A little while ago I posted on how Communities of Practice (CoPs) can act as a sense-making model for KM. Here’s a direct link to the model.
NOTE: I used CoPs as a model as that’s what we are doing at work, but obviously this is a similar concept when dealing with social networks.
Also note the premise is that we can mimic and amplify online, what we do offline, and that’s network with people to get things done. Which means the contents of this post is more focused on the online element of KM. But it is to be said that offline knowledge sharing techniques are not to be neglected eg. Openspace, AI, AAR, Peer Assist, AAR, World cafe, etc…
The big difference here to past KM efforts is that it’s focus is on interactions, conversations and context (Just-in-time), rather than codifying and warehousing objects and then people seeking those objects (Just-in-case).
It may come across that asking and answering questions is the only component of the Just-in-time model. But I would also include people sharing news, reviews, status, experiences in blogs in this model.
That is, unlike the codification model (Just-in-case), I am sharing raw experiences. I’m not trying to codify according to an agenda, rather I’m just sharing a fragment of experience as it happens. Quickly get it down before it’s forgotten or loses relevancy (who cares if it’s unpolished).
I do it because I have an intrinsic motivation, and audience…it’s engaging. Others can leave comment feedback and we have a conversation, and all of a sudden this has led us to another place, perhaps not even related to the original blog post.. Participation and visibility is everything. Who knows where, what you say, will take you…this is the beauty of conversation and life…unexpected, emergence, novel, etc…
When this grows to a network of bloggers, the give and take scenario increases the engagement.
To re-iterate, this is not the same as codification…the act of blogging does more than document…it builds relationships, spurs conversations, creates opportunities, emergence, etc…all this feeds back into a natural model of knowledge sharing.
The more people are blogging, the more it becomes known who to go to for information, or who you can be refered to, or who can point you to where information lives. And then be able to re-frame into your context via conversation. This is true sense-making…we are no longer alone with "search".
And thanks to email and RSS you can subscribe to these digestable fragments as they happen.
Why do I use the term digestable?
I’m not going to spend time reading a manual or a long report that often if I don’t have to; due to attention scarcity, or I don’t have time to scan lots of stuff to find the good bits. But if someone blogs daily fragments from, or about, that report, then I will read it…and I will do the same with something else.
So by posting and networking we share the load and get to know or filter more information. Clay Shirky is often quoted that information overload is looking at the glass half empty, and that it’s more about filter failure, which is the glass half full, as we can do something about it.
Further to this, it’s a learning model. When questions are asked and answered, when experiences are shared, when we have conversations; we are all learning. We learn lots more than just the original document/post, we learn from the comments and conversations (the document/post has spurred this indirectly, all you have to do in life is say or act, and then will follow reactions…who knows where this leads).
This relates to a quote from Andrew Gent:
"If you see the goal of college being to get a job (your ROI), then there really is no need for English, history, languages, or even science — depending upon your target profession. However, if you see the goal of college as expanding your knowledge and broadening your character, not only will it have a strong indirect impact on your employability, but your opportunities will be far more flexible and adaptive to the business environment when you graduate.
So just as the goal of college is to teach capabilities, not specific skills; the goal of KM is to facilitate knowledge development and transfer, not solely to apply knowledge to the product pipeline."
This post is an extension of my former post. The former post had only 2 slides (the model). In this new slide set I have added some more slides which explain or describe the model and why it is the way it is. This is done not in a direct way, but more by sharing some understanding of some concepts, so the reader can then use that as a lens to look at the model. Even better, most of the concepts are explained by quotes from people I admire.
What comes across in the aggregation of quotes in this slide set is that "context" is a heavy part of KM. In fact it’s the crucial factor, as it makes what is shared usable.
In the future I’m going to extend this slide set once more to encompass my take of KM in general, and the present and future.
Here’s the slidedeck.