Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Social Media in Government

Following tweets and blog posts from the Social Media in Government Conference being held in Canberra this week. It sounds like some of the speakers also presented at Gov 2.0 or the Digital Management Summit so I am glad I didn't sign up for this one.

I love following the tweets with links to presentations and other sites that are being discussed! It is almost like attending. Craig Thomler is doing a liveblog link in his blog and commenting on presentations and the twitter hashtag is #socialmediagov

I have started my Masters in Knowledge Management at Charles Sturt Uni and am trying to get through my readings without being side tracked. Such interesting topics!! I am doing two library subjects before moving on to KM: The Information Society and The Digital Environment.

Also coming to terms with how my agency may be different from other Gov departments and agencies when it comes to open access, creative commons publishing etc. Challenges!! We have recently jumped into the social media world with a new blog, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts. Small steps. I am also almost ready to publish our Information Publication Plan (IPP) which is required under the Government's IPS.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Gov 2.0 Conference - Canberra October 2011

A bit of background: Gov 2.0 (Government + web 2.0) is all about Government moving towards a more transparent, open culture. A recent taskforce made several recommendations – most of which the Australian Government agreed to. This has led to a drive towards increased engagement with the public: seeking input to agency policy and strategy, uptake of social media (or web 2.0 technologies) by agencies to help support this and increased openness and sharing of Government information/data and processes.  

My summary of some of the slides and presentations:

·         Nicholas Skytland, Director - Open Government Initiative, NASA – amazing!!! Great presenter, he and the team have created a culture of innovation and collaboration at NASA. The slides don’t really convey the power of his talk but some of them have interesting facts and quotes (tweeting astronauts etc). They do a lot of crowd sourcing where they ask the public (amateur star gazers) to help them identify stars and planets. They have found that putting scientific questions out into the public domain often provides a correct answer or solution faster than their scientists could. Watch this amazing concept drawing.

·         John Sheridan, First Assistant Secretary Agency Services, Australian Government Information Management Office good to hear what AGIMO and the government is doing and planning for the future. PSI = Public Sector Information. John's blog post on the event

·         Chris Beer, IT Develop Manager, Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government – interesting concept – Connecting services, data and people by location in real time.....

·         Patrick McCormick, General Manager, Online Collaboration and Citizen Engagement, Department of Justice Victoria – another great speaker, this Vic Gov department are also doing fabulous things with social media and open data. Again some of these slides won’t make much sense without the commentary but some are interesting. Their internal social media policy video is a great example of transparency and sharing resources, it is available on YouTube with many other government departments adapting it for their use.

Andrew Schatz, Senior Lawyer, AGS Media – a lawyers cautionary words on using web 2.0 and open access to government information. Need to balance risk and benefits.

Rachel Spalding, Assistant Commissioner Policy, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – need to balance open access to information and privacy.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

ActKM conference - part 3

Stephen Byrne - Developing people to develop knowledge 
Sha Reilly - The unknown unknowns - making sense of expertise.

These were really interesting activities around mapping roles and capabilities to create a capability framework. Fascinating to see the range of KM capabilities and skills at the event, but would work well for any role or team in an organisation to identify gaps and outline future learning needs.

I definitely want to use this technique in the future.

Matthew Tukaki - Preparing your organisation for the future.

This was one of the most inspiring presentations I have heard for ages. Great story and well told. Matthew talked about going into an organisation as a consultant to look at their processes and structure. I was so inspired I didn't take notes......

Matthew Cain - Using IS to promote KM - iArmy wiki page

This presentation created quite a discussion around the room. It was great to see the military using new tools for sharing and managing knowledge. iArmy allows troops on the ground to communicate real time problems and experiences back to headquarters and leaders. Cain talked about the importance of organisational buy in and the importance of participation at top levels for this program to work. In such a hierarchical structure if the person at the top is taking note, those under them will make sure they are onto it too!

Good resource to read up about "after action review (AAR)" Thinking we could use this at the end of each project we manage here.

Graham Durant-Law - Using SNA for organisational and personal improvement.

Social Network Analysis (SNA)

  • organisational and personal dynamics are at play
  •  there is a need to identify key staff for change management (this may be the tea lady)
  • he discussed link analysis and graph analysis
  • brokerage roles - personal influence
  • how work really gets done - personal relationships and networks
  • who are the influencers int he organisation?
Vladimir Videnovic - BI, the reinforcing steel in stories. 

