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Lessons Learned from Array Architects’ Continuous Improvement Journey

Are you curious to know why Array Architects employs a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, an Industrial Engineer, and a Director of Continuous Improvement? We were. That’s why we invited Jonathan Bykowski to speak at KA Connect 2015.

So why not pull up a chair, lean back, and watch Jonathan talk about Array Architects’ continous improvement journey.

Lessons Learned from Array Architects’ Continuous Improvement Journey

Jonathan Bykowski of Array Architects at KA Connect 2015.

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Posted: August 18th, 2015 | Filed under: All Posts | Tags: | No Comments »

What is the State of Knowledge Management in the AEC Industry?

Knowledge Architecture created KA Connect in 2010 because we noticed a gap in the AEC industry—no one was looking at knowledge management in a holistic way.

Five years later, with five KA Connect conferences exploring the role of knowledge management in the AEC industry under our belts, and over 2,000 individuals in the KA Connect LinkedIn Group Community, we noticed another gap. We believed a knowledge management benchmarking tool for the industry is the pivotal next step in advancing the practice of knowledge management in the AEC industry.

This is why we decided to build the State of Knowledge Management in AEC Survey and formally gather industry data to create this benchmarking tool. The statistics from the survey will help AEC firms evaluate their use of knowledge management in comparison to peer firms and competitors, as well as implement new strategies for managing knowledge.

Christopher Parsons presented findings from the survey at KA Connect 2015. You’ll find survey highlights, videos, and other additional resources below. We hope you find them useful. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to us at

Knowledge Management in AEC Leadership by Firm Size


Knowledge Management in AEC Leadership Full Time or Part Time

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Posted: August 12th, 2015 | Filed under: All Posts | Tags: | No Comments »

KA Connect 2015 Conference Videos Now Available

The talks from KA Connect 2015 are now available online.


Posted: July 13th, 2015 | Filed under: All Posts | Tags: | Comments Off

Announcing our Keynote Speakers


Keynote Speakers


Social Learning as a Transformative Strategy
Etienne Wenger-Trayner
Beverly Wenger-Trayner

Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner are world-renowned social learning theorists and practitioners. Etienne has authored and co-authored seminal books on social learning, including Cultivating Communities of Practice and Situated Learning, where the term “communities of practice” was coined. Beverly’s expertise is in the design and facilitation of learning in international contexts, including communities, networks, activities, and the use of technology.

Taking Knowledge to Market
Katrina Pugh

Katrina (Kate) Pugh is Academic Director of the Columbia University Information and Knowledge Strategy program and president of AlignConsulting, specializing in business planning and knowledge-based transformation. Kate is general editor and co-author of Smarter Innovation and author of Sharing Hidden Know-How. She consults and lectures widely, and is a lead benchmarker with the Digital Workplace Group (formerly Intranet Benchmarking Forum).

Conference Summary

Senior and emerging leaders from top AEC firms will share case studies, lessons learned, and inspiration on topics such as:

  • Knowledge Sharing and Information Management
  • Scaling Research and Innovation Initiatives
  • Implementing Continious Improvement Programs
  • Managing Social Media and Content Marketing
  • Integrating Internal and External Communications
  • Cultivating Communities of Practice

KA Connect 2015 will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on May 5th and 6th, 2015. We’ll be announcing speakers and program details over the next several months.

Take advantage of Early Registration Pricing while we plan.

Posted: November 4th, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts | Tags: | Comments Off

A Really, Really Smart Way to Get Senior AEC Firm Leaders to Start Sharing Knowledge on a Social Network

How do we get our senior leaders to start sharing knowledge on social networks?

It’s a great question, and not just for marketing directors and intranet managers. Most of the senior leaders of architecture and engineering firms we talk to at Knowledge Architecture want to share their knowledge on LinkedIn, the company blog, and intranet. However, they have two very valid concerns which need to be addressed:

1) How do I know what knowledge of mine is valuable?
2) Where will I find the time?

Overcoming Content Anxiety

I gave a talk called “Short Passes: 5 Ways to Beat Content Anxiety” at KA Connect 2014 this past June.

One of the tips I shared came from Andy Ernsting, Brand Communications Leader at DLR Group. Andy shared the story of driving early adoption of SquareOne (their new intranet) at one of our client workshops last fall.

Andy’s tip speaks right to the heart of the two questions above—”what knowledge should I share?” and “where will I find the time?”

“We’re just asking you to comment. Once a week.”

In the clip above I paraphrased what Andy told the participants in our workshop. Here’s the key part:

“We’re just asking you to comment. Once a week. We’re not necessarily asking you to write long posts. We’re not asking you to bare your soul, or at least not at first.

But what we want you to do, once a week, is just comment on something. Ask a pertinent question. Answer somebody’s question. Thank somebody for sharing what they’ve shared.”

Why This Tip is Awesome

First, asking a leader to comment once a week is totally achievable. You are giving them a specific and easy way to add value, something a time-pressed senior leader can surely appreciate.

Second, when you step back and think about knowledge sharing, a lot of times, the value is in the comments. Someone is asking for help because they don’t have an answer. A lot of your senior leaders have that knowledge and they want to share it—they’re just not quite sure how to get started.

Finally, once your leaders start sharing their knowledge in comments and see how easy and rewarding it is, many of them will go on to write the LinkedIn, blog, and intranet posts you wanted them to write in the first place.

Want to Learn More?

Visit the KA Connect website to watch more talks, connect with our community, and learn more about our annual conference on knowledge management in the AEC industry.

