Sunday, 14 December 2008

Blogging and the Life Story

Story telling is one of the most powerful means of communication that has existed for centuries. Stories well told capture our hearts, our minds and our imagination. They allow us to build up a picture and set of values and beliefs around the subject. Stories can be highly effective in Knowledge Sharing, they can also make the difference to the care and treatment we receive within health and social care.

Life stories, pen pics, picture albums, reminiscence books; all these resources are sometimes used in health and social care to help staff delivering care to see the person beyond a set of health needs.

Responsibility for the creation of these resources often lies with spouses, partners or siblings, who may find the process of compiling their loved ones story therapeutic for themselves, often the process does not commence until the ‘subject’ has received a diagnosis of a terminal illness and may already have cognitive difficulties that reduce their participation of authoring their story. The challenge that lies within is can anyone other than yourself accurately reflect ones own wishes values and beliefs?

This leads me to wonder if in the near future, our own blogs, facebook profiles, myspace pages and twitters could be used to compile our own life stories and even our advanced wishes for care and treatment?

Having a somewhat unique surname, a quick google for me would now produce a number of snapshots of my interests for anyone looking to put together ‘my story’. Though these of course would not reflect my values and wishes, some of my photos would go some way to strangers who were caring for me to see beyond any illness I may be experiencing or any assumptions they may make based on my age, race or gender.

Then there are my blog entries, this is one of the blogs I try to use to record my personal thoughts and reflections. Visiting my blogs in the future may go some way to help paint a picture of my values and beliefs.

Social Networking sites and the web offer an enormous opportunity for health and social care to deliver truly person centred care, if we can remove the barriers of fear & mysticism IT & technology hold still for many.

There are a number of interesting developments taking place around the use of online technology in the field of Life stories. Caring memories is being used in Scotland and is an application that can be downloaded to create an album (not dissimilar to mac’s iphoto albums) the interesting feature is that once complete, users can purchase a facility that emails those involved in the care delivery of the person specifically tailored individual activities and care plans.

Combining life stories, touch screen technology and video conferencing, Connect for Care are developing a product that I like the look of. It combines use of web2.0 communication applications with high tech touch screen. Though in its infancy the simplicity of its use is exciting.

Effective story telling has a multitude of benefits, combining this with the development of the web and social networking has the potential of making a huge shift in social values.

Any comments, thoughts & further resources you wish to share would be very welcome!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

How was it for you?

Gurteen Knowledge Café -September 2008, London

Walk into room, slightly anxious, first time amongst these experts, will I be the only first timer? Everyone engaged in conversation, time to turn around? Maybe, just grab a drink, need one after a frantic journey to get here, whilst pouring drink am greeted by 2 folk, both are also first timers, ah phew…..

30 minutes later, having had really interesting discussions, I’ve already exchanged 2 business cards with folk I want to continue conversations with, but now its time for the facilitated KC session to start.

David introduces the café, giving us cafe ‘virgins’ an overview of what the session will cover and how it will work before introducing Luis Suarez. So now for an interesting 2 hours from Luis on how to stop using emails….15 minutes later he’s finished, taking a few questions, what? 15 mins and that’s it??!

But now its back to David…time for the cafe to begin, ah, now we begin to talk, in small groups… debate, discuss, play with ideas, share knowledge…whistle blows, change tables, continue debate with another group….now I get it, 1 hour later the café has discussed the use of email, is it a good thing? Could we live without email?

A 30 min session, back as the whole group, to further explore the topic. In 2 ½ hours I’ve met experts, I’ve met people starting out in the world of KM, I’ve listened, heard, shared and learnt of alternative view points, ideas, KM, communication and networking tools & formulated a clarity of thought around how I want to use the learning I’ve gained from the café.

But what did I get from the cafe that made a difference?

Plenty. “Google me” said Luis Suarez at the start of is session. Talk about a chain reaction. Prior to the KC I had used the usual social networking applications to predominantly to socialise, not in day to day work…now I saw what was possible. Gurteen Community to Elsua, twitter to friendfeed, personalbrain to mybloglog. Out of these came further thoughts, ideas, discussion & a personal light bulb moment.

Prior to the café I knew where I wanted to go with my KM work, I knew how I wanted to get there, I had a good idea of the tools I might use. What I was maybe lacking was ‘it’. The thing that would truly engage colleagues, the ‘route map’ towards embedding a KM culture but also the questions I would ask myself to reflect on implementations during the journey.

I realise the more I share ideas with colleagues, the more I get back, the more I share ideas on the net, more and more resources appear to explore, the more I explore, the more I learn, the more I learn, the more I share with my colleagues….one 2 ½ hour café led to so much personal and professional development. This is what the café is all about for me.

Back for my 2nd Gurteen café tonight, with the blessing of my boss, who has fully embraced KM culture and the benefits my attendance at the KC brings to my work. lots of 1st timers appear along with a lot of faces I recognise and want to have further conversations with. Catch up with some, make more contacts, link up with people I have brief conversation with about story telling.

The world and the world of KM just got a whole lot bigger and a whole lot smaller at the same time.

Big thanks to Ron Young for leading me in David’s direction originally, what a journey, wonder where it will take me next?

How do I know if my Knowledge Management Programme is Effective?

Gurteen Km Café, December 2008, Deloitte, London.

Initial discussion by Mike, Chris & Kevin from Deloitte

How do I know my km programme is effective?

Mike opened the session looking at what does a bad KM programme look like?

A KM programme with lots of separate KM projects, some good some bad, everyone working in it has different view of what is working or not. People using different tools, different views on what km is, no single set of agreed ways of what you should invest in. The programme has a business plan but nothing measurable. Expectations rise that km is all things to all people, but how could you justify your programme is effective??

Kevin then went on to outline three main areas of challenges-

1.Governance and the organisation itself- in no particular order. Lack of a sponsor, no owner- how can you measure how effective it is across programme. Stakeholders can’t say what the advantages are. Articulating the idea of tacit knowledge but what does it mean and how do we measure it

No common portfolio- who’s doing what?- What are their roles? A lack of visibility of people portfolios- hard then to measure success of KM programme

KM assets trapped at top level- leaders don’t look at tracking and measuring the km assets.

2 Cultural and change challenges- who to share, where and who we should share with.
Linked in with business processes- how can measure if it is not embedded in the business process. Not adequately supported in terms of a change programme. Getting people engaged from the beginning, giving ownership.

3 Measuring the programme over a longer period of time- shifting from command and control KM, so its harder to measure the activity going on as more flexible tools are used e.g. web2.0

KM fatigue! Are you measuring what success is today, not what has happened in the past?? Lack of a decent baseline understanding of where the business is, makes it tricky to identify where the KM programme is.

Chris wrapped up the intro session with food for thought- a prescription for KM

Solutions- Making it work- not unique! Positioning of the business case- continuous measurement of the programme

• link KM improvements to real business values- faster product thru sharing knowledge?
• Make sure stakeholders have a shared vision of Km
• Establish accountability for KM
• More tangible measures?
• Creating a baseline for KM maturity- find a fair way for stakeholders to report
• Business comparison with other organisations- be careful! May be disappointing and
• Targets- clearly communicated
• Regularly revisit baseline
• Collecting measures – systems- analytics- anecdotal stories
• Flexible tools still need governance-
• Measures need to be connected to business value- e.g. reduce travel
• Be wary of too many measures- can confuse stakeholders
• Map out KM initiatives- projects- need to be managed as a portfolio.

An excellent intro to what proved to be another lively, interesting and stimulating David Gurteen Knowledge Cafe.

*content of this blog is based entirely on my own notes and interpretations of content and are not an accurate representation of the presenters.