Monday, September 22, 2008

What do midshipman, Generation Y and the CSUN Faculty have in common?

Three members of the CSUN faculty had the opportunity to meet with midshipment and faculty from the US Naval Academy to discuss learning styles, use of technology and the implications for KM.

What we came away with...first of all...had little to do with KM or Gen Y issues. It had to do with Leadership and Critical thinking. From our experience it is rare to find an institution that emphasizes, much less teaches either of these critical life skills. After spending just a little time with these Academy students, it was clear that their education was steeped in each of these, and that they had a powerful impact on their lives. It is no wonder that the graduates from our academies are so sought after in the business world.

We have all heard about - and witnessed - how Gen Y's (born between 1980 and 1995) live via text messages and FaceBook. It is a major part of their social life and fabric. So is this impacting how they learn? What we heard from midshipmen was that they did want "information now" and they wanted it in byte size chunks. They wanted to feel connected to their peers though FaceBook (one of them has over 1000 friends on FaceBook). But we also heard that they wanted the in depth knowledge that only comes from study and reflection. They are interested in learning from those that have the relevant experience - and in listening to well told relevant stories. Traditional learning is not a "thing of the past" for Gen Y.

However, because the technology is there, and they know how to use it, they expect to be able to get information now. They expect to be able to ask anyone what they know and think - and get a quick - short response, that will allow them to act. They expect to "learn through collaboration" - not just to be told, this is the way it is, this is what you should do.

Kent Greenes, in a discussion the group summarized some of the work that he has been doing on Gen Y as:

  • They want to learn collaboratively
  • They want to have rapid access to information - and want it in a form they can use
  • They want to be recognized for what they know
  • They want to contribute

Isn't this the way we all want to learn and work?

So is there a big difference in the Gen Y's. We're not so sure. Technology has shaped their expectations - and shown what is possible. As we said above...are these expectations any different that want any other generation wants?

-Allan Crawford

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Second Annual Southern California Knowledge Management Forum

A lot has happened since we last posted on the CSUN KM Blog. It's about time to tell you a little of what is going on in the program.

The second “cohort” of students is now half-way the KM Master’s degree program at CSUN. The 19 students are mostly mid career professionals looking for an educational opportunity that allows them to advance in their career, or in some cases return to the job market. The students come from across the US and have widely varied backgrounds including the US Military, the oil industry, aerospace, academia and consulting.

Most recently sixteen CSUN students, faculty and staff participated in the Second Annual Southern California Knowledge Management Forum, which was held on Pepperdine University Drescher Graduate Campus September 9 - 11, 2008. The Conference Theme was Evolution of Knowledge for Value Creation.

CSUN KM Faculty member Kiho Soho was one of the coordinators for the event, helping with the event design and orchestration.

CSUN KM student (& Pratt Whitney Rockedyne employee) Rick Ladd talked about the effective application of Web 2.0 tools and how they are impacting our ability to collaborate at all levels of the organization.

Below Rick shows the yin and the yang of the use of the Web 2.0 tools and quotes from Marshall McLuhan “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us...”

Professor Dione Zell, from CSUN talked about what Social Network Analysis can tell us about the effectiveness of organizations and the vital importance of relationships - it's not just the is the relationships that people have

Mary Gonzales, from the first CSUN KM cohort, and Jim Wolff, from the current cohort chaired sessions during the conference. Their biggest challenge was in finding the right speakers for their sessions…and they did an outstanding job. Captain Ralph Soule, US Navy, one of their speakers, gave an incredible talk entitled full contact mentoring for high performance. Captain Soule not only had great techniques for mentoring, including allowing junior officers to shadow him for an entire week, while providing them a notebook full of some of his favorite articles to discuss during the week; but he also had one of my favorite slides, which was captioned “I need someone well versed in the art of torture---do you know PowerPoint?”

Finally for more on the actual conferencje check out where one of CSUN's KM program students Eric Mack blogged about the confernce.

-Allan Crawford