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KnowledgeBoard Workshop Transcript

Helen Baxter: I'm delighted to welcome guest expert Debra Amidon of Entovation for today's workshop. She is here to talk about the Innovation Superhighway.

Debra M. Amidon: Helen, it is an honour to be here. I marvel at all you have accomplished through KnowledgeBoard! And it's only the beginning...

Helen Baxter: Thanks Debra. I feel honoured to be part of this Knowledge Revolution.

Chris Macrae: I read chapter 1 from Debra's web site and I like the ideas of innovation and collaboration BUT...do large companies have enough transparency to collaborate?

Debra M. Amidon: Enough transparency? I'm not sure; but I know that companies that do not figure out how to get beyond competitive strategy are likely not to thrive...

Helen Baxter: Yes, collaboration not competition. That is my new mantra.

Debra M. Amidon: We need to build collaborative advantage to compete.

Debra M. Amidon: I'm wondering how the audience defines innovation?!

Helen Baxter: I'd say a new way of thinking, creating or working

Chris Macrae: Which KM models/experts on your map are best at going beyond competitive strategy?

Debra M. Amidon: I've offered several definitions that are posted on KnowledgeBoard that might be useful: http://www.knowledgeboard.com/item/83128

Chris Macrae: Innovation for me is enough unique/relevant value to be able to exchange equitably with all stakeholders...but then in 1950 Drucker said innovation was one of only 2 things adding value, all else adds cost

Debra M. Amidon: As to those on the Map? Many of them are experts in collaborating in one form or another - peer-to-peer, function-to-function, company-to-company, nation-to-nation. Relevance...that is the key...and so is execution - contrary to what many believe.

Chris Macrae: We should create a KnowledgeBoard SIG on collaborative models...

Helen Baxter: Suggestion duly noted Chris :)

Debra M. Amidon: Innovation is NOT creativity...it is NOT R&D...It is NOT invention. I like the notion...we are experts at competing...and need to learn how to effectively work with one another, build upon the competencies of one another.

Chris Macrae: How do you define execution?

Debra M. Amidon: Execution is successful implementation.

Debra M. Amidon: There are 10 Definitions on the Webpage http://www.entovation.com/innovation/10definitions.htm.

In 1993, we saw the evolution from a technology transfer focus into one of technology exchange and then knowledge exchange. The next logical step was knowledge management rather than leaving the process to serendipity. The final stage is Knowledge Innovation® for which we developed this definition:

The creation, evolution, exchange and application of new ideas into marketable goods and services for (1) the success of an enterprise, (2) the vitality of a nation's economy; and (3) the advancement of society.

Jeroen Kemp: Hi Debra, did you investigate the power of synergy and synergetic effects in collaboration?

Debra M. Amidon: Over the past 15 years - and first in the industrial-strength management system research labs at Digital, we did. We believe that we may go even beyond synergy where symbiosis is the key to bringing alive effective nodes of the networks. By the way, Chris, I LOVED your website...we have much to discuss!

Chris Macrae: ...thanks Debra; I guess Don Tapscott connects a lot of my views; also what's the biggest idea about networks that isn't in his idea of business webs?

Debra M. Amidon: Cost, quality and time is the traditional value proposition. If we are not doing this, we do not get through the door. But, the new Knowledge Value Proposition to be managed is far more complex and a function of balancing the economics, behaviour and the technology.

Competence is also an integral ingredient. In fact it is one of the 7C's of Knowledge Leadership (co-authored with Doug Macnamara, Canada) - http://www.entovation.com/gkp/7longcs.htm.

Charles Savage: Debra, what is the relationship between "innovation" and "knowledge management"?

Debra M. Amidon: Charles...WELCOME! (Kendra is here too). As I explained in one of the notes above, this has been a natural evolution. Knowledge strategy has ALWAYS been about innovation. Knowledge is the content (even though it resides in the human being) and innovation is the process whereby we put knowledge to work. That is the point, isn't it?!

Jeroen Kemp: Could you specify what you mean by symbiosis?

Debra M. Amidon: Jeroen - sorry I didn't say 'hi' earlier! Tell me where you are from? Anyway, the symbiosis is the building upon one another's strength...one another's competencies...adding value and passing it on. Interestingly enough, this is a concept originally developed by Charles Savage himself...who is with us now! (Helen...I think you have another candidate for a seminar!).

