Conference Notes

Review of "Let's Have a Talk About Collaboration" (July 2008, Australia)

Last night I spoke to about 60 knowledge management professionals here in Melbourne (eg, see VPSCIN and Melbourne KMLF); they came from one of four groups here working in the knowledge management area. It was a great night … there was a real hum of conversation during the pre-talk networking drinks and I was able to talk with a few people, and then after I had spoken, there was a flurry of really great questions.

Here’s my slides:

A couple of notes. The “example” for theme 3 involved finding four volunteers to join me on the stage and become a team faced with making a business decision. I set the question, and in front of everyone, they went through the process of testing out their ideas on the other three people, seeing how others would react, and coming to a conclusion. I froze them after 3 or 4 minutes, and asked everyone else to describe what they had seen. The key idea that came through was the group was making tenuous steps towards a solution, but they were also trying to understand each other. I had them work together for two additional questions, with a freeze-frame between and another question to the audience. It was an imperfect example of what I wanted to show (because there wasn’t enough time to let the group fully form), but what we did notice was that the social relations between the four people started to become more formalized. The point of this was to demonstrate that groups become socially structured and even if you change the technology they use to communicate and collaborate, that will not automatically lead to a change in this social structure.

It was a great night … thanks to the organizing committee for inviting me … and thanks to each person that asked questions and joined in by being present. That meant a lot.

Links: during the talk I mentioned R. Todd Stephens … here’s his blog.

Notes on the event from:
– Keith De La Rue at the Melbourne KMLF
– The Coordinator (! – that must be Frank) at VPS CIN