9th ICKM conference 1-2 November 2013, Montreal, Canada
Call for papers and presentations: http://www.ickm2013.org/
Contributions from Hong Kong are welcome
The International Council on Knowledge Management (ICKM) started in 2004 with a conference hosted by the Information and Knowledge Management Society (www.iKMS.org) in Singapore. Prof. Suliman Hawamdeh, the founding chair of the ICKM conference series, who also developed the curriculum for one of the first dedicated M.Sc. programs in Knowledge Management at the Nanyang Technological University in 1999/2000, wanted to create an exchange between academia, practitioners and business around the emerging field of knowledge management.
This cross-disciplinary exchange between different groups of professionals interested in KM has never been easy, particularly during the “hype” period of KM from the late 1990 to the end of 2010, where there have been numerous initiatives of semi-commercial, for-profit training and consulting companies and institutes to cash in on the opportunity to create new professional qualifications and degrees with KM in its title. Such efforts to standardize and “certify” KM were often driven by practitioners with an engineering or computer science background, disciplines where knowledge is largely reduced to a process or an object view.
The ICKM has stayed clear of all attempts to standardize, commercialize or certify knowledge, and strengthened its professional basis through a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management), conference proceedings published as series on Innovation and Knowledge Management by World Scientific, and non-commercial international conferences.
At the recent 8th ICKM conference hosted by the University of Johannesburg (4-6 September 2012), a formal society was founded (www.ickm.net), to sustain the interest in the evolving field of knowledge management. The ICKM is set up as non-profit organization and membership is free of charge.
Professor Hawamdeh said that given the demand for quality education in the field, the ICKM may take up the discussion on accreditation of university programs, following accreditation practices in other academic disciplines. However, building a credible accreditation body may take several years. It has taken ICKM eight years from an information network to a registered society, and it may take another eight years or more to develop a sound accrediting body which recognizes the trans-disciplinary and evolving nature of the field.
The controversial discussion in a recently started LinkedIn group on “International Knowledge Management Standards and Accreditation” shows that it will be very difficult to develop an accrediting body going beyond professional and commercial self interest.
Leaving accreditation aside, perhaps ICKM could contribute to serve the international,l professional community best by providing a space for a cross-cultural, trans-disciplinary discourse on knowledge management in all its dimensions and invite existing national KM groups and organizations to get involved.
HKKMS has been involved in ICKM since its beginning, and members are welcome to join.
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Seminar Review: Leveraging Social Media in the Social Sector
How can non-profit organizations in the social sector develop a strategy for social media?
Around 60 representatives of various social NGO attended the seminar on 29 February, organized by Asian Charity Services, to find out more about how social media can help reaching out and connecting to existing and potential supporters and donors and raise awareness for social causes.
A survey of 43 of the participating NGOs found that 79% used Facebook, 53% YouTube, 23% Twitter, and 65% used newsletters to update their stakeholders. Some mentioned that it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of social media tools and asked whether it is worth the effort. The introductory remarks by the organizers were very positive towards social media.
Most of the invited panelists were from the business sectors, among others from Turner Broadcasting, Swire Hotels, Cathay Pacific as well as independent PR and branding consultants who gave examples of how social marketing greatly supported their communication strategy with customers, and promoted sales and brand awareness through community and “friends” managers.
What can the social non-profit sector learn from companies who are using social media as “conversational” marketing tool and new channels of reaching out to new customers?
The “conversations” about the food in a hotel are for the most part banal and much less sensitive than conversations about the complex social issues of orphans in China or marginalized groups of people with learning disabilities; and pressing the “like” button for content on the Facebook wall of a human rights group is unlikely to result in action or in a donation.
Many NGO were also concerned about privacy, adverse comments on social media sites, and said that non-friendly social media followers can negatively affect the cause. Ethics, content and information governance are critical issues to consider in the communication planning of any NGO, perhaps more important than in the commercial sector, where poor social media communication may result in lower sales and loss of image, but does not risk lives.
Another issue is content ownership – what happens to the information (including contact information) if the social platform is discontinued? Centralized social media, such as Facebook, are giant data collection services, and questions over data ownership, copyright and control are an ongoing battle in several countries.
In this context it might seem naïve that one of the business social media representatives, who is also member of the Asia Digital Marketing Association, suggested that Social Media are “free” without mentioned the trade-off of paying with personal data for these “free” services. The real cost of social media for NGOs can be quite high – monitoring, analyzing, planning, participating and writing consumes a lot of internal resources and should be taken into account in often resource-stretched and time-starved NGO.
What works for NGO in social media?
Community building and advocacy were considered the most important aspects of social media, in most cases, social media are only a second tier media channel; a good website, regular e-Newsletters and a database of stakeholders are more important. Social media are useful for broadcasting and listening, less for engaging communities. Some said that social media only attracted “talking” not action.
In the introduction to Social Media, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Google+ and eBlogger were mentioned, however, non-commercial, open and open-source, peer to peer communication and collaborative tools were not discussed, although there are a quite number of such tools, e.g. Wikis or Diaspora. The whole internet is based on open, peer-to-peer sharing, and the principle of open access to content and conversations is important to keep in mind for social NGO. Most social media tools require membership and thereby put a barrier to access content.
How accessible are content and conversations in membership-based social media? Many of the tools are not accessible in China, and for an NGO in Hong Kong it is certainly important that potential stakeholders in Mainland China can tap into these channels.
Which channels should an organisation use? Is a presence in all channels necessary? Which tools make sense for non-profit organizations? For each NGO a well thought through strategy begins with a discussion on the organization objectives and how these can be supported through an information policy and knowledge management strategy. Limiting the discussion to the usage to certain tools or just jumping on some currently trendy social media platforms is not enough.
The workshop was a good forum to start the discussion on empowering NGO through social media, and continuing the exchange between NGO on increasing reach and connectivity within and beyond their existing communities will strengthen civil society in Hong Kong.
contributed by W. Ritter