Archive for September, 2009

T3-1: Showing a Concrete Benefit of KM to the Knowledge Worker

September 28, 2009

A tendency when KM is introduced to an organization for the first time is that knowledge workers tend to look at KM as “extra work.” If this is how they view KM, regular work will win over any extra work, particularly if the periodic personnel evaluation system measures his/her performance only in regular work.

I use this simple slide to convey to individual knowledge workers a benefit KM can give them: they can finish their work faster. Most knowledge workers like this. This slide mentions five typical factors that affect speed of completion of work.

KM benefit for individual K worker

I use the above figure to drive home some points to clarify the meaning of intellectual capital and its three recognized components: human capital, structural capital and stakeholder capital.

  1. I include the third factor “support from boss and teammates” to show that effective action (the goal of KM) is affected not only by knowledge assets or cognitive factors, but also by motivational or affective factors. Therefore, these cannot be ignored in actual KM practice.
  2. The third factor is actually internal relationship capital, in contrast to stakeholder capital which is external relationship capital. I use this example to show that stakeholder capital – the usual third component of intellectual capital – is externally looking and miss out on an important internal factor that also affects productivity and effective action. Why do you think companies spend money on team building workshops?
  3. Notice, too, that the fourth factor “decision rules are clear” is both within the purview of quality management as well as knowledge management. I use this fourth factor to illustrate the fact that KM and QM overlap.
  4. The first, second and fourth factors are examples of structural capital while the last factor is an example of human capital.

You can use the above chart and ideas; if you do, please acknowledge me as its source. Thanks!

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Series T on Low-Cost KM Tips: Increase Your Arsenal of KM Tools

September 28, 2009

Series T consists of useful low-cost KM tips I have developed and tried in my KM consulting practice. Each blog post is coded according to groups or clusters. The blogs are listed below (where you can click on any topic) and also in the Clickable Master Index.

    0. General: definitions, concepts, measurements

      T0-1 A quick way for an organization to adopt a common understanding of KM
      T0-2 Starting a new KM language in your organization
      T0-3 Value added of KM over ICT, HRD and QM
      T0-4 Measuring the impact of a KM initiative
      T0-5 Estimating the financial impact of an intranet enhancement

    1. Value Creation: Market and social value creation, aligning KM to organizational goals, value proposition, business model, socioeconomic impacts

      T1-1 Selecting a cost-effective KM project
      T1-2 Development organizations: supporting desired stakeholder actions
      T1-3 Private corporations: supporting desired customer actions
      T1-4 Convince Board Members on KM in one hour
      T1-5 High-octane knowledge products by a development organization

    2. Sensing Customer Needs: Satisfying internal and external customers, internal and external sensing, innovation and improvement, assessing needs/demands of stakeholders, relationship and stakeholder capital

      T2-1 A quick way of mining customer knowledge for service improvement
      T2-2 Mapping interests and power relations among stakeholders
      T2-3 Cues for product or service improvement
      T2-4 High-value tacit knowledge: What worked well in clinching project contracts
      T2-5 Sensing of client issues during contract negotiation: Some practical tips for KM consultants

    3. Knowledge Worker: Supporting the knowledge worker, supporting a team, skills and attitudes, human capital, self-motivation, personal KM

      T3-1 Showing a concrete benefit of KM to the knowledge worker
      T3-2 Mindmapping our learning processes
      T3-3 Techniques in knowledge innovation (or: you experience how Da Vinci thinks)
      T3-4 Identifying non-technical skills that affect productivity the most
      T3-5 Reducing knowledge loss when experienced staff resigns/retires

    4. Performance Support Systems: Tools and technologies, information and information systems, business processes, structural capital, equipment

      T4-1 Two important trigger questions in a lessons-learned session
      T4-2 An inexpensive tool for on-line meetings and follow-thru M&E
      T4-3 Using the performance evaluation system for KM
      T4-4 Collect and re-use work templates
      T4-5 What information input limits your productivity the most?

    5. Motivational Factors: leadership and supportive policies, incentives both material and non-material, teamwork, morale, conducive workplace, compelling and shared vision, learning orientation, training to support workplace development objectives

      T5-1 Practical hints for learning facilitators
      T5-2 Towards optimum personal productivity: your peak work experiences
      T5-3 Motivating knowledge workers need not be an expensive proposition
      T5-4 Convince managers of benefits of KM
      T5-5 Expertise directory with a twist: getting surprised with each other’s talents

You are free to use the KM tips and the ideas behind them; in return, I will appreciate it if you acknowledge me and CCLFI, the KM-advocacy NGO I belong to, as their source.

Cheers!

toolkit

AUGMENT YOUR KM TOOLKIT

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The Dream of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Humankind’s Discovery of the “Second Fire”

September 26, 2009

When I was in high school, among the books I was attracted to was “The Phenomenon of Man” by Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I did not fully understand the book but somehow it impressed my young mind as a work of extraordinary importance.

