2014 Spring Newsletter / School News

The Future of KM Revealed at ICKM 2013

By Nathalie de Preux, MLIS student

On November 1-2, 2013, the 9th edition of the International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM) took place for the first time here in Montreal, around the themes of knowledge management metrics, performance measurement, capacity building, and certification.

ICKM is a unique conference as it gathers researchers and practitioners from all around the world to discuss theoretical and practical aspects of knowledge management in an intellectually stimulating, yet collegial environment. This year’s conference was chaired by SIS Director Dr. France Bouthillier.

The panellists of the opening session updated us on the major trends that we will witness in the future of KM:

  • An ever-stronger tie with big data, and initiatives to use data for decision-making purposes.
  • Collaboration, social networking, and in particular  Communities of Practice will continue to play an important role in knowledge sharing and capturing.
  • Outcome metrics and systems will be key in measuring the impact of KM on an organization.
  • KM will be particularly important in niche markets such as healthcare, nuclear energy, and emergency management.
  • Synergies between KM and Intelligence Systems, as well as knowledge discovery techniques will continue to grow.
Professor Dr. France Bouthillier (centre) with Dr. Ching Seng Yap, Assistant Professor, University Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia (left), and Dr. Nisha Sewdass, Senior Lecturer, University of Pretoria, South Africa (right). Photo: Nathalie de Preux

ICKM 2013 Conference Chair Professor Dr. France Bouthillier (centre) with Dr. Ching Seng Yap, University Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia (left), and Dr. Nisha Sewdass, University of Pretoria, South Africa (right). Photo: Nathalie de Preux

There were stimulating discussions on the importance of reaching a balance between theory and practice to make sure that efforts in KM have the desired impact. Attention was brought to the fact that KM projects include different areas such as Project Management, IT, IA, etc. and all these aspects must be taken into account when launching a new KM initiative.

Practitioners of KM at Golder Associates and Infosys provided us with insights on their experience in putting in place KM initiatives in the private sector, such as linking people within the organization. They pointed out key factors that make a community successful, barriers that might impede these efforts, and offered practical recommendations to get real value out of expertise locator systems.

The School’s new professor Dr. M. Max Evans gave a presentation on trust as one of the major social cognitive factors that influence knowledge sharing, and the findings of his research in a law firm on this particular topic. Other presentations included the influence of KM tools such as mobile technology, blogs and wikis, and the use of metadata to achieve proper KM standards. The second day of the conference started with a discussion on “iSchools”, that is, Information Schools dedicated to studying the relationship between information, technology and people.

Panellists talked about the difficulties they faced when adding new streams to their programs, and stressed the need to educate people on the interest of such new programs by fostering a solid PhD and research program. Other key questions that were answered were:

  • How can iSchools capitalize on branding and create products and services that truly position them as key players in the knowledge economy?  By collecting stories about how graduates have contributed to business.
  • What makes a library school an iSchool? The variety of disciplines offered, the size of the faculty and the alumni, having faculty coming from different backgrounds, not only from Library Science.

These are only a few of the many topics presented at ICKM, but it provides an overview of the richness of this unique conference.  We look forward to the next edition of the ICKM!