When Mike asked me if I’d do a slot at this meeting, I asked him what he’d like me to talk about. He said maybe an update on something called ScotGovCamp (which some know about) and also about the work you’ve been doing with something called information literacy (again, some of you will already know a bit about) Anyway, more on those anon. Rather than do separate presentations on the 2, I had a think about common themes so that I could link them seamlessly and also tie the whole thing up nicely with a knowledge management bow. Basically what it boils down to is me and what I do.. I could talk about all 3 all day, but I’m going to concentrate on the 3 rd . And you’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to speak for 45 minutes…I’m going to speak for some minutes (not timed) and then I hope – that if it’s OK with you, we’ll have a bit of a conversation.
I’m going to start with a potential heresy…I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the term “knowledge management”. Which is unfortunate given my job title and also the nature of this network. The discomfort’s not just because Knowledge is ambiguous, unspecific and dynamic , intrinsically related to meaning, understanding and process and difficult to manage’…but also because to me it implies some kind of protection of knowledge as propriety. Doesn’t help that a lot of what has been written about KM focuses on organisational knowledge management and seems to me to ultimately encourage the silo mentality. Anyway…I like to think that what I do is set knowledge free (but I’m not sure I’d get away with ‘knowledge liberator’ as a job title). Anyway, I don’t do organisational KM
Putting that to one side, for me KM is about understanding The world is a more complex place than it used to be - we need to take time to UNDERSTAND All the best technology in the world; all the information and knowledge that we might ever need at our fingertips; all the tools and techniques that we are ever taught to manipulate people and get our own way will never compensate us for a lack of real understanding of what is going on around us. Its about understanding & sense making Through conversation & storytelling… (We do not find the time to have open conversations, we are under pressure to make quick decisions)
Understanding comes from conversation Conversation is creative People could fill in gaps of understanding for each other, and spark ideas. Our most effective knowledge sharing tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge, as well as sharing that knowledge with each other.
we are having them to get to know each other better. Conversations help build and sustain relationships regardless of the value of the content - amongst other things they reveal the other persons values. Conversely they can also destroy relationships - often for the bad but sometimes for the good. (Work in the Knowledge Era is characterised by…processes and structures that are more emergent than predictable) …tacit knowledge, which can only be shared through relationship, conversation, and interaction.”. Networks: who and how you know is as important as what you know.”
The greatest benefit of conversation is that it produces five categories of responses, not just the answer. We get so much more from conversation, e.g. an unexpected insight, a sense of affirmation that inspires us to new heights or, equally useful, having to confront a realization that we've been trying to avoid; deepening the relationship with a colleague or the introduction to a collaborator we would never have discovered on our own; and on and on. Answers The seekers were looking for the application of facts or principles in order to develop a solution. Meta-knowledge - about where to go to get more information on the issue, or conversely where not to go because a certain report was out-dated, or superficial. Problem reformation - source suggested a different way to look at the problem or issue, a way that might even invalidate the original question. It tended to broaden the thinking of the seeker or approach it from an entirely different angle. Validation - assurance that the approach the seeker is taking is on course Legitimizing - expression of approval by a person in authority or with known expertise, which the seeker can then use to influence others
At this point it’s probably important to make a distinction between debate and dialogue. When we engage each other in dialogue we enter into a conversation with a view to learn from each other rather than impose our views on the other. Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture. David Bohm, Physicist Better understanding in turn paves the way for personal change and in its turn organizational change.
Dialogue is the key to quality conversations… Which is where GovCamp makes an appearance?...
what is a GovCamp? GovCamps are BarCamp for government. Barcamp is an international network of unconferences which focused on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies and social protocols.” Unconference? A conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer/organizers, in advance. “ OST is a meeting methodology…. Its essential core is the invitation to take responsibility for what you have passion for. The remarkable outcome of this simple idea is that when participants do so, the needs of both the individual and the collective are met.” “ The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.”(1) Dave Winer; What is an
The topics as wide as “Cuts”/narrow as the implications of a particular piece of software. The format maybe a Powerpoint followed by discussion, a circle of delegates with or without one or more facilitators, “tag” discussion (as in tag wrestling), participants coming and going as they wished, a high proportion of delegates tapping away at various pieces of technology taking notes, tweeting, blogging, recording (sound/video), taking photos.
We talk to other people To get things done / To build relationships so they in turn help us (there are no passengers at a GovCamp)
Nicola No its NOT a talking-shop. A talking shop is normally used pejoratively and implies no useful outcome other than the airing of ones own ideas leaves enriched by a deeper level of understanding of the subject in question and is often inspired to act The unconference with its open space approach to professional development is a model more likely to foster the kinds of skills and attitudes suitable for the knowledge era than the deficit model that may have outlived its usefulness as the primary means of staff development. The unconference allows for group commitment to a process that is negotiated in non-hierachical networked entities. It allows the opportunity to become familiar with the unpredictable and emergent through negotiating content as it evolves. It validates, and capitalises on, the knowledge that everyone brings to the event and assumes that the collective expertise of the rank and file is as valuable as the knowledge and opinions of experts or those in authority.
