I had the absolute pleasure of moderating a panel at the Open Government & Innovation conference today at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC. I moderated a panel in the Knowledge Management track on "Culture Shock: Transforming the Culture to Further the Mission." The event was produced by 1105 and I was invited to speak by my friend Suzanne Young.
My panel consisted of three extremely bright and well-versed knowledge management pros: Susan Camarena, Chief Knowledge Officer of the Federal Transit Administration, Barbara Pearson, Director of the KM staff at TTB in Treasury, and Rachel Lunsford, management analyst in the Office of Information & Technology, Veterans Administration. We had about 120 people in our session and overall it was quite informative, and thanks to my great panel, I think the attenders walked out with some great information. We also got to test an "instant poll" technology at the end of the session, prompted by the questions on our PowerPoint slides. People "voted" with hand-held keypads at the tables.
This event reminded me of the power of niche events. Niche events tend to provide more targeted information to an audience that cares about the topic (audience of Feds and vendors), and these events tend to be more more of a community affair as a result. Shared interests do that, really bring out the community in the gathering. It is difficult to explain to novices the power of targeted events, but if you were there, you could feel it.
After the panel session I was discussing that with Kim Hower of VMWare- how the government market truly niches down at the upper levels- a series of overlapping and inter-related circles of influence and interest. The deeper you get into the government market, the more important these niches become.
This is what we (anyone in the market) mean when we say this is a relationship driven market. You need a strong knowledge of your niche, then the ability and drive to find those people who share those interests. The resulting community shares knowledge in venues provided by trusted sources throughout industry and government. Fortunately, not all the venues are virtual.
I saw several industry friends at the event- Marc Hausman, Maxine Teller, Tom Ruff, Bob Gosselin, David Hubler, Wyatt Kash and others.
So why was I invited to moderate a Knowledge Management panel? Go back to who invited me. Suzanne Young and I have known each other for a long while, she from the event perspective, me from the speaker/industry watcher & commentator/consultant perspective.
It is a relationship driven market.
Thanks Suzanne- I had a blast!