Tag Archives: NetIKX

Knowledge Management: past, present and future – notes on a NetIKX seminar (#NetIKX60)

By Elisabeth Goodman

Knowledge Management past and present

It’s NetIKX’s 21st year since it’s original formation in 1992 as the IRM (Information Resource Management) group under Aslib.  This seminar (in March 2013) was an opportunity for Stuart Ward (Forward Consulting) to reflect on the past and present of Knowledge Management, and for Alison (Lissi) Corfield (Independent KM Specialist) to help us reflect on its future.

As we know, there are many different definitions of Knowledge Management, Stuart suggested that it’s essentially about helping people to share the knowledge that they have in their heads: their ‘tacit’ knowledge to enable the creation of new ideas.   His view is that once that tacit knowledge is made ‘explicit’, or written down, then it is essentially information.

Stuart suggested that an organisation needs the following for an effective Knowledge Management strategy:

  • Clarity of understanding and purpose: what the organization means by Knowledge Management
  • Engagement of everyone in the organization (he cited Lewis Platt, past CEO of Hewlard Packard, as a role mode in creating a knowledge sharing culture)
  • To be delivering value to the organisation from the Knowledge Management strategy (e.g. establishing and facilitating what an organisation needs to know to succeed)

NetIKX in its present and previous forms has had the benefit of many well-known speakers, amongst them Elizabeth Orna, David Snowden, Nick Willard, David Skyrme, Chris Collison and Nick Milton.

As we know, stories can be a powerful way of sharing knowledge, and past speakers have encouraged delegates to bring objects to a seminar as a starting point for such stories.  Stuart diverted us with a story based on locking his car keys in his boot to illustrate the value of organisations (in this case the AA) having effective Knowledge Management strategies for sharing solutions and accessing them!

Common themes that Stuart pulled out from these and other speakers included:

  • Knowledge Management is about people more than technology
  • Top management engagement is essential
  • You should identify what you know, what you need to know, and then bridge the gap
  • It’s important to link your Knowledge Management strategy to your organisational goals and objectives
  • Put processes in place to enable the translation of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge
  • Measure when you can

Knowledge Management future

Lissi Corfield brought goodie bags and questionnaires for us to complete in real time to involve us in constructing what the future of Knowledge Management might be.

She asked us to consider several things such as:

  1. To what extent the organisations we were involved in had Knowledge Management strategies backed by a CEO at one extreme, or were just a collection of related activities
  2. What kind of activities were taking place in our organisations e.g. Communities of Practice, Learning Interventions, cultural initiatives, storytelling, technical projects, ‘yellow pages’, knowledge audits
  3. Which related organisations we were drawing on e.g. NetIKX, LIKE, CILIP, Aslib, ISKO, Gurteen knowledge cafés; or commercial ones such as TFPL Connect, the Sue Hill breakfast club etc.
  4. Which specialists we were aware of (e.g. as per Stuart’s list) and did we know how to get in touch with them

Lissi also asked us to consider what might happen next with Knowledge Management.  Would it for example:

  • Become very specialized (for example by being adopted / applied in different disciplines)?
  • Disappear into another discipline (such as ‘Big Data’ or Social Media)?
  • Merge into the mainstream (become just what people do)?
  • Get a better name (such as ‘common knowledge’ or even ‘common sense’!)?

Lissi believes and hopes that Knowledge Management will both become very specialized, and merge into the mainstream.

What the delegates thought: knowledge management is here to stay

As is traditional with NetIKX meetings, we split into syndicate or discussion groups to explore some of the seminar’s themes, and all opted to discuss the future of Knowledge Management.

The consensus was that it would continue to be around, although it might not necessarily be called Knowledge Management.  In fact it seems like organisations are reinventing it all the time!

We also thought that although knowledge is continuously being encoded or ‘outsourced’ (for instance through Microsoft style sheets, SatNavs, online customer reviews of products, surgical techniques, flight simulators etc..), new knowledge will keep developing.

