Could KM have saved GM? #case-studies


Murray Jennex
 

Yes, a good point, especially for those of us who remember the issues in the mid 70s when the compacts first made bit inroads in the US and the gas rationing that occurred in many parts.  Thanks...murray jennex
 
In a message dated 12/15/2008 1:49:18 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, allancrawford@... writes:

Steve,

 

Thanks for this notice.

 

With everything that is going on at GM today, it would be really interesting to get your perspective on…given what you know today…do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

 

I suspect that lots of us would appreciate any advice that you may have that comes from your experiences.

 

Regards,

 

Allan Crawford

 




Allan Crawford
 

Steve,

 

Thanks for this notice.

 

With everything that is going on at GM today, it would be really interesting to get your perspective on…given what you know today…do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

 

I suspect that lots of us would appreciate any advice that you may have that comes from your experiences.

 

Regards,

 

Allan Crawford

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of swkmleader
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

SIKM Members,


I would like to share with you a new venture I have undertaken. After providing internal KM consulting services to General Motors Corporation's Product Engineering since 1997, as a Global Technical Fellow, plus an additional 13 years as an automotive project and engineering manager, I have formed my own company, Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc. to provide the following services.


1.    A process to replace traditional lessons learned databases with a visible enterprise learning process so the "organization learns", 

 

2.     Insights and techniques for structuring product and process knowledge for capture, sharing and reuse within an organization,

 

3.     Insights and techniques to heighten an organization's awareness of the knowledge surrounding them and the value of that knowledge,

 

4.     Organizational Engineering analyses to potentially improve people-to-people communications, performance and teamwork through understanding each other's information processing preferences rather than trying to change them. 
 

The services are offered as group orientations and workshops, train-the-trainer sessions or individual coaching and mentoring.

I am currently collaborating with Emergent Systems which provides a knowledge management software application known as the Enterprise Engineering Knowledge System (E2ks). This software offers a variety of functions to easily capture, maintain and retrieve process or product knowledge and much more.


You may remember the presentations that I have made and another is planned in 2009 to the SIKMLeader community...

May 2007 - "KM Domain" - a knowledge modeling technique to diagram the KM space (co-presented with Karla Phlypo-Price)

 

July 2008 - "Replacing a Lessons Learned database with a Visible Learning Process", and

 

July 2009 - "Enterprise Learning and Knowledge Awareness" (planned)

A case study of the KM work I was involved in at General Motors is available in Tom Young's (Knoco) book, Knowledge Management for Services, Operations and Manufacturing, Chandos Publishing, Oxford, England, 2008, pp. 142 - 165, ("Adopting and Adapting Product Best Practices across General Motors Engineering Six Years Later",  Steven Wieneke, Technical Fellow, Global Engineering, General Motors Corporation)

I trust that many of the practical insights I have developed over several years of practicing knowledge management within a major automotive manufacturer can be of benefit to you. I am looking forward to continued participation in the SIKM community and assisting you or your organization in realizing and leveraging their knowledge assets.

For more information please contact:

Steven Wieneke

President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427


Steven Wieneke <steve@...>
 

Hello Allen,

Thanks for the question. Let me restate it again and then respond.

Question: Do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation [GM] end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

Background:  Before I answer your question, please understand that there is no centralized KM group or CKO at General Motors (GM). There was a KM group reporting directly to the CEO back in the early 80's, but apparently they did not bring sufficient value to the bottom line. In that same time period there was a group at R&D that was experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI). Both groups were disbanded.

More recently there were 4 or 5 distinct pockets of KM activities at GM. These activities were complimentary and not centrally coordinated. We did, on occasion, communicate with each other. The activity that I was involved with deliberately focused on enabling the documentation of product design practices - the physics of the product, not the process. This activity is thoroughly documented in a case study that spans a 6 year time period.

Answer: Now to answer your question. No! Yes to enterprise learning and knowledge awareness!

All organizations are inherently knowledge-based. The question is whether they realize it. If they are not aware of their own knowledge then it is likely not valued. If not valued, then why would it be managed? This is exactly why I advocate knowledge awareness over knowledge management. Knowledge awareness naturally leads to "managing" knowledge.

Knowledge Management is less about bringing knowledge to an enterprise and more about assisting a business in seeing the knowledge all around them. An organization's knowledge is held by their executives and employees, and embedded in their processes, products or services. Opportunities exist if an organization's collective knowledge is not already visible, valued, accurate, relevant, shared and really understood.

My recommendation for GM is to look at their own success in managing their product knowledge and apply those techniques and enablers across the entire enterprise not just Product Engineering - Voice of the Customer, Marketing, the Design Studios, Service, Metal Stamping, Assembly, Quality and Integration. Also stick to the fundamentals - understand what the customer really wants, then deliver the right vehicle, at the right time for the right price (where the manufacturing cost is less than selling price).

If I were to start all over again, I would (and do) advocate implementing an enterprise learning process which creates a sense of knowledge awareness by identifying existing knowledge assets (intellectual properties) and subject matter responsible individuals or teams. The learning process ensures that both lessons and learnings are "learned" by...

     1)    requiring a modification or addition to the existing knowledge assets and

     2)    ensuring the knowledge assets are repeatedly adopted and adapted by someone other than the initial learner.

In this context lessons are "things gone wrong and corrected" but the prevention is what needs to be captured. Learnings are "things gone right and valued for reuse." Learnings bring new knowledge into the organization's memory. The natural innovation that occurs in adapting what is known (requires a fundamental understanding of the topic) must be feedback into the organization's memory as well.

Thanks again for the question,

Steven Wieneke
President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@...
cell: 248.535.0427

 


From: "Allan Crawford"
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 5:06 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

Steve,

 

Thanks for this notice.

 

With everything that is going on at GM today, it would be really interesting to get your perspective on.given what you know today.do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

 

I suspect that lots of us would appreciate any advice that you may have that comes from your experiences.

 

Regards,

 

Allan Crawford

 


From: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of swkmleader
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

SIKM Members,


I would like to share with you a new venture I have undertaken. After providing internal KM consulting services to General Motors Corporation's Product Engineering since 1997, as a Global Technical Fellow, plus an additional 13 years as an automotive project and engineering manager, I have formed my own company, Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc. to provide the following services.


1.    A process to replace traditional lessons learned databases with a visible enterprise learning process so the "organization learns", 

 

2.     Insights and techniques for structuring product and process knowledge for capture, sharing and reuse within an organization,

 

3.     Insights and techniques to heighten an organization's awareness of the knowledge surrounding them and the value of that knowledge,

 

4.     Organizational Engineering analyses to potentially improve people-to-people communications, performance and teamwork through understanding each other's information processing preferences rather than trying to change them. 
 

The services are offered as group orientations and workshops, train-the-trainer sessions or individual coaching and mentoring.