Posted: October 9th, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts, Clips | Tags: | Comments Off

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: All Posts, Clips | Tags: | Comments Off

How can you tell if an intranet is a community?

“Not all intranets are communities and not all communities are intranets.”

One of the audience members at KA Connect 2014 asked the following question of the Orchestrating Digital Communities session panel:

“Would you define an intranet as a community? And if not, can you migrate an intranet to a community?”

After agreeing that that “Not all intranets are communities and not all communities are intranets,” the panel discussed the differences between analog communities, digital communities, and intranets.

One interesting outcome of the discussion was two ways to tell if intranets are communities or simply information repositories.

#1: “The most vibrant communities that we work with within intranets were already communities before they became communities on the intranet.”

“You tap into existing groups that are already sharing knowledge, they’re already coming together, and you just give them digital tools. But they still keep meeting face-to-face.”

Christopher Parsons, Knowledge Architecture

#2: “If there are shared aspirations or shared goals.”


“I put the definition of community slide up [above] in my presentation, so as long as you’re sort of satisfying those [criteria] in some form or fashion, I think one can sort of fashion a level of activity around that. But if it’s [simply] an intranet space to just post information—you have an HR site that lays out all the policies or whatever, that’s an informational repository as opposed to a community.”

Robert Yori, SOM

Want to learn more?

You can watch the full Orchestrating Digital Communities session panel discussion here. All of the talks from the conference are available on the KA Connect Talks page.

Posted: September 18th, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts, Clips | Tags: | Comments Off

Vanessa DiMauro on the Importance of Great Content to Online Communities

“People come for content and stay for community.”

“People come for content and stay for community” was one of the five secrets Vanessa DiMauro of Leader Networks shared with us in her KA Connect 2014 talk, “Secrets of Great Communities and Community Managers.”

So what makes great online community content great?

Here are three key points from the clip above:

#1: Knowledge Assets Drive Community Membership

“The greatest way to get people to join the community is by having a knowledge asset, something that they really want to be the inspiration for why they join, why they say, ‘Hey, I’m going to check this out and I’m going to commit some time. I’m going to fill out that profile.’ ”

#2: Knowledge Assets Must Be Unique

“The content in the community needs to be unique, something they can’t get elsewhere.”

#3: Knowledge Assets Should Be Derivative of Community Member Experiences

“Most importantly, the best content for knowledge communities are those that are derivative of the user’s experiences. They’re there because they want to hear what their peers and experts have to say on a topic. Using the power to convene and creating those knowledge assets, as the derivative of their experience is very, very powerful.”

Want to learn more?

Watch Vanessa DiMauro’s full KA Connect 2014 Talk “Secrets of Great Communities and Community Managers” and/or the full panel discussion on “Orchestrating Digital Communities”.

Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts, Clips | Tags: | Comments Off

KA Connect 2015 :: Save the Date

KA Connect 2015

KA Connect 2015 will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on May 5th and 6th, 2015.

Senior and emerging leaders from top AEC firms will lead case studies, workshops, panel discussions, and breakout groups on building highly connected practices. We’ll be announcing speakers and program details over the next several months.

Take advantage of early registration pricing while we plan.

Before September 26th, 2014     $795.00
Before January 23rd, 2015                   $995.00
Before March 20th, 2015                      $1,195.00
After March 20th, 2015                         $1,395.00

Learn more about KA Connect 2015

Posted: August 26th, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts | Tags: | Comments Off

4 Tips for Facilitating Great Online Discussions from Stephen Hardy of MindMixer

MindMixer provides communities with online engagement tools that allow them to have more productive, collaborative conversations. 700 communities around the world use MindMixer to connect over 1 million participants online.

Stephen Hardy, MindMixer’s Chief Product Officer, shared his insights for building thriving online communities at KA Connect 2014. In this clip, Stephen shares four tips for community managers looking to drive more engaging discussions:

#1: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Detailed Questions

Stephen Hardy 2014 Be Descriptive
“We kind of assumed that you’d want to be short and sweet and get right to the point (when phrasing discussion topics). What we found is longer questions indicate more investment on your part in really wanting good answers.”

#2: Positively Worded Questions Outperform Negatively Worded Questions

Stephen Hardy 2014 Be Positive
“Questions with positive emotional achievement words encourage participation. ‘Best’, ‘great’, ‘proud’, ‘win’, ‘advance’, and ‘overcome’ are positive achievement words that will give you a much better result than if you’re saying ‘keep in mind we have a limited budget’ or ‘under constraints.’ Exclusive words like ‘not’, ‘rather’, ‘don’t', and ‘block’ don’t perform nearly as well.”

#3: Use the Word ‘We’ to Make Questions More Engaging

Stephen Hardy 2014 Use The Word We
“Highlight personal affiliations. The average number of times that just the word ‘we’ is used in questions is an indication of how successful you’ll be in getting engagement around a response.”

#4: Acknowledging Participant Contributions Makes All the Difference

Stephen Hardy 2014 Acknowledge Positive Contributions
“On the left is an example of a community who through time was responding and making sure that people were acknowledged. On the right…crickets. Somebody asked a question and there was no response on the other end of it. What we’ve seen time and time again is that there’s a direct relationship between re-engagement, feedback, affirmation and the willingness of a community to be coming back and participating with you through time.”

Want to learn more?

Watch Stephen Hardy’s full KA Connect 2014 Talk “No One Knows As Much As Everyone” and/or the full panel discussion on “Orchestrating Digital Communities”.

Posted: August 20th, 2014 | Filed under: All Posts, Clips | Comments Off