One delegate suggested that it’s the sheer complexity surrounding the various roots and sources of knowledge that is the reason why Knowledge Management will continue to be a separate discipline…


Delegates were asked to complete a short survey before the seminar, which included identifying the four most important knowledge assets in our organisations.  We’re waiting to see the results of this survey, but for RiverRhee Consulting I suggest that these are:

  1. Our people – their expertise and experience
  2. The capabilities that we teach our clients
  3. Our approach to training
  4. What we learn from working with our clients

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).


The future of Social Media? Notes from a recent NetIKX seminar

By Elisabeth Goodman1

Adapted from the original NetIKX blog: Social Media – what next and what can we do with it?

This was the 3rd of NetIKX‘s seminars on the theme of social media, a topic which sits in the group’s 2010-2012 programme framework for Information and Knowledge Management under “Harnessing the web for information and knowledge exchange”.

Previous NetIKX seminars on this theme have explored whether social media should be taken seriously, and how social media could be used to achieve organisational goals and the implications for organisational IM / KM policies and strategies.

This seminar took a broad look at emerging trends and products, their likely implications, and how social media are being, or could be used.

The two speakers were Steve Dale, “a passionate community and collaboration ecologist, creating off-line and on-line environments that foster conversations and engagement” and Geoffrey Mccaleb who describes himself as a social media  / mobile consultant.

The common themes arising from the presentations, break-out groups, and concluding Q&A were as follows:

1. Social media have been evolving into so much more than plain communication tools.

Most readers will already know that tools such as LinkedIn are now key reference points for recruitment, but Twitter is also a growing reference source for this.

The political and journalistic uses of Twitter are also well publicised.

And most people will be aware of the increasing importance of social media for managing an organisation’s reputation: monitoring and responding to comments made by customers or would-be customers, engaging with customers, and generally generating related publicity.

2. A broader exploration of how social media are evolving

Facebook lends itself well to sharing information on interests and hobbies.  In fact I’m having great fun at the moment with a ‘cooking enthusiasts” group that I’ve set up with my friends, and their friends. There are other tools, such as ‘Pinterest’ that take sharing of this kind of information to another level.

Scoop.it, paper.li, Storify, Flipboard are all examples of how ‘social curators’ can bring together content from several different sources that may be of interest to their audiences.  Although we did not discuss this at length, this might be a tool that Library and Information professionals could use to help their end-users with information overload?

Some tools enable people to manage the sharing of physical resources (referred to by Steve Dale as ‘collaborative consumption‘).  Examples of this are ‘Boris’s’ bikes (the London shared bicycle scheme) and ‘airbnb’ to rent out ones house / bedrooms to visitors e.g. to the Olympics.  Might this be an alternative model for managing information resources between organisations?!

Managing big data is a pet subject of Steve Dale’s, with data sets such as medical and traffic data on the cloud becoming so large that they can no longer be managed with standard database management tools.  Visualisation and infographics tools are one way to make sense of them all.

Game-ification is an interesting exploration of how the ‘game’ attributes of user engagement, loyalty to brands, and rewards might be transferred to a professional social network environment.  In a previous seminar we heard how The Open University Library Services were already experimenting with using virtual reality tools as a support for their services.  Game-ification may take this further?

Augmented reality applications for golf let you know where the nearest bunker is and the direction of the wind.  Pointing your phone at the sky can give you information about the constellations. Augmented reality applications help you to look at your world in a different way.

Location-based tools such as Foursquare enable you to find out what’s near you, check-in, see who else is there, become ‘mayor’ of your local pub(!) etc.  ‘Easypark’ enables you to pay your parking fee and have a count-down to let you know how much time you have left to park.  There is potential for these tools to be so much more than a status update, because they tell others that you like something / somewhere.

3. Some final reflections on technology trends and implications

Technology cycles are usually 10 years long, and we are now 2 years into mobile technology and ‘apps’.  The anticipation is that mobile technology will overtake desktop technology within 5 years.