I am currently collaborating with Emergent Systems which provides a knowledge management software application known as the Enterprise Engineering Knowledge System (E2ks). This software offers a variety of functions to easily capture, maintain and retrieve process or product knowledge and much more.


You may remember the presentations that I have made and another is planned in 2009 to the SIKMLeader community...

May 2007 - "KM Domain" - a knowledge modeling technique to diagram the KM space (co-presented with Karla Phlypo-Price)

 

July 2008 - "Replacing a Lessons Learned database with a Visible Learning Process", and

 

July 2009 - "Enterprise Learning and Knowledge Awareness" (planned)

A case study of the KM work I was involved in at General Motors is available in Tom Young's (Knoco) book, Knowledge Management for Services, Operations and Manufacturing, Chandos Publishing, Oxford, England, 2008, pp. 142 - 165, ("Adopting and Adapting Product Best Practices across General Motors Engineering Six Years Later",  Steven Wieneke, Technical Fellow, Global Engineering, General Motors Corporation)

I trust that many of the practical insights I have developed over several years of practicing knowledge management within a major automotive manufacturer can be of benefit to you. I am looking forward to continued participation in the SIKM community and assisting you or your organization in realizing and leveraging their knowledge assets.

For more information please contact:

Steven Wieneke

President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427


Allan Crawford
 

Steve,

 

Thanks for the response.

 

If I may I’d like to take this a little further and explore learning not just from within a company such as GM, but also learning from the competitors…and the role of KM.  Steve, I suspect that this goes beyond what you were doing, but as an insider I thought you might have some insights.

 

One of the things that I find interesting when I look at the automobile industry is how successful Toyota has been…and how willing they seem to have been to share their ideas and their processes with companies like GM.  Yet in spite of this willingness to share, and even to jointly operated the Nummi plant, our US car companies have struggled.  It would appear that they have had a difficult time applying what they were “seeing”

 

In light of this apparent “willingness to share” on the part of Toyota, and the “willingness to learn” on the part of the US automakers, one of the things that I struggle with as a KM person, is why our US automakers had such a hard time absorbing and applying the lessons (or Steve to use your word…the learnings) from Toyota. 

 

There is a great story in Gary Hamel’s book, the Future of Management, that I think helps illustrate the point that the US car maker’s struggled to understand what Toyota did to make themselves so successful, much less to apply it. In his book Hamel talks about a conversation that he had with some GM execs over dinner.  During the conversation one of the GM exec’s said that they had just completed the 20th benchmark study of Toyota.  Hamel’s response was “what did you learn from the 20th that you didn’t know from the 17th (or the 15th, 10th or 5th).  The exec went on to explain, “during the first five we thought that the data were wrong.  Then during the next five we thought…it must be the Japanese culture.  Then they opened plants in the US and got the same results.  During the next five we thought it was their process.  So we adopted their processes. Then finally we figured out…they train their people.”

 

So why did it take so long to figure this out?  One of the things that I suspect is that it’s not just training, but it is also a culture of continuous innovation and looking into the future…looking beyond just what the customer wants today.  It would appear that Toyota does that very well…and the US companies struggle with it.  The US companies have cool design ideas (look at the EV1), but when it comes to implementation…they just build what the customer is asking for today.  As an aside…there is a great quote from Henry Ford about listening to the customer.  He said…”if I had listened to my customer, I would have built a faster horse.”

 

So with that as background, should there have been a role for KM in GM to look beyond the company…to help understand the lessons from companies like Toyota?  And to look into the future.  Not just to share what we know…but to leverage what we know in order to create some new?

 

Steve,,,and others….are there things that the rest of us can learn from you…to help us as we look outward from our companies though the KM lens?

 

Thanks,

 

Allan Crawford

310-994-1619

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Steven Wieneke
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@...; sikmleaders@...
Subject: re: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

Hello Allen,

Thanks for the question. Let me restate it again and then respond.

Question: Do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation [GM] end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

Background:  Before I answer your question, please understand that there is no centralized KM group or CKO at General Motors (GM). There was a KM group reporting directly to the CEO back in the early 80's, but apparently they did not bring sufficient value to the bottom line. In that same time period there was a group at R&D that was experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI). Both groups were disbanded.

More recently there were 4 or 5 distinct pockets of KM activities at GM. These activities were complimentary and not centrally coordinated. We did, on occasion, communicate with each other. The activity that I was involved with deliberately focused on enabling the documentation of product design practices - the physics of the product, not the process. This activity is thoroughly documented in a case study that spans a 6 year time period.

Answer: Now to answer your question. No! Yes to enterprise learning and knowledge awareness!

All organizations are inherently knowledge-based. The question is whether they realize it. If they are not aware of their own knowledge then it is likely not valued. If not valued, then why would it be managed? This is exactly why I advocate knowledge awareness over knowledge management. Knowledge awareness naturally leads to "managing" knowledge.

Knowledge Management is less about bringing knowledge to an enterprise and more about assisting a business in seeing the knowledge all around them. An organization's knowledge is held by their executives and employees, and embedded in their processes, products or services. Opportunities exist if an organization's collective knowledge is not already visible, valued, accurate, relevant, shared and really understood.

My recommendation for GM is to look at their own success in managing their product knowledge and apply those techniques and enablers across the entire enterprise not just Product Engineering - Voice of the Customer, Marketing, the Design Studios, Service, Metal Stamping, Assembly, Quality and Integration. Also stick to the fundamentals - understand what the customer really wants, then deliver the right vehicle, at the right time for the right price (where the manufacturing cost is less than selling price).

If I were to start all over again, I would (and do) advocate implementing an enterprise learning process which creates a sense of knowledge awareness by identifying existing knowledge assets (intellectual properties) and subject matter responsible individuals or teams. The learning process ensures that both lessons and learnings are "learned" by...

     1)    requiring a modification or addition to the existing knowledge assets and

     2)    ensuring the knowledge assets are repeatedly adopted and adapted by someone other than the initial learner.

In this context lessons are "things gone wrong and corrected" but the prevention is what needs to be captured. Learnings are "things gone right and valued for reuse." Learnings bring new knowledge into the organization's memory. The natural innovation that occurs in adapting what is known (requires a fundamental understanding of the topic) must be feedback into the organization's memory as well.

Thanks again for the question,

Steven Wieneke
President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427

 


From: "Allan Crawford" mindspring.com>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 5:06 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

Steve,

 

Thanks for this notice.

 

With everything that is going on at GM today, it would be really interesting to get your perspective on.given what you know today.do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

 

I suspect that lots of us would appreciate any advice that you may have that comes from your experiences.

