Last week, I had the privilege of teaching our inaugural Foundations of Intelligent Information Management course in Denver, CO. We had students from a variety of industries and locations take part in the course, which is designed to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of information management. Over four days, we covered the entire lifecycle of information management:
Creating and capturing information
Extracting intelligence from information
Digitalizing core business processes
Automating governance and compliance
Implementing an information management solution
Everyone participated and was engaged throughout - livened up with a few good stories and examples of lessons learned that they shared. I kept us on track, but it was the students' contributions and conversations that really made this such a great course. For example, we had a good discussion on "systems of record" - that is, the idea that everyone has information, and should have a robust place to put it (i.e., not a file share or their own, un-backed-up computers). But figuring out what the right system is, and then communicating that, is tough; getting users to actually do it is even tougher, so the consensus was to make it as easy as possible and automate that capture process where it was doable. This theme of "streamline and automate" came up over and over again over the course - and the need to make information management as transparent and automated as possible for end users so they can focus on the business of the business.
The Taxonomy of Chocolate
One of the exercises I developed was called "The Taxonomy of Salad". The idea was that we would have the students brainstorm different terms related to "salad," and then organize them into a taxonomy. Everyone loves a good salad, right?
But, I decided that instead of inflicting combinations of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and Jell-O(!) on them, I'd switch that exercise out for a much sweeter one focused on developing a taxonomy of chocolate. You could call it an open sort, insofar as I provided the chocolate, err, terms, and asked the students to develop the structure. But they were OK with it since they had to got to test by tasting.
Craft Beer Happy Hour
On Wednesday evening, the class took a field trip of sorts to Dry Dock Brewing, a great brewpub just a few minutes away from the course venue. We each had a different beverage and, in the spirit of the course, we had some interesting discussion about the metadata and taxonomy of beer and spirits. We also got to get to know each other a little better, free of the course structure and schedule. Everyone enjoyed the evening - but not too much!
Overall the class went very well. We really did cover a ton of information in four days. But we mixed in discussions, exercises, and activities to help liven up the subject matter. The teams got a little competitive, but it was all in good fun and good learning. At the end, I proctored the Certified Information Professional exam to several of the students, and I am pleased to note that all the candidates passed the exam.