the world ...
Think of the efforts to refurbish the Parthenon in Athens without original construction plans and working drawings ...
or the knowledge loss with the destruction of the library of Alexandria - not much remains as you can see from my pic below ...

I've been amazed to read of the incredible global collaboration led by New Zealand born / Australian RMIT Professor Mark Burry, that has finally seen the completion of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona using collaborative & imaging technologies unimagined at the time of Gaudi's death, or even when I visited there in the early 1980's :
And with so much knowledge loss around the design & construction of our global cultural heritage, I was amazed to discover in Basilica San Marco, Venice, that the original designers & builders had kept a record which has assisted in its refurbishment over the years. What foresight !
People often seem too complacent about Quality till they discover problems and all too often too late: like that Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi - "you don't know what you've got till it's gone".

We do live in an increasingly globalized world and in the late 1990's there were fears about the newly emerging World Trade Organization (WTO) and globalization. Back then there was the Battle for Seattle - with a fear of crisis and a "Race to the Bottom" on many fronts : environment, quality, safety, living standards etc.

However an economist friend commented to me : There is nothing wrong with globalization if it is done right, with the right rules & controls.
Globalization need not be a crisis and indeed it is interesting to consider that the Asian script for Crisis represents both danger & opportunity :

Just like the global collaboration that has seen Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia finally completed & consecrated, I see the ASQ Global Voices of Quality initiative is opportunity to have global conversations, especially for those of us lone voices scattered across the globe, to promote the quality paradigm : sharing experiences & learnings - focusing on the Opportunities - done right it can counter the many Dangers facing our world & the fears of the Race to the Bottom.

Yes : I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive a variety of quality resources as honorarium from ASQ in exchange for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own. I'm looking forward to learning, sharing and developing a community with my fellow participants, including Paul, our program leader.

Oct 31, 2010

ACTKM10 Nick Byrne : Collaborative KM in EWB - Engineers without Borders in Aid Development

I found Nick Byrne's preso very exciting - as did Kate Stewart (see her excellent post). My notes from his preso follow, along with some my exposure to the EWB Challenge at the University of Wollongong.

Having long been associated with engineers, I was well aware that all too often Engineers are seen by many as the problem, rather than a source of solutions to problems. 

So shortly before I retired as an elected Local Government Councillor in 2004, and following the 2004 Johannesburg Earth Summit, I had gain my Council's support to consider supporting the 1st Year Engineering Creative Design project ie "Council consider supporting the Creative Design Competition Project for First Year Engineering students at Wollongong University – with an award encouraging ESD principles – i.e. Award for Most Innovative Sustainable Design." (page 48 of Council minutes).

Sadly Wollongong Council did not seem to have followed through on this. Although 1st Year Engineering students in Wollongong University have picked up the innovation & sustainability challenge later on, without the support of their local City Council.

However, at the 2008 & 2009 Wollongong University's annual 1st Year Engineering Creative Design Project, where I was on the Judging Panels, I found that some students had embraced the annual EWB Challenge centred around Tonle Sap, Cambodia. In both 2008 & 2009  at least one  of the final teams had selected a project which they also planned to enter in EWB Cambodia Tonle Sap Challenge. In 2008 the team who designed & built a bicycle powered washing machine made the UOW finals. In 2009 a UOW Finals Team featured in the Top 20 projects with their Floating Agricultural Station. So I was really looking forward to hearing how EWB were using KM in their aid work.

Now back to my notes on Nick Byrne's preso : Knowledge Management for CollaborativeInnovation in Development Engineering – Engineers without Borders

Intro to what EWB do  – Engineers without Borders : note - Disaster Response handled by REDR vs Long Term Solutions done by EWB. (For more on REDR see bottom of blog post) 

They are moving towards Knowledge Management based around Hubs incl Renewable Energy - Indigenous Australia Hub

Key approach : SMELS – Strategy Measurement Evaluation Learning Sharing

Learning & Sharing vital : link with & support external organizations

Key approach : Collaborate Innovate Celebrate

IP – Creative Commons

Different professional disciplines have different ethos wrt knowledge sharing – science vs engineers vs lawyers

Exercise : Dan Pink : Why How What approach to what you are trying to achieve

·         Why? - are the underlying motives ? Is there a bigger theme that your organization is contributing to ? EWB seeking to facilitate pro bono culture Australia

·         How ? is your organization contributing to the pursuit within your industry/sector/cause ?

