Friday, September 7, 2012

Report from a Knowledge Café with David Gurteen at SABC Media Libraries

The SABC Media Libraries and SABC Training Department had a private Knowledge Café with the guru of Knowledge Cafés, David Gurteen, at the SABC on 3 September 2012.

The David Gurteen Knowledge Café spread from a desire to have more meaningful conversations to enhance personal and business relationships; as well as having a profound impact on business decision making and understanding.

"Knowledge Cafés turn a traditional chalk and talk,
death by PowerPoint or meeting,
into an engaging learning event"
The SABC Media Libraries had their own Knowledge Café in 2011, called LibCafe, based on the principles by David Gurteen, which was facilitated by Manti Grobler.

We learnt that David Gurteen would be coming to South Africa this year to be at the International Conference of Knowledge Management (ICKM2012). We are extremely pleased that he could find time in his busy schedule to do a private Knowledge Café with us.

We have picked up valuable tips on how to conduct a Knowledge Café in the future, as well as valuable insights from our colleagues about the value of conversation in business.

Insights about conversation (gathered from the SABC Knowledge Café process):

The question that brought up the following insights:
"What is the role of conversation in knowledge sharing and in creating a conversational / learning culture?"
(Conversation can be face-to-face or via social media)
- Engagement is a good way of learning.

- Conversation brings all topics to the fore.

- Knowledge vs conversation: Is the knowledge in your head the same as knowledge on paper?       - "Knowledge only exists in your head."
It is impossible to capture everything.
The qualities of conversation is linked to a spectrum of what makes a conversation.

- Without conversation there is no knowledge sharing.

- It helps to have a conversation before decisions are being made. It helps to facilitate the decision-making process.

- More informal ways of knowledge sharing exist than only through a PowerPoint presentation or a meeting.

- The conversation depends on the people willing to share their knowledge.

- Conversation adds to the exchange of ideas.

- The more conversation, the more understanding.

- Conversation helps to know what is going on in an organization and who is doing what in an organization.

- The knowledge is on ground level. All personnel need to be included in the conversation.

- People know things, but they are very defensive.

- Conversation helps to adjust own perspectives.

- There is not enough conversation in the organization, but it is up to us ourselves to open up the conversation.

- The culture of conversation is aligned with our values of conversation. We need to get back to conversation.

- A better "voice" comes from a Knowledge Café.

- Having a chat over coffee - seeing the value of this kind of conversation through the perspective of the Knowledge Café.

- Conversation is not a debate. There is no need to convince anybody.

- Conversation can lead to empowerment and effectiveness!

David Gurteen in action in the final circle of the SABC Knowledge Café

Tips for the future about the use of conversation in the company

- Conversation through the Knowledge Café process can be used to help facilitate decision-making.

- There is a place for more informal ways of sharing knowledge in the company. The coffee dates and meetings in the kitchen add a valuable addition to foster conversation.

- Archivists and librarians that are feeling undermined can have a valuable outlet in the form of a Knowledge Café to share frustrations and to surface issues. It can also address the issues of working in silos.

- The Knowledge Café can be used instead of having a meeting.

- We should cultivate a culture of conversation.

- Use the idea of "hiring" a specialist/mentor/buddy in the organization as a way to increase understanding/enhance knowledge/fostering relationships.

- There is a need to create a group out of the Knowledge Café process to speak with a "better voice".

- The training specialists can help to facilitate the Knowledge Cafés.

- The training specialists also see a value in adding Knowledge Cafés into their training programmes.

More information about David Gurteen Knowledge Café method can be found here:
David Gurteen kcafe

Related posts:

Storify of the private David Gurteen Knowledge Café at the SABC Media Libraries #SABCkcafe

- Knowledge Café newspaper publishing daily - created by SABC Media Libraries

- David Gurteen Knowledge Café - background reading in preparation

The Picasa Photo album of the Knowledge Café can be found here:

- SABC Knowledge Café with David Gurteen - 3 September 2012

Blog post by Karen du Toit, Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives

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