(Note: if you have read this introduction to the G Series, please go to the blog post immediately after this introduction to read the latest article in this series.)
A caveman makes his thoughts visible by drawing pictures on cave walls. My five-year old grandson Elias draws a picture (“LOLO” means grandfather) to convey his idea of me (he thinks my tummy is too big). The invention of writing standardized how a person converts her tacit ideas into explicit forms that can be read by another. It ushered a leap in mankind’s evolution as an intelligent being.
Knowledge management involves thinking and deciding together, as a preparation to acting productively together. KM is about producing explicit group knowledge from tacit individual knowledges. One reason KM is an exciting field for me is that I see many new tools emerging and evolving for making visible how we think together.
Let us start to call these tools “grawing-and-griting” (or G&G) for group-drawing and group-writing. Such tools are essential in how mankind learns how to talk productively together, how to reach consensus or resolve conflicts, and how to enable themselves to solve especially those problems that need concerted action. These tools I believe can contribute to ushering another leap, a leap this time in mankind’s evolution as an intelligent social being.
The diagram above illustrates the difference between the individual process of drawing and writing, and the group process of “grawing-and-griting”. Drawing and writing by an individual is the externalization of his thinking alone; G&G is the externalization of a group’s process and product of thinking together. The diagram again uses the framework of Ken Wilber and the same color coding I used in my previous blog posts:
- Practical Exercise: Ingredients of Effective Group Action
- Losses in Community Assets: the Mother is Suckling from the Baby!
- Gaia Consciousness
- Tacit-Group Processes in KM
- Towards a Global Balance Sheet
- KM and Trans-Societal Megatrend #1
- Four Types of Memory
- Knowledge Pathways in a Learning Organization
- Knowledge Pathways: 3 Case Studies
- Appreciating Nonaka’s SECI Model
- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the Next Societal Innovations?
- Evolving Forms of Governance
- Emerging Indigo Practices
- Indigo Learning Practices (L Series)
- Listening Where Mental Models of People Conflict
What Grawing-and-Griting is Not
Effective group action is not always the result of effective group thinking and planning. For example, an orchestral piece beautifully performed by a group of musicians is effective group action, but the musical scores used by the different musicians in the orchestra are most likely written by only one individual, the composer. The set of musical scores that constitute a symphony is not an example of group-writing or griting.
Similarly, when a basketball coach draws on a board the moves and tactics he wants his players to execute, he is making an individual drawing, not a group-drawing or grawing.
A group of jazz musicians playing together is effective, simultaneous group improvisation. They do constant sensing of each other as they play. However, this effective group action is a purely tacit process. It is not G&G because G&G involves making visible or explicit the thinking processes in a group.
Blogging and writing a diary entry are not G&G because they are solitary externalizations. Effective thinking together entails disclosing one’s thoughts to the group (e.g. Senge’s Left-Hand Column) or one’s reasoning processes for the group to examine (e.g. Senge’s Ladder of Inference). Grawing-and-griting is groupwide externalization: it is converting individual tacit thoughts to explicit or visible images and/or texts that everyone in the group can see and can think interactively with.
Below are the previous (with links) and forthcoming (no links) blog posts under the G Series. To read about a previous blog, click on its link.
G1. Group mind mapping
G2. Live griting the minutes of a meeting
G3. “Track changes” and wiki are sequential griting
G4. Tabletop grawing in a Knowledge Cafe
G5. Using small group carousels for collective idea generation (guest blog by Bruce Britton)
G6. Community-based resource mapping
G7. Using Post-its to arrange ideas
G8. Telling you my thoughts: Senge’s Left-Hand Column
G9. Telling you my reasoning process: Senge’s Ladder of Inference
G10. Group planning with Google Docs spreadsheet
G11. Collaborative cause-and-effect analysis
G12. Telling you my assumptions and interests
G13. Stakeholders’ co-construct a Problem Tree
G14. Grawing a fishbone diagram
G15. Asynchronous-sequential versus live-interactive
G16. Crafting diagnostic ideagrams
G17. What shall we name this?
G18. Choosing and using metaphors
G19. Grawing a shared vision and a shared logo.
Come back soon and check what is new!
Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the use of the image in this blog post.