ICKM 2009 – International Conference on Knowledge Management

I attended the ICKM 2009, International Conference on Knowledge Management: Management Knowledge for Global and Collaborative Innovations, on 3-4 December, at the Hong Kong University.  There were many sessions, some grumbling that maybe there were a few too many sessions but I rather liked having the choice.  Some highlights for me are described below.  The complete program can be downloaded here – ICKM 2009 Program.


Keynote by Professor Max Boiset explaining how collaboration was managed at the CERN’s Atlas experiment.  Knowledge is a combination of the experiential, narrative and abstract which correspond to unmodified, structured and codified respectively.  His idea is that the non-hierarchical setup held together by Memorandum of Understandings which is the CERN works because there is a ‘boundary object, the Atlas detector’ (a very big and complicated machine that detects the sub-atomic particles after they have pulled around the ring) that provides the organizations with a purpose and a reason to collaborate.  Some good ideas on complexity, chaos, clans, bureaucracies, fiefs, clans and markets. His ideas on complexity and chaos are similar to Dave Snowden’s.  Chaos is the well-spring of innovation. The presentation is here: Max Boisot | The Case of the Atlas Experiment at CERN | ICKM 3 Dec 2009


Keynote by Dr. Edward Rogers, CKO, Goddard Space Flight Centre of NASA, explained the 10 things he did to enable knowledge at NASA. The two that stuck with me were understand how people learn and what do we do that makes us a success. In particular I remember him saying something like ….’the good think about a degree from an Ivy League university means you don’t have to use big words’… Its a good observation in the KM field where too many people like to impress with their vast vocabulary.


Bonnie Cheuk from Environmental Resource Management spoke about really ‘doing Web 2.0’ in a business environment.  You must coach the leaders and prepare them to be surprised. There is likely to be both positive and negative communication enabled by Web 2.0 and leaders need to be prepared.  The tool is not the focus so don’t worry so much if you are using tried and tired MS Sharepoint or cool and frisky Jive – the focus needs to be on the process and the people.


Kwan Yi from the University of Kentucky spoke about social tagging in comparison to Library of Congress classification.  Surprisingly, social tags matched LCC classifiers 70% of the time. This sort of research needs to be watched because there is not enough attention paid to professional classification and its interaction with social tagging.


Matsuko Woo from HK University spoke about using wikis with primary 5 students in their English writing class. The students were much more motivated to write and interact. They worked in class and at home and their parents could see their efforts. The teachers liked the immediacy of the writing process.  The teachers received an update when the students had made a posting to the wiki. The teachers could give feedback very soon afterwards to the students.


Andrew Chan and Ivy Chan from HK Community College spoke about using blogs with 2nd year community college students in an organizational learning class.  The students understanding of OL did improve. This is significant because OL is a topic that requires internal reflection.  Even those who participated the least said they enjoyed the blogging experience. The student participation was good and this was clearly attributable to the weekly feedback from Andrew and Ivy to the students on their blogs.


Louisa Mei Chun Lam from Hong Kong’s Chinese University spoke about pulling together the sense-making theories of Dervin, Snowden and Weick and applying it as a framework for interviews with doctors and nurses in Hong Kong public and private hospitals.  Her comparison and contrast of the theories was excellent.  The interview results will lead to some fruitful research.


Alvin Kwan from Hong Kong University spoke about comparing blogging by Information Management Students and Nursing Students while doing internships. Nursing students were much more motivated to blog. He believes it is because the nursing students have much more common experience to share during the internship.  The nursing students received much more feedback from their professors.  This is a common theme in the ‘use of Web 2.0 in education’; if there is a setting of defined goals and frequent meaningful feedback from teachers there is much better participation from students.


Anna Gamvrous from Baker & McKenzie spoke about lawyers use of Web 2.0.  Lawyers use LinkedIN personally and some firms in Hong Kong are beginning to use ‘official’ Twitter announcements.  Most of the rest of Web 2.0, blogging, chatting, social networking doesn’t happen inside law firms officially but lawyers may use it personally.  Law firms basically wait until their clients request them to use Web 2.0.  Surprisingly, B&K still print all email and other electronic records.


Charles Wong from the Construction Industry Council in Hong Kong and formerly from the Hong Kong Police Force spoke about his collaboration experience during the SARS crises in Hong Kong.  How do people collaborate when there backs are up against the wall?  Surprisingly not that well.  It took him 10 days to convince the head of the SARS crises unit to use the police force’s MIIDSS tracking system which was instrumental in controlling the outbreak. MIIDSS was supported by Chief Inspector Alan Chan Lun from the HKPF, see here.  

1 Comment »

  1. Carlos Caballero said

    Bill, could it be that Bonnie Cheuk’s point, stated by you as “The tool is not the focus so don’t worry so much if you are using tried and tired MS Sharepoint or cool and frisky Jive – the focus needs to be on the process and the people” is heavily tainted by pre-assumptions?

    The statement is partially true (Process and people are important), but self-contradictory: if you REALLy care about the people, you must make sure the social “tool” they use is one that encourages adoption and engagement. That is precisely the difference between “tried and tired” (i.e., your users will never adopt it) and “cool and frisky” (your users will love it and in the process Web 2.0 AND Business 2.0 will happen).

    Thanks for the rundown on the conference, for those of us who couldn’t attend!

    Web 2.0 success or failure in the

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