When we approach people to suggest that they share a case study or a presentation at a summit, many of them respond the same way. “Oh, no.” they say. “I don’t have a case study or a story to tell”  – And why not? Surely every KM professional must have a story to tell?

Many of us hesitate to share our stories because we are stuck in the idea that a case study should be a shining example of best practice, and when we look at our own experiences we see the ‘failures’, the things that didn’t work out as planned, the disappointments. Intellectually, of course, we know as KM professionals that failure leads to learning and insight, but when it comes to measuring ourselves against others, we pull back.

It sometimes seems that we have all become experts in framing and showcasing our lives, our stories and experiences in a shiny, edited way. While we can’t really blame Facebook and Photoshop, but they offer a good example of how this plays out in the personal sphere – just think of how many photos of smiling families on the beach you see, and how few of the same family later that day when both kids are having a tantrum!

We need to reframe ‘failure’ and explore the good, the bad and the ugly through our stories, as wel learn from our false starts and failed experiments just as much, perhaps even more than from our easier successes. We must also become more comfortable with sharing case stories earlier, when we are still in process. In this way, we also open the opportunity for serendipituours input and feedback. Which may just be the key to success.

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

The SA KM Summit will feature a Case Study Exchange– a dynamic session where members of our KM community will share their experiences, insights and challenges in effective KM in their organisations. Instead of simply presenting their stories, you will interact with these presenters and each other in smaller groups, allowing for sharing of ideas through conversations and engagement. Join us to engage with:

Facilitator:  Marina Hiscock (Knowledge Management Institute-Africa)

  1. PPC Cement – Hanlie Turner & Lucian de Koker (Firestring)
  2. Implementing KM in a Provincial Government: Case study of the Limpopo Province – Dr Gretchen Smith (Knowlead Consulting & Training)
  3. Preparing for the Scarce and Critical Knowledge Demands of the much vaunted National Development Plan – practical experiences and discussions to address a looming potential disaster and strategic national imperative – Philip Marsh (Knowledge Management Institute-Africa)

At the 2015 SA KM Summit, we invite each and every delegate to bring their stories and experiences to us as we explore our shared insights.

“If you like to be in the high impact lane, this one is for you!  I am looking forward welcoming you at this 90 minutes fast phased, high energy, highly interactive Case Study Exchange session. This is the session where conversations that really matters will deepen your overall conference experience.  I am excited about the opportunity to network with my KM peers and KM leaders at the Summit.”

– Marina Hiscock, Facilitator of the Case Study Exchange

Chris Anderson, the curator of TED [www.TED.com] shares his insights into powerful stories and sharing at summits or conferences, in his article, “How to Give a Killer Presentation” at Harvard Business Review.

“We all know that humans are wired to listen to stories, and metaphors abound for the narrative structures that work best to engage people. When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.” – Chris Anderson

You  are also welcome to join the conversation and sharing on Twitter (@KMSummit | #2015SAKMS), on the Summit’s Facebook Page, and the South Africa KM Linkedin Group.  We will soon announce another exciting process that we will use to harvest the stories.