All the people that we interact with online represents our ‘social graph‘: who we know and who we respect online.  Our online contacts can have a tremendous influence on what we choose to buy – as I discovered when I found myself, somewhat to my surprise, purchasing something on Amazon that others had recommended without even ‘looking inside’ first.

4. Implications of what we heard

We explored several themes in our break out discussions and in the Q&A that followed:

  • The changing role of the information intermediary.  Are we being pushed out of our roles by these tools – or does our ‘cyberlibrarian’ or ‘curator’ role become even more important?
  • The associated information risk.  With a lot of personal information going on the internet / in the cloud, is there more scope for criminal activity and identify theft?
  • How to decide what tools to use and when?  The key is being clear about who we are trying to target and what tool(s) they would use.  Phil Bradley’s presentation and notes: “25 barriers to using web 2.0 technologies and how to overcome them” might provide some good insights on internal organisational barriers and how to address them.
  • Using social media tools within organisations.  ChatterYammer are Twitter like tools being used within organisations, and in some cases have a dramatic effect on lowering the use of e-mail.  Such tools could be excellent for idea generation and problem solving, or ‘crowd-sourcing’ within an organisation.


1. Elisabeth Goodman is Programme Events Manager for NetIKX.  She also runs her own business, RiverRhee Consulting.

2. See also Elisabeth Goodman’s blog on Social Media: putting you and your business at the heart of your community

Knowledge Strategy – one of two #NetIKX51 break-out discussions

By Elisabeth Goodman

Knowledge Strategy was the theme of one of the two break-out groups at NetIKX’s 22nd September 2011 seminar led by Chris Collison.

(For a more detailed account of the seminar itself, you may like to read Nicola Franklin’s NetIKX blog, or for a more cursory insight, Elisabeth’s NetIKX51 tweets.)

A knowledge management strategy is something you should be able to hold in your head

Our discussion kicked off with what proved to be a slightly provocative but very helpful statement from Steve Dale: “A knowledge management strategy is something you should be able to hold in your head, not in your hand”.

People felt that you needed to start with something more explicit such as:

  • An internal audit to discover what’s going on in your organisation and to identify what is needed
  • A white paper to stimulate discussion amongst stakeholders

The ideal is to get to the point where the strategy has become the way people act, their way of working.  Then, yes, it can be something ‘in the head’ (or tacit).

A knowledge management strategy depends on organisational culture

Stuart Ward in particular reminded us of the need to set the definition of the knowledge management strategy, and how it should be introduced, within the context of the organisational culture and values.

We agreed that we need to clarify organisational values first e.g. how open it wants to be, as these will influence attitudes towards knowledge sharing for example.

Organisational change will put knowledge management strategies back to zero!

Members of the group had direct experience of having had a relatively clear knowledge management strategy in their organisation, only to find that they had to start all over again as a result of mergers or acquisitions.

In addition, not only did redundancies result in loss of key knowledge with the departing staff, but in some cases they also resulted in the loss of those who were key drivers of the organisation’s knowledge strategy.

A key consideration is how to implement knowledge management strategies

We came back many times to the factors that were needed to enable successful implementation of knowledge management strategies.  Participants mentioned the importance of leadership from the top, champions, opportunities for presentations combined with Q&A sessions, training, case studies / stories demonstrating the value of knowledge management etc.

For those wishing to explore this subject further, I recommended reading “Influencer – The Power to Change Anything”, by Kerry Patterson et al, McGraw Hill, 2008.  This provides an excellent framework for shaping implementation strategies.  A brief overview of “Influencer” is available in one of my earlier blogs on change management.

Technology is not the answer for knowledge management strategy, but it helps

Our discussion ended with a recurring theme for knowledge management practitioners: the role of technology.

One of the participants described the situation in their organisation where people carry out After Action Reviews or Learning Retrospects because this is something that is expected.  However, they don’t necessarily understand why they are doing these, or what the outputs can be used for, so that the results effectively end-up in an IT ‘bin’ (or black hole).

