27 February 2010

Today's ideas about tomorrows KIM

The latest TFPL Connect event carried the intriguing title "Rhetoric, fashion or fact: today's ideas about tomorrows KIM" and it proved to be an intriguing event.

The fun started just after I arrived at the venue as the next person to arrive was a former colleague, and a friendly one too, from the London Borough of Lambeth who I had not seen since leaving there just over three years ago. It was good to catch up on the news and gossip and to also have my decision to leave vindicated as those left behind have faced redundancies, pay cuts and reorganisations.

But back to the event.

The format was similar to last time with some subtle, and useful, changes. The three panellists spoke for ten minutes each on the topic, we then had discussions at our tables before an open session at the end where our comments and questions were put to the panellists.

As always with a panel, it is the quality of the panellists that counts and this one scored a reasonable 2 out of 3 (the last panel was 0 out of 3).

The two good speakers (i.e. the ones I liked) spoke about the personal experiences of implementing Knowledge Management systems and cultures within their organisations (Birmingham City Council and The Manufacturers' Organisation). The third gave a theoretical view of the trends and future direction of KM which seemed to end with him predicting futures that have already happened.

The main message that bubbled to the surface from both the panellists and our table discussion was the need to get some of the Information Management basics right (even if they are not labelled as such). Skills around filing (classification, retention, etc.) and retrieval (search terms, taxonomies and provenance) are still important and need to be taught.

The evening ended nicely, as usual, with more conversations with the delegates, panellists and organisers over a glass or two of wine. You could argue that an evening spent discussing Knowledge Management is doing work in my personal time but when the evenings are as stimulating and entertaining as this one then that's my time well spent.

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