It was decades later, when I was teaching at the Asian Social Institute’s doctoral program in Applied Cosmic Anthropology, that I fully grasped one of de Chardin’s insights: that the cosmos itself is evolving towards higher complexity and high consciousness. In fact, it had undergone a sequence of three creative quantum jumps:

  1. “Big Bang” of the cosmologists: the birth of energy-then-matter from nothingness
  2. Emergence of life and living forms
  3. Emergence of human consciousness: to Teilhard de Chardin, humans becoming conscious of evolution and its part in that evolution is like “the universe folding back in itself.”

Along the three creative quantum jumps, according to de Chardin, Earth is a geosphere from which developed a biosphere from which he foresaw the coming of a “noosphere” or the sphere of human consciousness. Many believe that the Internet is the physical beginning of de Chardin’s noosphere. He dreamed of a vision — both scientific and spiritual — of a noosphere among women and men of goodwill and love: “The day will come when after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” Indigo learning practices belong to these new “second fire” technologies.

Like many prophets carrying forth a new message, he was misunderstood and made to suffer from his message. Institutionalized mindsets defended itself: his superior in the Catholic hierarchy formally silenced him and the Vatican officially denounced his works after his death.

However his writings were circulated secretly in mimeographed forms among Catholic priests and non-Catholic sympathizers. His book “The Phenomenon of Man” was published after his death in 1955. The dream and vision of de Chardin must have a compelling truth in them that resonates with many people; as a result his works continue to grow in popularity. For samplers, read what cosmologist Brian Swimme and theologian Ursula King says.

It may take decades and centuries, but in the end, people wake up to discard smaller truths and embrace larger truths. Last 24 July 2009, the Pope finally acknowledged Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by saying “This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy.”

442px-Teilhard-de-Chardin-2

PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN

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Paper on “Monitoring and Evaluation in KM for Development” Now Available for Free

September 19, 2009

IKM Emergent has released for publication and has made available for free to the development community my paper on “Monitoring and Evaluation in KM for Development”. You can access it by pressing “Ctrl” while clicking HERE and saving the PDF file.

Cheers!

M&E KM4Dev paper cover

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John Lennon’s Dream: A World Free of Mental Boxes and Mental Fences

September 17, 2009

What divides humankind from one another are mental boxes and mental fences that have possessed and controlled millions (or billions) of minds. Before communication among us can redeem us from this tragedy, we need to develop the technology (and art) of managing mental models, instead of our mental models managing us.

In previous blogs, I have written about:

I love to listen to John Lennon’s (one of the Beatles) song, “Imagine.” His song always moves me to sadness seeing how people “kill and die for” their mental models, and how our concepts lead to “greed or hunger”. At the same time, listening to his song lifts my soul to a height my mind cannot verbalize. You can listen to the song via YouTube by pressing “Ctrl” while clicking HERE.

Here are the lyrics of this beautiful and soulful song:

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

John Lennon asks us to imagine an alternative world reality. He encourages us, saying “it isn’t hard to do.”

Can you imagine the world he is describing in his song? If you can — even for a brief moment as you savor the lyrics, the song and the man’s dream behind the song — then you have momentarily freed yourself from powerful mental models/fences that semi-consciously imprison the thinking and seeing, and that shape decisions and behaviors of millions of people in Planet Earth.



John_Lennon

JOHN LENNON

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L26 -Bohm’s Dream: a Revolution in How We Communicate

September 12, 2009

Those who had experienced the pains of failed communications are pushed by the situation to search — with their brains, with their alternating mix of anger and despair, and with their souls — for answers to the pregnant KM question “What went wrong and why?”

Failure is a source of energy. How to use this energy is our choice.

Most millionaires have experienced failures. Masters of life have risen from many failures. The energy from failure can be channeled to spur greater learning. Barbra Streisand, in her song “Lessons to be Learned” sang:

    “There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.”

Harvard Professor David Bohm and Mark Edwards, in their book “Changing Consciousness: Exploring the Hidden Source of the Social, Political, and Environmental Crises Facing Our World,” said

    “Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or to conform to those of others and without distortion and self deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?”

David_Bohm

DAVID BOHM

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L25 -12 Types of Learning, Part 2

September 7, 2009

Collaborative learning is a strong incentive towards inter-communication within a group. This is the incentive behind the rapid growth of inter-communication among:

  • Scientific researchers in numerous disciplines
  • R&D teams in innovative corporations
  • Professional associations
  • Guilds among craftsmen, artisans and artists.

Last Thursday in Bangkok, as part of a 3-day KM training program for UNISDR, UN ESCAP and various international and regional non-governmental organizations, I asked participants to “Estimate what percent of your total knowledge now came from your formal education/training?” The participants were international development professionals, and many of them have had KM experiences.

The average answer was only 15-20%. We observed that we learn from work and from life much more than we learn from school, yet we devote MUCH LESS resources, planning, tools/technologies and systems/institutions to get the 80-85% than we do to get the 15-20% from school! We are missing out on something important here. What is it?

For learning from work, we need tools and technologies of Organizational Learning.

