Saturday, September 18, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Do you ever the get the feeling that you are using the same phrase or discussion points again and again in reports, documents and blogs?

What about the feeling that you have a specific issue in a document somewhere on your computer, but can’t remember in which one and where?

If the above two questions ring true for you, then take the time to look at Blinkx. It's a free search engine that will simplify the task of writing reports and your other document and posts. It provides a fast and sophisticated search of local documents on your hard drive, your email, newsfeeds, weblogs, video clips and more.

According to the Blinkx website, it is not designed to replace current search engines like Google or Yahoo, but is a completely new way to use information on the internet. It has a slick little toolbar that floats in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and gives you immediate results from these different sources. It works with Google or with other search engines and is certainly growing rapidly.

See the recent article in July 15th Guardian on how this has been developed,3605,1260983,00.html

Since its low-key launch at the end of July, some 800,000 people have downloaded the technology. Hundreds of thousands more are probably using it after downloading Blinkx from other websites or from CDs cover-mounted on magazines.

Kathy Rittweger, Blinkx's founder feels that technology should take care of all the key words and be able to bring all the information to us before we ask; she says "This is about technology serving us."

My thanks go to David St Lawrence for his original link to Blinkx.

David writes: “From what I have seen so far, Blinkx may be the workaround which allows a writer to access all of his documents as if they were entered in a database. This gives me a huge advantage, because my filing is based on the notion that I need everything spread out where I can locate it easily. The hierarchical approach to filing has never worked for me because I relate things in so many different ways. There are probably more of these "internal/external" search engines coming along, but I will continue to investigate Blinkx until I have a fuller understanding of its capabilities.”

Why not try it out and post your comments here as to how useful it has been for you.

The POL Experience

Monday, September 06, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Well, that's done....both kids off to school this morning heralding the end of the summer holidays for 2004.

We have such strong memories of our school days given that they take up so much of our young lives, I especially want my two to have good memories so as to underpin the way they approach learning in the future, and in particular Lifelong Learning, for when they start their working lives as I know from my experience how important this is.

After a lively discussion, at dinner with friends last week, about the apparent failure of the British education system over the last 30 years and the emotional highs of this morning I find myself reflecting upon the work I am currently involved in (developing a scheme to help the unemployed in one small part of London to get jobs). Many of the applicants forms that I see make me think that perhaps they have long since forgotton the basics from their school days - if indeed they mastered them in the first place. This is all too apparent from the numbers that do not make the entry level grade in basic literacy and numeracy - a minimum requirement for many of the positions they want.

These job hopefuls however, can now get help with everything from pre-employment support and training in communication skills, assertiveness, interviewing etc., as well as the opportunity to refresh or re-learn their Key Skills to equip them with what they need to help them survive in business life.

How to get this message across to my two youngsters who have yet to realise the importance of school life - ah now that's a hard one. I picked up a nice quote from the presentation at my son's secondary school that emphasised the need to use what is being learned so as to avoid losing it - maybe this is where I can start.

"The great aim of education is not simply knowing, but taking action"
Herbert Spencer - 19th Century, theorist and educationalist

The POL Experience

Friday, August 06, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Phew! These last two weeks have been the amongst the most challenging this year. Today is the last day of my moderation at AOK STAR SERIES discussion forum (as mentioned in previous entry).

What a wonderfully rich discourse with some of the most influential KM practitioners and theorists in the business.

I cannot deny that I was a touch nervous about such an exchange, particularly as I mainly practice at an operational level with a variety of clients, the majority of which tend to be in the NHS. However the support I received from all of those who participated was very much appreciated.

Hey, I might have got a taste for this now and who knows, having hosted a similar discussion on KnowledgeBoard at the beginning of the year and now AOK, where next?

As part of my ongoing research into the interdependencies between KM and Organisational Learning and Development, I issued AOKers with a survey which will be collated, written up and then feature as an article the international Knowledge Management Journal

To participate in the survey send an e-mail to me at with AOK Survey in the subject line and I will forward a copy to you.

I am now off on for a well earned rest with my children to sunnier more after the 22nd August.

The POL Experience

Friday, July 30, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Well, the last few weeks have been really hectic leaving me little time to reflect.

Reflection forces us to take stock with regards our actions and check out the things that worked well and those that could be done differently next time (see post about reflective practice earlier on in this blog). We can review the recipe and consider similarities between approaches applied in different contexts. Not simply to imitate so-called 'best practice' but to also adapt 'good practice'; avoid 'worse practice' and create 'novel practice' from various scenarios.

