Papers and articles on a variety of academic, industry and other topics.

Published academic papers

Presented to the Developments in Retail Mobile Scanning Technologies Conference, College Court Conference Centre, University of Leicester, June 2015. This study examined mechanisms to limit the shrink associated with self-scan retail checkout technologies.

Onions (2010, 2012) Taming the Dragon: A Practical Approach to Student Dissertations
Research textbooks can be impenetrable and dense. This book was intended to be a research module guide, offering an alternative and pragmatic approach to the many concept-centric research textbooks. A process of fifty practical and simply explained steps take the student from title to submission. Comments are welcome. It needs some revision!
(Warning: 5MB PDF file)

Investigating the choices made on four large KM projects; a summary of part of my PhD research. This paper finds that KM projects are driven by a range of unexpected factors, that practitioners do not engage with the breadth of theory, and phenomena influencing project direction tend to limit the choices available to practitioners. Published at ICICKM 2010 Hong Kong.

A study of the variety of knowledge management frameworks and approaches, finding that KM should be seen as an umbrella term and the subject may be approached from a 'body of knowledge' perspective, and partially reports my PhD research. The paper was accepted for ECKM 2010 Portugal. The research led to a fruitful discussion in early 2010 with Donovan McFarlane, who made an academic call for a KMBOK in 2008 in the Journal of KM Practice. Interesting logic/mathematical support for the findings may be found in the work of John F. Sowa and in particular his paper on 'knowledge soup'. It is a must-read for anyone who is researching a field.

This paper has been cited by publications here.

A paper proposing a new method for Agile requirements elicitation, published at the IEEE's IRI2009 conference in Las Vegas. This paper is based on a novel approach proposed by Chetal Patel in his PhD thesis, with adaptation by myself for enterprise applications.

This paper has been cited in publications here.

Knowledge based project management, a novel approach to managing projects through their knowledge. This research paper was published at ECKM 2008 in Southampton, and is based on these working papers... These papers have been cited in publications here.

A governance model for knowledge management, based on work done at Sasol with Rene. This paper was published at ECKM 2006 in Budapest.

This paper has been cited by publications here.

Literature review using the Grounded Theory Method, contains a comparison of the Glaserian and Straussian methods. This was presented at the Innovation North Research Conference in 2006.

This paper has been cited by publications here.

July 2017 update: My academic supervisor Prof. Anthony Bryant has given a critique of the comparison table in his book 'Grounded Theory and Grounded Theorizing: Pragmatism in Research Practice' (Oxford University Press, 2017, pp.217-224), eleven years after it was written and presented by myself at his faculty. The purpose of my paper was to give students an efficient way to choose between the GTM flavours, to sidestep the ponderous philosophical debate that dominated the literature I encountered, and ultimately to encourage the use of this interesting research method. Prof. Bryant possibly alludes to the same on page 224, saying 'The irony is that the Glaser-versus-Strauss/Corbin issue may well be largely irrelevant in practice'. Perhaps the 'currency' that my paper has gained has been more a reflection of the need for a solution than of my accuracy in depicting the subtle shades of grey.

Prof. Bryant is a leading authority on GTM and I would like to thank him for providing an authoritative update to this table. I would advise students to review his comments, and preferably to use his revision.

This paper presents a model for architecting knowledge management initiatives that was developed and tested in several multinational organisations and government departments. It is designed to align KM with business objectives and processes. This was published at ECKM 2006 in Budapest.

A chapter in Kazi's book 'KM in the Construction Industry', by Idea Publishing.

This paper has been cited by publications here.

A conference presentation, examining the role of knowledge management in delivering public sector service.

A model for knowledge intended to be used for machine codification of tacit knowledge, based on my MSc dissertation and presented at SCI 2002 in Orlando, Florida.

This paper has been cited by publications here.

Unpublished, technical and working papers

Innovation and creativity are commonly taught as ideas management. These lecture notes give a different perspective, introducing a method to artificially generate ideas when no inspiration is to be found. These notes have also been used at workshops in the NHS and Wilkinsons.

Queues have been researched extensively, but often this theory does not filter down to practice. This paper was written to review academic literature and give a wider perspective on the problem of designing the retail front-end for customer satisfaction.

An efficient method for preparing illustrated instructions where the subject is complex.

Full faced helmets can lead to increased CO2 levels and decreased oxygen for the rider. This paper briefly considers research conducted into this little-known phenomenon.

For an interesting case study on the same phenomenon in pilot helmets read Ghosh and Pant (2010) "In-flight Hypoxia - Still a Worrying Bane", Ind J Aerospace Med, 54(1)

An efficient method for preparing graphical illustrations for large retail displays.

Work experience offers students a good source of dissertation material, but this experience is often relegated to the role of anecdotal evidence. Written for MSc students on project management courses, this paper describes a range of research strategies and methods that will enable critical analysis, evaluation and reflection of work experience; and provide an alternative to the ubiquitous and often unsuitable survey and questionnaire. (working paper)

A report on a trial of the SIPS method at an NHS service in Sheffield, UK. (unpublished paper)

A method for writing short academic papers, prepared for instructing my MSc students. (working paper)

Introducing critical thinking, prepared for my MSc students but also suitable for undergraduate studies. (working paper)

An unfinished book presenting a pragmatic approach to implementing KM projects, based on several projects delivered by The Knowledge Studio and written in Dublin in 2005.

Academic resources

Knowledge Management research library
My PhD research involved reviewing a comprehensive amount of KM literature, and details were recorded in a database. I finally got around to developing a routine to play the large database out to a tree. Students and researchers of KM will find articles from a range of sources, all categorised according to a taxonomy of concepts that grew out of my reading. The database is growing, so this tree will be updated periodically.

    Literature discussing knowledge (HTML)
    Literature discussing knowledge (PDF)
    Literature discussing knowledge management (HTML)
    Literature discussing knowledge management (PDF)

Business blogs

Camera and photography related

Documenting factory skills (2012): a technique combining graphics and photography
Hartblei Super-rotators (2009): I'm a big fan of these Ukranian manufactured lenses
Monochrome digital: a comparison of the Nikon D2x, D700 and Fujifilm S5Pro (2008)


Riding in the snow: What do South Africans know about it anyway?
Spring break: A fast tour on a Ducati
Soccer amongst the cane fields: A tour of Kwa-Zulu Natal in search of grassroots soccer
Factory Tales: a collection of vignettes

In the media

Articles written for the Yorkshire Post

    Double Our Turnover? You're Having A Laugh!
    Continual improvement: More than a fresh coat of paint
    Continual Improvement: Finding new Customers
    First impressions don't count - lasting impressions do
    Continual Improvement: Pulling Together
    Continual Improvement: The Store Manual And Learning