Mar 20

Talk and Resources on Knowledge Auditing

Thanks to Stan Garfield for putting together this SIKM Leaders call yesterday and all the supporting links and resources. Follow the link for the slides, the audio recording, and some helpful background links. Visit the post here.

Oct 05

Knowledge Manager Lifespans Getting Longer?

In 2008 I ran a global survey on knowledge manager professional development and experience. It found that only 29% of knowledge managers had been in their role for more than 4 years, and only 25% were confident of moving on to another KM role. The average “lifespan” among respondents was something like 2.5 years.

Nick Milton recently surveyed his KM contacts on LinkedIn and found that knowledge managers average lifespan seems to last about 6 years – which shows progress! About 60% will survive beyond 4 years, double my figure a decade ago. However, only about 25% of his subjects are likely to have had a longish (8+ years) career in KM. Progress, but slow progress!

Aug 03

Synaptica’s Vivs Long-Ferguson Interviews Patrick Lambe


Jul 26

Method Knowledge

One of the knowledge types we take pains to highlight during a knowledge mapping exercise is method knowledge - the type of knowledge that a team builds up over time and that which makes them effective. It is knowledge that is seldom captured because people are either unaware of how valuable that knowledge is, or they do not see capturing it as a priority. 


Apr 20

Taxonomy and Search Patterns for Search and Discovery


So you have built and implemented a taxonomy but search is still not returning the desired results. What do you do?

Taxonomy alone is limited in what it can do. Search alone is also limited. Together, they become much smarter. If taxonomy and search are integrated, they can be very powerful and vastly improve the user experience.

In this article, inspired by the work of Callender, Morville and Nichani (see references in the paper) Patrick outlines 10 search patterns that taxonomy and metadata can support. He lists their benefits, dependencies, potential applications, and illustrates them with real life examples.

Taxonomy and Search Patterns v3.pdf

Feb 26

Rapid KM Assessment - a video introduction

Late last year we released our 1-day Rapid KM Assessment workshop, for organisations who want to figure out quickly where they stand in KM and in which direction they could proceed. The videos below give an overview of the workshop.


Rapid KM Assessment Part 1
Rapid KM Assessment Part 2

We’ll be happy to hear what you think.

Sep 12

The Magic Taxonomy Consultant

Rant Alert:

Today seems like the umpteenth time this year that I’ve seen a spec for a taxonomy/metadata project that assumes you can just hire a consultant to look at your existing taxonomy/metadata model and critique and refine it, without any provision for analysis of business and user needs. It’s been getting so bad, that we at ISKO Singapore even ran a special workshop on that problem among others.

Then the nice people at Taxonomy Bootcamp wrote me an email suggesting I answer one of three questions to help promote my session there this November. Question 3 was: What’s the secret to getting buy-in and funding for taxonomy projects or to expand their use in the organization?

Here’s my reply:
There is no secret, it should be blindingly obvious, but it is often ignored. Buy-in and funding (and subsequent support and use) flow directly from the taxonomy and metadata work being USEFUL. (1) It needs to be useful to the people who are supposed to be using the taxonomy either directly within a browsing/tagging interface, or indirectly through such tools as search and auto-classification. It needs to help them do their work. (2) It needs to be useful to the host organisation in supporting and furthering its mission and goals.

There is a widespread misconception that taxonomy design is a task for a technical expert who can look at a body of content and design a perfect taxonomy for it, or can critique an existing taxonomy without reference to business and user needs. If you can’t get your feet dirty in the guts of the organisation, you can’t design or refine a taxonomy that will be useful. If you can, then you’ll find you have all the buy-in and adoption you need. If you are scoping a taxonomy project, PLEASE don’t forget to scope in the work required for analysing business and user needs!

//End of rant.

Sep 06

Straits Knowledge Bulletin August 2017

Here’s the link to our August issue of the Straits Knowledge Bulletin. Lots of good stuff on upcoming events, knowledge audits, KM Assessments, and a book review!

Aug 30

Is a Happy Worker a Productive Worker?

I network with a lot of people as part of scraping together a living, and they tend to mainly come from the HR and IT spaces. These numerous conversations only go towards reinforcing my original theme around the need for rebranding KM…

What is becoming clearer and clearer is that the larger classical developed western organisational world of working (with my sincere apologies to those immediately feeling excluded when they may not be working in this arena – but hopefully you will still learn something from reading on) is going through a massive transformation which they have very little control over (or sometimes proper understanding of): this transformation, triggered by huge advances in technology is having large ripple-effects on how we work, literally and figuratively speaking. This covers everything from our physical working environment (transitioning from permanent office fixtures to more hot-spotting / remote-working) to team members (from fixed functional organisational set-ups to more dynamic and agile mixed project-based specialist teaming) to technologies (multiple applications providing similar solutions which are constantly evolving while personal interactions with devices is rapidly-evolving whereby daily use of augmented reality (AR) and voice activation (VA), amongst other disruptors, is not so far-fetched anymore)… Taking all this change into account and how it impacts on anyone who still needs to deliver on daily work is a difficult – and usually negative conversation.

Gallup tracks this fascinating employee engagement perspective which opens up some frankly scary reading (scary for employers, that is; their findings make ready sense for those who have experienced classical western organisational environments); they suggest around 85% of the global workforce is not engaged in their work! Obviously the reasons amongst these are very widespread – and while some of these cannot be ‘fixed’ per se by the employer, there are certainly ways and means which can help enhance and reduce these at a team and individual level (organisationally, this is a different beast). But it doesn’t have to be this way!