Just a taster… We’re back to dialogue versus debate. Real outcomes are what you take away in your head: A deeper understanding of the issue discussed, A deeper insight into other people’s perspectives, A better appreciation of your own point of view Better position to make more informed decisions and to take action! Better understanding in turn paves the way for personal change and in its turn organizational change.
For the learning and development professionals amongst us, the pedagogy at play here is something along the lines of &quot;social constructionist&quot;.
That was GovCamp What is information literacy is a bit harder to answer. A plethora of writing and lectures about conceptualising, developing, and implementing information literacy fills whole conferences and whole books, and indeed adds significantly to the information traffic on the Internet. Yet it is apparent that, like the elephant in the Indian parable about the blind men, information literacy is defined differently by various schools of thought. It’s about skills, it’s about abilities, it’s a process, it’s critical thinking…and so it goes on. There’s one school of thought that would have it that it’s something librarians have invented to justify their continued existence…but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.
involves using, interpreting, and seeking meaning in information from an inquiry perspective The concept of literacy really depends on the information needs of the society of the time. It can range from something as simple as being able to use phrase searching in Google to being able to formulate complex search strategies Being information literate means we can take an informed role in those conversations we’ve been talking about…and conversation has a role to play in helping you become information literate.
And we have an ongoing conversation in Scotland mainly online via a community of practice…not just librarians, and across all sectors…but we also have face to face conversations as well. And we talk to people outside the community about information literacy (although we may not call it that) and we encourage
Scottish Knowledge Management Network meeting
<ul><li>spikkin </li></ul><ul><li>speerin </li></ul><ul><li>and a fly piece </li></ul><ul><li>Lesley Thomson </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge Management Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Centre for Regeneration </li></ul>
fit wi dein? <ul><li>fowk </li></ul><ul><li>gittin the gither </li></ul><ul><li>spikkin </li></ul><ul><li>… we a quine fae Huntly </li></ul><ul><li>(communities) </li></ul><ul><li>(collaboration) </li></ul><ul><li>(conversation) </li></ul><ul><li>(me) </li></ul>
’ Representations within the brain’…and the knowledge ‘this is how you do that’ is twice removed from the audience: First by the ability of the knower to map what he does into his own brain, and then by his ability to cast it in a language common with the audience. Joel Mokyr
For all our knowledge, we have no idea what we're talking about. We don't understand what's going on in our business, our market, and our world. KM shouldn’t be about helping us to know more. It should be about helping us to understand. So, how do we understand things? It's through stories that we understand how the world works. David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto
Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. Theodore Zeldin, Conversation
Business is a conversation…and… ‘knowledge workers' are simply those people whose job consists of having interesting conversations. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
What do we get from conversation that we can't get any other way? Cross, R. and Sproull, L. Cross and Sproull interviewed project managers to explore what they learned through the conversations they chose to have. They had access to first-rate company repositories of best practices, case examples, reusable work products, methodologies and tools, discussion forums and expertise databases. Overwhelmingly they preferred to take the issue they were wrestling with to a colleague.
Imagine how much knowledge we would gain if we did enter every conversation anticipating that we would gain ‘more than an answer.’ Cross, R. and Sproull, L. Answers Meta-knowledge Problem reformation Validation Legitmizing
debate or dialogue? “ A mechanistic and unproductive exchange between people seeking to defend their own views against one another” “ A frank exchange of ideas or views on a specific issue in an effort to attain mutual understanding”
UKGovCamp is the movement of self-organised unconferences for government types with an interest in how the public sector uses technology.
how does it work in the groups? <ul><li>there’s no leader or chairperson </li></ul><ul><li>everyone should be equal and fully engaged in the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>anyone can make their own notes if they want to </li></ul><ul><li>people share their perspectives with the group only if they wish to </li></ul><ul><li>you don’t have to stay! </li></ul>
your role <ul><li>see people with different views not as adversaries but as resources to learn from </li></ul><ul><li>enter into open conversation </li></ul><ul><li>listen more than speak </li></ul><ul><li>welcome differences </li></ul><ul><li>withhold judgment </li></ul><ul><li>avoid position taking </li></ul>
The kind of conversation I’m interested in is one in which you start with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person. Theodore Zeldin Photo: Nicola Osborne
what do you get in return? <ul><li>assumes we have within ourselves a greater level of insight than we are conscious of </li></ul><ul><li>helps tease this out </li></ul><ul><li>you hear yourself say things that you didn’t know you knew </li></ul><ul><li>crystallises your knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new ideas are sparked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fresh perspectives emerge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>with increased observation and reflection comes understanding…this paves the way for change </li></ul>
Social constructivism extends constructivism into social settings, wherein groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. When one is immersed within a culture like this, one is learning all the time about how to be a part of that culture, on many levels.
An information literacy stance takes a critical perspective on knowledge and information with a focus more on questions and process than on ready answers. This… perspective entails identifying assumptions implicit in problems, questioning the given or even asking ‘what if not’ questions, working collaboratively, and with an awareness of the ethical and social dimensions of information. Ellusive Literacies blog
speerins <ul><li>is conversation important within – and between – organisations? (or am I just havering?) </li></ul><ul><li>do you have interesting conversations? </li></ul><ul><li>if not, why not? </li></ul>