Croeso - Welcome.
An old friend of mine once told me 'the norm is a condition of a man whose mediocrity in life is self evident', so I spend my life asking myself to address that statement. Whether I live up to his high standards are yet to be judged.
Upon reading back in my blog (always a dangerous thing to do I know) on my thoughts on Apprentiships I must clarify myself, I am still in favour of this approach i.e. a digital; apprenticeship , but what I'm not keen on is using the old craft apprenticeships (Glassblowing, cabinet making etc) as a model, as that is focused on a quite different type of person than the ones we are aintersted in. We need to find a new way of doing it, learning from the past but embracing the present. Coaching and mentoring techniques may also give us some insights.
Good news on this front is that the paper we will write has been accepted at the I-KNOW04 conference.
To me the nub of getting KM right is to focus on the one to many or many to many (Community of Practise and to some extent Blogs) style of interactions rather than the one to one (i.e. contact an expert from your internal yellow pages, email, telephone) interactions. How else do you discover people who you don't know, who know what you need to know?
Here's an interesting article on the unsuitability of TCP/IP to support this.
The question is when I refer to another of my postings in Croeso, should I use the trackback functionality as well as the permalink (then the original posting will point to the others who refer to it, and vice-versa?
BlogWalk has really started to crystallise my thoughts on where blogs may fit corporately.
Martin and my discussions on how they fit together with CoP was particularly instructive (especially as Martin has a very valid but somewhat different implementation of CoPs than ours) and Flemming's ideas of Blogs replacing CoP is even more intriguing as I have not made such a large leap.
Certainly the dynamic nature of the linkages (temporal community?) that bloggers generate could be a very powerful tool, to gel thinking and lead to a wider input in the ideas phase.
Carla Lilia and I & others will be exploring this further
One thing that continually intrigues me and has done ever since my first KM steps in 1991, is the fact that people assume their world is complex whilst the world of others is simpler. i.e we all think we could manage our football teams tactics way better that our managers do, and we continually wonder what on earth they are thinking from our comfy seat in the stand (or corporate box these days but that's a long story , maybe a future blog) Anjo illustrates this to me again in his musing as to the complex nature of Km where no body agrees on anything to the somewhat more elegant clustering of extrusion terms. Now if your an expert in extrusion the opposite is true, what is knowledge seems a trivial question compared to how to set up and run a certain part of an extruder. Yes they seem to have nicely classified terms, but that's the high level jargon, underneath that are a myriad of views opinions and divergence.
To me the water is always muddy, it's just that a far view from an outsider only sees the water and not the clarity of it.
This manifests itself in KM solutions designed by outsiders generally not working, whereas the nice thing of Anjo's work is that as he uses the words of the insiders as input, his views and mental models are not so dominant.
Ah the green green grass of home as another famous Welshman (well I'm not famous of course but very Welsh) once said
Well I've just returned home from rather a marvellous meeting BlogWalk 1.0, where we had an interesting and intense day chatting about Blogs and KM, I've made many new contacts and will meet up with many in Vienna at Blog Talk 2
I'll got a load of photo's to upload here of the event and I'll be collecting my thoughts together on the discussions we had and the conclusions I've drawn over the weekend and early next week. I'm a bit tired now after a 3 hour drive home, but I'll blog a little more on BlogWalk 1.0
Anjo has set TOKO going on blogs and has found a million and one Knowledge phrases. I was going redder and redder with embarrassment as I read through them thinking - Christ I've uttered nearly all of these at some point!
Hmm is the embarrassment so much that a career change (aka 'The Sir Philip Shuffle') is looming - I think not I'm having too much, albeit red faced, FUN!
Rogier Brussee has pointed out to me in his Blog that Google misses database based data (hmm awful phrasing Andy!) on the Internet too, but we just don't notice, as there are so many interlinked pages to make the output useful. He says wait and see as Google people are smart and this could be a big market for then. I for one am not holding my breath but I have strong empathy for Rogier's (as usual) well though through arguments.
Well we are going to try mobile blogging and mobile CoP membership as I've just ordered an XDA II . We deliberated a bit about it, it's good to do that, but it will be intriguing to see if we can get some KM business use of of these things rather than just utilising them as a toy.
Should be here in 6 days so then I should be able to post (only thing is I'm sure ieSpell won't work on it's browser so it will be back to poorly spelt blogging - oh how embarrassing!) to Croeso from the bath - now there's a thought!
Well I'm sat here preparing for the Blogwalk conference we (well I say we buy really Ton, Lilia and others) are hosting tomorrow, wondering how the interaction between us business types (actually there are not too many of us types, especially now Euan is not coming - pity Euan is always interesting and being a fellow Celt we both cold have grumbled together over the sad state of Rugby in our two nations - never mind we've agreed to convene in Spring in Amsterdam to catch up) and the researchers who are there, but I'm sure it will be fun, no doubt we'll all be blogging about it!