Helen Baxter: Wonderful. I'll be in touch Charles :) Jeroen Kemp is one of the European KM Forum team and a editor of the Framework and Standards and Strategy & Vision SIGs: 

Chris Macrae: I don't think we've done much of the innovation that the net is best at yet! At least not versus what my father hoped in 1984: http://www.normanmacrae.com/netfuture.html

Helen Baxter: I have felt very frustrated at the slow rate of progress since being inspired by Rushkoff's Cyberia (which I first read back in 1994.) But the change is starting to happen globally now. The technology to free people from the constraints of time and place has been there for years, just not the imagination of what to do with it...apart from a few geeks like me that is :) Now I'm living in an old farmhouse in the middle of a forest in New Zealand and running a European KM community.

Debra M. Amidon: At some point, I would like to be able to share the 5 lessons learned about architecting our future on the Innovation Super Highway...if that's of interest to the group.

Chris Macrae: Yes 5 lessons on architecture sounds great

Helen Baxter: Please do

Jeroen Kemp:  In my understanding, knowledge is an ability to act; innovation is one of those acts of man where new values are created or emerge...

Debra M. Amidon: Jeroen...I believe that we ARE in synch. And this all operates on all economic levels simultaneously...as enterprises, nations and society.

Debra M. Amidon: Chris… you are right. Innovation (redefined now according to the flow of knowledge and not technology) has just appeared on the radar screen of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the Gartner Group and Morgan Stanley. I can provide citations off-line.

Charles Savage: Debra, Is "knowledge" a thing or a process, and is "innovation" a thing or a process?

Chris Macrae: ability to acT? Individual + community + community x Community + net - agencies to smart community = lots of permutaions

Debra M. Amidon: Charles...Knowledge is a thing - but inside the minds (and hearts and hands) of the human being. If that can be called a 'thing'. As you have so aptly stated knowledge is more of a process...maybe knowing enough to actually act.

Jeroen Kemp:  Debra, how about the concept of adaptively of business organisations?

Debra M. Amidon: Now, the FIRST lesson: Ř We've learned that in the new domain of Knowledge Economics, what we count matters. As imprecise as it may seem, we need to calibrate is the intangible, hidden, intellectual wealth of an enterprise ? how it is created and leveraged.

Chris Macrae: I like lesson 1

Mark Neumann:  Hi Debra (I am Mark from Fraunhofer IAO Germany). It is an interesting view to see knowledge as the content and innovation as the process. How would you specify this relation if you had to measure the impact of knowledge management on innovation success? Or would you then analyse both as processes?

Debra M. Amidon: Mark...welcome. Yes, this IS the point. Drucker says that we need ONE competence in the future - the ability to innovate and measure the performance thereof. But who is 'minding the store?!

How familiar are you with all the new methodologies being developed to measure and manage intangible value (a la Sveiby, Edvinsson, Pasher, Pulic, Lev et al). This is a question for the broader audience who'll be reading this in the future.

Chris Macrae: The EU has a great report online about intangible measurement came out same time as Lev and Brookin report...know Sveiby's work

Debra M. Amidon: I believe that the financial community has really stepped up to the table. In some ways their profession seems turned upside down...but the new leadership is making great strides all over the world - now with FASB and IAS (right letters?)

Jeroen Kemp: Measuring is one thing; a key challenge I feel is a deep understanding of the acts which turn sources (tangible and intangible) into value (tangible and intangible), - why, how and where?

Debra M. Amidon: Hello Edna...I was just mentioning your name! By the way, if any of you have not yet seen Dr Edna Pasher's 'Intellectual Capital Report for Israel - the Hidden Values of the desert', you are REALLY missing something!

Debra M. Amidon: Thanks to Jeroen...time for the next 'lesson learned.'

The SECOND Lesson: We've learned that the Knowledge Structures operate as holo-nomies? Nesting of networks - with both local and global scope. We need to understand how they operate as communities and spheres of influence.

This was one of the purposes in creating the ENTOVATION Global Knowledge Leadership Map. Edna asked a question about the Map and here's my response:
The Global Knowledge Leadership Map is a diagonal slice of the ENTOVATION Network representing a cross section of functional, industry and sector expertise as well as multiple generations (i.e., the veterans and the new young leaders I describe as the Knowledge Millennium Generation.
The current Map features 100+ theorists and practitioners from over 50 nations. You can visit them - http://www.entovation.com/kleadmap/index.htm  - and click on the stars.
Up will pop their photos, their contact details and their vision of a Knowledge Economy. Do we have some success stories of companies that are effectively managing these new forms of networked organization structures in balance with the inevitable hierarchical decision-making?