New York is doing some very cool stuff with social media and public engagement!!
  • NYC government - 350,000 employees, US$60 billion budget and 8 million New Yorkers!
  • They have a central non-emergency contact number 311 - for all queries about roads, waste management, libraries etc - all Local Government issues relating to New York City.
  • They have a central cite which mashes up and provides access to all city data - provided by different agencies and organisations. They had to move to standardised and consistent reporting to achieve this. Non-secured, non-taxpayer information only.
  • There is a central citizens portal for the public to use to follow up on queries and to encourage open engagement and promote accountability.
  • Mayor Bloomberg wants to know if his cops illegally park. He wants to 'sack that guy'!
That's all folks (few got it all down, eventually)! I am sure I have forgotten many good bits.

I met some lovely KMers and made new contacts too!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

ActKM conference - part 2

Again (see part 1) - these are some of the points I jotted down or tweeted from the ActKM conference I attended recently. They are largely comments I agree or disagree with and/or learning that is relevant to my current workplace or role. Quotes and notes from each speaker in bullet points and my personal notes and comments in italics!

I found the interactive sessions at the conference to be great for learning new techniques, meeting new people and also just to change the pace from the usual presentation style. Arthur Shelley got us to do some thinking about what keeps CEO's up at night and to brainstorm around specific themes or terms. The resulting mind map was quite a mess and in a way sums up why the KM role can be so hard to describe or summarise. We cover so many areas with an organisation.

I have been to many seminars and read so many government website that advise me to write a policy, strategy, framework, guidelines or some other sort of document. Disability Action Plan, Information Publication Plan, Information and Records Managment Framework, Information Architecture, Knowledge Management Strategy, Social Media Policy, Digital Transition Plan and it goes on ..........

Michelle Lambert - Planning your social media strategy.

  • Social media is about relationships and engaging with stakeholders and the public, not just here's more 'about us'. It can so easily be added on to a Corporate Communications Strategy to drive visitors to the organisations website or as another media release feed.  These are good uses of some social media tools and a good way to start. But there is so much more value to be made here. 
  • The communication should be two-way and interactive.
  • Resourcing is fundamental to a successful social media campaign. 
Ian Fry - Is "good enough" KM OK?

KMers need to toughen up!! KM doesn't keep CEO's awake at night..... How do measure our contribution or ROI?

  • There is safe and unsafe re-use. When promoting collaborative workspaces and technologies it is important to establish that they are editable and should be understood in context. An example of 'unsafe reuse' that Ian gave me was of a wiki where someone cuts and pastes a section of content for use in another tool or page. The content may have been correct in it's original location (jurisdiction, part of a process, different industry etc) but is wrong or misleading in it's new context or location.
  • Metadata is important - when was the content validated or updated? Whjen is it due for it's next revision? Other contexts at time of creation/background information? This is an important consideration with wiki content, in my last workplace we had an internal research wiki and came across these issues, how do we revise content, do we remove old content, how do we know if it is still correct? In an unstructured collaborative space like a wiki these questions are difficult to answer. We had to retrospectively go back through images and apply a template to capture source, authorisation for use and other metadata across several years of content when we discovered that we were at risk of breaching copyright law.
Probably enough for this post .......

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

ActKM conference - part 1

I thought I'd share my notes and learnings from a recent conference I attended in Melbourne. My first Knowledge Management conference!

These are some of the points I jotted down or tweeted. I guess they are largely comments I agree or disagree with and/or learning that is relevant to my current workplace or role. Quotes and notes from each speaker in bullet points and my personal notes and comments in italics!

What keeps CEO's awake at night? actKM Forum 2011 - part 1

Phillip Ruthven - CEO of IBISWorld. Keynote.
  • he mentioned the importance of IP over hard assets (real estate, equipment etc)
  • believes that traditional employee/employer roles will be replaced by contracting and outsourcing (we will all have/be our own company and will contract with organisations). I am not sure about this one and if it is the future, think it will impact negatively on organisational culture, staff motivation, trust and loyalty.
  • adopting an 'information mindset' - a condition of survival for organisations today
  • need uniqueness in organisational culture
  • world's best practice (WBP) in respect for society and environmental concerns. Where does contracting fit in with that?
  • important for organisations to focus on what they do best and to diversify into new products rather than across industries
Keith De La Rue - The art of conversation.