Anjo has confirmed my findings on Google and it's link dependant approach.
I've been talking to a few companies who are introducing specific search tools within intra-net environments and will gather more data. But relying on search as the primary interface action to Knowledge does worry me greatly. When you see KM initiatives that rely on the fact that users will unprompted search for information/knowledge, well in my opinion you will never see them as they do not work!
We need to make our users aware of what might be useful to them, knowing what they are working on, CoPs and the actions of the members do this we just need to enhance the human approach here as automation is probably too difficult just yet - even though Anjo is making great strides in this field.
I continued my bookcase building at the weekend, completing the top, sides and the back (just a little more polishing - one evening - and it'll be ready to assemble in the house. It's too big to assemble in the workshop and carry it to the house without the risk of damaging it). And during all of this I was thinking more and more of the apprenticeship model to extract key experiences and knowledge out of our key experts. The more and more I think about it the more and more I realise from my experience in this field that adopting an approach that was extremely successful (and still is) in passing on fine hand skills will not be appropriate to business experts.
Why do I state this:
Well apprenticeships is all about initial learning and perfecting eye hand co-ordination, problem solving, efficiency of working and learning a trade
I feel the idealised view some people have of the old and current apprenticeship systems ignores the fact that it's has lot's of repetition and is dealing with kids who leave school at the earliest opportunity. Many of our experts left the education system at the latest opportunity (Post Doc)
I fear we must apply learning approaches that are more aligned to people with an academic education, as the list above will generally (even if some of them are needed for certain individuals) insult the expert to be's intelligence Teaching your grandmother to suck eggs is an often used English saying.
We need to find more subtle, and acceptable ways of transferring knowledge that provide the resident expert and their protégé a useful enough creative space to mould the whole approach to suit both their individual styles and be commensurate with the company aims.
So I'll be focusing on the coaching mentoring approaches as well as the idea of leaving digital footprints that may be followed by others (Blogs, etc)
Anjo and Lilia via comments within Croeso to my Mental Model posting have pointed me towards the Google style automation working better because it is based on data produced by humans. However I've seen Google applied within a corporate environment and that did not work so well.
Why was that?
I think Google works well on the HTML based Internet
In companies yes we have HTML based intra-net but most of our data sits in databases (EDMS), CoPs, and ERP systems, when Google crawled these in the trial I saw it was less than impressive.
I'll check further with others experiences but at least to me a straight application of Google may not seem to work, but a modified application may?
Lilia, as per usual, has posted something interesting which confirms my doubts on manual categorisation (i.e. we all do it differently)
People just do not share the same mental model of their shared domain, I was told once that libraries have 4 classification systems to classify their books as one falls very short of pleasing all.
I'm surprised Lilia data is not worse, my experience is that even lower numbers are to be expected, even in domains that are thought by outsiders (e.g. Engineering) to be highly structured and standard.
To me this is an important fact why users get so dissatisfied with stored categorised information, i.e. they do not follow/agree with how it is categorised.
One thing automation may do is give us consistency, even if we do not agree with the classification at least by the fact that it is consistent we will have the chance to learn the automata’s logic.
Well I'm just back from a short break to Andalusia - see photos, and very nice it was too, of course whilst I was away all hell broke loose in Shell but there we are, it's quite right that occasionally the big boys fall too, as usually the normal folks get the hits.
I'm reading ‘Jan Morris: Wales Epic Views of a Small Country’ see my reading list, and this has really crystallised for me my feelings of Wales it's people culture and history. It’s hard to describe such things to family/friends so I'll be giving Anke a copy to read to she if she understands me a little more than she does.
It also confirmed to me the need for empathy and common bonding in KM processes, i.e it's easier to share with a friend or colleague than someone you don't know yet. This is an important factor we must never forget, and the challenge is how do we become friends quicker via a CoP. I make friends via CoPs but it takes an age, even with a colleague, so to get to a trusted relationship takes even longer. How can we speed this process up? . We can of course meet, but that is rarely practical in a global company, and with family commitments, work pressures etc. Maybe blogs can help with this to empathise more and to befriend/trust quicker - who knows.
It was funny whilst I was away I missed not blogging just to capture my erratic and random thoughts, oh dear maybe I'm getting hooked.
This shows work in progress as I attempt to copy David Savage's Love Chair IV design
I am making them from laminated London Plane, with a muliplex seat frame , sprung and then upholstered in leather.
Work started March 2005, again under the excellent guiding eyes of