It is one year since I lasted posted a comment on Plain Speaking.
There are many reasons as to why content was suspended during this time. Suffice to say, the time has come for this blog to come to a close.
Thank you to the many people who have helped me over the years, especially those people whom I met as a result of the Plain Speaking blog. Blogging enabled me to think through a number of issues and helped record some of the events I have attended over the years. In that regard, blogging was both a personal and social activity on issues in communication, media and knowledge management.
I anticipate creating another blog in the near future on communication, media and knowledge management under a different name and within more defined parameters. Once the new blog is created, a notification will then be made on Plain Speaking. As such this is the penultimate post, but an end nevertheless.
How many times have you heard the expression: “You need to talk/write in the language of your audience”? If you want to be able to communicate with people , you need to know “the language” they are using. I am not talking about different languages – English/German/Spanish for example. I am talking about the need to communicate with the right words and expressions of your audience, of your target group, or of your clients.
Gerry McGovern speaks of the need to speak the right language in his recent blog post: Organization language versus customer language. He gives a good example of how governments (in this case the European Union) substitute organisational language for customer language. You have to ask yourself why this would be the case. Is it to obfuscate and confuse? Or is it simply that the people writing this material are trying to impress their superiors? Or is it a lack of awareness?
If it is the latter, then communicators need to better understand the people they wish to communicate with. Using the right language will enable true understanding of the message and facilitate meaningful two-way communication.
Website and intranet content managers are one group of people that must use the appropriate language to meet the needs of their target audience. This often proves difficult when content management is decentralised within an organisation to individuals who have no knowledge of good content management practices.
In knowledge management, we need to ensure we use the right language too. Sometimes knowledge management terms are used without an appreciation that the people we are communicating with do not understand these words. One reason for this is that we sometimes assume that our KM language is the norm when in fact it is only the norm within our KM profession. Another reason is that some people who are not knowledge managers appropriate the terms to give themselves professional validity. And another reason, common to all types of content creators, is the idea that we are communicating (usually in written form) for our own egos and not focusing on the needs of the people we wish to actually communicate with. In other words, we need to be careful in how we communicate.
We can learn from the field of marketing communications how to improve our ability to better understand our audience, target group, or clients. The message here is to actually spend some time with our audience or target group, or at least do some research about them. We can also learn from each other in knowledge management – what have been some effective and not-so-effective ways we have tried to communicate knowledge management? If we can improve our own communication, then we can advance the broader understanding of knowledge management and advocate more effectively within our own organisations.
The latest issue of Information Research has a great article by Chris Kimble, entitled Knowledge management, codification and tacit knowledge.
The paper takes an interesting approach; looking at knowledge from the perspective of economists. The idea is to provide a “view of knowledge that allows it to be considered as a stock that is accumulated through interaction with an information flux”.
Kimble looks at two key interpretations of tacit knowledge – from Polanyi and Nonaka. This discussion is very useful. Kimble summarises the key points from both theories in relation to knowledge management and shows the distinction between the two. Purists have argued that Polanyi’s view of tacit knowledge means that tacit knowledge can never become explicit. Nonaka takes a more practical approach, claiming tacit knowledge can be made explicit under some circumstances or approximations. Nonaka was interested specifically in “knowledge conversion”.
Kimble then discusses an interesting approach to the tacit/explicit knowledge issue – a topography of knowledge transaction activities. The typography comes from the following cited work: Cowan, R., David, P.A. & Foray, D. (2000). The explicit economics of knowledge codification and tacitness. Industrial and Corporate Change, 9(2), 211-253.
What is interesting here is that the focus is on where the knowledge transactions take place rather than the form in which the knowledge is contained. Kimble goes on to say: “While Cowan et al. may have little to say about the benefits of codification, their topography does provide a structure to examine its costs. Perhaps the most obvious cost associated with codification is that of creating the codebook.”
Kimble concludes his paper looking at the duality of information and what it means: “By focusing exclusively on codified knowledge, the advocates of codification may lose sight of the intimate linkages between tacit and explicit knowledge.”
Kimble’s paper is well worth a read for stimulating thought about tacit and explicit knowledge; a significant point of discussion in knowledge management over many, many years.
I will be attending the KM Australia Congress 2013 this year. It’s on 23-25 July at Crystal Palace, Luna Park, Sydney. The venue is close to Milsons Point station which allows good public transportation to the event.
I will be going to the conference sessions on the first two days.
Here is a list of the confirmed participants:
University of Oxford
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Institute of Knowledge and Innovation (IKI-SEA)
Strategic Knowledge Solutions
Department of Primary Industry (VIC)
Cancer Council Australia
Ernst & Young
I hope to see a good crowd there to participate in a potentially very interesting conference.
Happy New Year.
I hope that 2013 will be a good year in getting back to some regular blog posting. Last year was very disappointing for a number of reasons so 2013 should be better (I hope). I plan on continuing with posts about knowledge management, communication, and marketing.
That being the case, this first post for 2013 is just to get myself back into the metaphorical saddle. Sitting comfortably now, I sense that the blogging trail will be much more productive this year.
KM Australia is on again this year. KM Australia 2012 will be held in Sydney at Luna Park (Milson’s Point) on 24-25 July.
Featured presentions are scheduled from the following organisations:
- McDermott Consulting (United States of America)
- LEGO Group (Denmark)
- Toyota (United States of America)
- Federal Transit Administration (United States of America)
- Federal Aviation Administration (United States of America)
- Department of Defence (Australia) Rio Tinto (Australia)
- Queensland Treasury (Australia)
- Genea (Australia)
- Woods Bagot (Australia)
- The Paige Group (Australia) Anecdote (Australia)
- KPMG (Australia)
- Telstra (Australia)
Should be a great event.