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In Search of Sustainability Act-km Conference 2003 28-10-03 Neill Allan

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Presentation on theme: "In Search of Sustainability Act-km Conference 2003 28-10-03 Neill Allan"— Presentation transcript:

1 In Search of Sustainability Act-km Conference Neill Allan

2 Joined up Government “The whole idea of drawing up and piloting the new proposal hand in hand with the staff who will be using it is to ensure that the system delivers what staff really want, as opposed to what someone who doesn’t do their job thinks they want…” (“Knowledge Network – Joining up government, joining to citizens” UK Cabinet Office, December 1999)

3 Supporting Sustainability Sustainability is a complex goal requiring us to resolve many dilemmas arising from differing values and perceptions Integrating social, economic and environmental sustainability puts great pressure on cooperative working between ministries, public sector agencies, social and ethnic groups, and NGOs If policy is to reflect accumulated wisdom, systems, then social networks (formal and informal structures) and competencies must reflect that need If stakeholders are to be engaged and motivated to act relevant competencies and methodologies must be developed Management of knowledge in this area will be about these issues

4 The Strategic Imperative  Reduce wasted time, money and other resources  Reduce learning curve right down and remove unnecessary mistakes  Reduce risk  Replace outdated paradigms  When every decision, at every level, is made in the light of the full knowledge base of the organizations

5 Striving for meaning Embrained knowledge Imagination Relevance Incoming Information

6 Common steps to useable understanding Look for recognised categorization If not found look for recognised patterns If lacking or confusing look for a hypothesis Test hypothesis Refine or reject hypothesis Draw conclusions on meaning and implications

7 What is knowledge & how do we use it? Data Information Understanding Relevance Knowledge Utilisation © n.allan Flight AZ240. Arrival time 7:40 a.m. I’m booked on AZ240 & it’s 60 minutes late It might make up the time but it probably won’t I’ll be late for the meeting It happened before & we the airport or I may be able to fly BA instead I’ll call John and ask him to come or tell him my new flight arrangements

8 The Voluntary Nature of Knowledge Knowledge can only be volunteered, not conscripted We always know more than we can tell, and tell more than we can write down We only know what we know when we need to know it David Snowden

9 Information and Knowledge systems Information systems key features –Awareness of the presence of the information –Relevance –Usability Knowledge –A culture in which information is converted to value- producing utilisation –A culture in which individuals wish to volunteer and exchange their knowledge and that it will be valued

10 Complex adaptive systems Complicated –Assembling an aircraft Complex –Snowflakes, fractal patterns Complex adaptive systems –Composed of many living individuals –Forests, a flu epidemic, Human organization –Consequences –Emergent events –Management of uncertainty

11 What is Dilemma Views taken about resolving a problem or creating a policy involving seemingly opposing values. “The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function” F.Scott Fitzgerald Cars –We want them to be high performing but safe –Economic on fuel but accelerate fast –Compact yet roomy Computers –Complex and multifunctional yet user friendly Countryside –Tranquil and natural yet available for quad bikes and shooting

12 Effects to bear in mind What is true of finished products is true also of processes, strategies and policies Values working together make the organization more powerful. Unresolved conflicts tend to diminish individual and group energies. Reconciling values leads to better products and services. We need to create synergy from the poles of the dilemma

13 The Prisoner’s Dilemma An opportunity to revisit emotions that underpin management of dilemma w

14 Some Governance Issues Closed. Financial Reporting Physical & Financial Capital Tangible owned assets Exclusive governance One-way passive communication Opponents Rights Plans Responsibility to point of output Open Triple Bottom Line reporting Economic, human, social, natural capital Intangible borrowed assets Inclusive governance Multi-way active communication Complementors Responsibilities Scenarios Stewardship throughout life- cycle

15 Macro and Micro management Macro management –Management of culture and subcultures Trust –Provision of supporting tools and systems –Support for learning processes Including development of informal networks Micro management –Trust –Permissions and Expectations –Identity –Maximizing on the diversity of Traits –Social interactions

16 Some useful competencies High Emotional Intelligence –To recognise and respond to diversity in individuals and group, supporting champions and managing laggards Competent use of narrative and dialogue –To reap the benefits that narrative gives in effectively communicating complex subtext and values –To gain the objectivity in expressing experiences and perspectives that dialogue skills bring to the surface Good change management skills –To manage the processes, –To mentor and coach the emotions involved in the changes

17 Some key general learning points Knowledge is the root of organisational value and the competitive differentiator Understanding how information and knowledge link on the route to gaining value from utilisation Knowledge is both a thing and a flow Knowledge is systemic and whilst cause/effect approaches may prove useful, systems management approaches are more valid Knowledge is key to the management of risk and choice. Perceptions of risk adversity creates boundaries to imagination and discussion Knowledge is volunteered not conscripted, so trust, reputation enhancement and valuing diversity increase knowledge flows

18 For Implementing Sustainability The breadth of knowledge across complex maps of cross- linkages between government bodies, other organisations and citizens requires competencies to create the motivation and action that will, in turn, be dependent on levels of understanding and meaning generated This and the inherent dilemmas will make it very susceptible to the positive and negative properties of complex adaptive systems and their management Knowledge management provides the methodologies and programmes to grow these competencies and yield value


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