Conversely, I mentioned the recent inspirational talk by Jimmy Walls, organised by the Cambridge Network, where he showed powerful video clips of individuals of all ages and backgrounds enthusing about sharing their knowledge with others through Wikipedia articles.

One of our participants suggested that knowledge sharing needs a social context: we share with our friends more than with our co-workers.  The old ‘water-cooler’ scenario, lunch-time seminars (with lunch provided), creating open spaces for networking, were all approaches that we discussed for creating this kind of social opportunity.


Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale.

Elisabeth is also Programme Events Manager for NetIKX.


Tweets from 18 May NetIKX / CLSIG seminar on making the most of Sharepoint

The NetIKX chair, Suzanne Burge (@suzanne_london), gave me the idea of collating my tweets @ecgoodman for further reference.  So here they are, in original form, and of course to be read in reverse order!

#NetIKX49 another write-up of the #Sharepoint seminar @tfpl_Ltd http://ow.ly/50qBe

#NetIKX49 Write-up of #Sharepoint seminar by @Valskelton http://ow.ly/50qy0

Noeleen Schenk doing final wrap up. July seminar Risk Management, September AGM & Chris Collison on competencies, Nov Web 3.0 #NetIKX49

Charity sector gets a significant discount for use of #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Goal this year to use #Sharepoint for online planning by individual departments w/ defined workflows for sign-off by central team #NetIKX49

Learning from other organisations & adapting learnings to own organisational context = 1 of the keys to success with #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Taking Agile approach to #Sharepoint software & methodology development involving continual consultation with teams & individuals #NetIKX49

Customising #Sharepoint heavily to help facilitate access in low bandwidth areas given international use & possible local damage #NetIKX49

Goals in using #Sharepoint were to improve records management, IM / #KM process management and integration of systems #NetIKX49

Next case study James Andrews, Knowledge and Information Officer, British Red Cross using #Sharepoint 2010 internationally #NetIKX49

@hughon22 The change has been abrupt and total. Keys to this being make it look good, don’t overdo it, respond to the need #NetIKX49

@hughon22 People really love ability to create e-mail lists ensuring key e-mails are retained on #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Follow @hughon22 for more tweets from case study presenter Hugh O’Neill #NetIKX49

Deliberately used only half functionality available so could respond to user demand for new tools & give them sense of ownership #NetIKX49

Set up pre-set searches for each client to enable easy retrieval of all documents relating to them on #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Using #Sharepoint for #CRM: holds emails, broker reports, Google news feeds, links to their sites etc. #NetIKX49

One of largest users of #Sharepoint, partnering closely with MicroSoft #NetIKX49

Self-taught and advising colleagues on use of #Sharepoint as intranet (40 countries) & extranet with clients #NetIKX49

Now exploring case study from Hugh O’Neill Knowledge Manager in EMEA at Jones Lang LaSalle #NetIKX49

Expecting better integration & to do more things more easily with #SharePoint 2010 with less need to customise functionality #NetIKX49

Follow @b00kmark for tweets by today’s speaker & case study presenter Mark Field on #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Case study Mark Field introduction of #Sharepoint improved control & compliance for quality & retention in records management #NetIKX49

Break out groups started around 3 case studies on #Sharepoint with Mark Field, James Andrews, Hugh O’Neill #NetIKX49

Question from the floor and discussion around how to find suitable cloud to join for #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Importance of intimate user engagement for successful implementation #NetIKX49

Built support through senior sponsor, visible business case, champions including IT laggards, pilot projects in difficult areas #NetIKX49

Culture of DofE meant better to start with making things easier for users re: requirements of them rather than starting with #KM #NetIKX49

Importance of good content standards to enable vision of internal private cloud and external public cloud #NetIKX49

Evolution in #Sharepoint use for collaboration and innovation: user pull rather than IT / #KM team driven #NetIKX49

Established comfort with #Sharepoint for document management first; wikis, blogs, discussion threads, team calendars etc. followed #NetIKX49

Consider taking various parts of a business & turning them into a commodity that can be provided via cloud as a shared service #NetIKX49