 

Regards,

 

Allan Crawford

 


From: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of swkmleader
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

SIKM Members,


I would like to share with you a new venture I have undertaken. After providing internal KM consulting services to General Motors Corporation's Product Engineering since 1997, as a Global Technical Fellow, plus an additional 13 years as an automotive project and engineering manager, I have formed my own company, Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc. to provide the following services.


1.    A process to replace traditional lessons learned databases with a visible enterprise learning process so the "organization learns", 

 

2.     Insights and techniques for structuring product and process knowledge for capture, sharing and reuse within an organization,

 

3.     Insights and techniques to heighten an organization's awareness of the knowledge surrounding them and the value of that knowledge,

 

4.     Organizational Engineering analyses to potentially improve people-to-people communications, performance and teamwork through understanding each other's information processing preferences rather than trying to change them. 
 

The services are offered as group orientations and workshops, train-the-trainer sessions or individual coaching and mentoring.

I am currently collaborating with Emergent Systems which provides a knowledge management software application known as the Enterprise Engineering Knowledge System (E2ks). This software offers a variety of functions to easily capture, maintain and retrieve process or product knowledge and much more.


You may remember the presentations that I have made and another is planned in 2009 to the SIKMLeader community...

May 2007 - "KM Domain" - a knowledge modeling technique to diagram the KM space (co-presented with Karla Phlypo-Price)

 

July 2008 - "Replacing a Lessons Learned database with a Visible Learning Process", and

 

July 2009 - "Enterprise Learning and Knowledge Awareness" (planned)

A case study of the KM work I was involved in at General Motors is available in Tom Young's (Knoco) book, Knowledge Management for Services, Operations and Manufacturing, Chandos Publishing, Oxford, England, 2008, pp. 142 - 165, ("Adopting and Adapting Product Best Practices across General Motors Engineering Six Years Later",  Steven Wieneke, Technical Fellow, Global Engineering, General Motors Corporation)

I trust that many of the practical insights I have developed over several years of practicing knowledge management within a major automotive manufacturer can be of benefit to you. I am looking forward to continued participation in the SIKM community and assisting you or your organization in realizing and leveraging their knowledge assets.

For more information please contact:

Steven Wieneke

President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427


Matt Moore <laalgadger@...>
 

Steve,

Your discussion of "knowledge awareness" is a very interesting one.
It focuses on identifying the assets, capabilities and strengths inside an organisation and there's nothing wrong with that.

But the flipside of "knowledge" is "ignorance" - and KM can be as much about identifying and reducing ignorance (be it individual or collective) and the related risks as it is about being aware of knowledge.

As an outsider, I've been struck by the criticisms of GM, Ford & Chrysler (e.g. Bob Sutton's ) that have discussed the systemic inability to acknowledge and deal with ignorance. In the disastrous first attempt getting bailout money, one the CEOs was asked if they acknowledged that things needed changing - and their reply was "no, we're doing just fine thanks". Round two saw of change of tune.

Again, I'm a long way from Detroit but opinions would be welcome.

Regards,

Matt


Jerry Ash <jash@...>
 

Hi Steve.

I love this Q&A between you and Allan Crawford. And I'd love to
publish it in the next edition of Inside Knowledge magazine.

So I'm asking, Steve, Allan, Stan -- may I have your permission?

Jerry Ash


Nancy Dixon
 

Allen thanks for initiating this discussion. I want to weigh in from what might be a radical perspective.

As KM practitioners, our focus has been on using our  organization’s knowledge to accomplish our organization’s strategic plan or stated objectives.  We are servants of top management and as such we not only worked toward their objectives, we also struggle to measure what we do, so that we can prove to those that fund us that we are effective.

The difficulty with this focus is that the strategic plan and stated objectives are also a product of knowledge – but knowledge we have not allowed ourselves to address.  These are not the issues that Steve was working on at GM.

Until KM addresses how to use the knowledge of the whole system to influence the direction the whole system should move toward, we are just fooling ourselves about collective intelligence. We are not using KM to address the most important organizational issues. 

There is no lack of knowledge about how to involve the system in collective sensemaking, Future Search, Conference Model, Whole System Change, Open Space Technology, etc.  But as KM  practitioners we have done little to make this happen.

There is also no lack of knowledge about how to make every one of the thousands of meetings held across organizations daily as opportunities for knowledge to flow in ways that would encourage innovation, challenge to existing practices, and improvements. But as KM  practitioners we have done little to make this happen.

There is no lack of knowledge about how to make every conversation in an organization more learningful. But as KM  practitioners we have done little to make this happen.

We have stayed where it is safe, not where we are needed. We have been good employees, but perhaps not good organizational citizens.  

Could KM have saved General Motors? Yes, but it would have had to apply the collective intelligence to where the problem was. 

Nancy

Nancy M, Dixon
Common Knowledge Associates
www.commonknowledge.org
202 277 5839

"Ask better, learn more"





Allan Crawford
 

Jerry,

 

It is certainly okay with me. 

 

Thanks

 

Allan Crawford

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Jerry Ash
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:00 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

Hi Steve.

I love this Q&A between you and Allan Crawford. And I'd love to
publish it in the next edition of Inside Knowledge magazine.

So I'm asking, Steve, Allan, Stan -- may I have your permission?

Jerry Ash


Matt Moore <laalgadger@...>
 

Nancy,

The call for knowledge managers to play a strategic role is a good one. But from personal experience, context also plays a role. I spent a year in an organisation where the KM team (both of us) would find ourselves in conversations like this:
"Have you thought about aging workforce / the knowledge of external organisations / improving our performance in this business area?" (and various other strategic issues)
"Er yeah, we'll probably tackle that in 2011, can we tweak the intranet a bit?"

In hindsight, this particular organisation had trained the strategic thinking out of all but its most senior staff - and they were mostly concerned with winning power games. We did get a few hits but it was slow, slow work.

I agree that not all KM practitioners have a strategic view - and this is a tragedy. But I know many that do and I don't want to belittle the struggles they go through - or their achievements when they do actually succeed at a big play.

Cheers,

Matt


Murray Jennex
 

I have to agree that this has been a great thread of discussion and I want to add a newcomers perspective, also that of a practitioner turned academic.  My research focus has been on KM Success, defining it and measuring it.  I come from the nuclear industry and of course have a little different take.  After Three Mile Island 2 the commercial nuclear industry was required to use knowledge, there was no excuse for any event if there was previous knowledge available that could have prevented.  This was because TMI2 had a contributing factor that the knowledge that could have prevented it was available but was not disseminated nor was the existing culture a knowledge demand culture (it was a learning culture though).  After TMI2 the commercial nuclear industry became a knowledge demand culture and has been ever since.  Top management is held accountable for it and so greatly supports it.  My research shows culture, top management support, clear goals for KM, and KM measurement as critical success factors (I've actually identified 12 total CSFs).  I've worked a little with the Air Force and other researchers working for the Army (and I'm an ex Navy officer so have knowledge of their efforts) and Allan is right, the armed forces use knowledge better than industry.  I think the reasons are the same as the commercial nuclear industry and the space and aviation industries, the consequences of failing to demand and use knowledge can get people killed, very extreme consequences, but strong motivators for top management and knowledge workers alike.  The Year 2000 issue in the utility industry is another KM success story at the strategic and tactical levels, if interested I can tell you why (I was a Y2K project manager for Southern California Edison).
 
