I recently did a dump of content from my PDA to my linkblog - things I'd been reading offline and not yet recorded in my 'Ideas Database' (aka my linkblog). One batch of links is from a single person, Bill Ives. So I thought I'd dump them into one R/WW post - more for my benefit than anything else.

All these links are from his Trends: KM/Portals category, which I read specifically for the posts on KM storytelling:

a) From Stories and Organizational Learning:

(quoting Steve Denning) "Storytelling doesn’t replace analytical thinking. It supplements it by enabling us to imagine new perspectives and new worlds, and is ideally suited to communicating change and stimulating innovation."

b) On KM success:

"I have found the key differentiator in KM success to be the quality of leadership and not the quality of KM solution design or technology. I have seen implementations with acceptable designs flourish under the right leadership and brilliant "next generation" KM designs flounder under poor leadership."

c) From History of KM Part 6: Digital Age Offers Scalability with New Possibilities for Dialogue. Bill finishes his excellent "History of KM" series (which I thoroughly enjoyed reading) with this sentence:

"Now blogs have entered the picture to make content more personal."

What an excellent way to conclude a history of KM - it's saying that we're in the middle of making history right now, with blogging.

d) Another series of posts I enjoyed was "Storytelling and Knowledge Management" - another 6-parter. In Part 4, Documenting and Sharing Organizational Knowledge, Bill says:

"To make knowledge collection and knowledge sharing more effective, one must go beyond simply abstracting documents from explicit knowledge sources. It is necessary to provide a story of the document."

Which again, is where blogs come in according to Bill.

e) In Part 5, Enhancing Learning, Bill explains the benefits of stories as a learning device:

"The story contains much more than a series of basic procedural steps. It can contain the rationale, the strategy and the cultural values implicit within the actions taken by the story teller."

f) In a later series called "KM Stories", Bill writes about specific case studies. In Part Two he says:

"For knowledge management to be successful, IT, HR, and the business units need to work together to achieve success."

g) In his postscript to that series, Bill lists the factors for successful KM projects. I won't re-list them all here, but suffice to say (for me) that the first two are people-related factors:

"Gain and Enlist Top Down Support to Overcome Turf Issues

Provide Strong Leadership for the Knowledge Function"

I suspect that's why KM projects are so wont to fail. When you require the support of lots of different people and a strong leader, well that's Politics - not technology. And we all know how contentious politics can be!

Thanks to Bill Ives for writing so much valuable content on the subject of KM and storytelling. I hope to read more soon.