I also asked the participants to write down their answers to the question “How Do I Learn?” The 84 answers were clustered. The two biggest clusters that emerged were: (1) learning from work or learning by doing or practice, with 21 answers, and (2) learning by interaction with others, with 18 answers. If so, the next question then is, what is the technology (and art?) of collaborative learning?

This is where Indigo Learning Practices come in.

In a previous blog post, I proposed a way to classify and clarify how we learn (see “12 Types of Learning”). The “12 Types of Learning” follow naturally from the simple KM framework developed in the earlier F Series of blogs, with the addition of Experience as a prior factor in the causal chain:

Experience -> Knowledge -> Action -> Results
or
E -> K -> A -> R

In short, learning happens when we individually or collaboratively examine and communicate what happens across these four elements.

12 ways we learn

Here is a short summary of the Twelve Types of Learning. The numbers refer to Person 1 and Person 2 who are engaged in communication for the common purpose of learning. The KM framework provides a way of seeing and understanding how knowledge flows between two people. Because Beliefs and Values also affect Action and are also affected by Experience, I place these two items with Knowledge. For similar reasons, I place Statements with Action. The causal chain then is: Experience -> Knowledge/Beliefs/Values -> Action/Statement -> Results.

  1. Type 1: Comparing notes to learn what works better (R1 and R2)
  2. Type 2: Communal validation and reframing is the type of learning powerfully demonstrated by the scientific method (R modifying K and E). It consists of a group of practitioners testing and revising knowledge and reframing beliefs against what works.
  3. Type 3: Reflective practice, where a practitioner does “conscious learning by doing” (individual study of K -> A -> R)
  4. Type 4: Presentation and discussions (S1, S2)
  5. Type 5: Criticism, praise or passing judgment on another (K1 or V1 applied to A2 or S2)
  6. Type 6: Debate is a two-way exchange of Types 4 and 5
  7. Type 7: Learning from exemplars, models, benchmarks or best practices (A1 or S1 leading to K2)
  8. Type 8: Learning through study of each other’s assumptions, mental models (mutual study of each other’s K, B or V)
  9. Type 9: Conscious living or study of one’s assumptions or beliefs in relation to one’s experiences (individual or group study of E -> K and new K reframing E)
  10. Type 10: Storytelling and story listening, or knowledge from others’ experiences (E1 leading to K2)
  11. Type 11: Insight or intuition (birth of new K through ill-understood internal processes)
  12. Type 12: Generative dialogue is productive communication that combines Types 8-11.

From my experience, Type 5 learning happens mostly if one person (the one exercising value judgments) has more power than the other person. Between equals, Type 5 easily leads to Type 6 but learning happens with difficulty in both cases.

Learning is more likely when members of a communicating group practice skills in Types 8-12. To me, the most powerful skills are story listening and generative dialogue. The set of Indigo Learning Practices is a contribution towards the systematization of technologies of collaborative learning.



“The shortest distance between a human being and truth is a story.” – Anthony de Mello

anthony_de_mello

ANTHONY DE MELLO

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When Your Communication Boundaries Are Breached

September 1, 2009

You can easily tell whenever your communication boundaries are breached. The signal is: you feel uncomfortable or bothered. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is going wrong. If you keep ignoring these signals, the repeated discomfort and bother will drain your energy. Then you feel tired easily. If this goes on and on, your bodily resistance wears down and your health suffers.

Once you become aware that your communication boundaries are breached, do something! Announce your communication boundaries to the group. If communication boundaries are constantly breached in a group, then productive communication is not feasible and communication should be ended. Indigo Learning Practices — towards a group of equals seeking to create and build something together — cannot happen.

Productive communication requires that each member of the group appreciates, is committed to, and voluntarily practices the Personal Learning Mode. A good group communication strategy in their journey towards Indigo Learning is to learn together and compare notes as each member of the group practices the Personal Learning Mode.

The 16 topics discussed in previous blogs on “Setting a Personal Learning Mode” can be good topics for practice and for learning together in a “community of practice”:

    L11 Will to self-improve
    L12 Listening
    – Can we manage knowledge? (a practice in listening)
    – Listening (and building cross-cultural relationship capital)
    L13 Learning how to learn
    – The reflective knowledge worker
    – Personal learning history
    L14 Voicing
    – Ask high-value questions
    – The art of interviewing
    L15 Double-loop learning
    – A tool for learning to unlearn: internal “5 why’s”
    L16 Concepts can block learning
    – Your judgment can block your learning
    – Memories (or past experiences) can block (or unblock) learning
    – External attention can block your learning

Constant and life-long learning is the hallmark preoccupation of a successful knowledge worker. In school, we learned technical subject matters. In acquiring his or her own personal learning mode, a knowledge worker complements this by learning about himself or herself, and thereby learning how best he or she can learn on a continuous basis. Therefore, it will also benefit a knowledge worker to cultivate his or her own personal learning mode even if he or she is not part of a learning group or a community of practitioners.

Cheers!

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