Darron Chapman's thoughts on knowledge, superpowers and opportunities for 2012
In a complex and sometimes confusing world, it's often useful to go back to first principles. This is
exactly what Stephen Fry did on Radio 4 recently when he tried to pin down what knowledge is. He talked
to cab drivers, quiz contestants, quizmasters, philosophers, memory champions and educationalists and
looked at the idea of 'general' knowledge, as in general knowledge games and General Certificates of
The excerpts from classic quiz shows were priceless and I heard Magnus Magnusson advocating the value of
knowledge for its own sake and claiming that knowledge trivia are rarely trivial. Fry's entertaining
account of pre-Google knowledge sharing systems included the Daily Telegraph Information service and the
for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. He argued that how we share knowledge doesn't alter its
nature - an interesting point to reflect on in our socially networked world.
Superpowers and the knowledge economy also featured on the BBC when Sean Coughlan reported on the
inaugural Global Forum on the Knowledge Economy.
The focus of the forum was innovation and how education is a vital component of innovation in a world that
is competing on knowledge. Nation states and cooperative economies clearly understand that they need to
put in place robust knowledge creation and exploitation systems in order to generate the wealth required
to support commercial and public infrastructures. The USA and European countries have to compete with
rising and highly educated Asian nations in a world where social values are also under debate.
Organisations, we were told, need to invest time and energy in understanding their own knowledge economy.
The last word goes to OECD Secretary General, Jose Angel Gurria "It's a world of cut-throat
competition. ... The triangle of innovation, education and skills is of extreme importance, defining
both the problem and the solution".
Challenging thoughts, indeed, as we come to the end of a volatile year with a difficult economy, a
destabilised Euro, and a tough recruitment market. However, I'm not going to fall in with the prevailing
sense of gloom because at TFPL we have completed some very encouraging assignments and are seeing some
equally encouraging signs for the industry. As you'll read below, we are experiencing continued and
indeed growing interest in consultancy and training; we've described how our recruitment offerings in
research and risk management have taken off and developed; our experience in managed projects has led us
to build a new service; meanwhile, our overseas customer base has expanded into the Middle East and North
Looking forward, we are developing exciting new products with partner companies in the Idox Group. Many
of you will know that Idox recently acquired e-learning firm,
Dialogues, and Claire Valentine
will talk about some of the new opportunities it offers to develop our training activities and build on
its excellent platform.
Finally - whether it's Trivial Pursuits or Monopoly in your house, I hope you enjoy the
Christmas holiday and wish you a happy, peaceful and contented New Year.
"Take your topic and turn it into theirs" - A risk and compliance viewpoint
Luisa Jefford recently spent an engaging and enjoyable afternoon at the Innovation, Value Creation and
Opportunity Special Interest Group for the Institute of Risk Management. Hosted by Crowe Clark Whitehill
LLP, the topic was "What will Risk Management look like in 2020?"
Presentations from a range of sectors which included manufacturing, local government and telecoms made for
a lively discussion. From the external viewpoint the future for Risk and Compliance professionals looks
rosy and there is no shortage of roles for specialists within this field. It is expected that while other
sectors and disciplines will be experiencing a tough year in 2012, this is one of the few areas that is
predicted to grow and continue to grow. Increasing challenge from governments, auditors, and
regulators; increasing complexity of business operations and the technology required to support them make
information security and risk an attractive employment prospect. Amongst the professionals in this
emerging field, there was much talk of collaborative working, breaking down silo working, taking the
broader, holistic view, and looking closely at the external world in order to maximise internal
Risk Managers are collectively looking gaining the internal skills and competencies required to move
their roles, services and profiles forward within organisations. They are also constantly studying and
assessing the external world, the impact of turbulence in European economy and to the emerging market and
political strength of the East. They sense that the speed of change often outruns our understanding and
that one key survival strategy is to make sure that you can grasp your specialist topic, your discipline,
but transform it into theirs; they being the C-suite.
This is one of the fields to be in so if you are interested in discussing TFPL and its Risk and Compliance
offering please contact Luisa Jefford - email@example.com.
Research, change and confidence...
Those of you who took part in or read the output from our 2011
Connecting Information with Innovation
research will know that we were surprised (but delighted) to find a net gain in the number of roles in the
KIM space, compared with five years ago. This, despite all the realignment, off-shoring and
credit-crunching since 2008!
In fact, given a lack of economic growth latterly, this was much more about the relevance and uptake of
Information skills and functions throughout organisations and recognition that information professionals
are essential in a well-run firm.
For further details of our 2011 roles research, please contact John Davies -
Success in 2011, what's next in 2012? Keep in touch through TFPL research.
Despite all the uncertainty prompted by the Eurozone crisis, we showed a 20% growth in our permanent
recruitment business in the year to November. Why? We see this as a result of more consistent demand
from our core clients as well as a need for senior practitioners able to lead change in ambitious
organisations. The whole community goes into 2012 facing this same situation so let's at least keep each
At this time of year, we try to get out and about as much as possible to listen to your thoughts. If we
call you and ask for your opinion - it's not pushy, it's business critical for us. If we haven't rung and
you want to share your ideas and plans for 2012, do get in touch.
