We can and should make tacit knowledge explicit with collaboration technologies

Cross posted from scriptogr.am

KM Australia

Today, I’m part of a panel debate at KM Australia. I have 3-4 minutes to present my argument that we can and should make tacit knowledge explicit with collaboration technologies.

I’ll be using two images to explain my argument, both created by Dave Gray as part of his Connected Company series.

The problem of scale

The problem of scale

Think at the level of the street

Think at the level of the street

So, what’s the story behind picking these diagrams to make my argument?

More later…

Image credit: Dave Gray CC-BY

KM Australia this week

Cross posted from scriptogr.am.

I’m at KM Australia for the next few days – you can follow on Twitter, using the #kmaus hashtag.

Clearly, knowledge management isn’t dead. But the name of the event is actually a little misleading, as the agenda is broader than simply what most people would classically identify as ‘knowledge management’. It has a positively social business design flavour to it, with presentations such as Building social value in LEGO brick by brick with Lars Silberbauer, Head of Social Media at LEGO Group – you can read an interview with Silberbauer on April Allen’s blog. I also noticed that Helen Mitchell from KPMG is presenting, so I hope we might hear a little more about how KPMG is using tibbr to support its KM goals.

On day two I’m participating in a debate about making tacit knowledge explicit with collaborative technologies, with Aaron Everingham, Shawn Callahan and Dr Vincent Ribiere. Brad Hinton wrote a great post to help kick start the debate.

I’m also looking forward to hearing Felicity McNish from Woods Bagot present on mobile knowledge management. Wood Bagot was also a case study in my recently publised mobile apps report. Incidentally I wrote about mobile KM back in 2005 for IDM magazine in an article titled, In the Know and on the Move.

If you are attending KM Australia, please come say hello. Otherwise, I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and maybe blogging over the next few days from the conference.

BTW If your organisation uses or is interested in using Jive, there is a user group meeting in Sydney this Thursday afternoon (after the main conference days at KM Australia).

Markdown and Blogging

Cross-posted from scriptogr.am.

Late last year I started thinking about moving my blog on from Posterous. If I do, this will be my second move as I started on Google’s Blogger originally. Posterous attracted my attention because as much as I like WordPress, I wanted something simple where I could focus on content and not managing a Website. Posterous has worked reasonably well, but I don’t have confidence its a solution I can stay with.

With that focus on simplicity, I quite like the idea of writing my posts using markdown, rather than in html or a rich text editor. What is markdown?

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)…

…The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown’s syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters, the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email.

Incidentally, Posterous does support markdown, but doesn’t appear to work in the Posterous bookmarklet. The other ongoing issue with Posterous is the difficulty of backing up or exporting your content.

Having a look around, there are actually a lot of people interested in blogging with markdown and some services designed to specifically support it. Right now I’m trying out scriptogr.am, which uses Dropbox as a content management system for your plain text posts. The benefit of using Dropbox is that regardless of what happens to scriptogr.am, I get to keep my content backed up in a format that can be easily re-published using another markdown-based blogging or WCMS system.

The main limitation at this stage – with scriptogr.am at least – is that you can’t easily post attachments, such as images. However, I’m happy to work around that for the moment. I also need to look at integrating a commenting system.

Another alternative is to host your own markdown-based blog, which is something I’m also looking at.

Shifting from IT to situated technology in healthcare

Tomorrow, there will be roughly 1000 preventable healthcare deaths in the US and Europe combined. And it’ll happen in modern hospitals staffed by some of the best and equipped with the latest…

…We have to stop thinking IT as in “information technology”, it’s not enough just to handle the information – like the [Electronic Health Record]. It’s the combined and seamless flow of patients, information and work that offers the only solution – and for that we need “flow technology”, in short healthcare needs FT. Information is merely a natural ingredient in the flows and not vice versa.

This is a real problem, but simply moving from transactional IT systems to what Sig calls “Flow Technology” is only part of the solution in healthcare. How information systems are situated into healthcare is critical – after all healthcare is about dealing with people, not sitting in front of computers.

We’ve seen examples in community services, such as the LIFE Programme in the UK where social workers were spending most of their time on paperwork. Research into emergency department design has also highlighted the importance of communication to dealing with violent and disruptive patients.

I’m with Sig that the right flow-based information systems can help, but never in isolation to the whole service design.