GM and other organizations don't have these extreme consequences to deal with and I think that is why GM and others don't give KM the full support it deserves.   I earlier mentioned that those of us who remembered the 70s really wonder why GM didn't use KM to prevent their current issues, and perhaps now they will have their TMI2 equivalent event, I only hope they have the sense to see they must use the available knowledge to prevent making the same mistakes over and over.
 
My suggestion is that the way to getting KM viewed in a strategic light is to provide solid metrics and success measures and definitions for KM.  Make the strategic business case and I think companies like GM will see the value in KM that the Army, Air Force, Navy, Nuclear industry, and others already see.  I currently am working with a defense contractor on knowledge loss risk, primarily due to retirement, this company sees that value in KM now, not in 2011, so I think there is still hope.  Also, I work with Crisis Response and Security groups and for the same reasons the armed forces and nuclear see value in KM, they see the value in KM.  I edited a book in 2005 on case studies in KM and the lessons I picked up from that project say define and measure success, make the business case, and KM will be supported.
 
Anyway, I just joined the group last week (I'm the noted 300th member) and I got to say this has been a great forum so far and I'm sorry I've missed joining earlier.  I edit the International Journal of Knowledge Management (an academic journal) and hope we can get some good collaboration going between you'all in the trenches and those doing research.  I've given several talks over the last year or so on the importance of research relevance in KM and perhaps this is a call to me and other academics that we need to research the issues you are facing.  So my hope is we can do this also, figure out what the research agenda needs to be and get people working on it.  So now I've made this a long winded post and I apologize for it, but I hope we can keep this great discussion going.
 
Murray E. Jennex, Ph.D., P.E., CISSP
San Diego State University
Editor in Chief International Journal of Knowledge Management
Co-editor in Chief International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management
 
In a message dated 12/17/2008 2:11:47 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, steve@... writes:
Hi all,
 
The conversation underlines the point that the Achilles Heel of KM is not lack of supply of knowledge, but lack of demand for knowledge. Whether it's GM or the financial meltdown or the Madoff scandal, the knowledge was there. But there was no demand for it by those who needed to take action.
 
So long as KM focuses mainly enhancing the supply of knowledge, it is unlikely that KM will have a seat at the strategy discussion.
 
Steve Denning
http://stevedenning.com
steve@...
Telephone (US) 202 966 9392
Fax (US) 202 686 0591
Skype: stevedenning1




Allan Crawford
 

Nancy, Matt and others….

 

I do believe that KM needs a role at the strategy table.   But what does that mean?  How do we do it?

 

GM was looking at their competitors…they were doing benchmarking….isn’t that a natural place for KM to be involved?  They were talking to customers.  They were looking at energy data, they were developing innovative vehicles like the EV1.  Aren’t these all logical places for KM to be involved…to ask what are we learning, what do we do with those learnings…how do we apply what we now know?  How do we use the knowledge not just to “share best practices” but to become more innovative…to continuously improve?  To stay ahead of the competition.  Do we wait to be invited in…or do we say…we can help.  We have some tools and processes that can help you make more sense of what you are learning, and more importantly we have some tools that can help you use some of those learnings/findings.  Should we be asking…what are the most serious problems faced by our organization, who do we need to talk to about these, how do we market our services to them so that we can help…so that we can make a difference?

 

Matt, you said…but management kept saying, we will do that in 2011…for now…can you improve the internet.  What are the stories that we can get from GM and others that say…hey…KM can make a difference…and here is how? What are the stories that will grab people?  I don’t think that there is a CEO in the country today that wants to be in GM’s position tomorrow…or next year.  So again, what do we learn?  In particular what do we learn about the role that KM can play in making significant change in an organization?  About making a difference in strategy and in the ability to innovate?

 

How many of us have asked…what can our organization learn from GM…that will help us avoid a similar fate?  What can we share with our CEO…to help her tomorrow?

 

Nancy and Matt… I see some great examples of organizations where I think that this is happening.  Where KM is making a difference at the strategic level.

 

One of them is the Army.  Nancy…you are more familiar than most with the Army’s KM program.  When I look at what Petraeus did in Iraq, and when I read his counterinsurgency manual I see KM input in every chapter..I see KM involved in developing strategy.  Strategy for how we would help win the hearts and minds of people in Iraq…for how we conduct the “war on terror;” not with guns and bullets but by making the local citizens feel safe, by helping them see…this will give us a better life. Petraeus learned this by being on the ground in Iraq and seeing it first hand, but he also learned it by studying what happened in Vietnam and what the French did in North Africa.  From what I can see as an outsider he appears to be the classic example of a leader…that lives KM.  He pauses, he reflects, he observes, he listens, he is open to new ways…he learns…and then he helps his organization apply those learnings at all levels.   Did he formally invite KM to the strategy table in the Army…or has learning from their own actions (continuous improvement) and learning from their adversaries just become part of how they do business?  Regardless of whether or not it’s formally invited, what can we learn from what they appear to do so well?

 

So what I am asking Steve, and others that know things about GM, could KM have made more of a difference?  Are there things that as KM people we could have done to make GM more like the Army? An organization that learns from itself and its competitors then quickly adapts to meet an ever changing competitive landscape.  Or perhaps its more like Toyota, that from what I see learns and adapts much like the US army.

 

In hindsight are their things that could have done in what appears to have been a bureaucratic corporation that would have made a difference.  And if so what would it have been,,,,and what can the rest of us learn so that we don’t end up with a lot of industries that look like the US auto industry.

 

And of course…we could be asking the same questions about the financial industry.

 

And on that happy note….

 

Cheers,

 

Allan Crawford

 

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Matt Moore
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:19 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Could KM have saved General Motors

 

Nancy,

The call for knowledge managers to play a strategic role is a good one. But from personal experience, context also plays a role. I spent a year in an organisation where the KM team (both of us) would find ourselves in conversations like this:
"Have you thought about aging workforce / the knowledge of external organisations / improving our performance in this business area?" (and various other strategic issues)
"Er yeah, we'll probably tackle that in 2011, can we tweak the intranet a bit?"

In hindsight, this particular organisation had trained the strategic thinking out of all but its most senior staff - and they were mostly concerned with winning power games. We did get a few hits but it was slow, slow work.

I agree that not all KM practitioners have a strategic view - and this is a tragedy. But I know many that do and I don't want to belittle the struggles they go through - or their achievements when they do actually succeed at a big play.

