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What can we learn from the technology and business? The Wednesday Keynote

Jane Dysart and Jean-Claude Monney

Jane Dysart and Jean-Claude Monney

The world’s most precious renewable resource is knowledge, and librarians are key actors in its value chain; you are brokers, curators, and managers. The world has become a giant knowledge network. Almost half of knowledge is now on the internet. Jean-Claude Monney, Global Knowledge Management Lead at Microsoft and the Wedesday keynote speaker, gave IL 2015 attendees a fascinating view of the world of knowledge management. He said that knowledge discovery and collaboration are the best approaches to solving complex problems. We need to encourage knowledge sharing and reuse. Managing knowledge is critical for companies and nations to build sustainable value creation. There used to be no courses on knowledge, but now we can easily fine them.

With 21,000 employees, Microsoft Services is the largest division of Microsoft. It serves 75% of the Fortune 1,000 companies in 191 countries, whose employees speak 46 different languages. Its mission is to help enterprise customers achieve more in a mobile-first cloud-first world. Digital is impacting everything we are doing. The digital shift has occurred; we do not think of the device but the modality of the human experience, so machine learning can now be a reality.

Key knowledge value creation drivers include driving innovation; increasing productivity, predictability and quality; readiness to cope with faster release cycles; and management of knowledge retention. Sharing and reuse of collective knowledge toward value creation helps to connect tacit and explicit knowledge. Microsoft’s knowledge transfer strategy proceeds from collaboration, capture, codification, and cultivation to championing, consuming, and back to collaboration. The strategy addresses communities of practice, the knowledge collaboration culture, and collective knowledge assets, processes, and tools. Knowledge has a currency, so you can put a value on it and you can grow it. You can’t search for knowledge you don’t know exists, so you must champion it. The internet is all about projects, so we sell knowledge and do projects.

How can we have the information to do our work at our fingertips? Knowledge management brings us the tricks for that. We need to manage knowledge and provide for its retention because 40% of the workforce will retire in the next few years. What will we do in our enterprises? People need more skills; if you don’t have a way to capture knowledge, you will lose it.

Innovation is the reuse of ideas, not invention. The more you reuse an idea, the more you innovate. For example when a smartphone or digital camera is rotated, the image on the screen also rotates because of a motion sensor in the device. One might think that the rotation is a good invention, but it is an innovative use of the motion sensor, which was the original invention.

Productivity is important to drive the enterprise. Email is very widespread and widely used, but because of its ubiquity and the volume of email messages many of us receive, it is decreasing productivity. We need a new trick to increase productivity because we live in an accelerating world.

Key drivers for digital shift and knowledge are the user experience (UX) and machine learning. We are typically over optimistic about UX advances in the next 10 years but overly pessimistic about progress in the next year. A good book on user experiences and knowledge navigation is Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buston (Morgan Kaumann, 2007).

When we talk about discoverability, most people think search, but discovery also includes browsing and pushing of information. Social and personal networks, a company library, and corporate networks are also effective. The average number of search words in a query is about 1.4. Many people don’t get good results and won’t filter their results, so they abandon the search if they don’t see relevant results on the first page. We use digital technology to push knowledge in context and use information to find out what relevant knowledge is good for you. The search system is a part of the equation, then you go to people and tap into their expertise. Being part of a community is caring about each other. It is in our fiber to help others, which shows in business. When you get knowledge offered you must find out if it is relevant and can be trusted. So we have the concept of a knowledge pedigree. By leveraging the existing core competencies of librarians and by embracing the digital shift, libraries and librarians are emerging to create value.

New systems are being developed that know telemetry of everything I share with you, and learn about my interests (but respect my privacy and security) to create my knowledge library using a folksonomy. You can find people with the same interests and share knowledge with them.

During his presentation, Monney showed several video clips illustrating applications of some of the concepts he discussed:

  • GigJam is a system for finding, filtering, and sharing information.
  • Augmented reality will transform our lives–the way we work, collaborate, etc. and will introduce a new world how we use and share and reuse knowledge.
  • In addressing the world’s collective knowledge, we can use technology to facilitate language translation. When knowledge is presented in one’s mother tongue, access and understanding are enhanced. Microsoft has developed simultaneous translation of voice and video, which Monney illustrated with a Skype call between two children: one at a U.S. school conversing in English with one in a Mexican school speaking Spanish. Language is one way we can engage people more.

The role of a library is to create a new level of value. Think about what you can do by using a tool to access deep knowledge and further your community.

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