Knowledge and Information Managers

A meeting at NetIKX on 18th September 2013 provided a wonderful opportunity to hear Karen McFarlane speak about her work, and her hopes for Knowledge and Information Management professionals. She introduced us to the rather sweet acronym ‘KIM’, which I hadn’t heard before. As an self employed KIM, I was fascinated to hear her views on how we should develop as a group.Her work is mainly with Government KIMS, but is very relevant to all varieties of Kim-ness.  We all need to keep up to date, to learn new skills and if necessary, we even have to reinventing ourselves.  We need to ensure that skill development is a priority, not just something that happens if you are lucky.

Karen is keen to ensure that good knowledge and information management is integrated into our working cultures and that there should be sharing and support between the people who work in this field.  KIMs should get together to work hard for recognition of our value and professionalism. We need to share our knowledge strategies, programmes and practices to enhance what we can achieve. She had a range of practical ideas and recommendations for training opportunities.

Right now, this is a time of great change and – euphemistically – challenges, especially in the public sector. Technology change continues apace, rules are changing, digital by default coming in, with new classification policies and transparency pushing knowledge and information up the Government agenda, so that the requirement for KIMs to provide vital services is much more visible than before. The pressure to deliver is obviously increasing but she provided us with a wide range of ideas to conjure with.  Among the many ideas on offer three that appealed to me were ‘KM Maturity models’, encouraging Digital Leaders in the workplace and toolboxes for organising Knowledge Capture.

As one of NetIKX’s key themes is ‘developing and exploiting information and knowledge assets and resources’, the idea of making KIMS more professional was clearly relevant to all the audience and as a result, after Karen’s talk, there were enough questions to keep her busy to the end of the afternoon meeting.  She certainly showed stamina and a thorough mastery of her subject. And she stressed, in her answers to some questions from the floor, a point that is very dear to my heart.  KIMs need to partner with IT suppliers and technology specialists, and work to understand social media – it’s not good to have a ‘them and us’ attitude when technology impacts so heavily on our work.

Our speaker really demonstrated that she is personally working hard to put knowledge and information managers on the map.  By the end of the afternoon, I was totally exhausted!  But also inspired… It is good to know that someone is out there fighting to assert the importance of KIMs and the value we can deliver.  The afternoon ended with an opportunity to network – and we certainly had plenty of food for thought as we hit the crisps and wine!

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