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Do we need information managers when information can be so readily delivered to knowledge workers' desktops? This was the question explored by David Skyrme in his presentation at Online Information 2004. Using recent trends in knowledge management as the context (see Ten Topical Challenges, David suggested that the major shift in knowledge management was towards 'human-centric' KM and that advances in taxonomic-based software for information classification and subsequent retrieval now meant that computers were capable of doing much of the work previously carried out by information specialists - or were they? He outlined four scenarios as to how the role of information managers might change. When pushed to select one during the panel session he thought that the most likely scenario was that of specialist outsourcing. Information specialists who were not interested in becoming more generalist, were more likely to find long-term career prospects in specialised information companies. Click here to read the conference paper in full. Posted 15-Dec-2004.
Utrecht was the setting for a half-day conference on the theme "Communications meets Knowledge Management". This brought together academics and corporate communications specialists from across the Netherlands to consider how these disciplines interact. As well as the presentations, there was a lively debate and a Knowledge Café run by Yvonne Buma. David Skyrme's presentation 'Communicating Knowledge: The KM Challenge' stressed how good communications was at the heart of knowledge management, using quotes from CKOs and review of some common KM techniques to make the point. However, with few exceptions, communications professionals were not playing as pivotal a role as they should in most KM initiatives. He outlined a layered model of the 6Cs that are crucial to effective knowledge sharing - Connections, Channels, Content, Conversations, Communities and Collaboration. View the slides.
In his keynote presentation at KMAC2003 at Aston University in July, David addressed the conferences theme of 'Theory Meets Practice'. Drawing on his experience from both sides of the academic-industrial divide he showed how KM had evolved, having its roots more in commercial practice than academic theory. He outlined the nature of the 'knowledge gap' between theorists and practitioners and suggested some of its underlying causes, such as the peer review process that delays early publication of research results. He said that practitioners particularly value comparative studies and in-depth case studies.
The presentation can be viewed here.
Peer-to-Peer Networking in Santa Fe
David was one of some 30 specially invited guests who participated in a workshop 'Knowledge Management, Diffusion, and Decision-making: Improving Social and Behavioral Research in Education'. This is part of a three year project on educational research methods, managed on behalf of the US National Science Foundation by George Mason University. The meeting brought knowledge management experts face to face with educational researchers. An interesting feature of the meeting was the use of a wireless network using Groove collaboration software. This meant that working documents could be developed collaboratively during the meeting. As the photos show participants took time out to visit the Santa Fe Institute and a local sculpture garden.
Helsinki Round Table
The ENTOVATION Round Table in Helsinki brought together some of the finest minds in KM and innovation to reflect on developments in the field. An important part of the meeting was a dialogue with the Nordic KM research and business community.
Read about the meeting in I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION International News No. 72 and David Skyrme's contribution 'Knowledge Reflections'.
Aslib's popular Knowledge Management course is now in its fifth year. This is a one day course led by associate Nick Willard at which David Skyrme runs a session 'Knowledge Management in Practice'. The next course takes place on 7 October in London. Contact Aslib for futher details.
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