Featured Video: Knowledge Management 101

In his KA Connect 2016 talk, Christopher Parsons shares his vision for the future of Knowledge Management in the AEC industry, which is based on Knowledge Architecture’s client work with over 90 leading AEC firms and producing seven KA Connect conferences on AEC Knowledge Management.

Watch this video to learn what knowledge management is, why it matters, and strategies for managing knowledge and building knowledge management teams.

Smarter by Design: A Knowledge Management Manifesto for the AEC Industry

Christopher Parsons of Knowledge Architecture at KA Connect 2016.

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Posted: April 18th, 2017 | Filed under: General, Insights | Tags: | Comments Off on Featured Video: Knowledge Management 101

How Shepley Bulfinch Improved Knowledge Sharing through Measurement

AskFinch Defining Moment

The Defining Moment

In 2014, Mark Finneral, a director and technical architect at Shepley Bulfinch, logged over 177 questions and answers in an excel spreadsheet.

Mark was a magnet for questions because he is both technically savvy and a “nice guy.” Folks from both inside and outside the firm asked him very detailed, technical questions. While he was more than happy to answer the questions, he was starting to become concerned that the value he was providing to other project teams was coming at the expense of his utilization rate on his own projects. Perhaps even more concerning to Mark, was the the fact that only the people who asked him questions got value out of the face-to-face exchanges. (Well, Mark found the exchanges personally valuable as well.)

When the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) at Shepley Bulfinch learned about Mark’s spreadsheet, they realized they had a problem, which led them to ask the following questions:

  1. Is the quality of answers people are getting dependent on who they know and where they sit?
  2. Are we answering the same questions over and over?
  3. Are we learning from the experience of others?

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Posted: November 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on How Shepley Bulfinch Improved Knowledge Sharing through Measurement

Drew Wiberg on Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

Trying to manage knowledge without a strategy is like trying to sit at a table without a chair. In this video from KA Connect 2016, Drew Wiberg will methodically walk you through how he used search data to build a knowledge strategy for Eppstein Uhen Architects.

Take notes as Drew outlines the four legs of his knowledge strategy:

  • Search: Improve the reach of search queries and control preferred results
  • Navigation: Use Navigational Queries to inform efficient intranet design
  • Content: Identify and fill gaps in the knowledge base with new content
  • Education: Make educated guesses on the training needs of your firm

Don’t end up like Ichabod Crane, without a seat at the table. (I know that doesn’t make sense to you now, but Drew will cover how his experience with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow relates to knowledge strategy in the first minute and a half of his talk.)

Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

Drew Wiberg of Eppstein Uhen Architects at KA Connect 2016.

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Posted: September 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on Drew Wiberg on Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

3 Myths about Content Marketing in AEC Firms

We asked the panelists in the Trends in Web Communications Panel Discussion at KA Connect 2014 to describe the biggest myths about content marketing in AEC firms. Here’s what they had to say.

Myth #1: Content Marketing Generates Immediate Results

“The time it takes to get from committing yourself to offering original content and trying to make that content become meaningful and valuable to the time you’re going to see substantial business outcomes from it can be quite long.

Usually we tell clients it is a three-year window before you start to see the types of business outcomes that you really would like to get from a [content marketing] effort. You’re building something that’s long term and sustainable. I think that sometimes clients are looking for a quick win that’s somehow going to replace their trade show effort or something. They’re expecting that same kind of short-term marketing model, short-term outcome, and it’s just not really the way it works.”

Jason Mlicki, Rattleback

Myth #2: Content Must Be Perfect to Be Effective

“I would say another major myth is about quality [of content]. In certain industries, AEC, probably law firms, the myth is that it’s got to be perfect, excellent quality and you can’t release it until it is.

And then in other industries, consumer products and other things, it can just be anything. ‘Just throw some content out there! It’ll get shared! It’ll go viral! Yaaah!’

So the myth is on both ends of the spectrum, but it’s about the quality of the content. The nature of your industry is going to dictate whether your myth is on one end or the other, but the reality is somewhere in the middle.

It should be of good quality, obviously, excellent quality, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be exactly probably what you’re thinking it needs to be.”

Bill Shander, Beehive Media

Myth #3: Content Marketing Is Primarily about Generating Leads

“I think it’s important that you don’t think of [content marketing] as sales. The more information you can give out to the community, the more you can share—that’s where the value is. You don’t want it to be too salesy.”