Importance of gradually influencing behavioural change for effective knowledge management in use of #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Information Workplace Platform on #Sharepoint providing primary workplace for 2,500 people for EDRM, collaborative working etc. #NetIKX49

Business Solutions Unit started with Business Case for new intranet to improve service levels & reduce overall operating costs #NetIKX49

2nd joint #CLSIG @NetIKX on #Sharepoint kicking off – room very full with about half being new to @NetIKX#NetIKX49

Mark Field kindly stepping in for John Quinn to give a strategic overview of use of #Sharepoint #NetIKX49

Speakers and delegates gathering for today’s #NetIkX49 seminar on #Sharepoint

Transitioning Library and Information Service customers from consumers to collaborators – we still have a way to go..

Last week I attended Day 2 of Internet Librarian International 2010 (#ILI2010), to hear the latest on the use of social media in libraries.  The title of this blog is inspired by Dr Hazel Hall’s1 keynote presentation where she talked, amongst other things, about the need to help Library and Information Services users to evolve from merely consuming the information they receive through social media, to collaborating in its creation and evolution.

Two-way communication with customers on social media is hard to achieve.

Hazel Hall, and later speakers Karen Wallace and Nancy Dowd described how social media such as Flickr, Twitter, Facebook or just simple text messaging, can be used to extend information services.  Many Library and Information Services are using social media in this way.  However, from recent discussions at NetIKX2 seminars on social media, and also on SharePoint, truly two-way conversations and interactions with customers that will lead to actual collaboration and innovation are much harder to achieve via these media.

There are still untapped face-to-face opportunities for achieving strong customer engagement.

My train journeys to and from London and France, are great opportunities to catch-up on my reading, and the CILIP article on ‘customer journey mapping’3 was an excellent illustration of what more can be done to better understand customers’ needs and engage with them in service development.  Erika Gavillet gave examples of how sitting with customers whilst they use some aspect of her services, or having staff members be ‘a customer for a day’ can identify re-designs to make work spaces more effective, result in improved instructions, and generally help staff to engage more closely and effectively with their customers.

I particularly like the ‘customer journey mapping’ approach as it resonates with my view about the need to get closer to our customers.  Questionnaire-based surveys tend to be the default approach to understanding customer requirements.  However even short face-to-face or telephone discussions are so much more powerful in building the kind of relationship with our customers that can ultimately lead to collaboration and partnership.

Branding is also a route to greater partnership with our customers

As Antony Brewerton and Sharon Tuersley of the University of Warwick Library explain in the October issue of Library and Information Update4, branding is not only about names and logos, but also about the quality of our information products and services, and, most importantly but least tangibly, about the actual and perceived value of what we deliver to our customers.  When customers truly identify with our brand, not only will they use us in preference to others, but they will also advocate us to friends, family or colleagues, and take greater interest in how we develop our products and services.

As Karen Blakeman powerfully illustrated with an anecdote in her presentation at #ILI2010, a library user might tweet about the lack of books by a particular author in their library, so that social media can be a valuable, and possibly essential way to monitor user feedback on our brand.  But we still have a way to go to really engage customers so that they become not only consumers of Library and Information products and services, but real partners in their development.


  1. Dr Hazel Hall is Director of the Centre for Social Informatics in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. She also leads the implementation of the UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition. Hazel was named IWR Information Professional of the Year in December 2009.
  2. NetIKX – www.netikx.org
  3. Erika Gavillet (2010).  Short cuts to satisfied customers.  Library and Information Gazette. 2-15 September 2010 p.11
  4. Antony Brewerton and Sharon Tuersley (2010).  More than just a logo – branding at Warwick.  Library and Information Update. October 2010 pp.46-48
  5. Elisabeth Goodman is Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, enhancing team effectiveness through process improvement, knowledge and change management. Follow the links to find out about how Elisabeth Goodman and RiverRhee Consulting can help your team to work more effectively for greater productivity and improved team morale.  Read Elisabeth Goodman’s blog for more discussions on topics covered by this blog.