Next year, TFPL will be undertaking various projects both on our own and with partners:
A survey of Intelligence & Insight communities and trends;
Trends in KIM: A spotlight on changing skills requirements in Legal KM and in the wider professional
services marketplace (results to be presented at next year's BIALL Conference in Dublin);
A longer-term study of rising organisations and sectors that are realising the need for formal KM or
Competitive Intelligence skills for the first time.
You'll see the research and results mentioned in our regular updates, in this newsletter and featured in
training and events.
For further information about permanent recruitment, intelligence and insight, and TFPL research, please
contact Julia Hordle - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recruitment Update: Agency Worker Regulations
The regulations came into force on 1 October 2011 and give agency workers the entitlement to:
the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly;
if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same job.
We have taken immediate action to ensure compliance with this new legislation:
Updated all of our contracts and procedures in line with Recruitment and Employment Confederation
Updated our recruitment system;
Worked closely with current contractors and clients to ensure that they are aware of these changes and
how they will be affected;
Trained our team and have been out to various AWR conferences and events;
Ensured all new vacancies are dealt with in accordance with the AWR regulations.
It has been a challenging couple of months for the team but we're confident that we are well prepared and
For more information about AWR, you can go to the
information page on our
website. For information about contract opportunities, please contact Tracey South -
Teams for hire: size and time no object
An international professional services company contacted TFPL to provide them with 10 experienced
individuals to work on a fixed-term data cleansing project for them.
The company wished to anonymise and migrate client data to an internal knowledge base for internal use by
consultants so that the client data could be re-deployed in new projects without identifying past
clients. They required a team of skilled contractors, familiar with Sharepoint 2007, to clean the data
of any and all internal confidential information, including client details and fees, before migration.
A major challenge in this project was the short timeframe.
With a demanding requirement for 10 individuals and a turnaround of only 7 days, we streamlined the
identification and selection of candidates by creating a standard matrix:
to support the selection process; and
to assist the hiring manager in building a team of data cleansers skilled in records management.
This process enabled us to pre-screen candidates and put forward the most suitable as measured against a
set of benchmarks based on the client's own criteria. As a result, the client was able to make a final and
selection using the matrix, with only minimal reference to CVs, based on his level of trust in TFPL's
The very positive feedback we received from our client regarding the quality of the candidates and the
subsequent high standard of the team's overall performance and delivery of results, demonstrates the
effectiveness of our pre-screening matrix process which we are keen to develop further to provide project
teams to other clients.
To discuss your resourcing needs, please contact Tracey South -
Cloud, collaboration and learning
Two years after our first look at Cloud Computing, we recently held a highly successful second event under
the title Sharing information redefined. Kindly sponsored by
Hitachi Data Systems, the
day consisted of case studies, roundtable discussions and expert panels. We got excellent feedback from
speakers: Andrew Jordan, CTO at Thomson Reuters "found the event fascinating" while Simon Smith, COO at
Extrinsica called it a "very enjoyable afternoon yesterday - really stimulating".
The delegates too were impressed: "great variety of case studies, very interesting speakers lots of good
advice"; "very informative, good range of business and technical issues"; "good talks, networking and Q+A".
Next up was the day conference we co-hosted with the Henley KM Forum at the end of November on
Developing collaborative behaviour to make knowledge work to support agile organisations.
The day was highly interactive and looked at how different ways to encourage knowledge sharing and
collaboration can be used in organisations. Attendees came from the public, third and professional
services sectors and were drawn from the membership of the Henley KM Forum or our own TFPL Connect Network.
An executive summary of the day will be made available early next year.
We are currently in the planning stages for the 2012 events programme and plan to release details of our
next SharePoint event very soon.
Looking ahead again to 2012, we see that emerging training topics will include added-value research and
analytics, information governance, risk and compliance and copyright. SharePoint and knowledge transfer
will remain popular areas in both public access and in-house training.
Despite tight budgets, demand for places on our public access courses has risen with some dates now being
fully booked. The 2012 training calendar is available here:
At the same time, demand has risen this year for in-house, bespoke and tailored training on the basis that
working with groups from within the same company is almost always cost-effective but, more to the point,
course material can closely tailored for those attending.
If you need further information about events, training and our new venture into e-learning, please contact
Claire Valentine - email@example.com.
Ever the helping hands: recent work in consulting
Although small in numbers, our Consulting team punches above its weight and has recently secured
significant pieces of knowledge management work for a global domestic products company and a well-known
UK-based NGO. We're in the final stages of two long-term SharePoint projects and have a couple more in
our sights. Our partnership with SFW Ltd in the SharePoint arena is developing well as is work with our
outstanding group of Associate Consultants.
Internally, we've joined up with our colleagues in training to form a new group: Learning and Consulting.
This will help us deliver more co-ordinated offerings and to develop our in-house training and coaching
If you want to know more about what we offer as consultants, please contact John Davies -