Saturday, 29 May 2010

Lessons to be learned at the Department for Education

For those looking for an example of poor information management practice, how about the Department for Education's announcement about the closure of QCDA?

The first thing you might notice is the poorly formed URL, one which surely won't survive any future changes in the content management system.

Then you might realise that the PDF has been published with no metadata. In addition, it has been scanned but not OCR'ed so cannot be indexed by Google.

So much for the principles of open linked data!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Knowledge management and creativity

Gary Hamel, the author of Competing for the Future (and co-creator of core competencies) is featured on the BBC's World of Business podcast this week. In his wide ranging conversation with Peter Day, Hamel suggests that organisations can 'buy knowledge' relatively easily these days and that they need to focus more on how they can attract and support the creative individuals that can give them a competitive edge.

Interestingly enough, in June we are publishing an article by Sara Smith and Scott Paquette that discusses the connection between knowledge management, chaos theory and organisational creativity and innovation. The article looks at how Pixar and Google support creativity, knowledge creation and innovation.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Information overload

In the e-world (and the physical world) information overload is a a challenge all but the incredibly well organised and technically literate can find difficult to overcome. Acknowledging that we don't have to read everything we are sent helps. Refining the way we organise the stuff that we really will want to get back to is a great aid to productivity.

Alexandra Samuel's Harvard Business Review blog entry alerted us to Evernote as an example of a tool designed to help people with their personal information management challenges. Tools that help us create a searchable list of items and people that we don't want to forget and (more importantly for those of us with failing memories!) can help us remember the context in which we first met them) are an interesting development.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Contact synching - that sinking feeling

Alexandra Samuel blogs entertainingly for the Harvard Business Review on information and social media issues. In her quest for a 'master rolodex' she wonders why it is so difficult to synchronise her contacts and discovers that, as with so many things, it's simple (to request), but it ain't easy (to deliver!).

She speaks to Joseph Smarr, who moved from Plaxo to Google where he focuses on the social web. Smarr outlines the technological challenges, but urges consumers to pressure companies for change to make their data work and link how they want. When discussing Buzz, Smarr acknowledges that some people responded with surprise and dismay. In February 2010, Phil Bradley blogged that Google had failed to understand that a good social media product should be designed first and foremost to make the user's life easier and that Buzz was a failure in this respect. Only six weeks later, he reports how interest in Buzz has fallen sharply and that he is continuing to rely on tried, tested and trusted Facebook and Twitter.

And the wait for a synching tool continues.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Tools for social engagement

Sarah Hammond is the founder of, an organisation that seeks to facilitate communication between the police and the public. In a Guardian interview , Hammond suggests that a key challenge for the UK police force is 'getting' social media and appreciating how it can be used to engage positively with the public. It's another example of large organisations failing to comprehend the power of new communication tools.

It will be interesting to see how Hammond's vision of 'consumer-focused data' is realised and how MyPolice collaborates with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Contabulary to generate useful, consumer friendly, information.