Posts Tagged: ‘Knowledge Management’

[EN] Time to Bring Knowledge to Knowledge Management: Through Cognitive Technologies?

1. März 2016 Posted by StefanP.

Knowledge Management is around as term quite a while. I remember that out was part of the title on my business card approx. 20 years ago. But there were and there still are tremendous challenges:

Industry’s idea is that an enterprise can beneficially manage knowledge by a) storing and organizing documents and providing a search function and b) cataloging employee abilities and facilitating collaboration. This approach works for some, but in my view, it delivers half-truths.
It ignores the information inside documents. It ignores enterprise-relevant knowledge and expertise that resides outside an organization’s boundaries, out in the wild-and-wooly online and social universe.
It largely ignores the social voice of the customer, business partner (and competitor) information, the wisdom of communities of practice and industry authorities, and the like.”

Did knowledge management really take off? There seemed to be a revival on the horizon at least for Germany reading the new ISO requirements, but the interest – as far as I can see it – is not very high. Perhaps companies are tired of certifying and re-certifying for ISO. Or they don’t believe in the value of Knowledge Management. Perhaps a bit of both.
And the eco system and overall world has changed due to social collaboration, communities and simple much more information and data. But there is hope: Artificial Intelligence has dramatically improved together withe natural language processing and machine learning. We are moving away from a document-centric only approach of Knowledge Management into a much more open approach using cognitive technologies.


Einsortiert unter:English Tagged: CognitiveEra, Knowledge Management

[EN] Collaborative Overload: We need to track Assists and change Corporate Collaborative Culture

25. Januar 2016 Posted by StefanP.

Collaboration Overload, this is the headline of a recent article on Harvard Business Review. And the authors describe the challenge:

Consider a typical week in your own organization. How much time do people spend in meetings, on the phone, and responding to e-mails? At many companies the proportion hovers around 80%, leaving employees little time for all the critical work they must complete on their own.

Source: Collaborative Overload

But … is this really collaboration? How many meetings, telephone conferences and emails are more or less unproductive, the exact opposite of collaboration, of working together and innovating?

And who is really adding value in collaborating?

In most cases, 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees.

Source: Collaborative Overload

Well, asking my colleagues quite often for input, for ideation, for voting, for innovation or discussion, I get frustrated quite often. How big is the engagement rate? How many people are actively contributing? How many employees are or feel to be buried in their daily routine tasks or are unmotivated, frustrated, because they feel, they don’t have impact anyway? Yes, we need out-performers and Wild Ducks, but we need a much higher level of engagement in an organization, too: Without too much bureaucracy and useless approval processes.

And yes, there is a lot of truth in this statement:

Instead of asking for specific informational or social resources—or better yet, searching in existing repositories such as reports or knowledge libraries—people ask for hands-on assistance they may not even need. An exchange that might have taken five minutes or less turns into a 30-minute calendar invite …

Source: Collaborative Overload

People quite often just send an email asking for help, calling or scheduling a call, instead of first searching the knowledge base. This seems to be in their DNA. And yes, those recognized as EXPERTS are quite often bombarded with requests for help. This is, how people are and were used to work. This is human. Very human. But I would wish and I hope we are able to change this behavior. First search, look for the information and if you don’t find it, then ask the expert.

And additionally I hope we get much better assistance from IT systems through intelligent digital assistants powered by cognitive technology. We urgently need to get those intelligent digital assistants to free the knowledge and collaboration stakeholders from routine work and inquiries. Let IT systems do, what they should do, and let creative people focus on the things they should focus on: Driving innovation and real business value.

On top we have a general challenge in today’s business environment:

… many helpers underperform because they’re overwhelmed; that’s why managers should aim to redistribute work. But we also find that roughly 20% of organizational “stars” don’t help; they hit their numbers (and earn kudos for it) but don’t amplify the success of their colleagues. ..

Consider professional basketball, hockey, and soccer teams. They don’t just measure goals; they also track assists. Organizations should do the same, …

Source: Collaborative Overload

Very true. In a quarterly results driven culture helpers or experts are never – or very rarely – going to be the stars. Assists don’t really count. Neither in sports, nor in business. Yet …

To summarize the Harvard Business Review article:

  • A lot – perhaps most of our daily isn’t really about collaboration: useless meetings, endless email trails …
  • Only a minor percentage of employees do really collaborate and add value.
  • Experts are bombarded and overloaded by inquiries, but they don’t get the recognition they deserve.

What are possible conclusions?

  • Instead of fearing the new digital assistants we urgently need them to help the normal employees and to take workload away from the experts and collaborators.
  • Experts assisting in reaching the business goals need to be recognized.
  • Not new, but still valid: Focus on a better way to work. Have an agenda and an owner of meetings. Document and communicate the outcome. Make it easy to share knowledge. These little steps ion changing collaborative behavior …

I don’t think we need a Chief Collaboration Officer like mentioned at the end of the article. We need cultural change driven top down – and then more helpful, easy to use IT systems.

