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  1. Panel 6, Tuesday morning after break
    1. Martin Röll: "Distributed KM...."
    2. Lee Bryant: "Informal, joined up knowledge sharing using connected weblogs in pursuit of Mental Health service improvement"
      1. Comments on the Lee Experiment
    4. Links to write-ups for this panel

Panel 6, Tuesday morning after break

Martin Röll: "Distributed KM...."

<< shows lots of funny drawings on slides >>

(Martin is interested in knowledge work) What knowledge workers do

Job: 'have interesting conversations at work'

Figure with 3 overlapping circles ([WWW]image, [WWW]context, [WWW]paper with more):

no software infrastructure for knowledge management - people store documents/information in e-mail systems << Leo: I cannot agree with that. Its short sighted. There are infrastructures that support this. And what he was talking about storing, annotating etc is what most wikis allow for example. >> << Martin: Leo: I agree! But these tools are not widely distributed. >> << Steph: I worked in a company where everybody stored everything in their outlook folders -- documents (word, powerpoint...) -- there are much better technical solutions, but the fact is that people and organisations do use their e-mail clients like that (Leo: that is normal. people never adapt quickly to new technology) >> <<Horst: Isn't Outlook designed to do exactly that sort of thing?>> <<Martin: It is. Microsoft Sharepoint + Outlook are in theory very much like the systems that "personal KM" wants to see. But are they working? >>

Do we need better email clients or something else to do knowledge work more efficiently? << Leo: we need integrated tools, integrated ideas >>

why weblogs work for this sort of thing: * they allow annotation, search, feedback, discussion, find others, keep in touch. <<Leo: why email somewhat works but never feels completely right: it is very very loosely connected. if I forget to forward, cc someone i lose track. Still, weblogs are loosely connected (thats why Lilja for example has a hard job tracking conversations) >> <<Martin: What is interesting as well: If you want to let people know about what you are doing, when you email them your current papers for example you are basically spamming them. With weblogs you can let people know what you are doing without getting in their nerves.>>

Weblogs in an organisation:

mentioning BlogWalk (team-building!)

Summing Up: 1) KW need better tools 2) weblogs support indivd. knowledge workers 3) Weblog Networks benefit organsitional Knowledge management

paper will be published next week: English RSS feed is at:

<< Leo: Personal note: I am working on KM quite a while now and I have seen presentations like that a lot. It always feels like an artificial extension to integrate KM with some special tool. We need a much broader view to make this really work and find the "better" tools. >> << Martin: I think Weblogs integrate well with with Email and other tools that we use, so I really think that they can become tools that users "live" in. Let's talk about that. >>

Link to Paper will be published here:

Lee Bryant: "Informal, joined up knowledge sharing using connected weblogs in pursuit of Mental Health service improvement"

[WWW]Lee's presentation link

<< Leo: We definitely need to work with Lee >>

Lee's talk is accompanied by an experiment in online collaborative note-taking. I will be pasting Lee's write-up of his talk here in snippets as we go along, which we can use as a base to add our own and comment. We'll see if this is a nice/interesting thing to do or not! I'll try and put the outline up a little in advance.


Case study of what they worked on in the UK Mental Health service

Very political area to work in

1 :: Weblogs as personal and social knowledge sharing tools

1a. Some barriers to online knowledge sharing:

- different types of software complete with different conceptual models e.g. KM, elearning, chat, calendaring, etc

-US military recognises that top down will not work ('by command')

Can't "capture" knowledge like a butterfly

Lee: - Knowledge is a social construct - can’t be removed from context; Content Management not user-centric - Too focused on content creation - not linking people - Formality of systems, tools and process - Metadata/“Metacrap” - top-down view not user view - Divergent conceptual models of communication, KM, learning and other software - isn’t it all the same? - KM dominated by software vendors who lock us in to command and control systems, yet KM consultants speak of “knowledge ecology” and systems thinking

1b. Lessons from Social Software:


- Informality of weblogs / wikis encourages participation - Aggregation: content manage feeds NOT items - Bottom-up emergent metadata promotes self-representation and user involvement in categorisation

- Weblogs and Wikis promote ‘loosely joined’ markup and linking culture rather than content recreation

- Simple conceptual models for personal publishing

Weblogs are ideally suited for online knowledge sharing and there is lots of reading around this topic, for example...

Weblogs as social network ‘ecosystems’ can support new forms of connected conversations - collective intelligence :

Weblogs and RSS make it easier to gather personal knowledge and organise personal information flows :

Weblogs embrace, not deny, organisational complexity

1c. Social Software is not just online social networks and weblogs, but loosely coupled software that is…

- Social in the way it is conceived: participative design, user focus; loose, networked approach to fitting connected tools around users - Social in its purpose: augments and extends online and offline social interaction to promote mutual understanding - Social in the way it behaves: software adapts to you, not the other way around; becomes part of our means of representation

2 :: How to stimulate and support a social knowledge sharing network in the real world

2a. Case Study: NIMHE

Aim: cut across multiple, conflicting perspectives and interests to help people in a variety of organisations / disciplines work together to improve mental health services & experiences.

Key challenges:

Multiple perspectives - political issues of representation

Highly devolved organisation with roots locally, in the field Very low level of IT awareness and exposure beyond email & lists <-- main challenge Cultural ‘legacy’: long meetings, email-centric comms, etc.