Chris Macrae: Who defines community in the widest sense in your view?

Debra M. Amidon: Who defines the community...probing question! I suppose in some respects we do ourselves - each and every time we choose to affiliate. In the instance of the Map, I selected those from whom I wanted to learn!

Helen Baxter: It's wonderful to see that web of minds connected across the globe.

niki: Of course.... there is Eli Lilly (Pharma) which is running a European Community Network which is quite impressive.

Edna Pasher: What is your vision for the future of networks? Is it just for knowledge sharing or for value creation as well?

Debra M. Amidon: The THIRD Lesson Learned: We've learned that Knowledge Workers although originally described as high technology or white collar includes everyone; we all have a role to play.

We need to determine what now motivates constructive behaviours, and new modes of interdependence and collaboration.

Chris Macrae: Oops I meant do you prefer Community of Practice, Purpose, Interest - is there anyone who integrates all these frames of community?

niki: Ok, a question to all of you (Knowledge-Workers). Will eMail be the SYSTEM which Enterprises will use in Future to get the Market-Conversations going with Supplier, Partners, Employees, Customers etc. .... or will eMail be dead soon?

Debra M. Amidon: Yes, and the Community of Knowledge Practice - http://www.entovation.com/innovation/cokp.htm  - every function has been evolving forwarding and - believe it or not - developing a common language and shared purpose.

Debra M. Amidon: Hi Niki, You have made me smile?! Upon leaving Digital when we downsized for the 6th time, I asked an audience, "How many in this room have received any MEANINGFUL mail lately? Few hands were raised.
The fact is that companies that are downsizing/restructuring squeeze all the innovation out of the system.

Helen Baxter: I believe email is still the most important Internet Application there is. It is flexible, quick, and accessible. It is many people's 'Gateway' to the online environment, and they understand the analogy of a virtual postal network. IN short they 'get it' much quicker than some other applications.  I used to be an Internet Trainer by the way :)

It is not the application that is at fault but the way it has been abused by spammers and people sending unnecessary messages. There are far too many 'Me too's' zooming around cyberspace. Too many unnecessary mails are causing many people a lot of stress from information overload. I left my last job as a producer for a large web agency for this very reason. 

I think more sophisticated mail filters are what we need. I'd love an intelligent reader that produced a daily digest.

Debra M. Amidon: The Fourth Lesson Learned:
We've learned that all Knowledge Processes can fit under a rubric of innovation - but innovation redefined according to the flow of knowledge. We need to make the process explicit and discover ways to measure performance. How knowledge is created, shared, and applied. We are like Pogo...confronted now with insurmountable opportunity!

Charles Savage: Debra, you will notice Niki just joined the discussion. He is from Metalayer.

Edna Pasher: I don't think e-mail will die. It has changed our work tremendously. It has made all of us more available for each other.

Debra M. Amidon: Niki...GREAT. I understand we made the decision this morning to run with what you have offered! Cannot wait to meet face-to-face...

Debra M. Amidon: The FIFTH Lesson Learned is:

We've learned the power of Knowledge Processing Technology? Advancing in features and receptivity beyond our wildest dreams. We've learned that technology isn't an end but a means for prosperous innovation. We need to find ways to take advantage of the advancements and uses it as an instrument in the new economy.

niki: Debra, I am convinced and I already have evidence that Knowledge-Intensive Enterprises are moving away from stupid (old fashioned) eMail toward highly contextualised micro-community Environments on the WEB. Believe me - in 2 years eMail will NOT BE THE CONVERSATION PLACE AT ALL. Community-Hub's will dominate the Enterprise KM-SPACE

Debra M. Amidon: This is the point, isn't it and one of the reasons we have David Coleman in the E100!

Edna Pasher: I believe that one medium does not replace the other completely. So e-mail will stay. As telephones have not become obsolete. We will learn how to make the best use of each.

Chris Macrae: I love your 5 lessons but I imagine they are quite challenging to many of today's big Organisations - am I right?

Debra M. Amidon: Challenge is the name of the game my friend...it's what keeps most of going.