My belief is that we need to (re-)focus on the human intellectual component when it comes to daily work: this means looking at how we as individuals work. The emotional and conscientious connection which a worker makes with his or her work can only really be enabled when that person is properly intellectually engaged (which then enables mental, emotional, sensory and physical engagement) – something which takes a combination of interventions. Funny enough, most of these interventions borrow from the suite of Knowledge Management practices!

I’m talking about looking at how one works by adopting the four key pillars as with KM: we look at people, content, processes (and equipment), and technologies as key influencers – and disruptors. This means then putting on an ‘intellectual’ lens when examining how these four key factors impact on how one carries out his or her work: examining these through this lens will not only immediately understand how the individual is approaching and executing his or her task, but also helps raise awareness at the supervisor / manager level around what facilitates this exercise, what current distractions are apparent, and what can potentially help overcome or avoid these disruptions. Adopting this mindset not only shines light on more effective ways of working (= innovation?), but then opens up the up-/down-/sideways-reporting components which enables greater flow of understanding and communication – effectively allowing for better knowledge-sharing. I will go into more detail around each of these four components and interventions in my next postings – but I have seen this approach work (without having recognised it for what it was at the time). And this was accomplished while not having waving the ‘KM’ hat, but rather in adopting an operational improvement approach with a focus on the worker’s individual needs and challenges! Simplistic? Perhaps. Call me naïve and a throw-back, but at the end of the day, I still do believe in that old mantra: a happy worker is a productive worker… and which worker is not more happy than when intellectually engaged?

Aug 01

ISKO Singapore Events and Resources

ISKO Singapore continues to run its monthly series of events around topics in knowledge organisation and knowledge management – some nice events coming up:


August 8th-9th ISKO Singapore is supporting the Asia Pacific KM Summit which will take place in Yogyakarta and has some great speakers, including David Gurteen, Nick Milton, and our own Gopinathan R. ISKO members are eligible for a 10% discount on the conference fees.

August 25th ISKO Singapore will be conducting a half day workshop on how to avoid poor implementation in taxonomy and search projects. The facilitators will be Patrick Lambe, KK Lim and Maish Nichani. Free to ISKO members, $20 contribution for non-members. More details at

September 21st ISKO Singapore is delighted to be hosting Larry Prusak and former NASA CKO Ed Hoffman for a talk on the past and future of knowledge management. Free to members and $20 contribution for non-members.

October 23-25th ISKO Singapore is collaborating with ISKO India to organise an “Innovations in Knowledge Organisation” Day as part of the KOIM Conference in Chennai (IKO Chennai).

November 23rd ISKO Singapore is organising a one-day Masterclass in implementing the new ISO KM Standard, conducted by Paul Corney, a member of the British Standards Institute, and who helped to develop the standard. This Masterclass is $280 for ISKO members, and $350 for non-members. Registration includes a copy of Paul’s new book: “Navigating the Minefield: A Practical KMCompanion”.

November 24th ISKO Singapore will hold its 2017 AGM and Exco election. Paul Corney will give a talk on “Working with Consultants: How to Ensure Two-Way Capability and Knowledge Transfer”. Free to members, $20 contribution for non-members.


The archive of materials from past ISKO Singapore events is now quite rich and freely available – with slides, briefing papers and videos of presentations. Here’s a taste of the topics from the past 18 months:

July 21 2017, Singapore
What Does it Take to Transfer Expertise? – Gary Klein

June 30 2017, Singapore
Knowledge Management in Frameworks and Standards – KK Lim, Praba Nair, Ron Young

May 26 2017, Singapore
Governance for knowledge management and knowledge organisation – Panel with Kan Siew Ning, Eileen Tan, Paolina Martin, Joseph Busch, Matt Moore, Marita Keenan

‚ÄčApril 21 2017, Singapore
Predicting Crowds on Public Transport – Marianne Winslett and Zhenjie Zhang

February 24 2017, Singapore
Behind the Black Box of Search: Risk, Findability and Discovery – Patrick Lambe and Maish Nichani

January 20 2017, Singapore
Building the NASA taxonomy – Joseph Busch

October 7 2016, Singapore
Site Visit to SMU – talk on “Building a Successful Institutional Repository” – Yeo Pin Pin

September 2 2016, Singapore
Telling Stories with Data – Maish Nichani

August 19 2016, Singapore
Site Visit to SPH Information Resource Centre – Idris Rashid

July 20 2016, Singapore
Agnes Molnar and Maish Nichani – IKO Workshop – Getting Started in Search
Tom Reamy – IKO Workshop – Getting Started in Text Analytics

May 25 2016, Singapore
Douglas Oard: Search Among Secrets

May 13 2016, Singapore
Cor Beetsma, Praba Nair and Gopinathan R: Getting and Sustaining Buy In for KM/KO Projects

April 15 2016, Singapore
Neo Kim Hai: The Singapore Power KM Experience

March 11 2016, Singapore
Matt Moore, Chris Khoo and Leong Mun Kew: Reporting on the Knowledge Organisation Competencies Survey

February 12 2016, Singapore
Mary Abraham: Unlock your Social Capital

January 15 2016, Singapore
Maish Nichani: Planning for Enterprise Search

November 27 2015, Singapore
Patrick Lambe: Planning a Knowledge Portal

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