·         What ? outcomes have you seen ?Are there unanticipated spin-off effects for your clients ?

·         Cognitive surplus – how to leverage – ie how much structure or not ? crowdsourcing

·         your goal isn’t to do business with people who want what you have – but to do business people who believe what you believe and what you do simply serves as proof of what you believe


·         What prevents collaboration within your org – (responses : protecting your turf, lone wolf syndrome IP issues – Chinese Walls – fear of competition)

·         Discuss what incentives exist to collaborate inter-organizationally – requires a level of maturity of org leadership – cross company networks

Social innovation – potential to influence in government

Note - Comments from conference attendees Professional Associations do knowledge sharing eg at conferences

Nick mentioned that Humanitarian Engineering is starting to appear on the engineering curriculum of some Australian Universities. My perception as a former External Advisory Committee Member to UOW's Engineering Faculty is that this is no mean feat as the engineering curriculum is generally quite solidly packed at any university - so it is hard to get anything else added in.

He described how EWB is  Working with University Students : eg Engineers and Social Justice Program – 2nd Year at UWA.

Tweets on Nick's preso :


metaphorageOct 18, 2:16pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 @thinkquick being a bit of a cynic about incentives- that's unusual! One of the best (positive) critical thinkers I know

metaphorageOct 18, 2:15pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 @byrnenick stories being shared around exames where knowledge was shared and what barriers or motivator were involved

metaphorageOct 18, 2:06pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 @byrnenick discussing how to share effectively: collaborate, innovate, celebrate.

KerrieAnneOct 18, 2:04pm via Mobile Web

Nick Byrne Engineers without Borders EWB at#actkm10 on leveraging KM to achieve more

NeridaHartOct 18, 2:04pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Collaborate innovate celebrate #actkm10

metaphorageOct 18, 1:49pm via Twitter for iPhone

What a surrise @ByrneNick an engineer thinking that beer is a good knowledge sharing tool - not first time lubricated #KM feature #actKM10

metaphorageOct 18, 1:45pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 @byrnenick sharing knowledge with indigenous organisations on renewable energy communities, both strategy & implementation

metaphorageOct 18, 1:42pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 @byrnenick from Engineers without Boarders, volunteers helping disadvantaged people to create change.

last word : metaphorageOct 18, 2:20pm via Twitter for iPhone

#actkm10 all the ladies asking lots of questions of @byrnenick - perhaps young enthusiastic engineer eager to share is an incentive? :)


In 2010 UOW has set its EWB Challenge as its ENGG 154 Subject as Engineering Design & Innovation. This time it's an Indigenous theme : "to assist the sustainable development of Kooma traditional owners in Queensland." I'm looking forward to judging again on November 19 2010, and hopefully sharing the ideas generated with my Torres Strait Islander cousin James William, who is very active in promoting Indigenous education and employment.
REDR Australia : As Nick indicated, Engineers can also be part of Disaster Relief - refer :REDR Story from Professional Network November 2010 p.20 (logon needed)  ....
Melbourne electrical engineer and APESMA member Dinesh Jayasuriya’s lucky escape from the
Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 has had a big impact on his life. It made him want to help people in
desperate need.... “We were actually supposed to be on the train that got hit, killing more
than 1,500 passengers,” he says. “But through pure chance we’d missed it. At that time, as an engineer, I didn’t think there was anything I could do to help. I always thought emergency situations were only for medical people and that engineers came in later, for long-term development – rebuilding bridges and the like. “But that’s not true. There are things
engineers can do during an emergency.


Engineers Without Borders understands the strategic importance that efficient knowledge management brings to organisations. However, we are fortunate that, at least internally, the organisational cultural barriers that exist elsewhere are not prevalent. For example, the protectionist attitudes that some consultants place around their knowledge, as they feel it is their competitive advantage in the workplace.