Cheers,

Matt

 


Steve Denning
 


Peter West
 

Nancy Dixon, Steve Denning and interested others:

I am in agreement with Nancy when, early in her message, she states "Until KM addresses how to use the knowledge of the whole system to influence the direction the whole system should move toward, we are just fooling ourselves about collective intelligence. We are not using KM to address the most important _organizational issues_." (note: underlining represents my emphasis) I would explicitly reinforce that message by adding something like the following to the end of the sentence (even though it is implied by the previous sentence) -- ', from the context of societal / whole system signals, patterns, etc.)' -- Nancy closes with "We have stayed where it is safe, not where we are needed. We have been good employees, but perhaps not good organizational citizens." Again, I would explicitly connect and extend this statement by adding that we need to be good whole system 'stakeholders' (or 'citizens') first, and exert influence on our respective personal/professional identities, communities and organizations.

I'm not sure that I agree with Steve when he states "the Achilles Heel of KM is not lack of */supply/* of knowledge, but lack of /*demand */for knowledge." The demand for knowledge exists (just look at all the processes and practice that abound to create and mobilize it). It's the _contextualizing_, _packaging_, _presenting_, _assimilating_, and _acting_ that are misaligned.

Take the auto industry as one example.

The misalignment between knowledge supply and knowledge action is a consequence of:
* Senior executives - that think, act and are rewarded for immediate returns, not long-term outcomes;
* Boards of Directors - that are focused on shareholder returns (not stakeholder needs);
* Lobbyists - that advocate for the good of the company (not society);
* Unions - that negotiate for the good of employees (not the company or society);
* Consumers - that acquire consumables based upon self-interest (not collective need)
* Legislators - that are driven to satisfy the masses and get re-elected (not deal with tough issues and protect their constituents (and the whole system);
* etc. (you get the idea ...) and please excuse the generalizations - I know that there is a small but growing constituencies that understands and acts in a 'whole system manner.

This is a complex issue. Stakeholders have been tinkering around the edges (masking real action with incremental innovation) and avoiding reality (the need to apply radical innovation, new paradigms).

Clearly, we have all contributed to the problem. It is a shared problem, but as is often the case, when a crisis strikes - immediate finger-pointing takes hold, short-term awareness is raised, narrowly scoped solutions are implemented, and the underlying contributors are largely ignored (until the next crisis). It's human nature (and it needs to change). We need to learn to act as members of a tightly interconnected system. We need to understand and take responsibility for the consequences of our actions. The motivators need to change; as does our behavior.

Respectfully,
Peter West


Karen <i2i@...>
 

...and sometimes EVEN when both exist:

"...But as KM  practitioners we have done little to make this happen. We have stayed where it is safe, not where we are needed. We have been good employees, but perhaps not good organizational citizens." [from Nancy's post]
_____________
This is indeed a very interesting discussion.  More than half the battle is not just 'leading the 'horse' to water' BUT also- convincing the 'horse' the water is really 'fine wine'

Sometimes however, no matter how much on board management is to KM, how visible AND useful you have made yourself AND demonstrated tangible financial savings...when the ax comes out ... the position/function does not 'have' enough 'tangibility' to justify its' continued existence.

I was hired as Research Analyst/KM for a for-profit company (in fact, I was presented with a higher salary than originally negotiated). I met department deadlines weekly in advance (my assigned responsibilities) AND assisted other departments as well.

in < 90 days:

** <30 days, planned/implemented the SharePoint site (department, - including documents library, blog, wiki, metadata, etc.). (The blog was very popular, therefore, great communication tool...).

** planned/designed SharePoint wiki for -publications dept. (whom were endlessly frustrated w/Word editing).

** published 2-3x wkly scientific publication summary (annotated, etc., (research/analysis/organization/dissemination).

** conducted extensive cost analysis for resource retrieval processes...(high costs/redundancy), implemented measures which  ... immediately saved the corp.>70%)
        --established an agreement with the local medical school library/resource purchases,
        --created/maintained an open source database (free resources), etc.
        --continually monitored for 'trial' subscriptions... (another source of 'free' resources)....

** (voluntarily) researched/edited topics for their monthly publication (weekly).

** researched for the company's textbook/rev. addition.

** began updating references/bibliographies for protocols (available on-line).

** researched trademarks, patents, regulations, competitive intell (both U.S. and international).

** conducted in-service training re: Sharepoint site/benefits to corporate personnel ('what was in it for them ... how it would save them time (employees) and money (management).

** made myself, services - highly visible (virtually and 'in-person'), using a combination of Web 2.0 technologies, etc.

I went into this detail to illustrate that "despite" efforts and sound practices, guess which position was eliminated first (when they 'were not making 'enough' profit?"

Results: the portal/data is not being utilized .... they returned back to the [very] expensive resource purchasing methodology (despite that the agreement w/medical school library does not expire until April '09); open-source resources database is not maintained (a HUGE source of 'free' resources....), the data I produced for the protocols has not been loaded on to the website ... (in other words, existing data on-line information remains out-dated; not a very good 'marketing'/credibility strategy!

[Needless to say, I am available for consulting work (sorry.. a shameless plug) and I've implemented a database/resource: militaryhealthmatters.org]

Karen


Karen L. Estrada, MS
militaryhealthmatters.org
ke@...


--- In sikmleaders@..., "Stephen Denning" wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> The conversation underlines the point that the Achilles Heel of KM is not
> lack of *supply* of knowledge, but lack of *demand *for knowledge. Whether
> it's GM or the financial meltdown or the Madoff scandal,* *the knowledge was
> there*. *But there was no demand for it by those who needed to take action.
>
> So long as KM focuses mainly enhancing the supply of knowledge, it is
> unlikely that KM will have a seat at the strategy discussion.
>
> Steve Denning
> http://stevedenning.com
> steve@...
> Telephone (US) 202 966 9392
> Fax (US) 202 686 0591
> Skype: stevedenning1
>


Nancy Dixon
 

Allan, Karen, Stephen, Matt, Murray, Peter, 
All the work we, as KM professionals, have done with the lateral movement of knowledge has been excellent, I’ve no quarrel with that.  We needed to do that. It has greatly helped organizations. It was a great place to start. But we now need to address the strategic, not just horizontal knowledge issues.
 
Allan, you are right, the Army is a great example of KM working at the strategic level. The Army’s  KM’s efforts  started with AARs (lateral movement) and it has not abandoned that useful step, nor should we abandon lateral movement of knowledge.  CompanyCommand and the numerous communities that have followed that initial COP effort was also a great place to start, and has clearly made a difference.  There are many Army generals, like Petraeus that see the strategic value of KM. Remember before he left for Iraq, he spent time at Ft Leavenworth and was well aware of the good lateral work KM did through the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), AARs and the many communities.
 
