I suppose most of us feel we should preserve and pass on old family photos and other memorabilia if we have them ... but is there a wider personal obligation to understand and tell the stories of our ancestors, and our community? Digital media and online research certainly make it much easier. The latest Gurteen Knowledge cafe focussed on this issue of obligation to entrust cultural knowledge for the future, under the guidance of Australian facilitator Helen Paige. It produced some terrific conversations, and offered a unthreatening way to explore the culture and heritage of other participants. Wine courtesy of Michael Quinton of the Australia Centre helped.
Aside from the wine, the standard knowledge cafe format helped a lot too. We had a bit of speed networking (two minutes each with three people), a discussion around the table, a report back, further discussion ... break for wine ... off to the pub. David Gurteen always makes these events seem comfortable and challenging at the same time. As you can see from his website, David is free with his knowledge management expertise, as well as managing to get hosts and collaborators to help mount the cafes free. It seems to me a very practical demonstration of how these days giving away something useful online and face-to-face can be the best sort of marketing for professional services and and paid-for events. Everyone wins.
Many of the participants were highly-experienced knowledge management specialists, but the jargon count was very low, considering what KM is meant to be. (Wikipedia: Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a range of practices and techniques used by organizations to identify, represent and distribute knowledge, know-how, expertise, intellectual capital and other forms of knowledge for leverage, reuse and transfer of knowledge and learning across the organization.)
At the cafe we were just talking to each other ... so I asked David why he felt conversation was so important to KM. As you can hear, he made a strong case for this most basic form of human communication being fundamental to any shared understanding and involvement - whether social or professional. He has expanded this in one of the articles on his site.
Helen Paige specialises in the 'human side' of knowledge management, and explained that when David asked her to add an Australian flavour to the event she had no hesitation in drawing on Aboriginal traditions of storytelling, rather than beach barbecues.
Not that Helen ducks the hospitality side of things. Her card - Fun.food.Focus - offers a unique team building process in which "your team can enjoy shared learning while doing 'hands on' food preparation". Next cafe please.
As I mentioned previously, David has an impressive media player on his site with KM videos. More here on how it is being developed.
KM embraces video.
Networking to give and to get