To date, Knowledge Management literature seems to have focused on comparative advantage for organisational gain – but what about utilising knowledge management as a tool for inter-organisational collaboration around important issues such as peak oil and the millennium development goals? In this presentation, we hope to present to you some fundamental questions around data, information, knowledge and wisdom in the context of EWB and the Knowledge Centre. Also, how EWB is participating, through its knowledge management processes, in expanding their sectors knowledge of best practice.


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Oct 30, 2010

We still have no understanding of viral behaviour in organizations - Lee Bryant - or perhaps an answer from Travel Guides

Samuel Driessen tweeted this quote during Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Frankfurt in late October 2010 :

"We still have no understanding of viral behaviour in organizations" - Lee Bryant

It had me wondering about what went viral in my organization and what didn't.

Was it like Travel Guides like Lonely Planet & the rest of the pack ? They enabled DIY travelling planning went viral over the 1990's even before the Internet. And yet haven't really gone fully viral in their EReader & IPAD 21st Century incarnations. 

Back to my own organization : obviously Microsoft Office applications : Word, Excel & Powerpoint. A few of us also use other products like Frontpage, Visio, Project & Publisher. And our IT folks seem to be big users of Communicator. Many create Access databases but most of us consume rather than build.

Email ? a no-brainer ! We love our Email as our IT folks try to manage the associated exploding storage.

However, although the RSS feeds in Outlook 2007 are being discovered & shared by our Library Knowledge Management Services team -  they're  way off going viral. Adoption is more snail speed. And my fav Googlereader RSS feeds were definitely not. Seem to confuse too many & demand too much work to yield value. Although I'd be lost without them myself. But then I need immediate access to a far more diverse range of info than many in my org.

Smartphones are popping up in some applications around the place. Mostly Blackberries, but a few folks have Iphones - not too many IPADS sighted in our organization. Although my buddy who runs a nearby aged care facility swears by IPAD's as a communication enabling tool for early stage Dementia patients to prolong their quality of life.

We're more conservative, and so our unsexy EMC Documentum has its fans. Like when I found 100's of unauthorised bootleg copies of standard procedures possetted away by my engineering buddies to make sure they had their own special copy. A bit of work went in there to educate them on why they need to use the official version online from our intranet. However it certainly showed me that people did value something as dry as an SOP. The right content that needed definitely has value even if the repository is not sleek.

Next we met Sharepoint, and it definitely has its enthusiasts - some wanting to up-stakes & migrate their content out of Documentum and into Sharepoint overnight almost. Even if Sharepoint is not really a document content solution in a records management paradigm.

Confluence's Wiki is mostly liked by its users in our org over other wiki's - although some others like Twiki - and some of us are happy enough with the Sharepoint 2007 Wiki but looking forward to migrating to 2010.

Internal blogs could best be described as barely emergent at this stage.

Adobe Acrobat Writer is handy but most folks consume the content rather create so have no need for it.

SAP had its detractors - widely used but its takeup doesn't have that viral flavour about it. Nevetheless I like the way I can drill down to chase unusual costs. Likewise our OHS Management System. Both helpful but not driving passionate viral behaviour.

We're learning to love Cognos - but mostly as long as someone else gets the reports & sends them to us.

And yet hard copies, paper records, still remain for some applications in our organization. Surprising ?

Perhaps it's a bit like travel guide books vs IPAD's etc as in "Death of a Guidebook" AYH's Backpacker Essentials November 2010 edition (p33-34). Lots of benefits with IPAD's, Ereaders, Notebooks & Smartphones ... . and other gizmo's. So much lighter to carry. So much more info available. A whole library like this one in Lucca maybe ?

But sometimes the pro's aren't enough to outweigh the con's - such as lack of access to free WIFI, battery life etc. Paper still rules like on the Venice Vaporetto below ?