It is also a way to stretch our thoughts - often referred to as 'thinking outside of the box'

With this in mind comes my current challenge, as a STAR SERIES MODERATOR on the international Knowledge Management discussion forum run by AOK Association of Knowledgework not to be confused with my other business venture KnowledgeWorx providing online KM tools for business.

I was invited to moderate (facilitate) an online discussion board for two weeks from 26th July to 6th August, by Jerry Ash, a highly intelligent (well he must be if he invited me) former US senator, recently commissioned to be a features editor for international Knowledge Management Journal published by the ARK group

My chosen topic for the two week period, Operational Knowledge Management (OKM), generating discussion as to the application of theoretical constructs and tools as well as providing examples of case studies of practical application of KM in various organisations and hopefully receiving same from AOK readers.

To participate in the discussion forum send an e-mail to Jerry at saying I sent you - and he will outline how you can come and join the party.

These two weeks (at the height of the summer holiday period) are likely to be the most challenging of the year so far, so wish me luck, come and join the discussion and help me to swim rather than sink..

Friday, June 18, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Wow, what a week I have had.

I have spent three days in the company of some of the most innovative and respected brains in the KM arena.

Names like Dave Snowden, Larry Prusak, Steve Denning)

1. Families, clans, tribes and hoards (you just had to be there!)
2. Self-organising teams
3. Social Network Analysis
4. Innovative behaviours
5. Social and Value-added networking
6. Order and un-order in complex environments
7. Coaching to transform KM performance
8. Storytelling for action
9. Use of narrative in mapping
10. Systemic interventions using constellations

On their own, these were more than worth the investment in time, add to that the continuing discussions over evening drinks that I was able to have with Dave, Steve, Marcus, Verna (thank you so much for signing your book) and David - then all in all a wonderfully stimulating knowledge-sharing experience.

Thank you all, and see you in Amsterdam 8th - 10th November 2004 at KM Europe 2004.

(For information about KM Europe 2004, click on sub title at top of this posting)

Now to apply this thinking to my current work projects....ah ha!

The POL Experience

Friday, May 21, 2004


The learning journey continues...

Just found this wonderful quote hidden away within a rather lengthy e-mail from a colleague who writes so beautifully and yet in such an intense and complex way that I find myself needing to devote more time and effort (than I currently can afford) to understand what he is actually saying.

When we meet up face to face I can see his eyes, I can hear the passion behind his beliefs and acknowledge his smile and enthusiasm - all of which develop my understanding. That and his patience with me which is never ending.

Whoops got carried away didn't I? Here is the quote, read it carefully:

"When you let go of trying to get more of what you don't really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have it expands"

He accredits this to Lynne Twist from The Hunger Project which, if you do nothing else today, you absolutely MUST take five minutes out to view as it puts into perspective what you are working on right now, at least it did for me. the way, my colleague with the intensive, visionary and complex thoughts is Chris, click on the sub title above to re-direct to his site and see for yourself.

The POL Experience

Monday, May 10, 2004


The learning journey continues...

I have just taught myself how to add a comments function to this blog...WOW!

For a non-tecky like me this has been quite a steep learning curve. The comment button will appear at the end of each posting so you can now respond to any of my ramblings on this blog, make a comment about my main website or even ask me a question, whichever you choose it will be great to hear from you.

Just click on comment below, enter your details and then type in the box provided and click OK, it's as easy as that! Then when you click on comments again, you can read these alongside the original text - cool!

The POL Experience

Monday, April 26, 2004


The learning journey continues...

As an active member of no less than 6 online discussion forums, the issue regarding the use of language and participation level across large diverse online communities begs further consideration. For me it raises the question as to how well we actually understand each other and highlights our ability (or lack of it) to clearly communicate what we are trying to say through such a limited vehicle.

Recently I find myself witnessing a rising number of these online forums falling fowl of many, if not all of the following:

• Poor, incomplete and duplicated communication
• Lack of responses and singular self-absorbed postings
• Use of complex and confusing language
• Cultural differences and interpretations
• Arrogant on-line behaviour.

Worth noting that two of the forums are American, one is European and three are UK-based, and all have at some time experienced the above.