The lateral movement of knowledge gets us improvement – often sorely needed improvement.  But lateral movement cannot help the organization address its most complex and difficult issues – the ones that cause companies like General Motors to fail or General Petraeus to succeed. 
 
As KM professionals we have the capability to convene the conversation around the complex issues our organizations are facing. We could call for an open space technology meeting on “Our Greatest Strategic Need” or hold a Future Search Conference on “Lesson from our Competitors.”  We could copy IBM with an Innovation Jazz on-line forum. We could do a benchmaking study with our competitors. Why do we need top management to demand this or tell us this is what we should do?  We are the ones who have read the literature, looked at the case studies, know the examples.
 
We could conduct internal studies on “What we have learned from (you fill in the issue). We could invite in one of the success organizations that Murray talks about and hold peer assist meetings with them.  We could get their CEO to talk to our CEO.
 
We could be the source of the need for change.  We could be proactive, not reactive.  Steve says there is a lack of demand – well we could create that demand. Karen says “we can’t make the horse drink” – I say, are we as KM professionals, willing to take the initiative?

Nancy

Nancy M, Dixon
Common Knowledge Associates
www.commonknowledge.org
202 277 5839

"Ask better, learn more"





Allan Crawford
 

Nancy,

 

Very well said.

 

I like to think of this in terms that Clayton Christensen uses in his work on innovation.  He talks about continuous innovation and discontinuous or disruptive innovation.  Nancy, as you say, much of our past KM effort has been focused on lateral movement, which can lead to continuous innovation.  But what is it that KM can provide that will lead to discontinuous or disruptive innovation?  I do believe that what Nancy talks about in her post gets us headed in that direction.

 

I also believe that we can help our organizations paint a picture of the future that is based in today’s reality.  What do we know about today’s energy markets and energy efficiency…and what does that tell us about what needs to change?  What do we know about today’s military systems and what needs to change in light of current world realities and how those might play out over the next 15 to 20 years?  What do we know about how markets in developing countries are evolving and the implications for our economy and our products in the future?

 

As Nancy says below as KM professionals we have the capability to convene the conversation around these complex issues.  Do we also have the obligation, not just for the health of our companies, but for the future of our kids as well?

 

Allan Crawford

310-994-1619

 


From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Nancy Dixon
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:38 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Could KM have saved General Motors?

 

Allan, Karen, Stephen, Matt, Murray, Peter, 

All the work we, as KM professionals, have done with the lateral movement of knowledge has been excellent, I’ve no quarrel with that.  We needed to do that. It has greatly helped organizations. It was a great place to start. But we now need to address the strategic, not just horizontal knowledge issues.

 

Allan, you are right, the Army is a great example of KM working at the strategic level. The Army’s  KM’s efforts  started with AARs (lateral movement) and it has not abandoned that useful step, nor should we abandon lateral movement of knowledge.  CompanyCommand and the numerous communities that have followed that initial COP effort was also a great place to start, and has clearly made a difference.  There are many Army generals, like Petraeus that see the strategic value of KM. Remember before he left for Iraq, he spent time at Ft Leavenworth and was well aware of the good lateral work KM did through the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), AARs and the many communities.

 

The lateral movement of knowledge gets us improvement – often sorely needed improvement.  But lateral movement cannot help the organization address its most complex and difficult issues – the ones that cause companies like General Motors to fail or General Petraeus to succeed. 

 

As KM professionals we have the capability to convene the conversation around the complex issues our organizations are facing. We could call for an open space technology meeting on “Our Greatest Strategic Need” or hold a Future Search Conference on “Lesson from our Competitors.”  We could copy IBM with an Innovation Jazz on-line forum. We could do a benchmaking study with our competitors. Why do we need top management to demand this or tell us this is what we should do?  We are the ones who have read the literature, looked at the case studies, know the examples.

 

We could conduct internal studies on “What we have learned from (you fill in the issue). We could invite in one of the success organizations that Murray talks about and hold peer assist meetings with them.  We could get their CEO to talk to our CEO.

 

We could be the source of the need for change.  We could be proactive, not reactive.  Steve says there is a lack of demand – well we could create that demand. Karen says “we can’t make the horse drink” – I say, are we as KM professionals, willing to take the initiative?

 

Nancy

 

Nancy M, Dixon

Common Knowledge Associates

www.commonknowledge.org

202 277 5839

 

"Ask better, learn more"

 

 



 


Steve Denning
 


Karen <i2i@...>
 

All the discussions on this topic are excellent and thought-provoking ... For the record, I would like to respectfully correct your post:  (RE: Karen says "we can't make the horse drink" )– .........[I say, are we as KM professionals, willing to take the initiative?]

What I wrote was:
"More than half the battle is not just 'leading the 'horse' to water' BUT also- convincing the 'horse' the water is really 'fine wine'

When I was hired at the job I described it was only to be a research analyst. They also asked me about my ability to do our department's page/doc. library, etc. in the newly upgraded SharePoint site ... this is the opportunity I seized upon re: KM. The second was the creation of the wiki for publications.

At this particular company, it was a fiscally driven decision made by the very top (1 single person) dollars/cents. Thankfully my VP and other department members saw the need for KM which I was able to reinforce through my work. 

BTW: 
The Army's AKO site is a GREAT example of KM and Web 2.0. Anybody who has an AKO account or the ability to obtain one should check it out!!

Again, great discussion and input from all!
:-)
Karen



militaryhealthmatters.org
ke@...
http://militaryhealthmatters.org/blog


--- In sikmleaders@..., Nancy Dixon wrote:
>
> Allan, Karen, Stephen, Matt, Murray, Peter,
> All the work we, as KM professionals, have done with the lateral 
> movement of knowledge has been excellent, I've no quarrel with that.  
> We needed to do that. It has greatly helped organizations. It was a 
> great place to start. But we now need to address the strategic, not 
> just horizontal knowledge issues.
>
> Allan, you are right, the Army is a great example of KM working at 
> the strategic level. The Army's  KM's efforts  started with AARs 
> (lateral movement) and it has not abandoned that useful step, nor 
> should we abandon lateral movement of knowledge.  CompanyCommand and 
> the numerous communities that have followed that initial COP effort 
> was also a great place to start, and has clearly made a difference.  
> There are many Army generals, like Petraeus that see the strategic 
> value of KM. Remember before he left for Iraq, he spent time at Ft 
> Leavenworth and was well aware of the good lateral work KM did 
> through the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), AARs and the many 
> communities.
>
> The lateral movement of knowledge gets us improvement – often sorely 
> needed improvement.  But lateral movement cannot help the 
> organization address its most complex and difficult issues – the ones 
> that cause companies like General Motors to fail or General Petraeus 
> to succeed.
>
> As KM professionals we have the capability to convene the 
> conversation around the complex issues our organizations are facing. 
> We could call for an open space technology meeting on "Our Greatest 
> Strategic Need" or hold a Future Search Conference on "Lesson from 
> our Competitors."  We could copy IBM with an Innovation Jazz on-line 
> forum. We could do a benchmaking study with our competitors. Why do 
> we need top management to demand this or tell us this is what we 
> should do?  We are the ones who have read the literature, looked at 
> the case studies, know the examples.
>
> We could conduct internal studies on "What we have learned from (you 
> fill in the issue). We could invite in one of the success 
> organizations that Murray talks about and hold peer assist meetings 
> with them.  We could get their CEO to talk to our CEO.
>
> We could be the source of the need for change.  We could be 
> proactive, not reactive.  Steve says there is a lack of demand – well 
> we could create that demand. Karen says "we can't make the horse 
> drink" – I say, are we as KM professionals, willing to take the 
> initiative?
>
> Nancy
>
> Nancy M, Dixon
> Common Knowledge Associates
> www.commonknowledge.org
> 202 277 5839
>
> "Ask better, learn more"
>