We were carrying our trusty Lonely Planet, Frommer & DK Croatian/Italian Guidebooks - but the smartphone certainly helped when we had an abrupt change of travel plans from Venice to Koper, Slovenia. Due to a glitch between a website & email back in Australia, the details were garbled and so we'd missed the bus and had to make it to a boat in Koper that day. 

Fancy tools like this Venice Vaporetto Ticket machine one, are great (especially during long queues or after hours when the human ticket sellers are long gone). But sometimes a less sophisticated approach is simplest - like this sign at the Venice Bus Station.

Overcoming the WIFI & battery life issues,  then weighing up the weight vs few Travel Guide books and the pain differential for IPADS's & smartphones probably starts disappearing. I know I'm over guidebooks that way a brick each - so am planning to download files onto my smartphone ahead of our next trip.

Maybe that's the secret of technology going viral in organizations? 

It's simply the pain factor that's the key perhaps ?

Where software eases more pain than it creates. When a task is cut from days and hours to minutes. When the energy to maintain the system doesn't leave you mind-numbed. When the application is intuitive with no jumping all over the screen and from screen to screen. Not too many shortcut keys to know.

So ease my pain & frustration, but don't try to solve it by creating even more....

And lastly an IT organization that balances governance with access to KM E2.0 tools thus enabling collaboration to drive innovation ?

Too much to wish for ?


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Oct 24, 2010

ACTKM10 Kate Andrews - Build Buy Bind Bury – Decipher your org’s knowledge lifecycle

Referred to “Ask Learn & Share at Shell” - Siew Hoong KM Advisor Shell Global Solutions for Malaysia

Key Question : What knowledge do people need and how do we get it to them ?

Kate’s focus for some years has been on how Retirement poses risk of brain drain - Focus issue : Can’t buy knowledge ie the key knowledge for org performance – but  “Not everything for everyone  not a relay” – not replicating the past – not hiring Lone Wolves

Surprises –Lone Wolf Quadrant - We need to develop new knowledge sets not just hire more LW

·         is a real business risk – a blockage problem – limits to how we leverage knowledge that is only held in individual’s heads – so much org knowledge is held here

·         Some orgs over invest in creating individual knowledge and under invest in organizational knowledge

·         We treat knowledge as a non renewable resource until they leave then we say oops (what about Sageco process) – better to build strong teams & knowledge assets

·         Project Closeout -  KM is crucial

Nonaka Takaguchi – how individual knowledge becomes org knowledge : model : tacit - explicit

Pyschosocial – know & trust generates more sharing or if there is a collective disenchantment then people may work together and share

Quoted Irish Bridge collapse

·         engineering ignorance – outcome – need to rebuild corporate memory – key knowledge not documented & held in head of engineers who had departed - too busy to reflect and document key knowledge

·         Some orgs tend to keep the technical expert on a business as usual rather than capturing new knowledge – some of these people hate dealing with other people

Nerida Hart – some people love being the hero – thank god you’re here syndrome

Wiggles case study – The Yellow Wiggle : from Greg to Sam : Orgs  try to make their Wiggles to sing & dance all day rather than coach, develop – develop new team capabilities

KM Risks in Organizations

·         Green - Low Risk – meet exist & known future needs

·         Amber - Rising Risk – risk increases as experienced staff leave and knowledge not documented

·         Red - High Risk – knowledge not available at required level (not yet acquired in new areas – this surprises orgs or already lost as folks already lost)

Decide what knowledge is critical – what is  its status – red amber green –these are key business decisions



At ACT KM in 2003 Kate Andrews introduced the term knowledge risk to describe the loss of knowledge critical to a firms performance. In our experience, even today many organisations who are deeply concerned about potential knowledge loss DO NOTHING.

The counterpoint, also typically ignored, is the challenge of actively accelerating development and retention of newly important knowledge assets. The session uses an experiential approach to guide discovery of workshop participants critical organisational knowledge (existing and emerging) and through a case study the priorities for each lifecycle stage. The take away is a “five things you can do now” for each stage of the knowledge lifecycle.