Helen Baxter: We've got 17 people here today in this live workshop, so Debra beaten your record Edna :)

Edna Pasher: I am happy Debra beat me in the number of participants. She has invested so many years in creating our network that she deserves it!

Debra M. Amidon: Now that you have raised the concept, I would like to issue/offer a challenge to the KnowledgeBoard Community...Over the next couple of days, whenever you speak, read or write the word 'information.'

See how many times using the word 'innovation' would make the concept more robust, human-oriented and actionable. Let me know your progress.

Debra M. Amidon: Tomasz...WELCOME! For the purpose of introduction of you...I've been describing the Map. For example, you will see we have represented the young Tomasz Rudolf (Poland) who is at the Warsaw Institute of Economics and Dr. Thomas F. Malone, the Distinguished Scholar from North Carolina State who in his career served as the Foreign Relations Advisor to the National Research Counsel.

Debra M. Amidon: Can we talk about the Highway as a concept...a metaphor?

Chris Macrae: Well I have seen many organisations try to deny the challenge to defend the old, do you come across that?

Jeroen Kemp: Talking about challenges; how about innovation should make organisations or networks more adaptive (proactive and responsive)...

Tomasz Rudolf:  Debra, how can organisations nowadays get over the fear of making something innovative and risky instead of just downsizing?

Chris Macrae: Which profession or discipline do you find understands your 5 lessons and welcomes them most or least?

Debra M. Amidon: Jeroen: My goal as been to crystallize the vision forward that is so compelling, so magnetic that it pulls people forward...and by definition, people will be adaptable, flexible, agile...as they strive to be the individuals and enterprises to emulate.

Edna Pasher: Hello Jeroen. I agree. Innovation is just a means to achieve organization renewal.

Chris Macrae: When does your book come out?

Debra M. Amidon: Tomasz...this is essential...and the most difficult of all. I tell my clients that as they are downsizing they MUST be seen by their stakeholders - internal AND external - as innovating...moving forward...making progress. If not, they are in a death spiral and destined for defeat.

Niki:  well, regarding eMail --> sure it will stay ..... but not for Enterprises who want COLLECTIVE culture, speed of innovation and Transparency in their Ecosystem.

Helen Baxter: I suppose we can always agree to disagree :)

Debra M. Amidon: By the way, a focus on knowledge strategy - well executed corporate-wide - should enable an open, honest, sharing culture that is comfortable with responsible risk-taking.

Flavius Sturm:  Dear Debra, the lesson we learned today are quite challenging for todays organisations. Imagine we meet again in 5 years, what will the lessons 6 - 10 may look like?

Debra M. Amidon: Flavius...welcome. And you have provided me an opportunty to share our conclusions. All the Entovation 100 were interviewed as to how they got into the knowledge field, what they have accomplished, what still needs to be done...and what is THEIR vision of a Knowledge Economy.

You can find their comments in the Global Momentum of Knowledge Strategy on my Website; but here is the collective conclusion: "A new economic world order based upon knowledge (not technology), innovation (not solutions), value-systems (not value-chains), customer success (not satisfaction), and international collaboration (not competition)."

Niki: I like the conclusion :)

Debra M. Amidon: The five lessons are in the concluding Chapter "Creating the World Trade of Ideas." It also includes the 5 Principles of Homeland Security. (1) The best defence is an offence. (2) the battle is an economic not military one, (3) knowledge is the engine of economic prosperity, (4) innovation is how knowledge is put into action and (5) a strategy - to be successful - must be collaborative in scope.

The conclusion is our vision. We're have outlined an 18-month research study to build The Innovation Super Highway. Let me know if/who might enjoy being involved!

niki: I would like to be involved - sure.

Helen Baxter: I'd love to be involved.

Edna Pasher: Hi Helen, These workshops are always fun! Thanks Debra!

Chris Macrae: Helen - great meeting thanks

Debra M. Amidon: Thank you Helen...and all who shared our conversation today. Once the book is released in October, let's have round two of the discussion!

Helen Baxter: Thanks everyone.

Debra has issued an Innovation challenge:

Over the next couple of days, whenever you speak, read or write the word 'information' see how many times using the word 'innovation' would make the concept more robust, human-oriented and actionable.

Let us know how you get on in The Innovation Challenge discussion that I set up in the Innovation SIG: http://www.knowledgeboard.com/community/zones/sig/innovation.html 



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