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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Knowledge Management, Euan Sempe @BBC

The Inside Knowledge Magazine profiles, Euan Sempe, the KM Honcho @BBC. His style of operation along with the results that he has brought within BBC is highly spoken of. Running the unusual line between rebelling against senior-management expectations and over-delivery on objectives seems to be Euan Semple’s forte. Since his appointment as head of KM solutions at the BBC, he has jumpstarted collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees on a budget that would make most software vendors squirm.Semple clearly has the tools put in place inside BBC, and his enthusiasm for his work, drive much of the innovation and knowledge sharing at Semple’s name is mentioned by other knowledge managers describing their sources of inspiration. Many are trying to emulate his success at embedding new tools and encouraging more collaborative behaviours at their own organisations. Despite his obvious flair with IT, Semple insists he is not a technology person.
Semple’s passion for networking and meeting people is also crucial to his success. At a higher level he says that his biggest inspiration is the power of evolution: humankind’s ability to route around damage, survive negativity and head in a life-enriching direction. Technology has been a means for Semple to get things done. “We had fun with it, were creative and didn’t worry about the rules,” he says, “If a machine broke and you needed it in order to go on air, you put in another. It was a more pragmatic approach to technology than conventional IT, which is risk averse and focuses on economies of scale.” Digilab was set up seven years ago with the advent of low-cost technologies that could be used to make programmes cheaply, which helped spawn the docusoap. “These tools were considered sub-professional by some and an opportunity by others. Digilab was set up to harness that interest.”
My Take:A top shot person driving KM inside enterprise makes a huge difference and accomplishing KM within BBC is indeed a demanding job - I personally know the technology capabilities of digital info spewing machines used in TV studios - related to them the so called Collaboration tools available in the market are lightweight products. Bringing such procducts together and rolling out internally within an organisation as legendary as BBC is indeed a big job. Having seen dozens of KM initiatives from close quarters, I definitely see that KM is still not a permananet board room level talk inside enteprises. A. Technology is less important compared to who is driving the initiative. B. Despite all the hoopla about process and instituitional strenghts, the core team driving KM inside organisation would clearly make the difference. C. KM frameworks would be far more difficult to establish within enterprises and sustaining and enriching KM is still more tough. D. While many may not admit, KM initiatives in most of the organisations suffer from want of enough top management attention E. Many inside organisatons find that KM initiatives are not accorded its due importance in terms of recognition, rewards and are perhaps seen as mundane support frameworks.There are a lot of simple web solutions parading as KM solutions.

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