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ACTKM10 Lynn Farkas Takes the Terrors Out of Taxonomies - do we need a Taxonomy of Taxonomies

How KM managers have discovered taxonomy – showing up in KM literature –so many different types of taxonomies – alphabet soup of types of taxonomies  – she couldn’t find definitions for all of these different types of taxonomies – not to mention ontology plus different types of maps, metadata- social tagging - folksonomies

“We need a taxonomy of taxonomies” – @Michellelamb in response to Lynn’s overload of different types of taxonomies

What is taxonomy & its benefits ? : a key step in organizing knowledge and furthering the growth of indvidual disciplines  includes the following :  

Nomenclatures / Hierarchies / Classifications / Faceted Classifications /Thesaurus / Ontologies

·         Nomenclatures : standardising File Naming Conventions for fileshares – useful for records & document control – generally not dealt with effectively in orgs – but Doc Control does work

·         Hierarchies – focus on broader / narrower relationships between elements – very inflexible and better used in scientific applications eg WesternPort classification of records hierarchies

·         Classifications – grouping similar elements together with all categories mutually exclusive eg Functional Location used in SAP Maintenance – ie Resource or Asset identification or location rather than resource access (searching, information retrieval) – better for putting things into rather than finding – it’s inflexible and hard to introduce new categories once set up

·         The above : focused around grouping information but not so much about searching

·         Faceted taxonomies or faceted classifications – findability

·         Thesaurus – controlled vocabulary

·         Ontologies  – relationships between the terms – very strict rules – well suited to computer applications –how semantic web is being done

This is all painful but we need to do it to enhance findability – applies for structured information

Does Taxonomy belong in Information Management or in KM – if it’s Information Management is it useful in supporting Knowledge Management in making info findable for yourself and for others

Consistency of terminology across org is helpful

Most orgs believes taxonomy takes up too much resource and so reluctant to get into it

Are folksonomies are a disaster waiting to happen ? As they get bigger are things still hard to find ?

(Quick Workshop on Tables : Convo's on taxonomy for personal knowledge management)




There is a general consensus that taxonomies can play a useful role in knowledge management – but what are they, where do they fit, and how does one use them? This short workshop will steer you through the maze of taxo-nometric terminology and explain how different taxonomy products can be used for different purposes within an organisation. Under the guidance of the presenter, taxonomist Lynn Farkas, participants will be encouraged to critically examine their knowledge management needs and explore areas where taxonomy work could assist to meet those needs. A focus of the workshop will be on participants sharing ideas about how taxonomies might be used in their work environments.



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ACTKM10 - Arthur Shelley - Conversations that Matter - Clever Synthesis of Knowledge to Drive Actions Workshop

Arthur Shelley : Clever Synthesis of Knowledge to Drive Actions Workshop

How do we move from what is to what is possible ?

Having met Arthur at the NSW KMRt in August 2007, where he shared The Organizational Zoo  & ACTKM 08 - Wikis in Education, I was looking forward to catching up again at ACTKM 10

ACTKM 10 Workshop Abstract

An international fast moving consumer good company commissioned an organisational network analysis to determine how the knowledge flows and network connection influenced the performance of their business. This interactive exercise provides the research data to the audience and asks them to formulate a series of projects to enhance the performance of the organisation. Groups will be given 15 minutes to formulate their ideas based on the data and make recommendation around 5 priorities they believe should be implemented in the short and long term.


During 1990s and early 2000s many organisations expanded rapidly through acquisition. This rapid growth was often not accompanied by structured assimilation of knowledge assets and resources. Often some of the most valuable knowledge resources in the acquired organisation were not leveraged as they were not recognised or lost in the process. Some organisations deployed Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) as a means of determining the network infrastructure and knowledge flow through the organisation. This case study is an example where ONA provided a mass of data and a report with recommendation on what to act on as a priority to create value and enhance performance across a variety of knowledge based initiatives.

 This exercise provides the participants with a summarised version of the data and asks them to formulate a knowledge strategy with 5 prioritised initiatives that address a portfolio of long and short term activities which will enhance individual, team and organisational performance. Each team will then play the role of the knowledge leader and pitch (five minutes) their knowledge based strategy to other participants playing the role of the Executive board whilst other groups look on. A general discussion of all groups will be done at the end to assess the collective ideas and compare with what was recommended and done in the real case.