You could argue that normal meetings produce the exact same problems and this is true, yet these online forums are established to develop better knowledge-sharing and communication opportunities and are totally dependent on voluntary contributions. What appears to be occurring, in some of these, is a decline in contributions and worse still one or two individuals ‘battling it out’ in full glare of other ‘lurkers’ who watch from the sidelines and wonder whether to get involved or not. Others just decide that it is not worth the investment in time or energy and adopt the ‘two feet principle’ and walk away.

An online community is not a community if its players don’t contribute!

I found a very astute and accurate comment about one such forum yesterday that is worth reproducing here as it hits the mark very well. Putting this comment into context, the forum it relates to is specifically about improving electronic communications and in particular relates to Language Engine (LE) technology that is designed to help adapt highly context specific language into a common vocabulary. Here is the comment:

“In the ‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’ the Babel fish sat in your ear and translated any language into your own. Your [forum] headline article highlights the proportion of projects that fail to deliver the expected benefits. I believe that the problems often stem from the sound bite language used to promote projects. For example, your article carries the following quote about the benefits of standard medical terminology: “to transparently standardise information against a consistent knowledge base to drive decision-support and outcomes-based analyses." The irony that I need my Babel fish to translate a statement about improving the use of language is not lost on me, and I can see the funny side. But how will I know whether the project has delivered if I don't really understand what it's all about?

Telling isn't it?

Why not go to the brilliant Plain English Campaign website, which is an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English, with more than 6000 registered supporters in 70 countries, it is worth a look!

REFLECTION AND LEARNING STOP: Ask someone you trust to feedback to you their impression about the way you communicate, are you clear and concise, is what you say understandable and more importantly, what does the way you communicate say about you? Only do this is if you are ready to hear what they say and take action upon what you learn!


The POL Experience

Sunday, April 18, 2004


The learning journey continues...

This summary is taken from a posting on one of my many online network sites and refers to an article called 'The New Leaders' by Tom Heuerman.

This offered much food for thought as I work through the development of a new short programme of leadership training…see what you think.

".... New principles to live by emerge for us. My principles serve as lenses to experience life through:

1. I can only control my own choices,
2. I believe in something greater than myself,
3. I live my deepest authenticity,
4. I am honest with myself about myself,
5. I share myself with another person,
6. I take action,
7. I choose a life of service,
8. I am aware of my impact on others,
9. I revere all living things,
10. I reflect on my actions,
11. I communicate with that which is greater than I,
12. I share my learning with others.

The reward of this hard work is a shift of thinking, understanding, feeling, being, and behaving that is internalized and endures. Then, for leaders, instead of relying on mindless, mechanical formulas for meaningless change, aware leaders will be in a position to utilize their wisdom, maturity, and judgment to do the appropriate thing, in the right way, at the right time, to fit the unique reality of their organization."

Just click on sub title of this post to read more from Tom Heuerman's online newsletter. It certainly makes you think about how this 'New Leader' would compare with the 'Old Leader' and what kind of changes might be needed at organisational level to accomodate this type of change?

Have a good week,

The POL Experience

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


The learning journey continues...

So much to do in just four days before Easter, see how I feel..

Saturday, April 03, 2004


The learning journey continues...

What a week of highs and lows this has been, to best represent my thoughts here are 20 little words...

1. Intensity
2. Huge demands
3. Online discussions
4. Information overload
5. Excitement
6. Scanner
7. New toy
8. Happy
9. Concerned
10.Joined up thinking
11.Varying interpretation
13.Thank you's
15.Work 90%/Life 10% balance
17.New contacts
18.Old friend
19.Ethical behaviour

Click on the sub title of this post to find out more about reflective practice.

The POL Experience

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


The learning journey continues...

I find myself spending more and more time online taking part in many different discussion boards and posting all around the world. This can take hours and hours, sitting in my kitchen office at home, whilst 'family' life goes on around me.

I enjoy meeting people and so what better way to travel around the world without leaving my home and family commitments, however, many of the people I meet when teaching or presenting have never tried this before. If you click on the sub title of this posting, you will get a link into one of the boards that I have been using a lot just lately.

KnowledgeBoard is a European KM Forum that has a wealth of exciting and thought-provoking discussions around Knowledge Management. Don't whatever you do be put off by some of the language, there are some passionate people who post there, but look beneath this and there is much to learn.

If you wish to let me know how you got on or wish to start to contribute to this blog as an invited guest member then mail me on:

The POL Experience

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Hello and welcome to this weblog. I am brand new to this blogosphere and the art of blogging itself and will be interested to see how it can help me and others who visit to better understand the journey of learning.

I work as an independent learning specialist and my workplace is The POL Experience