KM Australia 2007 (part 2): Case study nuggets

30 July, 2007

As I said in my first post about KM Australia, I will endeavour over the next 2 weeks to bring you my highlights from the conference. This post is about the nuggets I have picked out from the case studies and Knowledge Café. I hope to bring you 3 more posts for each of the best keynotes: Dave Snowden, Michel Bauwens and Etienne Wenger….  (Sadly I couldn’t get to everything and naturally could only attend one stream (Knowledge and Collaboration). If I’ve left you out – don’t feel offended – offer your own summary here as a comment.) Implementing knowledge programs/systems   A couple of solid performers who demonstrated how to do these things well – good fodder for those starting out or looking for a refresher or new ideas to help existing initiatives.Cory Banks (Suncorp) “Adopting KM in a program management office”

  • A “Learning to Fly” approach: Learn before – Learn during – Learn after  …..
  • …across two phases – Establish and Grow
  • Focus on people, not technology
  • Reuse, don’t reinvent the wheel
  •  Lead by example 

Mark Blackburn (Department of Defence) and Pat Burne (Holis Tech) ”The journey of a knowledge management system in the Department of Defence”

  • Focus is on knowledge productivity
  •  Took a journey approach (what was, what is and what will be) to outlining strategy on the elements:
  • structure, communities, knowledge connections, systems, help:
  •  Very clear communication (very ADF) but Mark and Pat admitted to plenty of messiness 

Culture, culture, culture….   Always a popular topic at KM conference, working within culture and either shifting it or working within it. Arthur Shelley (Cadbury Schweppes) “Fostering a knowledge sharing culture in your organisation”

  • Instilled great jealousy over the fact that his CoPs are called such delicious names as “The Chocolate Network” or “The Candy Group”
  • Creating the right environment and reasons to collaborate
  • Developing the right mix of behaviours and platforms
  • Loop: Connect > Collaborate > Capitalise
  • Another strong focus on people message 

James Price and Brian Nielson (Experience Matters) “KM, communication and cultural change”

  • Specialise in communication strategies to facilitate significant change
  • Fantastic, practical lessons demonstrating a focus on: what motivates or demotivates your stakeholders, and communicate, communicate and communicate.
  • Case study on the practicalities of renovating an organisation’s document management practices: Reduce 9 linear kilometers of hardcopy by up to 50% to ensure Santos could fit into its new corporate headquarters
  • People don’t mind change, they just hate being changed!

Innovation Cafés!  Great chance to get some insight into how these new facilitation – innovation techniques work. Simon Carter (Colliers International) “Employing Innovation Cafes to generate engagement and momentum”

  • Has been using the World Café process both within Colliers to encourage innovation and with a social change movement Simon started called Catalyst. (Simon – tell us more – NSW KM Forum would love to hear)
  • Q: What would it take for us to be the most innovative company in Australia?
  • Q: What can we, 150 of the highest skilled and wealthiest people in the world, create together to end world hunger?
  • Found café participants were powerfully engaged.
  • Recognises the opportunity the cafes provide to motivate prompt or immediate change in some participants and the need to introduce a method to measure that.

 Dr Helen Paige (Advance Knowledge Networks) Knowledge Cafe

  • A hardy crew stayed on beyond 6pm to join Helen for an engaging Knowledge Café (wisely fuelled with sandwiches, juice and chocolates).
  • We allowed our conversations to roam free on the question “how does the human element contribute to KM?”
  • Stimulating discussion, war stories, funny anecdotes and general playfulness followed with old and new acquaintances. Really the one thing missing in my opinion was the red wine.

 The social approach, where that’s taking us …  Great – a view forwards into use of social computing within an organisation as well as some blue sky stuff with Chris’ fascinating take on what’s next for knowledge… Cheryle Walker (National Australia Bank) “Employing blogs and wikis for knowledge and content management”

  • Brought us a window into one corporate that has experimented in the use of social computing to support learning networks.
  • Wikis suited their disperse (frequently home-based) team well, although can be some reluctance to put in writing what is readily said during teleconferencing.
  • Initially under the radar, their activities outside the firewall have been tolerated by IT.
  • References include, Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Tapscott and Williams

 Chris Fletcher (Deloitte) “Coming to the edge: A practitioner perspective on the future of Knowledge in a Network Centric world”

  • As promised Chris gave us a stimulating insight into the future, beginning with an extraordinary movie found at
  • Looked at the drivers of a Network World; Web 2.0, rise of the participation culture, economics of change, societal/social change
  • Impact of social capital on knowledge: a change in thinking from content and collection to context and connection
  • The value is not in the delivery of knowledge, but in the alchemy of knowledge, in the ability to connect thoughts that weren’t previously connected”

Your Guest blogger, Serena Joyner


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