Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
KM is alive and thriving at California State University Northridge. We have just graduated our first completely on-line cohort from our Master's in KM (MKM) program and are now in the midst of recruiting for our 3rd cohort, which will begin in January of 2010 (the 2nd cohort began in January of 2009 and will finish in December of 2010). The students in this first on-line cohort came from across the country and from a wide variety of organizations and industries ranging from pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, to the US Military (the Marine Corps), to aerospace (Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne) the energy industry (Chevron) as well as independent consultants. These students are now applying what they learned in the MKM program within their organizations.
The program focuses on the full range of KM topics that enable students to develop and help implement a "knowledge strategy" for their organization that is aimed - not just sharing, leveraging or creating knowledge -- but at improving the performance of the organization. The students learn about the history of KM and how it has evolved, they learn about the key processes and technologies that can help leverage and create knowledge as well as stimulate innovation and finally they learn the leadership and management skills that are required to be successful in today's knowledge based organizations.
The faculty for the program includes well know KM practitioners, such as Kent Greenes (if you don't know Kent - he is considered one of the fathers of modern KM with his pioneering work at BP and his subsequent work with a wide variety of clients around the world) as well as academics steeped in the knowledge of the disciplines that underlie a successful KM program. We also draw on faculty from organizations such as the US Army and their Battlefield Knowledge System (BCKS) as well as from consulting companies such as Ernst and Young.
But why would anyone what to take an on-line program? Of course there is the obvious reason - it allows students to take the program from anywhere in the world. There is no requirement for face-to-face meetings. What this means from the students is that they are exposed to and work with other students from around country and from a wide variety of industries. It also means that we can draw our faculty from literally anywhere in the world. Ah - all well an good - but isn't a distance learning program the "poor cousin" of an on campus program. As it turns out - no. What research is showing is that from a "learning outcomes" perspective (academic speak for what the students know at the end of program) Distance Learning (DL) programs are in fact superior to face-to-face. There are a variety of reasons for this. Two of them are (1) students tend to spend more time in a DL setting than in face-to-face and (2) as a result of the extensive use of what we would now call Social media tools (ie., wikis, blogs, forums and IM) the students spend more time reflecting on what they are learning, which leads to better "learning outcomes." If you want to see more on this there is an interesting paper just published by researchers at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) for the Department of education. I will warn you - that it is an "academic paper" so it's heavy on the methods - but the findings are very interesting not only from the perspective of education - but also for the KM implications and how we can effectively share what we know across and organization using DL techniques.
For more information on CSUN's MKM program you can go to http://tsengcollege.csun.edu/kmdl/.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The power of “Yes and….” in KM and innovation
What we can learn from Improv Theater...
How many times have you hear…”Yes…but….”
How many times have you hear…”Yes…but….”
What’s this telling you? What’s the person saying? Yes but…is really “NO…here is what I think.” Or "no..you are wrong." What does this do to a conversation? What does this do to your willingness to listen and learn? What does it do to creativity and innovation?
What if instead you hear “Yes…and.” What does it do to the conversation – what does it do to your willingness to listen, to learn and to build on the conversation?
On yesterday’s NPR program Fresh Air; the shows host, Terry Gross, interviewed Allison Silverman, the executive producer and head writer for the Colbert Report. Silverman talked about how many of the writers have backgrounds in improvisational theater. As part of this conversation she talked about one of the tenants of improv is the Yes…and. In this game you are always building on what the pervious actor had to say. And I suspect that if you have been to an improv theater you have witnessed the power of this technique.
Silverman talked about building sketches for one of last weeks programs. At the morning "pitch session" two ideas presented stood out. One centered on “President Obama – and the fly swatting” and the second on how one of the networks is "dedicated exclusively to his demise."
Through the power of "Yes…and" the writers drew a connection between the two ideas – and they merged into one powerful sketch – "Murder in the Whitehouse.” The news anchor from the network that has nothing good to say about the president – starts off with praising the president for his masterful swatting of the fly – but then quickly goes to “Extraordinary negative coverage” and the flies family in morning. They then bring in Jeff Goldblum – who played in Jurassic Park and a number of other films – got his start by playing the fly in the 1986 film “The Fly.” According to Silverman – these three parts to the sketch – all came from the use of “Yes…and…” The masterful hunter, the negative network and Goldblum.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Murder in the White House - Jeff Goldblum|
So what does this have to do with KM? And what does it have to do with Creativity and Innovation?
Think of a scenario where a project just went very well. The conversation starts of – we did this to make this could well. Yes---and in addition we did this. Yes…and…did you know that team B did this – and it really worked well, perhaps we could add that to our process. Yes -- and next time we could do it even better if we....
Or – this project didn’t go very well. The conversation starts "here is what happened. We didn't plan this as well as we could have. We could have brough in someone with planning experience for just a few hours to get us started on the right foot - yes and I know just the person that could do that for us. We didn't didn't test this before we used it. Next time - we can build an extra day into the schedule for that testing..yes and make that day up here in the schedule where we had some extra time. Yes...and here are a could of other things that we could do to make it go better next time ---. Yes and we could do this as well ---. Yes – and if we avoided this it could be even better. Yes---and if we built in …. Yes...
Contrast this with. This project didn't go very well. We didn't plan this as well as we could have. Yes...but...it really wasn't our fault. We needed more time. Yes...but management wouldn't give us more time. We needed someone with marketing experience. Yes...but we couldn't get the person we wanted. We should have tested this. Yes...but we didn't have time...
Or think about innovation. We could do this…yes.. but…I don’t think that would work because…opps wrong technique.
We could do this…yes and if we got stuck we could to this. And we could bring in Fred who’s done this before and have him share his experience. Yes and we could talk to Laura – who tried something similar – but ran into some road blocks. We could talk to her about that experience as well. Yes...and...
The power of “Yes---and.” Do you have experience using similar simple techniques to promote sharing of knowledge – and building on ideas?