Jaron Rubenstein, Rubenstein Technology Group

“A couple of years ago, I put together a survey of firms that were marketing with content and the prerequisite was that they were actually using that model and were funding it and we were looking at outcomes.

The firm that was the most successful out of the entire audience was a firm whose core web objective was educating and informing. Their entire objective for their website was to educate and inform the clients they want to do business with.

The firms that were focused on generating leads (which in my mind is just the outcome and yield of quality content) had worse performance. It kind of comes down to your fundamental objective needs to be about this kind of open authenticity of, ‘We’re just trying to help.’

As long as you’re just trying to help, at some point, client activities start to happen. But the moment you start trying to accomplish some tangible business objective—you want leads, you want opportunities, you want revenue—the whole thing kind of just doesn’t work as well as it could.”

Jason Mlicki, Rattleback

Want to Learn More?

Watch individual talks from our panelists and the full panel discussion on the KA Connect website:

Posted: September 25th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on 3 Myths about Content Marketing in AEC Firms

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: June 25th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off on Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: May 27th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off on Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

The Connected Practice

The Connected Practice

Knowledge Architecture believes that architecture and engineering practices who integrate research and development, thought leadership marketing, and knowledge management will sustain a competitive advantage over their more siloed competition.

These early adopters exploit emerging technology, such as social media, by leveraging their existing investments in analog processes, tools, and culture. They understand the value of seamlessly moving between digital and analog worlds, and they invest their financial and human resources accordingly.

The success of this all-of-the-above approach to knowledge and information management lies not simply in creating documents and organizing databases, but also in connecting people and ideas.

We believe the future belongs to these practices. We call them Connected Practices.

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: Insights | 1 Comment »

“Beyond Marketing” Social Media Webinar now on YouTube

The presentation starts at the 5:20 mark.

You can download the original PowerPoint file I used here.

Have fun!

Posted: April 9th, 2012 | Filed under: General, Insights | 2 Comments »

Preliminary Findings: Research-Based Practice

© Knowledge Architecture, 2012

Last week at the A|E Advisors Annual CEO Forum I presented our preliminary findings on the state of R&D in architecture and engineering firms.

My presentation was built around ten trends and insights that we uncovered in our research, with case study examples to illustrate each one.

You can view my presentation slides here.

Bonus feature: For your convenience, each case study slide contains hyperlinks to source material.

Don’t see your firm reflected in the presentation? Please reach out to me and let me know what your firm is working on. I’d love to talk to you.


P.S. If you are looking for a shot of inspiration, many of the firms highlighted in our R&D study will be speaking this April at KA Connect 2012.

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Filed under: General, Insights | Comments Off on Preliminary Findings: Research-Based Practice

How are leading architecture firms using social media tools?

© Knowledge Architecture, 2011

You can download a PowerPoint version of this presentation here.  All of the case study examples in the PowerPoint version are hyperlinked to their source.

As readers of this blog know, Knowledge Architecture is currently three months into a six month study on web, social media, and R&D activities of over 500 of the largest architecture and engineering firms in North America. I’ve used four industry surveys to come up with the list of firms for our research: Architecture Record Top 250 Firms, Architect 50, Building Design + Construction Giants 300, and Engineering News Record’s Top 500 Firms.

I took a break midway through the research to refine our initial hypotheses, draw some tentative conclusions, and share the preliminary findings with clients and friends of Knowledge Architecture. I presented our preliminary research last week in New York at THE Marketing Event 2011, SMPS-NY’s annual marketing conference. I’m heading down to Palo Alto today to share our findings with the AIA CEO Large Firm Roundtable.

The findings of Knowledge Architecture’s digital marketing research will be released in the spring of 2012. Several of the firms profiled in Knowledge Architecture’s study will be featured via interviews in the KA Connect blog and/or as speakers at KA Connect 2012 in San Francisco, whose focus this year will be on three intersecting trends driving the future of practice — research, marketing, and technology.

I have shared the slides from my presentations above. I hope you find the survey data and the top ten trends and insights interesting. I’ll be blogging about our findings over the next few months as we round out our survey by taking a deeper look at engineering firms.

I would love to hear your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Posted: October 27th, 2011 | Filed under: General, Insights | 5 Comments »