Librarians as Knowledge Managers


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SLA Presentation 2007

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Librarians as Knowledge Managers

  1. 1. Librarians as Knowledge Managers: The View from the Executive Suite Dave Pollard SLA Annual Conference June 6, 2007 [email_address] Meeting of Minds
  2. 2. A Tale of Two Executives D: “We figured that by providing all this Knowledge Management software to our people, we could get rid of the library, and everyone could do their own research online.” R: “Information Professionals are specialists like everyone else today. It’s insane to have our managers and staff trying, badly, to do research, when IPs have spent their careers learning to do it very well.”
  3. 3. Dave’s Cultural Anthropology Story (1) The View from the Executive Suite <ul><li>“ We don’t know how to use this knowledge stuff. And we don’t need it. We’ve already got what we need.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Here’s what’s keeping us awake at night: </li></ul><ul><li>Mitigating risk </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing costs </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing value/person </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthening key customer relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Tell us how KM, IPs and librarians can help us with that .” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Dave’s Cultural Anthropology Story (2) The View from the Front Lines “ I can’t find anything on my computer.” “ I can search, but I can’t re search.” “ Why didn’t anyone show me this before ?” “ My task is to assess what all this data means.” “ I don’t need a perfect answer. But I need one right now .” “ Half of my calls are to ask me if I know about X , or, if not, who does.” “ The things we’re worst at are collaboration and innovation. Can you help us with that ?”
  5. 5. Dave’s Cultural Anthropology Story (3) The View from the Customers “ Why isn’t KM enabling our suppliers to reduce the cost of their services?” “ We don’t choose a supplier based on what they know about our business (and we assume they know their business). We choose based on the quality of the relationship we have with our supplier representative.” “ We expect our suppliers to be leveraging best practices and their communities of practice, to improve their services to us and leverage what they all know. Aren’t they?” Different from what the Executives view. Different from the Front Line’s view. Which group do you want to please?
  6. 6. The View from the Executive Suite: Panel Results Part 1 Who Owns KM? What’s the IP’s Role? <ul><ul><li>No agreement on what it is or if it’s needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No agreement on who owns it or what it should do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not sure whether to centralize, decentralize or outsource ICM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Type D view: It’s everyone’s job. If people can’t do it themselves, get rid of them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Type R view: The BUs own the content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If librarians are focused on content, they probably belong in BUs too. Or maybe in R&D? Or marketing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If KM is about infrastructure (technology), then IT owns it (they have the budgets) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If KM is about learning, HR owns it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians are becoming IPs and they have two roles: research and cataloguing/metadata </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians have to specialize or they’ll be outsourced; if they specialize they could become SMEs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IPs are increasingly overskilled and underemployed </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The View from the Executive Suite: Panel Results Part 2 Where Does KM Fit? What’s its Mission? <ul><ul><li>Still don’t see the benefits: Few senior champions, and disconnect with perceptions of the front lines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obsession with risk & cost: Is knowledge-sharing risky? Can KM increase value-based billings? Reduce headcount? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t care about customers’ unmet needs or innovation or collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customers want knowledge delivered on their site, their way, not on Extranet/Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information we buy is too raw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on Intranet is not very useful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Execs still trying to ‘change the culture’ and processes and expect KM to help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intrigued by new tech (Facebook, UTube, blogs, wikis) but don’t get them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decentralizing (Type R) organizations see the value in KM that the front lines see, but they are outnumbered by centralizing (Type D) organizations </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Diagnosing Your Organization’s Knowledge Culture Stories, ideas, advice ‘ Best practices’ What knowledge is most valued In networks In hierarchies Where power resides What management wants from workers What motivates people How knowledge flows What drives decision-making Effectiveness Efficiency Personal satisfaction Promotion, raise P2P through collaboration Top-down from ‘leadership’ Long-term agility, opportunity Short-term profits, risk Type R Organizations Type D Organizations
