Posts Tagged ‘minutes of meeting’

G2 — Live Griting the Mintues of a Meeting

April 4, 2010

The minutes (=written record, transcript or documentation) of a meeting is an example of “griting” — it is a record of a group’s discussions and decisions. In this blog series, griting is what we call a visible representation of what a group is thinking or had thought.

The group mind map described in the previous blog is mainly “grawing” (=group drawing) while the minutes of a meeting is largely “griting” (=group writing).

The common and traditional way of writing the minutes consists of:

  1. A secretary takes notes and/or audio recording during the meeting.
  2. After the meeting he drafts the minutes based on his notes and/or by listening to the audio recording.
  3. Before the next meeting, the minutes may or may not be reviewed and corrected by one or more meeting attendees.
  4. In the next meeting, the group reviews, agrees on final corrections and approves the minutes.

This common method is prone to many errors:

  • Days or even months pass between meetings. If no audio recording was made, the minutes is based on error-prone recall.
  • Reconstructing what was said and decided from an audio recording takes 2-3 times longer than the duration of the meeting.
  • If no audio recording was made, meeting attendees may have different recall of what was said and will have to spend extra time to decide what should appear in the minutes.
  • The speaker can change his mind since the previous meeting.
  • In the end, the minutes is a poor record of what had actually been said.

In live griting of the minutes of a meeting, the above errors are reduced.

In courts, special stenographic skills and machinery are employed to produce real-time transcripts of court proceedings as verbatim as possible. The main aim of a certified verbatim reporter is 100% accuracy of reporting. However, in griting the main aim is to make visible to a group what they are thinking. Griting is a tool for thinking together.

Live griting the minutes of a meeting can be implemented as follows:

  • A secretary, using a laptop attached to an LCD projector, records the minutes of a meeting while the meeting is going on.
  • The meeting attendees see on the projector screen the minutes as it is being written a few seconds after a statement is made or a decision is reached.
  • Any meeting attendee can immediately correct the record, if needed, and the secretary immediately implements the correction.
  • As the group goes through its thinking processes, the minutes gets written; constant interaction of the group with the secretary assures that the minutes evolves in a manner that reflects the result of the discussion with accuracy acceptable to the group — this is the essence of “grawing-and-griting” or G&G.

By the time the meeting is done, the minutes of the meeting is also done!

Furthermore, technology has now advanced to the point where the tool for G&G can be placed and collaboratively worked on-line. For example, an on-line meeting can be conducted among attendees from different geographical locations where everyone is talking and thinking together via a conference VoIP call and synchronously co-writing/editing an online minutes of the meeting as the on-line meeting is going on!

An inexpensive combination is conference VoIP call via Skype, and on-line co-writing/editing of the minutes using Google docs — a G&G technology within reach of most everyone to enable a geographically-dispersed group of people to think together!

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Knowledge Pathways in a Learning Organization (#21)

May 9, 2009

I wrote in the previous blog about the “Organizational Brain” (lower right or yellow quadrant in the diagram below). The Organizational Brain is a superb instrument for storing, providing, replicating and leveraging explicit knowledge but explicit knowledge by itself cannot create value. Information just sitting in a database does not create value. It is only when PEOPLE apply knowledge that value can be created (upper left or green quadrant in the diagram).

K pathways in OL

There are few exceptions. In a fully robotized factory, technology (~explicit knowledge), almost by itself, creates value. I said “almost” because there will always be humans overseeing the factory. Even in highly automated systems such as Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs), about two dozen crew members are needed to manage its sophisticated technological systems.

Photograph from Wikimedia Commons

Photograph from Wikimedia Commons

Value may be created from explicit knowledge such as when a company sells the patents, copyrights, tools, software and formulas it had internally developed. Of course, the original source of this explicit knowledge is the tacit knowledge of the employees who developed them.

In short, the main creators of value are PEOPLE: individuals and teams using their tacit knowledge: this is a central tenet in the knowledge economy. In the diagram below, these are located in the left quadrants, particularly the green quadrant. Structural capital and technology (right quadrants) are only supportive. Note that the diagram is again based on Ken Wilber’s framework. You can go back to the following blogs to read about Ken Wilber’s framework: (click on any link)

There are four critical tasks facing a Learning Organization:

    Task 1: Enhance employees’ tacit knowledge (green quadrant) especially those that create most value for the organization.

    Task 2: Convert useful individual tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge — the form easily replicable and re-usable by more people in the organization (conversion from green to yellow quadrant using Pathways 2, 3 or 4).

    Task 3: Facilitate re-use or practice of the right explicit knowledge by the right people (conversion back to green quadrant). Pathway 6 does this. Through practice explicit knowledge is converted into the practitioner’s own tacit knowledge (see “D4- Converting Tacit to Explicit Knowledge and vice-versa”). Some organizations analyze, recombine, correlate and mine their Organizational Brain into more useful forms (Pathway 5).

    Task 4: Acquire needed knowledge from outside (Pathways 7-10 in the diagram below)

Sourcing K from outside

Some KM tools for Task 1 are:

  • Pathway 1 or replication of individual tacit knowledge: Mentoring, coaching, understudy, buddy system, lecture-demonstration, peer assist, cross-visits, knowledge sharing among a community of practitioners. Some of these KM tools tend to lie “outside the radar” of HR practitioners because the HRD framework looks at the individual employee as the unit of management, while the KM framework is based on managing value-creating knowledge across employees.
  • Various tools to enhance employee motivation and engagement; our empirical findings at CCLFI reveal the importance of motivational factors (see: “A Success Factor in KM: Motivating Knowledge Workers” and “Practical Exercise: Ingredients of Effective Group Action”)

Some KM tools for Task 2 (individual tacit knowledge to group explicit knowledge) are:

  • Pathway 2 (the predominant knowledge pathway for Task 2): Manualization, process documentation, learning history, individual mind mapping, blog, surveys and questionnaires.
  • Pathway 3: Lessons-learned session, after-action review, wiki or collaborative authoring, group exercises for thinking together such as mind mapping, causal flow diagramming, fishbone diagramming, etc.
  • Pathway 4: Video capture of story telling, company visioning exercise accompanied by documentation, minutes or aide memoire of a meeting and conceptual design brainstorming among architects

Some KM tools for Task 3 are:

  • Pathway 5 or recombination: Data mining, performance metrics followed by identification and study of best practitioner, multiple regression or path analysis to detect causal linkages and contributions, statistical summaries and fitting trend lines to data.
  • Pathway 6 or group explicit knowledge converted to individual tacit knowledge in many: Practicum, learning-by-doing, on-the-job training, workplace-oriented mentoring, action research, R&D, experimentation and replication/adaptation of best practice.

We know that the usual means for Task 4 are: purchase of knowledge products, hiring new employees, buying a franchise to quickly use a ready product and its support network, engaging a consultant, copying from the public domain, business intelligence procedures, etc.

I have written about these knowledge pathways in Section 3.5 of my Overview chapter in the book “Knowledge Management in Asia: Experience and Lessons” published in 2008 by the Asian Productivity Organization, Tokyo, Japan. If you wish to receive a copy of this chapter, send me an email.

See also: “Knowledge pathways: 3 case studies” and “Appreciating Nonaka’s SECI model”.

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