--- In sikmleaders@..., Nancy Dixon >
> Allan, Karen, Stephen, Matt, Murray, Peter,
> All the work we, as KM professionals, have done with the lateral
> movement of knowledge has been excellent, I've no quarrel with that.
> We needed to do that. It has greatly helped organizations. It was a
> great place to start. But we now need to address the strategic, not
> just horizontal knowledge issues.
>
> Allan, you are right, the Army is a great example of KM working at
> the strategic level. The Army's KM's efforts started with AARs
> (lateral movement) and it has not abandoned that useful step, nor
> should we abandon lateral movement of knowledge. CompanyCommand and
> the numerous communities that have followed that initial COP effort
> was also a great place to start, and has clearly made a difference.
> There are many Army generals, like Petraeus that see the strategic
> value of KM. Remember before he left for Iraq, he spent time at Ft
> Leavenworth and was well aware of the good lateral work KM did
> through the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), AARs and the many
> communities.
>
> The lateral movement of knowledge gets us improvement – often sorely
> needed improvement. But lateral movement cannot help the
> organization address its most complex and difficult issues – the ones
> that cause companies like General Motors to fail or General Petraeus
> to succeed.
>
> As KM professionals we have the capability to convene the
> conversation around the complex issues our organizations are facing.
> We could call for an open space technology meeting on "Our Greatest
> Strategic Need" or hold a Future Search Conference on "Lesson from
> our Competitors." We could copy IBM with an Innovation Jazz on-line
> forum. We could do a benchmaking study with our competitors. Why do
> we need top management to demand this or tell us this is what we
> should do? We are the ones who have read the literature, looked at
> the case studies, know the examples.
>
> We could conduct internal studies on "What we have learned from (you
> fill in the issue). We could invite in one of the success
> organizations that Murray talks about and hold peer assist meetings
> with them. We could get their CEO to talk to our CEO.
>
> We could be the source of the need for change. We could be
> proactive, not reactive. Steve says there is a lack of demand – well
> we could create that demand. Karen says "we can't make the horse
> drink" – I say, are we as KM professionals, willing to take the
> initiative?
>
> Nancy
>
> Nancy M, Dixon
> Common Knowledge Associates
> www.commonknowledge.org
> 202 277 5839
>
> "Ask better, learn more"
>


Steven Wieneke <steve@...>
 

Allan,

This next topic/question must be the largest challenge for mankind - Is what I heard, what was really said? Is what I saw, what really exists? Is what I read, what was really written? Our experiences, our bias, our quickness to infer can prevent any of us from really understanding. GM absolutely implemented what they perceived to be true at Nummi - a different process. What they could not SEE (neither imagine nor comprehend) was beyond process and training. The Toyota employees, their work groups, believe they "own" their process, that they are responsible for the outcome of the process and that their deliverable and process can always be improved. Each team member is trained in all team roles to create a holistic, shared understanding and appreciation of entire process and affect on their deliverable. This work ethic is similar if not identical to those advocated by the Scanlan Plan. Many of the tools and techniques to enable real learning and knowledge transfer fall outside of KM, or do they?

Now I am back to my original point, an organization must be aware of its knowledge before the organization can appreciate the need to manage it. The organization must manage its own knowledge, not us. We can only teach them to "fish". They are the real knowledge managers, just like each Toyota employee.

Steve
From: "Allan Crawford" <allancrawford@...>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:35 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: RE: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

Steve,

 

Thanks for the response.

 

If I may I'd like to take this a little further and explore learning not just from within a company such as GM, but also learning from the competitors.and the role of KM.  Steve, I suspect that this goes beyond what you were doing, but as an insider I thought you might have some insights.

 

One of the things that I find interesting when I look at the automobile industry is how successful Toyota has been.and how willing they seem to have been to share their ideas and their processes with companies like GM.  Yet in spite of this willingness to share, and even to jointly operated the Nummi plant, our US car companies have struggled.  It would appear that they have had a difficult time applying what they were "seeing"

 

In light of this apparent "willingness to share" on the part of Toyota, and the "willingness to learn" on the part of the US automakers, one of the things that I struggle with as a KM person, is why our US automakers had such a hard time absorbing and applying the lessons (or Steve to use your word.the learnings) from Toyota. 

 

There is a great story in Gary Hamel's book, the Future of Management, that I think helps illustrate the point that the US car maker's struggled to understand what Toyota did to make themselves so successful, much less to apply it. In his book Hamel talks about a conversation that he had with some GM execs over dinner.  During the conversation one of the GM exec's said that they had just completed the 20th benchmark study of Toyota.  Hamel's response was "what did you learn from the 20th that you didn't know from the 17th (or the 15th, 10th or 5th).  The exec went on to explain, "during the first five we thought that the data were wrong.  Then during the next five we thought.it must be the Japanese culture.  Then they opened plants in the US and got the same results.  During the next five we thought it was their process.  So we adopted their processes. Then finally we figured out.they train their people."

 

So why did it take so long to figure this out?  One of the things that I suspect is that it's not just training, but it is also a culture of continuous innovation and looking into the future.looking beyond just what the customer wants today.  It would appear that Toyota does that very well.and the US companies struggle with it.  The US companies have cool design ideas (look at the EV1), but when it comes to implementation.they just build what the customer is asking for today.  As an aside.there is a great quote from Henry Ford about listening to the customer.  He said."if I had listened to my customer, I would have built a faster horse."

 

So with that as background, should there have been a role for KM in GM to look beyond the company.to help understand the lessons from companies like Toyota?  And to look into the future.  Not just to share what we know.but to leverage what we know in order to create some new?

