16 October 2011

LIKE 29: Connecting Information with Innovation

My current project in Cardiff is hitting my events schedule in London but I am trying to keep my commitment to the vibrant London and Information and Knowledge Exchange (LIKE) going.

I was helped in this in that September's event was so popular that they ran it twice (the second time in October) giving me an opportunity to make it after all. A second chance was all I needed.

Our guide for the evening was John Davies, Head of Consulting at TFPL.

John took us through TFPL's recent report Connecting information with innovation that outlines the findings and conclusions from a survey they undertook to map knowledge and information management (KIM) responsibilities within organisations.

The session was run as a series of table discussions with John introducing each topic for us and then pulling together our responses.

First up we considered what comes within the KIM remit in our organisations. There are still quite a few traditional librarians and researchers out there but these have been joined by a pot pourri of new roles including content editors, intranet managers, and communications officers.

My thoughts on this were that there are two categories of people to consider; those that manage internal information and knowledge assets (e.g. librarians) and those that use these skills to interpret external assets (e.g. marketing intelligence).

In the summation of this section John gave us the startling statistic that there are approximately 25 million knowledge workers but only 25 thousand people with any directly relevant qualification.

Next we looked at the characteristics that employers look for. when recruiting KIM staff. Again the trend is away from specific skills or qualifications and growing emphasis is being placed on the so called "soft skills" of team working, collaboration, flexibility, logical thinking and pragmatism.

Within this environment the role of professional bodies is changing too. Less importance is given to the formal qualifications that they offer and more to things like the networking opportunities. Members see the value of membership but it can be hard to convince employers that this is something that they should pay for.

And, of course, there are groups like LIKE to consider too. These provide some (but by no means all) of the benefits of a professional organisation but without the costs or the barriers to entry.

The final topic we considered was the KIM diaspora. Once librarians and there like were stuck in corporate centres but now they are found across organisations. This is good in that they are closer to the business front-line but it also means that they can lack the professional development opportunities that working in a larger group can bring.

John led us through the evening with knowledge, passion and energy. This made it a very effective session, one of LIKE's best.

The rest of the evening was up to the usual LIKE standard with a cherubic mix of drink, food and conversations. And that's worth coming back from Wales for.

1 comment:

  1. Simon Carswell16 Oct 2011, 22:39:00

    Good summary, Matthew. I enjoyed it, too. LIKE is pretty special. It's the only group of its kind I currently frequent. (Maybe, in fact, it's one of a kind.)


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