Integrated Whole

First, a bit of context. I have spent the summer (July and August 2021) listening to audiobooks and reading a few that weren’t available as audiobooks. Adding to my thinking on Radical KM and filling in some gaps that I have recognised in talking to people over the last year, since I came up with the name. I’ll put a book list at the bottom of this blog post.

The bits and pieces have been interesting and provided new insights and “ah-ha” moments, but I have struggled to make sense of how they fit together, even though it was clear to me on an intuitive basis that they did. Then this morning, upon waking, I had the insight I had been waiting for.

What Radical KM is, is a model for an integrated whole.

Western thought and philosophy divided things up, separated mind and body, the analytical and creative, science and the arts. It was efficient and effective, it was rational to do it that way. Emotions, and intuition didn’t get “in the way”, we could focus on the really concrete things, the things we had data and logic to support. It separated us from nature and has lead to the environmental and climate catastrophe that we are now facing.

In separating these activities and putting them in their own box, we have lost a lot of behaviours:

Sustainable mindset

  1. A sense of purpose
  2. Enlightened self-interest (considering others as well as ourselves)
  3. A Long-term orientation
  4. Presencing (achieving highest potential while staying in the present moment)
  5. Courage
  6. Integrity
  7. Open-mindedness
  8. Transparency

Systems Thinking

  1. See the bigger picture
  2. Appreciate the details
  3. Maintain a balance
  4. Keeping things simple

Relationship building

  1. Understanding across cultures
  2. Appreciate and embrace diversity
  3. Network
  4. Meaningful Dialogue
  5. Empower stakeholders
  6. Measure improvements

These are all behaviours that ideas and models like Agile, Design Thinking, “The New Work”, bringing your whole self to work, and authenticity, seek to re-ignite and bring into the workplace. They are what gets lost when we separate whole into the parts, they are the magic that happen in the space in-between the boxes.

As the world become more VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) these are the skills we need more of.

These are the skills we learn by tapping into our inner artist, whether that art is painting, or cooking, drawing or gardening, theatre or jogging. Art helps improve our attitudes around being curious, what we are passionate about, our confidence, and our resilience. By having an artistic practice our abilities to perceive, reflect, play, and perform are all improved.

Radical KM is about tapping into our inner artist to re-ignite these skills and abilities that have been ignored in favour of focusing on the concrete and rational. It’s about making us, our organisations, and ultimately our Western society whole again. It’s about making an integrated whole.

Appendix: Book list

  1. A New Culture of Learning: cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown.
  2. Artistic Interventions in Organisations: research, theory and practice; edited by Ulla Johansson Scöldberg, Jill Woodilla, and Ariane Berthoin Antal.
  3. Artful Creation: Learning-tales of Arts-in-business, by Lotte Darsø.
  4. Artful Making: what managers need to know about how artists work, by Rob Austin and Lee Devin.
  5. Creative Company: how artful creation helps organisations surpass themselves by Dirk Dobiéy and Thomas Koeplan.
  6. The Value of Arts for Business by Giovanni Schiuma.
  7. Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie.

Additional books, from July and August 2021

  1. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown M.D., and Christopher Vaughan
  2. A Whole New Mind: why right-brainers will rule the future by Daniel H. Pink
  3. Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson
  4. The Master and his Emissary by Iain McGilchrist
  5. The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination by Gary Lachman
  6. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
  7. Leading from the Emerging Future: from Ego-system to Eco-system Economies by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaeufer
  8. Dance of Change by Peter Senge, Art Kleiner
  9. Spiral Dynamics Integral by Don Beck (abridged audiobook)
  10. Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows
  11. The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
  12. The Wise Company: how companies create continuous innovation by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
  13. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley, David Kelley
  14. Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World by Jacqueline Novogratz
  15. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett
  16. Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett
  17. Power of Not Thinking by Simon Roberts
  18. Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch
  19. The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation by Timothy R. Clark
  20. How the World Thinks: a global history of philosophy by Jullian Baggini
  21. The Silk Road: a new history of the world by Peter Frankopan

Radical KM, Published Article

One of my articles on Radical KM has been published by the GfWM (Gesellschaft für Wissensmanagement) or Society for Knowledge Management here in Germany as part of a collection of articles celebrating the 20th Knowledge Camp. You can download the PDF or read it online, here.

I have another version that will be published in 2021, it’s a bit longer, and a third version that I keep adding to, and which is heading towards being a book, although it has a long ways to go.

Why RADICAL knowledge management?

Why “radical” and not something else? Which definition of radical do I mean?