As indicated Arthur shared an ONA SNA Case Study done several years ago – where the organizationwas growing by lots of other orgs being bought by acquisition very quickly – but didn’t integrate their knowledge across 36 countries – and people involved in similar roles didn’t know each others’ names

Asked 10 people who knew the key knowledge area which generated a list of 40 other people – then they did an online survey & asked who do you know -> generated 247 names & included 58 who  didn’t work for the org – eg suppliers, past employees, etc

Exercise : Arthur provided us with 6 ONA network diagrams & then stated : So you have same data as they did : what would you do to address the knowledge management block situation  : 10 minutes to look at data – ie what questions would you ask …

Each table at the ACTKM10 launched in to quick conversations on possible solutions - 10 minutes too short really to generate comprehensive action proposals

it is the Conversations that matter : generating divergent thinking – seeking something more - aligning with the view that it is relationships that matter in Knowledge Management not the iT Tools proferred by so many vendors

·         Is that person a broker of a bottleneck ? : Command & Control – South American head of ops – so limits the options – can be a cultural issue – need to work on Trust issue – KC approached Country Presidents to nominate members to join a COP

·         If you don’t get the answer first up where do you go next – don’t give them answer – send them to someone else who knows it all better than you do

·         How do we get boundary spanners engaging ?

·         To what your existing networks correlation with innovation or profitability to the organization – there was no network connections – the core 40 had worked in several different countries and so had developed networks

·         What limitations to communicate exist & what are the significant communication channels

·         What is the isolation factor and how does that affect knowledge flow ?

·         Does head office facilitate & coordinate knowledge flow ?

·         Is specialisation concentrated in the centre and could it be better shared by engaging participants in the network

·         Wanted to know why head office was the centre of focus dealing with complex issues ?

·         Why aren’t the right people talking to each other ?          

The Next Exercise – to develop solutions to get around bottlenecks ... suggestions ..

·         Set up community of practices or projects – supported by head office & involving people across the business globally given permission to participate – builds connections         Set up a competition where significant prize given – need to have engagement

·         Giving people something specific to work on – develops more relationships & outcomes

·         Red dot – global expert who was about to retire – asked what work he had to finish – then told that he had wouldn’t finish these himself – but he would mentor projects around the world - outcome was lots of younger project manager became capable – he had to travel around to

·         Mention of  Fluor – global competition – knowledge based projects that they were working on – judged

·         Build centre of expertise in each region and then have these interact with each other

·         Beef up the induction program during its acquisition phase

Arthur Shelley - KM – we often get clever about ideas & options but don’t always carry it forward to develop solutions

My Insight on Arthur's Workshop  : The Power of Conversation & How to Use Content to get better value from the conversation


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Arthur Shelley - KM in The Organizational Zoo - my first encounter at NSW KMRt August 2007

One of my favourite Knowledge Management Speakers & Conversationalists is Arthur Shelley, RMIT & formerly of Cadbury SchweppesAuthor of various books including “The Organizational Zoo – A Survival Guide to Workplace Behaviour”.

I first encountered Arthur, face to face at a NSW KMRt session in August 2007, and then again in October in 2008 where he shared his thoughts on Wiki's in Education at RMIT at ACTKM08. Shortly after ACTM08, I was asked to share thoughts on KM in Project Management with postgraduate students at University of Wollongong. Arthur Shelley allowed me to use his work one of the key inspirations in my guest lecture to the mostly International Cohort of Postgraduate Students (with appropriate attributions to his work). Subsequently we have remained in periodic contact via the ACTKM discussion forum and Twitter convo's.

