In the lunch area the other day my attention was pulled by the words "Knowledge is being".
These words are printed on the cover of the latest issue of a magazine called "Swinburne" (issue 9 March 2010), here’s the online article I’m refering to.
The header of the article by Karin Derkley reads: "A new centre for Indigenous knowledge and design anthropology is set to shape the way knowledge is shared in Western universities"
The university have engaged Dr Norman Sheehan to establish the centre, he says:
"Too much emphasis has been placed on acquiring and mining knowledge and not enough on developing an understanding of knowledge as a way of being, or existing"
"Indigenous knowledge is a discipline that focuses on knowledge not just as an accumulation of facts, but as a way of understanding and living in the world, informing everything we do. For indigenous people this approach to knowledge is fundamental to everyday life"
NOTE: I don’t agree with his use of the word "knowledge", I’d rather "information", as knowledge is an act and these stored patterns assemble in time of action.
This is totally related to my thinking of late on the fallacy of knowledge objects, and the importance of conversation and context. See my posts:
- KM is not just information delivery, and Just-in-Time is not enough
- The myth of knowledge objects : the gap between knowing and acting
- Informal information management and knowledge management are not the same
- KM in context : sense-making and connectedness
This article also goes hand in hand with a recent post by Steve Barth called Digitizing or Indigenizing Knowledge?.
Dr Norman Sheehan goes on to say:
|"Our aim is to use the laws of anthropology to study how people perceive products and services and how they will integrate then into their lives"|
This observation and co-creation approach is also related to open innovation (with and within the workplace). Recently I commented on Hutch Carpenter’s post on this topic. Here’s an excerpt of what I said about the benefits of customer/client communities, in making products and services more appropriate and usable. The excerpt I posted as a comment on Hutch’s blog, is from my blog post I published on the customer community:
"Both (the vendor) and it’s clients (like me) benefit from this client community.
This blog post is an example. A manual can only know so much up front, it’s not clairvoyant. The more we experience using these tools in various contexts, situations, purposes and by various people, the more we discover good practices, workarounds, lessons, etc…
Blogs and forums allow us to do this. Perhaps some of this content can be fed back into the manual, but a lot of it will exist complementary to the manual…a wiki is a good way to point to all the gems.
In essence community tools are our coping mechanism. Without it I could not sense-make. Thanks to (the vendor)."
Dr Norman Sheehan says something that reminds me of my post about the Corporate plot:
"How do you work with or for people unless you understand how they see and experience the world?"
|"You have to reinforce a community from within with programs that include that community’s voice and values"|
Maybe if we treat companies more like communities we will have a more engaged and relevant workplace.
Reading the next bit has got me wondering if they are employing Sensemaker from Cognitive Edge:
|"…develop a a design-based visual and oral research method for collecting and making sense of data across different cultural understandings. The program uses symbols to track movement in a narrative, allowing marginalised groups to create images to represent their community’s journey towards improved wellbeing" "If you can track narratives you can develop deeper understandings of the social forces that influence peoples’ lives"|
In all this article was a pleasant surprise. It’s lists the heart of what KM ought to be about, and sheds the notion of KM as information management.