I hope that 2012 has also been a year full of personal growth and learning opportunities for you.
Wishing you all the joys of the Holiday Season and a vibrant Happy New Year!
Unfortunately I had no time left to attend the Hasso-Plattner-Institute’s d.confestival 2012.
If you look at the program you’ll see that more and more companies embrace the Design Thinking methodology. Today, I would like to share two examples:
Jim Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP, explains very clearly (video) how SAP transforms itself into a customer-centric innovative company: “It’s not about one dream team, but all teams dreaming”. He describes also in plain words the situation SAP faced 2-3 years ago. While Agile+Lean are essential to answer “How to innovate?”, Design Thinking is key to decide “What to innovate?”.
Ralf Stüber from the Swiss PostFinance shares in a very good presentation (video) the first steps of a banking company with Design Thinking. He tells the audience a story that is familiar to the ones who have just undertaken these first steps: initial excitement to work in cross-LoB teams in an innovative environment, ups and downs after the initial day, and the challenge to anchor the methodology in the organization after the teams return to their daily work.
The Knowledge Manager role evolves continuously. Therefore, I would like to sum up some of the insights I’ve noticed recently. This summary should also explain why I enjoy to be a knowledge manager in a global business consulting organization.
Knowledge Manager as an Integrator
In a knowledge-based economy nearly all companies deliver at least some kind of knowledge-based services. The corporate knowledge manager plays an important role in integrating knowledge management methods and practices at all levels of the company. This is more the traditional part of our job:
Knowledge Manager as an Orchestrator
Knowledge management is all about creating the right environment for the creation, sharing, and re-use of knowledge. This means essentially to create and maintain a productive collaborative environment. That’s may be what some of you would name “People Integration”. This is the communication part of the job which makes us certainly to one of the most visible role in the company. Not always to our good if e.g. you haven’t enough resources at hand to respond to the expectations of the field. Again, I would like to have a brief look at different levels of orchestration:
Knowledge Manager as a Designer
Eventually, I would like to close this summary by outlining the creative part of the Knowledge Manager job which is basically all about applying new methods to address challenges and issues.
So, I would be looking forward to getting your comments and feedback on this brief summary. Which aspect is the most important to you?
One Marvelous Day in 2010 (View on Korcula Island, Croatia)
I’ve just compiled some fun or inspirational video clips from 2010 as a year-end retrospective for my knowledge worker colleagues.
Maybe we have missed the one or the other opportunity. It’s quite easy to overlook the obvious.
However, great things can be achieved if we work together,
I’m looking forward to many new challenges in 2011. Good luck!
Now, it’s time to be welcomed at home.
PS: even Swiss leaders are not always serious
“Best Practices” are often “Past Practices”. Moreover, they are also typically difficult to re-use due to the different context in which they have been created.
Thanks to David Gurteen’s newsletter I’ve come across the “Positive Deviance” method which is in use especially in development projects. This approach focusses on those people in a community who as individuals or as a group achieve a better outcome even if they face similar challenges and use the same resources. The book review by Kevin Bishop of Anecdote clearly shows the paradigm shift in consulting which the usage of this approach leads to: rely on local expertise.
The very strong article of the Stanford Social Innovation Review establishes the bridge between Positive Deviance and Design Thinking. Design Thinking addresses the needs of the people who will consume a service or a service. Design Thinking – and this is like closing the loop for me – is also taught by the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) in Potsdam. No wonder that the HPI will be part of the next Vision Summit in Berlin (April 2011). I’m looking forward to participating in this event.
I just met some friends and colleagues from my former employer Comma Soft in Bonn last Friday evening. We talked a lot and enjoyed some rounds of Kölsch beer: it was your shout, Sascha, thank you!
It was also a kind of “knowledge pub” around the question: “What will be the future of the company?”. It happened last week, too, that I participated in the “Knowledge Cafe Masterclass” led by the (I know that you don’t like this) KM guru David Gurteen. It was set as a pre-conference tutorial of the KnowTech 2010. I particularly enjoyed getting to know some new interesting KM peers of other German companies.
So, what is this “Knowledge Cafe” all about? It’s a good method to initiate a dialogue or to support change in an organization. David has explained the method extensively on his website. The Knowledge Cafe is pretty similar to the WorldCafe approach. However, it’s easier to “sell” to managers in a company. David has built the method based on works of Jay Cross, Theodore Zeldin, David Weinberger, and David Bohm.
I would use it e.g. instead of a long-winded presentation or as an alternative to coffee corner sessions. The challenge is to create the readiness for dialogue, to have a non-intrusive facilitator, and to be comfortable with the outcome “what people take away in their heads”. It’s by no mean the right method for a virtual meeting. Thank you David, it was a pleasure to meet you!
Tomorrow will be “Crazy Commute Day” in Vancouver. Steve Unger has initiated it. The event will be covered by the blog “Green Briefs“.
So, is it possible to change somebody’s behaviour with fun? Volkswagen Sweden launched the Fun Theory back in 2009. Here the Fun Theory award winner for 2009/2010:
However, the Fun Theory hasn’t found a broad adoption yet.
A fun way of communicating sustainability are animations:
Games are of course another interesting channel. The website “Games for Change” is dedicated to real world games with real word impact. One example of such a game is Free Rice:
More than 8.000 citizens of Srebrenica were killed 15 years ago. I’ve read the book “They Would Never Hurt a Fly” by the Croation author Slavenka Drakulic during my vacations in Croatia. Drakulic offers the portrait of nine war criminals of the Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian civil war on trial in The Hague. The thirteenths chapter “Why We Need Monsters” is the most important one (excerpt):
“… The more you know them, the more you wonder how they could have commited such crimes – these waiters and taxi drivers, teachers and peasants in front of you. And the more you realise that war criminals might be ordinary people, the more afraid you become. Of course, this is because the consequences are more serious than if they were monsters. If ordinary people commited war crimes, it means that any of us could commit them. Now you understand why it is so easy and comfortable to accept that war criminals are monsters, rather than to agree with Erwin Staub that ‘evils that arises out of ordinary thinking and is commited by ordinary people is the norm, not the exception’…”
A colleague from the SAP Sustainability network pointed me to this amazing presentation by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce based on Daniel Pinks work.
First, the visualization is excellent.
Second, issues with rewards are also at center-stage while promoting knowledge management within a large company. Money is clearly not the right stuff. From my own experience I would also confirm that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are drivers of motivation both for work in the office and for the society.