Archive for Blogging

Reaction: Online Information Asia-Pacific

I went to the Online Information Asia-Pacific exhibition and 2-day conference on this past Wednesday and Thursday, 23 – 24 March, at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, conference program here. There was also a 1-day Business Information Forum which I did not attend. All was organized by IncisiveMedia based in London. I was a member of the ‘Conference Committee’, which means I made some suggestions on speakers, marketing and promotion. The exhibitors were primarily compilers and resellers of information for academic libraries and businesses. Maybe there were 50+ exhibitors. The exhibition was free and there were some free seminars. It seemed to me that there were never more than 50 people at the 2-day conference but someone told me about 100 had registered. Turn-out for both the free exhibition and the conference could have been better but for a first year effort it was quite good. Hopefully, the 2012 exhibition and conference will be better attended.

All of the speakers were good and here is the program. The 1st day was more technological and the 2nd day was more knowledge enabling. Eric Tsui from the HKPolyU facilitated the 1st day. Waltraut Ritter facilitated the 2nd day. Some of the highlights for me were:

David Warlock, from Outsell, highlighted that the tablet is a ‘game-changing’ device like the IBM PC in the 1980’s. Its 5-year projected adoption rate is faster than any new ‘information’ device. What does this mean for information management? He didn’t claim to know that clearly. For me the big change is in ‘usage’. It’s all about ‘gestural computing’. People expect to be able to manipulate the device with a gesture. By the way, I don’t have any gestural devices but I intend to get my first iPhone4 soon.

Bonnie Cheuk, from Citi, focused on the leadership skills to make using Web 2.0 social networking tools work in a large corporate environment. Bonnie has solid academic credentials and deep and successful big organization experience so I listen carefully to what she says. Bonnie has been using Sharepoint at two large organizations to facilitate online interaction, networking and discussion. I would say she is trying to do online ‘Knowledge Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’, ‘Bohm Dialouge’ and ‘Anecdote Circles’. She cautioned about getting over involved in the looking for the ‘best technology’; make what you have work, it isn’t about the technology. She is trying to move away from ‘anything goes conversations’ to focused and structured interactions.
She didn’t say this exactly but I took away that Leaders 2.0 need these traits for using Web 2.0 in their organizations:
• Passion – they must be internally motivated to want to use these tools
• Commitment – they have to ‘stay the course’ and ‘stay on track’ and ‘spend time to learn’
• Openness – they have to both listen to others and give their own opinion, feedback and expertise freely
• Fearlessness – they must stand-up to the nay-sayers, to the people who say ‘I told you this won’t work’

Diane Cmor, from Hong Kong Baptist University, talked about ‘information literacy’ and how that requires a ‘practice’ and a ‘mind-set’ to become a ‘Knowledgeable Knowledge Worker’. A KWW needs these attributes:
• Expertise – stay current and know how to find what you need
• Judgement – know when to stop looking
• Mess tolerant – see past the mess of information and use it, don’t spend too much time on organization
• Multi-focal – see the patterns and embrace serendipity
• Social – share and exchange openly and transparently widely with the world
She had a very good working definition of knowledge:
Regular, wise use of best suited information to build, change and/or challenge knowledge in support of decision-making, problem-solving, innovation and growth.

Waltraut Ritter, from the Asia Pacific Intellectual Capital Centre, explained what ‘Public Sector Information, PSI’ was and how it was opening up around the world. PSI can add value to the economy in many unexpected ways. It requires governments to change their ‘mindsets’ in order to make this ‘raw’ data available openly and easily to their public. The Hong Kong Government will open up traffic and geospatial data next week to the public thru an online website. She pointed out three good links to PSI sources:
United States – Data.gov
European Union – European Public Sector Information Platform
Europena – cultural institutions data

Louise Pemberton, from Kroll, gave an excellent description of ‘real-world’ information management at a risk and security investigation firm. It is all about guiding the users, training and re-training, setting up the same look-and-feel across the Sharepoint sites and emphasizing that not all information in online. Some information comes from people and there are real skills and techniques to use when asking for information from people. Interestingly, Kroll has tried to use some of the Web 2.0 techniques like blogging and expertise pages and they didn’t ‘have much traction’. This is what I’ve also observed and experienced.

Catherine Ruggieri, from Elliott Management, spoke about morphing from a traditional corporate librarian into a hedge-fund Market Data Manager and how she took on the IT Department and won thru persistence and guile. She reminded us all that it’s about making it happen and showing real value to the organization that give information management recognition inside the organization.

Steve Arnold, from ArnoldIT, facilitated a to-the-point panel discussion at the end of the first day on the state of ‘Search’. He kept the panel focused and they had insightful answers. It was a good example of running a structured content meeting.