  • blurring between personal and work life increasing. Must not ignore personal aspect of people at work. Share some aspects of your life outside of work with colleagues?
  • organisational hierarchy can be a blocker or barrier to open conversations. This is very true in large government organisations - extremely hierarchical.
  • conversations (as opposed to meetings, which have a specific purpose) and time to think, reflect or write independently are not often encouraged in workplaces but are important creative tools.
  • encourage collective intelligence (greater than individual intelligence) - conversations with equal turns, no domination, social sensitivity.
  • talking to others improves individual mental function
  • brief friendly conversations improve executive function - working memory, focus. I know I am invigorated after a friendly conversation with someone at work, whether it be work related or personal. I gather new ideas, get feedback and learn more about the organisation and my colleagues.
  • it is important to make allowances for both extroverts and introverts in conversations and meetings and communities of practice (CoP's). Attended a smart board demonstration today which allows feedback and voting via handsets or iPhones during meetings and training sessions - interesting way of including quiet or introverted team members in discussions and decision making?
I think my agency does this pretty well - it is easier to hold regular conversations in a smallish organisation. We have monthly morning teas for all staff,  weekly all staff meetings, 'brown bag' sessions where project experiences are shared, 'technology tips' sessions and several committees. Many of my best conversations occur in the tea room over the coffee machine or in colleagues offices (I think this is a benefit over open plan work spaces also). I would like to develop more training and skill sharing sessions as well as introducing communities of practice into my workplace.

More in future posts......

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Record keeping

One of my first tasks in this new job has been to get my head around our records management systems and processes. The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has created an online assessment tool called Check-up and all government agencies have to submit their assessment by 30th September.

This really just involved talking to as many people as possible about how and when they use the systems and also about associated topics. The assessment asks about audits, business continuity plans, cabinet documents and other corporate governance areas. It was a good introduction to the agency as I learnt a lot while asking these questions.

Record keeping or records management (RM) has always been one of those neglected areas in government organisations from what I have seen. Coming from a law firm who had implemented a Document Management System attached to Outlook years ago, I was a bit amazed at how records were managed in the public sector. Obviously lawyers have different drivers for innovation (litigation, discovery, efficiency and cost savings). Now the NAA along with support from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) have introduced whole of government reforms and made this a function to notice (and resource)!

So our Check-up assessment is complete and I have been able to create a list of areas and tasks that my agency will need to look at over the coming year to ensure we have made some improvements by the next assessment date. This will help me to plan the resources I need and to prioritise what is the most important and realistic for our agency.

Has anyone else been involved in this process for their agency?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

First month

So, I am new to KM.

People at work ask me 'what is knowledge management?' (my predecessor was an information manager). So far this is how I answer: I take a high level view of all of the internal information generated within the organisation. Hopefully from this I can improve processes and systems to increase the use and value of the information and knowledge that is generated by the people within the organisation. That was my interview response anyway..... Try explaining that to your massage therapist! I thought explaining what a modern (non-public) librarian did was difficult.

This means that I have to consider the systems that manage the information and knowledge, be able to identify and classify the information itself and influence the culture of the organisation. I think this last one is the most important aspect. If we don't have a 'learning culture' or one that encourages knowledge sharing, my job may as well be that of records manager, systems librarian or intranet designer (all specialist jobs that others could do better than I). So, I have to work closely with the IT, HR and Communications and Marketing teams as well as the staff who produce most of the 'information' that the organisation exists to create.

Why am I blogging about this? In the past 4 weeks I have been searching online, talking to people and generally faffing about trying to uncover a KM network or forum that will help me develop the skills I need in this role. Mainly I have learnt that KM theory is a bit beyond me at this point and that the practical help I need may be harder to locate. It appears that the tasks or responsibilities of KM and IM staff differ vastly among organisations and industries and depend on the needs of the employer. I will be exploring that more on this blog and hope to be able to share some of my learning and also to bring together others who in some capacity (whether it be through libraries, innovation, business improvement, information management, knowledge management or any other area or title) face the same challenges.

If anyone is out there, do you have any tips, something I have missed? Feel free to comment or to get in touch offline to share your experience or join with me in my learning.

Knitting Monkey