  9. 9. How Executives See the Role of Information and Information Professionals Type D Organizations Type R Organizations (These charts to be re-done to improve legibility)
  10. 10. acquire store disseminate add value synthesize connect canvass apply Know-what Collection Content Just in case Know-who Connection Context Just in time Librarians are good at this But can they do this ? Type R Organizations: The Challenge
  11. 11. Type D Organizations: The Waiting Game
  12. 12. A KM Framework & Why It’s Important <ul><li>To guide KM activities and provide context for KM projects </li></ul><ul><li>To explain the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of KM (over & over, consistently) </li></ul><ul><li>To frame elevator pitches </li></ul><ul><li>Value Propositions: </li></ul><ul><li>Why are we doing this? </li></ul><ul><li>What is expected? </li></ul><ul><li>KM Services & Products: </li></ul><ul><li>Content acquisition & provision </li></ul><ul><li>Research, knowledge transfer </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture, tools, spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Support & Training </li></ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Design & Development </li></ul><ul><li>Principles </li></ul><ul><li>What guides what we do </li></ul><ul><li>and how we do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes: </li></ul><ul><li>How do we measure </li></ul><ul><li>success? </li></ul><ul><li>Customers: </li></ul><ul><li>Who are we doing </li></ul><ul><li>this for? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Six KM “Quick Win” Ideas <ul><li>Introduce IM </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce Google Desktop and other PCM tools </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce Desktop Videoconferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Create a JIT Canvassing system </li></ul><ul><li>Improve “Know-Who” Directories </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce RSS Aggregator Pages </li></ul>
  14. 14. What You Can Do Now: Type R Organizations <ul><li>Quick Wins </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Anthropology (study all 3 groups): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>current state use of information & technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ time & motion’ data (see Davenport’s study) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>information behaviours (incl. dysfunctional ones) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiments: e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>personal productivity improvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>proactive research & adding meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>harvesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mindmaps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social networking tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ wisdom of crowds’ canvassing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>thinking customers ahead </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Davenport’s Study of Knowledge Worker Activity Volumes <ul><li>Workers spend an average every day of: </li></ul><ul><li>3 ¼ hours processing work-related information </li></ul><ul><li>Half of that is e-mail (processing and sending 17 e-mails, receiving and processing 44 e-mails, participating in 16 IMs) </li></ul><ul><li>A quarter of that is phone (making 15 calls, receiving 18 calls and 8 voice messages and participating in 1 teleconference) </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the remainder is looking for information </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple, un-integrated tools, not effectively used, not well supported </li></ul><ul><li>Most have poor search, poorer research skills </li></ul><ul><li>Work effectiveness tends to be proportional to time invested in and size of networks </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot experiments lack rigour </li></ul><ul><li>No ‘end of process’ – yet! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Dysfunctional Information Behaviours <ul><li>(list of 4 categories, 25 total types of dysfunctional information behaviour e.g. bad news never travels up) – this list explains why it’s so difficult to change ‘culture’ in organizations </li></ul>
  17. 17. What You Can Do Now: Type D Organizations <ul><li>Quick Wins </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the Cost of Not Knowing (Christensen, risk assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Intelligence pilot: environmental scanning, strategy canvasses etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Then: skunkworks, vision, learn more about the business, and/or wait </li></ul>
  18. 18. Now Let’s Brainstorm <ul><li>What’s your biggest KM challenge: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowing what’s needed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding good models & success stories? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Selling’ investment in KM to management? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How have you solved these challenges? </li></ul><ul><li>Is your organization ready for the Connect, Canvass, Synthesize, Apply model of KM? Are you? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you need, to be able to persuade your organization to let you add more value to information? To let you become a personal productivity enabler? Do you even want to do this? </li></ul><ul><li>What else can IPs do in Type R organizations? In Type D organizations? </li></ul><ul><li>Tell us your story. </li></ul>