August 31, 2011

1878 Knowledge Economy Alive in Glasgow

It’s very tempting to think that the knowledge economy is something new, its not!

If you happen to visit the Riverside Museum in Glasgow you will see an exhibit that illustrates how in 1878, Glasgow was engage in the knowledge economy with Japan. Not next door neighbour England or even one of its European neighbours, but a country the other side of the planet. And it was 1878, more than two hundred years ago.

Japan wanted to import knowledge so two engineers, Henry Dyer and Robert Henry Smith who were working in Tokyo at the time arranged for the knowledge to be transferred to the Japanese. Some 20 Scottish companies were involved in the transfer of their knowledge to the Japanese as part of this knowledge exchange.

In recognition of the extremely high value of the knowledge that was being sharing, they were rewarded with the most precious material available at that time to the Japanese; ceramics. Some 31 crates packed with Japanese art were sent from Yokohama to Glasgow. If you happen to visit Glasgow at some time in the future you will discover that they have perhaps the world’s premier collection of Japanese art outside Japan.

The 1878 exchange of knowledge lead in the 1890’s to the famous ‘Glasgow Boys’ artists, George Henry and Edward Hornel travelling to Japan to paint Japan and it’s people.

So the next time you hear a politician speak about the knowledge economy as if it was some bright new concept, just remind him that the boys from Glasgow were there over two hundred years ago in 1878. Done it, got the tee shirt as they say in some parts of the world.




Knoco Ltd

August 22, 2011

Value Add To The Organisation

We are constantly trying to find new ways of sharing our knowledge with others. This is the latest example which give a good overview of knowledge management and the value that it adds to the organisation. For further free resources visit Knoco.


Knoco Ltd

August 17, 2011

Managing Your Old Knowledge

Just in case it slipped your memory, yesterday, 16th August was the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Why do I mention it? Well I found myself reflecting on how the world has changed since I heard the news that Elvis was dead.

There is an urban myth that anyone of my generation in USA or Europe can tell you were they were when they heard that Elvis had died. I heard it on a short wave radio that was struggling to bring in the BBC World Service to the camp in which I was based in the Empty Quarter of the Saudi Arabia desert. Being engineers we all had our favourite trick for improving the reception; one guy said reception was always best when you blew cigar smoke at the receiver while another was convinced that if you stood a bowl of water next to the receiver that improved the reception!

In those days you communicated with friends and family via blue airmail paper / envelopes. It’s hard to imagine in these days of Twitter and Facebook that we would write out our letter with a pen (yes a real pen on real paper), give it to the dispatcher who would put it onto the plane when it landed on its weekly supply run to the camp. Weeks later, yes, weeks later you would get a reply. If you were unlucky letter would get out of synch and you would open the letter hoping to find the answer to something only to read about something totally unconnected.

It’s also interesting to reflect on how my knowledge needs have changed since then and also what I now longer need to know. In those days the critical knowledge was how to survive in desert conditions where it would be extremely hot in the day and freezing cold at night. Each day we ‘must take your salt tablet’, it as a religion, you just wouldn’t not take your daily salt tablet. Everyone took them. Now the advice is not to take them unless individually due to your own needs your doctor prescribes them. We took them by the handful!

Surviving in the desert isn’t my key knowledge need currently, indeed as I write this the West Coast of Scotland has had it’s normally August rainfall in just two days. It’s wet!

Sometimes you need to realise that the knowledge that was so vital isn’t needed anymore but that doesn’t mean you should just assume you will remember it if you ever need it again or even worse do nothing, just assume that everything will be ok. Have a clear strategy on how you are going to handle ‘old knowledge’, you never know you might need some or all of it at some time in the future.

Knoco Ltd

August 5, 2011

Knoco Global KM Reach

I took great delight in signing the licence agreement this week to bring another company into the Knoco franchise family. Our family has grown over the years and we now have franchise companies across the globe. This allows us to deliver the Knoco methodology with a local flavour. The diversity of backgrounds of the people and their experience in knowledge management is impressive. As well as serving their local market it also gives them the opportunity to work on KM projects in other parts of the world. This year we have seen someone from Canada working on a project in Abu Dhabi and someone from Indonesia working on a project in Saudi Arabia.

I look forward to other companies joining the Knoco family and the opportunities that it will lead to.

Knoco Ltd

August 1, 2011

Smartphone’s Can’t Swim

With all the poise and style of an Olympic high diver my Smartphone leapt from my shirt pocket towards the water below. If it had been a movie or a scene from CSI you would have seen it drop in slow motion, then the camera would pan to my face to get a shot of my eyes bulging out in horror and my mouth wide open as I screamed “Nooooooooooooo”. Next there would be a slow motion shot as it broke the surface of the water and then the waves rippling out from the point of impact.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, the camera was there and my Smartphone in the blink of any eye travelled the distance from my shirt pocket to the water below.

As soon as I had recovered from the shock I grabbed the Smartphone from the water and removed the cover, the battery and then the SIM card. I dried it with paper towels but it looked terminal.

I let the components dry out at 22 deg C for 24 hours, then installed the SIM card and battery. I then connected the power charger to the mains, switched the mains power on but didn’t switch the Smartphone on at that stage. I left it like that for an hour and then switched the Smartphone on. I let it boot up, shut down and repeated that cycle three times and believe it or not, the Smartphone survived.

I have since learned that if you can immerse your Smartphone in rice it will absorb the moisture or if you are near a Radio Shack they sell a pack to dry out your Smartphone (guess Smartphone getting dropped into the water must be more common than I expected!).

Having restored the Smartphone to life I was shocked to discover three days later that my netbook had gone on strike. The folks at NUNO (National Union of Netbook Operators) decided that my netbook should come out on strike in sympathy with the emotional trauma that my Smartphone had suffered. For no reason that I can understand the blue screen of death appeared on my netbook along with the message ‘files missing’. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t routinely carry the installation discs for my netbook with me on vacation (did I forget to mention that all this happened while I was on vacation) so I was stuffed. I later discovered that it would have made no difference as essentially the netbook was dead.

What have I learned? If you go on vacation, leave the technology behind!

Knoco Ltd