My notes from his inspiring August 2007 NSW KMRt presentation on The Organizational Zoo : 

  • Getting collaboration in an organization with 800 scientists across 36 sites globally
  • 3 years ago started tossing over bits & pieces of past failed initiatives
  • focus cultural attitudinal change
  • The 30 second elevator pitch to management – business benefits of KM
  • Organisational Charts with different types of animals – strategy – know the type of animal to understand how they operate & how to influence them (lions, eagles, hyenas, mice- eg lions are good for competing with other organizations but may create too much fear in their own team)
  • Triangle : Connect ->Collaborate-> Capitalise – used the 3 C’s Logo
    • Connect groups &  people with each other to Share
    • Get them Socialising so that they are more likely to Share
    • Then work out what they need to actively Collaborate – identify a mutual important project area
    • Get a small group together to Collaborate on a specific project (like AT & GW’s  FOG project) – their 5 day Turkish project – staff from around the globe – production line problem needed fixing – key executive past positive experience ->20% increase & they continued to work on other projects – alternative sweeteners – all working on it individually – pooled their ideas by e-technology & came up with a new alternative sweetener – no real costs to doing this extra bit of work
    • Create virtual environments to enable them to share what they know
    • To continue to add value need to close the loop – Capitalise – communicate the business benefits of the projects widely  in different ways to different stakeholders
      • Kudos for team members
      • Make their boss look good & you’ll get all the project funding that you will need
      • Get your elevator conversation right
      • Financial benefits for accountants
      • Storytelling for scientists & technology
      • Do not rabbit on about tacit, explicit & taxonomies
      • Pull approach not push – interested in how the organization could be far more productive???
  • Analogy given between Scientists and Newspaper editors –
    • Scientist’s need to know all the background , detailed analysis of the facts
    • Newspaper editors lead with a headline (doesn’t have to be true) that pulls in a reader to read the next paragraph and then the next etc
    • KM functions like newspaper editors – start off with an idea and build.

 Basics of Collaboration in Cadbury Schweppes

  • Create the right environment – focus on specific measurable outcomes (SMART goals)
  • Develop the right mix of Behaviours & Platforms – not just best technical experts

(persistent, praise, participation, support interactions & encourage fun!!)

  • Stimulate & encourage socialising & encourage fun

(ferment the zoo to mature interactions & participation)

  • Secure the Support of all Stakeholders – manage up, manage down, manage sideways

(align with business goals & generate regular results)

KM in Cadbury Schweppes – Why?

  • Increase productivity – increase quality
  • Increase innovation – reduced errors – solve issues
  • Increase creativity – increase adaptability
  • Motivate the workforce – attract & retain talent
  • Build relationships, trust & positive attitudes – ( Hong Kong  DBA Knowledge Yum Cha)


Understand Team Motives & Team Dynamics – the right behaviours to deliver skills needed for optimal collaboration

Set up a Candy Network – monthly international phone conference - with 5 people – well connected, well respected, right balance of behaviours & disciplines  – this grew to 50 people in a year – had to cap participants – people busting to get in – they need to participate

Sometimes you need face to face contacts – showed a really good slide on Delivery Platforms to embed KM into projects & processes – Discover, Leverage, Learning, Knowledge (– need to get a copy of this)

Innovation – making the most of what you’ve got to help others

Stealing ideas with pride from sites from other countries in the organization – sometimes best to make a product at one site – sometimes it is best to take a basic product & modify it slightly to suit different markets – flexible approach not rigid one size fits all

S.M.A.R.T. objectives vital

 Answer to Kerrie Ann Christian’s Measuring Business Benefits of KM Question 

  • No. of unique visitors to portal
  • No. of items uploaded
  • No. of items downloaded
  • What do they do onsite
  • Who do they talk to
  • How many COP’s
  • How active are these COP’s
  • How many people turn up to a monthly international phone conference meeting
  • Measures of people interactions
  • Turkish project measures – $’s
  • New alternative sweeteners project – $’s


“Four Frogs on a Log & One Decides to Jump Off” Story – followers, adopters, change resisters  – bit like “Who Moved My Cheese?”

 My August 2007 Conclusion : tangible benefits from networking opportunities with Arthur Shelley of Cadbury Schweppes - 3 years on, in 2010, I am happy to say that fortunately that has been possible via ACTKM & Twitter convo's.

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