Radical has three definitions that are all relevant for Radical KM (taken from Oxford Learners Dictionary):
1. relating to the most basic and important parts of something; complete and detailed
2. new, different and likely to have a great effect
3. in favour of extreme and complete political or social change

Why do all three of them apply? Because knowledge management must include all aspects of knowledge (creation, curation, learning, un-learning, re-learning, and sharing), and two of the things that are most important for this are curiosity and critical thinking. Both of these have been lost through the focus on efficiency and effectiveness, and trying to be logical/rational/analytical while ignoring the creative and emotional, but if we are truly going to manage knowledge then we need to re-introduce the creative and emotional: humans are not machines.

Bringing creativity into knowledge management and helping our organisations embrace both the creative and analytical is critical to their success and the individuals who comprise them. That is radical and will have a great effect and will bring about change in ourselves and our organisations.

In addition to the 3 meanings of radical, radical has an interesting origin. From Merriam Webster, we learn that radical originally meant “root“, so by returning creativity to our knowledge processes we can consider that we are returning to our roots. Roots, which were playful and creative: that’s how we learned when we were children. It wasn’t until later, when we went to school, that this learning by doing was replaced by learning by reading. Going back to our roots means re-learning that creativity that has been ignored. Knowledge management has a role to play in that, hence Radical Knowledge Management.

Creativity, Scrum, Agile, and Design Thinking

In the spring I completed Scrum Master certification (PSM I), and right now I am taking a design thinking course. I had delayed both of these courses because they describe the way I work anyway, and I couldn’t see the point of wasting time and money on them. So, why am I doing them now? Because they keep coming up in discussions I’m having, so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about.


They’re both frameworks/methodologies, and useful, as far as they go, but what occurred to me as I worked on the Design Thinking course, was that they are both trying to teach people to be more innovative and creative, to be more curious, however, they have taken an analytical approach to innovation and creativity, to monetize it, I suppose. These frameworks have taken the space for reflection out, the space for emotion out, just like our education systems, they have taken the creative out of being creative and made it analytical. 


If we really want to be creative, we need to engage the creative parts of our brains, not the parts that do analysis and process work. We need to engage the whole person, not just half, and that’s what Radical KM does. It recognises that the creative has been disengaged and forgotten, and it needs to be re-learned and re-engaged if we are truly going to be creative and change the ways our organisations function.


If we want our organisations to reap the benefits that agile and design thinking promote, we need to make space for true creativity, not just creativity that’s been analysed to death.

Radical KM: analytical and creative

Radical KM is the evolution of knowledge management.

Focusing on the division of labour, the compartmentalisation of knowledge, and treating knowledge work like it is part of a production line has led us to a place where work is not sustainable. It is time to do things differently, embracing the things that have been forgotten, ignored, and laid aside. Encouraging people to use all of their creative and analytical skills by incorporating art and artistic practice back into our organisations is a way of moving forward in a sustainable, wholistic way.

Adopting artistic attitudes and practices and integrating them with our knowledge age work, creates: Radical Knowledge Management. It enables the adoption of agile/flexible behaviours and culture change which in turn allows the digital transformation of our organisations, so that they are successful in our knowledge age future.

Radical KM
Radical Knowledge Management

Knowledge management has a significant role to play in this future, it needs to step up and take-on this leadership role and embrace Radical Knowledge Management.

See also: Radical KM

Transformation Through Creativity

I have 3 courses/programs released into the wild, the theme through all of them is: Transformation Through Creativity. Details follow

1. Transform yourself:
A Creative Pause: mindfulness through art https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9269
Do you crave a pause during the day to re-energise you and bring you focus? A Creative Pause: mindfulness through art gives you that pause. We will lead you through creative activities that will bring you back to the moment and give you that break you need.

2. Transform your meetings:
Creative Activities for Virtual Work
https://coursecraft.net/courses/z921g 
Would you like to learn some ice breakers to improve the experience in your online meetings? “Creative activities for virtual work” will teach you seven ice breakers that will make your meetings more engaging.

3. Transform your organisation:
Applying Creativity to Business
https://www.realisation-of-potential.com/acb/
Applying creativity to business engages the whole person, thus enabling the development of solutions to transform your organisation.

Creative Activities for Virtual Meetings, part 2

Today, April 30, 2020, was the last day for the mini-online workshops I’ve been hosting over the last 7 weeks.

The first two-weeks was an experiment to see if the ideas were useful/helpful for people, they were and so I continued.

Unfortunately, the attendance in the second series wasn’t what it was in the first 2-3 weeks, and most days no one showed up, although I continued to have people telling me they were watching the videos (which YouTube stats confirmed), finding the information helpful, and that they wanted to come but couldn’t make it work in their schedule.

For me, the series was a good learning experience, it confirmed that adding creative activities to work situations was useful and interesting for people, I got to meet some new people, and learn about things going on in other parts of the world. And, it helped me get through the first few weeks of lockdown and things being turned upside down. I’ve worked remotely for 20+ years, but having most of the rest of the world also working remotely was new, and chaotic.

I’m working with a couple of colleagues to create a new, bigger program of how to apply creativity to business, so watch this space and my social media accounts for details in the coming weeks, or get in touch directly for a sneak-peak.