 

Steve,,,and others..are there things that the rest of us can learn from you.to help us as we look outward from our companies though the KM lens?

 

Thanks,

 

Allan Crawford

310-994-1619

 


From: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Wieneke
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com; sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: re: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

Hello Allen,

Thanks for the question. Let me restate it again and then respond.

Question: Do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation [GM] end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

Background:  Before I answer your question, please understand that there is no centralized KM group or CKO at General Motors (GM). There was a KM group reporting directly to the CEO back in the early 80's, but apparently they did not bring sufficient value to the bottom line. In that same time period there was a group at R&D that was experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI). Both groups were disbanded.

More recently there were 4 or 5 distinct pockets of KM activities at GM. These activities were complimentary and not centrally coordinated. We did, on occasion, communicate with each other. The activity that I was involved with deliberately focused on enabling the documentation of product design practices - the physics of the product, not the process. This activity is thoroughly documented in a case study that spans a 6 year time period.

Answer: Now to answer your question. No! Yes to enterprise learning and knowledge awareness!

All organizations are inherently knowledge-based. The question is whether they realize it. If they are not aware of their own knowledge then it is likely not valued. If not valued, then why would it be managed? This is exactly why I advocate knowledge awareness over knowledge management. Knowledge awareness naturally leads to "managing" knowledge.

Knowledge Management is less about bringing knowledge to an enterprise and more about assisting a business in seeing the knowledge all around them. An organization's knowledge is held by their executives and employees, and embedded in their processes, products or services. Opportunities exist if an organization's collective knowledge is not already visible, valued, accurate, relevant, shared and really understood.

My recommendation for GM is to look at their own success in managing their product knowledge and apply those techniques and enablers across the entire enterprise not just Product Engineering - Voice of the Customer, Marketing, the Design Studios, Service, Metal Stamping, Assembly, Quality and Integration. Also stick to the fundamentals - understand what the customer really wants, then deliver the right vehicle, at the right time for the right price (where the manufacturing cost is less than selling price).

If I were to start all over again, I would (and do) advocate implementing an enterprise learning process which creates a sense of knowledge awareness by identifying existing knowledge assets (intellectual properties) and subject matter responsible individuals or teams. The learning process ensures that both lessons and learnings are "learned" by...

     1)    requiring a modification or addition to the existing knowledge assets and

     2)    ensuring the knowledge assets are repeatedly adopted and adapted by someone other than the initial learner.

In this context lessons are "things gone wrong and corrected" but the prevention is what needs to be captured. Learnings are "things gone right and valued for reuse." Learnings bring new knowledge into the organization's memory. The natural innovation that occurs in adapting what is known (requires a fundamental understanding of the topic) must be feedback into the organization's memory as well.

Thanks again for the question,

Steven Wieneke
President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427

 


From: "Allan Crawford" mindspring.com>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 5:06 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: SPAM-LOW: RE: [sikmleaders] New Venture

Steve,

 

Thanks for this notice.

 

With everything that is going on at GM today, it would be really interesting to get your perspective on.given what you know today.do you think that in retrospect there would have been anything that KM could have done to help the corporation end up in a different position that it has found itself today?

 

I suspect that lots of us would appreciate any advice that you may have that comes from your experiences.

 

Regards,

 

Allan Crawford

 


From: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of swkmleader
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:29 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [sikmleaders] New Venture

 

SIKM Members,


I would like to share with you a new venture I have undertaken. After providing internal KM consulting services to General Motors Corporation's Product Engineering since 1997, as a Global Technical Fellow, plus an additional 13 years as an automotive project and engineering manager, I have formed my own company, Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc. to provide the following services.


1.    A process to replace traditional lessons learned databases with a visible enterprise learning process so the "organization learns", 

 

2.     Insights and techniques for structuring product and process knowledge for capture, sharing and reuse within an organization,

 

3.     Insights and techniques to heighten an organization's awareness of the knowledge surrounding them and the value of that knowledge,

 

4.     Organizational Engineering analyses to potentially improve people-to-people communications, performance and teamwork through understanding each other's information processing preferences rather than trying to change them. 
 

The services are offered as group orientations and workshops, train-the-trainer sessions or individual coaching and mentoring.

I am currently collaborating with Emergent Systems which provides a knowledge management software application known as the Enterprise Engineering Knowledge System (E2ks). This software offers a variety of functions to easily capture, maintain and retrieve process or product knowledge and much more.


You may remember the presentations that I have made and another is planned in 2009 to the SIKMLeader community...

May 2007 - "KM Domain" - a knowledge modeling technique to diagram the KM space (co-presented with Karla Phlypo-Price)

 

July 2008 - "Replacing a Lessons Learned database with a Visible Learning Process", and

 

July 2009 - "Enterprise Learning and Knowledge Awareness" (planned)

A case study of the KM work I was involved in at General Motors is available in Tom Young's (Knoco) book, Knowledge Management for Services, Operations and Manufacturing, Chandos Publishing, Oxford, England, 2008, pp. 142 - 165, ("Adopting and Adapting Product Best Practices across General Motors Engineering Six Years Later",  Steven Wieneke, Technical Fellow, Global Engineering, General Motors Corporation)

I trust that many of the practical insights I have developed over several years of practicing knowledge management within a major automotive manufacturer can be of benefit to you. I am looking forward to continued participation in the SIKM community and assisting you or your organization in realizing and leveraging their knowledge assets.

For more information please contact:

Steven Wieneke

President
elka enterprise learning & knowledge awareness
a branch of Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.

www.elkawareness.com
steve@elkawareness.com
cell: 248.535.0427



Rick.Wallace@...
 
Edited

Steve

i am intrigued by your comments below because it highlights one of the
"findings" that are emerging from my dissertation research around KM,
organizational learning and sustaining innovation. It revolves around what
I characterize as "strategic intent" which is how what is going on fits
within the organizational context. In the Nummi example the "strategic
intent" I assume was a new process which they achieved. If/when the
experiment was couched as cultural change or employee ownership or however
you want to characterize the whole Monti of the Toyota way I would assert
that it would have never gotten off the ground because of the lack of
appreciation or interest or desire. The goals were just different and
clear to the senior leadership and for the most part achieved. The
innovation from their perspective was probably significant. From an
outsider it may have been less so but you have to take the perspective of
the insider. What is a small step to you may be a great leap forward for
them. Also, I am finding a significant need for change management wrapped
around the initiatives in order to "prep the battlefield" and really focus
on the difference in behaviors. Cheers

Rick Wallace | Chief Learning Officer | Schneider Electric, Critical Power
and Cooling Services Division
801 Corporate Centre Drive, O’Fallon, MO. 63368 USA | (Direct (.) +1 636
300 2300 ext 11641 | (Mobile È) +1-636-293-2684| *: Email:
mailto:rick.wallace@apcc.com