KMUK 2011

Another KMUK over and its a lifetime achievement award for services to KM for Dave Snowden presented here by the great Nick Davies of the Really Great Training Company.  David Gurteen was also amongst the winners as ‘Best KM colaborator’.

Dave was on good form with his early morning keynote, berating us all for not reading enough Science Fiction. So many quotable ideas, I pitied the young lad at our table who had never seen him and just breathed out a sigh at the end of a frenetic fast paced 90 minutes. Lots on messy coherence, altruism vs selfishness and the irreversibility of co-evolution. Three quality quotes from my notebook:

Aim for an ecology for knowledge, resilient enough to handle what hasn’t yet occurred.

Build network connectivity by focussing on the pipes not the knowledge flowing through them

On communication, take heed of the bible: It is heavy on parables but low on prescribed values.

The entire presentation was recorded and available to download here.

Nick Milton shared with us a very serious story of an Australian gas plant and the consequences of having inadequate knowledge

Professor Mich Kellehor took us through the application of knowledge marketplaces at Sellafield.

Nick Davies this year gave us advice on the most practical of life skills, Persuasion and in slick style gave us all a neat little guide book to takeaway.

At the end of day 1 David Gurteen held an extended Knowledge Cafe on the topic that “KM has not lived up to its expectations, what do we need to change”. This turned out to be a fascinating series of discussions. Practitioners new to KM and KMUK were arguing for standards and professional qualifications, old hands like myself trying to sound all knowing and saying it differs in definition and application between companies and even individuals and the clocks can’t be turned back. No definite answers but a lot to think about and of course that, to quote Winnie the Pooh, is what a K Cafe does best.

Day 2 began with Ron Young sharing his very practical four dimensional approach to extraordinary KM and an intriguing tale of why he now spends most of his time advising governments across Asia. I loved his simple suggestion that most of organisations problems stem from a lack of communication amd collaboration. Improve these by just 5% and you are on your way to huge benefits across the business.

Helen Nicol gave a performance that made me nostalgic for the days when Ark would video the presenters. Racing through flashing slides of Mr Pink, and this is Mr Pink reminded me of an Adam Curtis documentary. I did worry that she was standing a long way back when whoosh, she disappeared off the back of the stage, like that horrible moment when Tommy Cooper died, but back up she bounded and completed the task with only a slight limp.

Chris Collison shared some nice stories of learning from his collection of ‘Lessons Earned’.

Finally I ran the review of learning to reflect on the lessons picked up over the two days and make sense of them. We began with a very fast anecdote circle on the most intriguing lesson. Capturing everyones perspectives and a trial run at signifying the stories we had one group look for the patterns while everyone else plotted their most inriguing and most practical lessons on the Worlds largest Cynefin Framework.

At first glance the spread might be assumed to show a very well balanced group of individuals but subsequent sense-making may differ. The main reason for using this framework to diagnose the appropriate response. The theming and the diagnosis worked quite well but in hindsight my session was a little too ambitious and assumed absolute conformance to my timings but this was a complex session and I only took them into chaos to find themselves, honest.

All in all a very enjoyable event ably chaired by Victoria Ward who kept us to perfect time and was left far too many times to summarise and comment herself. My personal thanks go out to the young sound engineer without whose efforts no-one would have heard me cursing under my breath or Helen screaming as she fell off the stage.

Let us all pray that Helen is ok



  1. Dear Ron Sir,

    Wonderful event summary, I can visualize how exciting the summit KMUK 2011. Wish I could be there and enrich myself with invaluable experience among all highly admired KM practitioners.

    Sincerely, (your student at LMU)

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