Until then, the full set of videos is on my Youtube channel, here and if you would like the slide deck, feel free to get in touch with me.

Creativity Activities for Virtual Work

From March 17, 2020 until March 27, 2020 I ran a small online experiment demonstrating creative activities that could be done in virtual meetings. The sessions were 30 minutes long and had the same format, except that the main activity each day was different. These mini-workshop experiments were well received by participants, and I enjoyed doing them, so they are continuing through April 2020.

I started them as a way to help and that will continue to be their main objective.

Online meetings get boring and repetitive, and are even worse when our regular routines are as completely disrupted as they are right now. Adding short, creative activities to the meetings, not only adds variety and a bit of fun, but it can help relieve some of the pressure and stress, at least for a few minutes.

The videos from the mini-workshops are in a playlist on my YouTube channel, here.

The slides from the sessions are here.

There’s a short video wrapping up the first series and introducing the April series, here.

If you’d like to join the sessions during April, they take place daily at 4pm (16:00) CET on Zoom. Details are:

https://zoom.us/j/136891675?pwd=eCtZK3IzKzQ3QktXamxxYzlXcytxZz09
Meeting ID: 136 891 675
Password: 022145

I hope you’ll join us!

How your KM Program can help you for life after Coronavirus (COVID-19), part 2

Right now (March 2020), hopefully, your KM Program is helping people adjust to remote work. Helping them use the collaboration tools that maybe they’ve only used occasionally before. Helping them facilitate engaging, creative online meetings . But once the initial panic subsides and people become more accustomed to working remotely, what next?

Lots of organisations have KM programs that focus on the traditional KM activities, things like lessons learned, communities of practice, collaboration; activities that support learning and creating new knowledge, or managing and sharing knowledge that already exists. My ex-HP colleague, Stan Garfield, published a list/ presentation of all the things that can comprise a KM program, you can find his list here. It’s a good list, especially if you are new to the world of KM.

When KM is done well, it is pretty invisible. Nobody really thinks about it, and that’s okay, until, it isn’t. Do you have a KM program that is invisible or non-existent? Maybe this is the first time you’ve thought about KM, or maybe you have an existing KM program that is looking to evolve. If you are wondering about the future of your KM program, read on, if not, you can stop now.

Things are shifting at an accelerated pace and also, somehow slowing down; things are chaotic, to say the least. How do we manage that chaos and come through it better off? How do the skills and abilities that exist within the KM Program and those activities help an organisation come through our current, chaotic situation and not just survive, but thrive afterwards, and maybe even during?

How can the KM program help?

KM programs that are successful are about learning, and adapting; they use people, process, and technology to support the organisation in effectively and efficiently using its knowledge and creating new knowledge.

How do those skills apply in this situation, how can the KM program facilitate the successful navigation of the current crisis and help the organisation adapt so that it is ready for what comes after?

What does come after? Do we go back to the way things were? Are things permanently changed?

No one really knows, although lots of people have guesses, and there’s lots of wishful thinking out there. It probably won’t be “business as usual”, but what exactly it will be is anyone’s guess, and depends exactly what happens during this period and how long it goes on.

So, how does the KM program help? What skills and abilities can they share and help others develop that can help.

In my experience, people who are successful in KM are often good at these knowledge culture behaviours:
• sharing openly
• willingness to teach, mentor, coach
• ideas can be freely challenged
• knowledge and ideas can come from other sources (e.g. other departments, organisations, and industries) 
• sharing comes through many different means:  conversations, meetings, processes, best practices, data bases, and questioning

How can these behaviours be taught, if people don’t exhibit them already?

Well, there are lots of different ways people might learn the things that give them the ability to exhibit these behaviours, some of them are learned when we are children (like learning to share) and stick with us, and others are learned and then forgotten as life progresses and evolves. As adults, how do we remember these behaviours or maybe even learn them for the first time?

The best way is to learn through doing, having the experience or insight ourselves, in a safe, supportive environment.

A group of people who often exhibit many of these behaviours and who are experts at working alone, but also collaborating to get things done, when they need to, are artists.

Artists have an attitude of curiosity, passion, confidence, and resilience, which they refine and hone through their artistic practice: perceiving, reflecting, playing, and performing.

KM Programs should be working with HR and management to help develop these skills and abilities in their staff. Why KM? Because it’s about knowledge creation, it’s about sharing and learning: that’s KM.

Learning these skills and applying them to business problems helps solve problems that may have, at one time, seemed intractable. It helps to develop solutions that are new and innovative.

Other businesses are doing this, have learned this already, isn’t it time your organisation did too, so that you can come out of this crisis ready for whatever is next?

Note: If you want to see/read more about what is possible by adopting an artistic attitude and practice, read, “Creative Company” by Dirk Dobiéy and Thomas Köplin. You can find more info and get a copy, here