Integration: their work involves multiple organisations

Main challenge = human factor

2b. A social engagement approach:

1. Scope project --> map network --> define objectives together 2. Use a project weblog to learn their issues and language and to help teach them ours (knowledge transfer) 3. Participative design: let users shape their system

4. Patient seeding of Weblog-driven local ‘feeder’ sites to get early adopters blogging ‘close to home’ where comfortable 5. Develop the platform piece by piece (4-tier architecture with XML/web services); test each with pilot groups 6. Phased launch from core users -> partners -> public based on individual and group profiles for each new network we touch 7. Training and support through events, demos, support

Use the weblog to make people aware of the project (gradual approach)

2c. Stakeholder mapping

This was a very important stage of the project because it defined the networks and their organisational relationship to the host that we were trying to support. It is a useful starting point for any project of this kind.

2d. Offline networking & communications

Based on the target groups identified by the mapping, we undertook extensive offline networking among Mental Health professionals and service users to better understand their content and interaction needs, and also to introduce people to basic blogging and info sharing…

<<Leo: I'd like to know how sustainable the effort was. I mean, whats the percentage still working with it after a while. >>

3 :: Early pathfinders: identifying and encouraging potential blogging ‘voices’ in networked organisations

3a. Keep it local, keep it simple, keep it real

- Setup ‘feeder’ blogs within local corporate Web sites - Train and mentor staff to allow direct posting to public sites - Prove benefits of open dialogue through user feedback - Aggregate upwards when they are ready - don’t scare them! - Early wins: ‘feeder’ blogs

3b. Early wins: ‘feeder’ blogs

Examples include: (race equality consultation site)

4 :: … and then finally we build something

4a. The NIMHE knowledge community! (invite only, I'm afraid, for now at least)

4b. Understanding individual and group needs:

For each network we try to understand individual and group needs to determine what sort of groups are needed in each case (project, discussion, practice or consultation group, etc). This also drives a content plan to support these groups with appropriate RSS, news and resource feeds.

The following screenshots show some of the key aspects of the system that are driven by this understanding of user needs:

4c. Anatomy of a personal profile:

This contains information about the user for others to see, plus they can manage their participation in the system from this page

4d. Personal Home Page:

This contains personalised news based on aggregated sources selected by the user, plus links to their profile, their groups, their blog, etc.

4e. Personal Weblog:

- Links to related classification nodes - Quick and easy posting - Syndicate via RSS or ‘grab’ using aggregator - Ability to bring in feeds from external personal blog - Links to groups

4f. Anatomy of a Group:

- Group Statement - Group weblog - Open space (wiki) - Directory - Aggregator - Categories - Events - Syndication - Admin features

(Groups are public or private; both types by invitation or request only)

4g. Multi-faceted, multi-perspective metadata:

We have used a combination of manageable top-down conventional controlled vocabularies and free-style bottom-up categories that users define within their groups - these then 'bubble up' as recent and popular categories under general themes for others to consider using

<< Leo: Top-down and bottom up metadata? editable categories? how are they merged? >>

4h. Total aggregation & syndication

Every blog, person, org, classification node, saved search, etc has an XML feed and these can be combined into aggregated feeds & used outside the system. The RSS URIs used for these feeds also contain encrypted login information so that users do not have to worry about authentication when they read their composite feeds in a newsreader, and it also means they can share them with others.

5 :: Some observations on our methodology, conclusions & links

5a. General observations

- A balanced approach of networked individualism and free-style group forming can unleash dialogue and collective action - Manage feeds, not items: informal k-logs, feed aggregation and bottom-up metadata can help solve the content problem - Online social networking works best for a specific common purpose, not for its own sake - Engage with people on their own terms and build the network person by person, group by group - Embrace rather than deny complexity: ‘Small pieces, loosely joined’ is more resilient than command and control

- Weblogs and social software can promote greater knowledge sharing within / between organisations than formal systems, at a lower cost, and in a more sustainable way. - This approach takes into account the increasing diversity and complexity in networked organisations - The approach to building such knowledge sharing systems using weblogs should be socially conceived and executed - developers need to be ‘embedded’ and engaged more directly than traditional software development allows

5b. Summary of our methodology

- Start with deep, embedded engagement - stimulate, challenge, educate; encourage personality & voices - Participative design: don’t just consult - let users design their own systems - Patient seeding of ‘feeder’ blogs to get early adopters blogging ‘close to home’ and grow outwards from there - Modular development of the platform using web services - throw away what doesn’t work and build on what does - Phased rollout: core users -> partners -> public - Training and support through events, demos, support - Solve real problems and make friends - don’t sell software

6. Some Links (invite only for now) (original Project Weblog with background docs) (active local feeder site) (active local feeder site) (public consultation weblog) (background on NIMHE) (collaboration site about improvement knowledge) (headshift weblog)


Q: leaving a company, are you supposed to leave your ideas behind?

A: allow people to take feeds of their own content outside the system => promote ownership -- no restriction, though legal issue not quite clear

Q: is the software going to be released?


Comments on the Lee Experiment

Thanks for comments so far- I will try to clean up the notes and p;ost something on about the talk. It was an interesting thing to try, but probably overload when combined with my verbose talk and slides. (Lee)

Links to write-ups for this panel

Please add your links here if you have written about this panel on your weblog

Lilia Efimova - [WWW]Trip report: blogs and wikis implemented