Jon's session was very hands-on, group activity based so I don't really have notes. This will be from memory.
Jon's thesis is that it is much easier to get a KM initiative funded if you focus on the benefits of your work rather than the approaches used or the specifics of the technology or situation. He recommends to focus on the pain and outline the golden future without that pain. This resonated for me with the Geoffrey Moore 'Leaky Pipes' stuff I was thinking about a little while ago.
What he then did was to outline a situation in a major corporation with an aproximately $9bn turnover. They had moved from a situation of being very country focused with 30 brands in each country to a single set of brands across all countries. Bringing everything together like this created a somewhat chaotic situation in their IT systems. One example might be HR people inputting data on a tuesday which would be required for a payroll run on a monday.
Jon's challenge to us was to come up with a 5 minute or less pitch to the CEO of this company to persude him to fund an initiative addressing this problem. He further came up with a list of banned phrases including all the usual suspects like knowledge, collaboration, communities of practice, solution, forums, etc…
We split into 3 groups with about 20 minutes to discuss our proposals. I must admit that, at this point, I was highly skeptical of the exercise. It just seemed a ridiculous thing to expect us to do this in 20 minutes. However we discussed it and came up with something we hoped was short, punchy and to the point.
I think we were close, we delivered a 44 second pitch, but we did spend some time restating the problem. Another group were closer than us and got within a hairs breadth of the real solution (since this was a real case study) which was:
- We'll deliver the right information, first time, every time.
Now that's a real elevator pitch!
I guess somewhere around here I was having an “ah ha!” moment that made this a very worthwhile experience for me. If a business is going to be investing in KM it has to be on the basis of meaningful results. I realised that over the last year I have drifted away from that too far. When the inner workings are fascinating to you it can be hard to realise that others don't share your opinion.
It's been quite a thought provoking experience.