Einsortiert unter:English Tagged: CognitiveEra, Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Worker, SchlauerArbeiten

[DE] Wissensarbeiter brauchen Vertrauen und Offenheit

15. Mai 2015 Posted by StefanP.


The New Yorker hat zur Blogparade zum Thema Die perfekte Arbeitsumgebung für Wissensarbeiter aufgerufen und dabei auch einige Leitfragen mitgegeben. Dabei tauchen natürlich auch Fragen wie Großraumbüro, Home Office oder Ausgestaltung der Arbeitsumgebung auf. Das sind natürlich alles sehr wichtige Aspekte und als nun langjähriger Home Office-Arbeiter und Kenner von Großraumbüros liegt mir dabei sicher auch der ein oder Kommentar auf der Tastatur.

Ich denke aber, dass andere Aspekte wesentlich wichtiger sind: Wissensarbeiter brauchen meiner Ansicht nach vor allem eine Atmosphäre des Vertrauens. Eine Atmosphäre des kontrolliert Werdens,  bürokratische Prozesse und ewiges Kontrollieren sind für Wissensarbeit absolut destruktiv. Stattdessen braucht es Offenheit in vielfältiger Beziehung. Bei aller Notwendigkeit, Ergebnisse zu erzielen, muss man  Wissensarbeiter laufen lassen, damit sie produktiv und innovativ sind. Sie brauchen Freiraum. Zyklen, in denen man Ergebnisse bespricht, kann und sollte man natürlich einbauen, “but don’t call it review”. Wenn Wissensarbeiter etwas hassen, dann ist es das Gefühl, an der kurzen Leine kontrolliert zu werden.

Und jenseits des einsamen Herumwurschtelns in Einzelkämpfermentalität – und ja, diesen Typus des Wissensarbeiters gibt es auch – bin ich der Meinung, dass Wissensarbeit in hohem Maße Teamarbeit, Zusammenarbeit und Kommunikation ist. Natürlich brauchen die Wissensarbeiter dafür die notwendigen Werkzeuge und da gibt es sehr gute Tools und eher antiquierten Schrott. Aber auch hier ist das Gefühl, als Team zusammen zu arbeiten wichtiger als das Werkzeug, das die Wissensarbeiter zusammen nutzen.

Belebt Konkurrenz (wirklich) das Geschäft? Wer sich als Wissensarbeiter in Konkurrenz zu dem anderen Wissensarbeitern fühlt, wird meiner Ansicht Wissen in Silos – ob es das E-Mail Postfach oder die eigene Festplatte ist – horten statt Wissen zu teilen oder zu diskutieren und durch diese Diskussion bessere Ergebnisse zu erzielen. Es gibt genug Skeptiker, die an der Weisheit der Massen und an Schwarmintelligenz zweifeln. Ich glaube aber, dass der offene Dialog und Diskurs, das gemeinsame “Brainstormen” und laute Denken, eben genau diese Denk- und Innovationsanstöße geben (können). Zumindest tut mir ein solcher Dialog gut und entsprechende Geistesblitze entstehen daraus. Dabei kann es durchaus sein, dass es erst später blitzt. Macht aber nix, solange der Wissens- und Ideenblitz einschlägt.

Durch den Siegeszug des sozialen Netzes, durch die Mentalität und das gewohnt sein – insbesondere der jüngeren Generation – zum “Sharen” und “Liken” haben wir eine einmalige Chance, Wissensarbeit wieder mehr Leben einzuhauchen. Dazu braucht es besagtes Vertrauen, Offenheit und eine Kultur der Zusammenarbeit. Dann kann es gelingen.

Und zum Abschluss noch einige Kurzstatements:

  • Reale Treffen sind wichtig und sollten wo möglich weiter stattfinden.
  • Telefonkonferenzen, Online Meetings unterstützt durch entsprechende Kreativitätswerkzeuge können und sollten ergänzend eingesetzt werden.
  • Das Office ist heute überall. Wir reden gerade bei Wissensarbeitern schon lange nicht mehr von Großraumbüro oder Home Office. Wir reden vom mobilen Office, von der Möglichkeit überall “on” zu sein, zu kommunizieren und zu kollaborieren.

Filed under: Deutsch Tagged: featured, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Worker, NewWayToWork

[EN] We can not afford anymore to hide knowledge in databases, eMails or archives | Harald Schirmer

19. Mai 2014 Posted by Stefan Pfeiffer

Not for nothing Harald Schirmer received the LIDA Award (Leader Award in the Digital Age) this year at CeBIT. Here are some of his thoughts and infographic on Knowledge Management:

We can not afford anymore to hide knowledge in databases, eMails or archives – only if we grant easy access to it, we will be able to develop answers for our complex present and future. …

Knowledge does not need to be “managed” – it needs to “come alive” by USING it, SHARING it, adding to it. Social Media gives us great opportunities to do exactly that – there are just some pre-conditions to make this happen. With this Infographic I tried to build an “action – effect – chain” which should explain how it could work a lot better.

It is a starting point – hoping for your ideas, feedback and help!

In a corporate environment – it is essential, that this new way of sharing is supported by leaders – Human Resources would be the right partner to role model and engage this new behavior:

via Infographic about organizational learning and knowledge management | Harald Schirmer.

Filed under: English Tagged: HR, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Worker, SocBiz