Monday, August 25, 2008

The Case for Knowledge Planners Part 2: Getting in Touch With Your Inner Firewall

As the first post on the SIKM talk suggests knowledge planners are the de facto arbitrators between what the user base is seeking and what the provider base contributes towards the fulfillment of those requirements. However it is also true (at least in an outfit of under 1,000 headcounts like mine) that we're really talking about the same individual. There is a built-in reciprocity in any system when its inputs and outputs are shared by its members on both sides of the exchange.

In an organization where utilization is king, centralization is non-existent, and administrative overheads get the hairy eyeball, Knowledge planners need to leverage this awareness for all its worth! Add to that the fact there are no formal reward structures in terms of recognition or bonus compensation as providers and the "feel good" pay-it-forward benefits of becoming a faithful KM contributor start to pale in comparison to just keeping one's head above water.

So how do you plan for knowledge in a firm where any task not immediately billable is at best on when-I-get-to-it status and in the scarcity mentality of recession cycles placed on life support -- if supported at all? The operationalizing of KM requires a parallel be drawn between the firm's business opportunities or pipeline with the IP it generates for pursuing those opportunities -- READ: document pipeline. Thinking about a new business presentation? Don't even hold that thought without consulting KM first!

How do we hardwire this reflex into the firm's go-to-market activities?

How does the urge to check KM become less of a "to-do" and more of a "got-it-done" determination topping your best-in-class impulses?

There are several knowledge flows that weave well into project workstreams and feed new business initiatives. These are the case summaries that tell the story of past client engagements. From a process flow perspective their filings are as closely tracked as any uploads or new site requests. That's because each submission also contains the definitive deliverables -- those final presentations that represent significant IP generated within past projects -- hence the document pipeline needed to keep KM as current as the projects themselves.

What does this process look like to colleagues?

Well from a top-down perspective the directors get regular compliance reports -- sorted by director. From the bottom-up view junior level consultants get the training they need to host their own team-only workspaces for creating and storing in-process materials. They get comfortable with the tools and the knowledge planner prepares them for the eventuality that they will elevate the significant deliverables when their project closes -- Surprise, surprise -- it's from the ground up that the IP capture effort is conducted by the less seasoned consulting staff.

The result is that even overtaxed, distracted nonbelieving thought leaders still see their best work staged in KM. Even without recognition programs, billable KM work, and a strong penchant for non-involvement we see a system where over two-thirds of all employees log in at least once a month and half at least once a week. Not bad for a firm that collectively experiences twice a month paychecks, once a month staff meetings, and precious little else.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.