Paul Corney, from Sparknow, facilitated all of us to give-back what we had gotten out of the conference at the end of the 2nd day. He used these in his introduction to get us started sharing:
• Solutions – make in relevant
• Sound – evokes memory and place
• Space – enables interaction
• Heritage – gives people a starting point
• Stories – enables sharing across the generations of workers in a organization

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Web 2.0 and a very public Hong Kong/Macau Family Feud

Hong Kong and Macau have had front row seats at a very public family feud over Stanley Ho’s fortune. The 89-year-old tycoon’s 3 living wives and 16 living children are positioning themselves for their share of between 2 and 3 billion USD, mostly in gambling and property assets. Rich people’s fighting in Hong Kong and Macau is very common and normally confined to private meetings and courtrooms followed by press conferences and newspaper articles. However, this feud has moved onto Youtube when one of Stanley’s lawyers posted 3 videos. This seems similar to the Wikileaks approach/philosophy of not having any secrets. I have no idea if it will help one-side of this family feud or the other-side.

Posting these videos on Youtube goes against the view ‘the Chinese’ like to be closed and secretive. Local culture in Hong Kong and Macau is a blending of Chinese, British, Portuguese, Japanese and American influences. Openness and transparency are not the norm but is that something truly Chinese? Maybe so, maybe not. I’m more than a bit suspicious of ascribing things to being ‘Chinese’. This is a good example of the 2 extremes for how to communicate; one open using Web 2.0 and putting it out there for everyone to see and one closed with controlling and censoring communication channels.

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Debate is good but ….

I’m still rather surprised how basic concepts such as the explicit / tacit split or the role of ‘culture’ are continuously debated by the global blogging KM community. Explicit knowledge in documents is important but clearly not everything that is in documents is important. There needs to be assignment of value to the documents. The most effective way (actually it seems to me to be the only way) of doing this is by classification and assigning retention periods. Call it taxonomy building if you like. Tacit knowledge can only be found, used or shared by connecting people. The importance of facilitating connection cannot be under-estimated. However, KM can’t just be about connections because memory over time and space requires more than just making transient connections between people. What do people mean by organizational culture? It has never made sense to me and I notice people use the ‘culture’ word without ever defining what they mean when they glibly say ‘culture is important’ or ‘consider culture carefully’. Do they think culture is something that can be broken if mis-handled like fine china?

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2011 – Ruminations on this blog

I”m interested in Knowledge Management as someway of organizing my thoughts around how work gets done, how people cooperate and conflict, how information get’s organized and how technology get’s used for these purposes. I did a MSc in KM from HK Polytechnic in 2008/2009. This was quite useful for someone like me who had worked for 30 years on the fringes of KM. This is the beginning of the 3rd year for this blog. It’s useful for me to make some connections between all the above. The process of searching for events for the events page makes me keep up to date and sometimes I even attend these events. In 2011 I’m going to restrict the events to those in Hong Kong, Macau or Guangdong province (I’m going to call this greater Guangdong) unless there is a strong connection to these local KM communities.

Our KM community is very fragmented. There are formal academic KM programs at a few of the universities, take a look at the ones I know about here. There are many KM related groups, societies, organizations and forums in greater Guangdong, see here. This diversity is good. I’m trying to offer a place here that pulls the information about these groups and their activities together. Knowledge Management in greater Guangdong would be better if we knew what was going on besides receiving lots of emails from many people. There are many events, a few organizational websites but no central website to find a cross-section of all of them. I’m trying to give us such a place. Keep me posted on any KM type of events in 2011 and I’ll post them here.

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Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

It still resonates ….

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Quote taken from David Gurteen

I like this and have taken this quote from here

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans

52 would be female
48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non Christian
30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death – 1 would be near birth

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for both acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

Unknown

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HKKMS Statement of Accounts

The Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society (HKKMS) has released its statement of accounts for the period 2008 March to 2009 December. This statement was supposed to be part of the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) in December 2009. I’ve checked the accounts, prepared some questions and added some explanation of the statement here. If you are a member of the HKKMS then think about asking for the answers to these questions.

I was part of a a group of people who asked for a Special General Meeting (SGM) in March. We thought that there needed to be an open and transparent meeting where all members of the society were invited and allowed to discuss what could be done to improve the society. We requested the SGM but the HKKMS board refused to allow the meeting to take place. I’m still puzzled why these questions were so difficult to discuss in an open forum.

The points we wanted to discuss taken from our letter to the society:

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1. The annual report from 2009 did not include the balance sheet and the accounts. These are required by the Society’s HK KMS Statutes | Nov 2009 (see Article 4 (b)). The balance sheet and accounts need to clearly describe all income and expenditures of the society.

2. There is a general lack of transparency in the operation of the society. Interaction between members is one of the main purposes of the Society according to its HK KMS Statutes | Nov 2009 (see Article 2). For example, the names of the individual and corporate members are missing from the 2009 annual report. The terms of office for the president and other board members are not generally known by the members and are missing from the 2009 annual report. Society meetings are scheduled without sufficient time for members to make plans to attend. Knowledge management activities in Hong Kong and the surrounding area are insufficiently communicated to the Society membership.

3. The HKKMS website requires substantial revision. It had been agreed at the 2007 AGM that this was a priority. Since that time, members have offered to help with the website revision. However, the membership can see few visible results to develop an up-to-date and interactive member driven website.

4. The HKKMS website domain is now owned by Waltraut Ritter, the founder of the Society. An effective and fair transfer of the domain to the society needs to be discussed.
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Related posts about the HKKMS are here and there is a list of HKKMS events here from March 2009 to March 2010.

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