Connection and Collection, Honeycomb Story, Kingdom of Taxonomy, Weird Ideas That Work

18-Sep-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: Who has written about connection and collection in knowledge management?

A: In The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization by Thomas Stewart, Chapter 8 is “A New Agenda: Managing Knowledge Projects.” On page 175, Stewart writes.

“Connection, not collection: That’s the essence of knowledge management. The purpose of projects, therefore, is to get knowledge moving, not to freeze it; to distribute it, not to shelve it.”

Chapter 6 is “The Case Against Knowledge Management.” On page 116, Stewart describes “the Kraken,” a Lotus Notes email list for general questions and answers.

“The founders imagined that people would spark discussion by uploading white papers and the like — that is, they expected that users would pile logs of content in the fireplace, generating fire in the form of questions, critiques, and the like. Instead, the spark comes first: 80 percent of Kraken traffic starts with questions: Does anybody know? Does anybody have? Has anybody ever done something like?”

“The Kraken differs from KnowledgeCurve. The latter is supply-side; it’s full of documents, artifacts, and other explicit knowledge… The Kraken’s a conversation; KnowledgeCurve and its cousins are compendiums. KnowledgeCurve is about teaching; the Kraken is about learning.”

In Volunteer not conscript, Dave Snowden writes:

“Many years ago I formulated three rules or heuristics of Knowledge Management:

  1. Knowledge will only ever be volunteered it can not be conscripted
  2. We only know what we know when we need to know it
  3. We always know more than we can tell and we will always tell more than we can write down

The first of these reference the fact that you cannot make someone surrender their knowledge in the way that you can make them conform with a process. It was originally coined in reference to individuals, but I have come to realize that it also applies to organizations… So a new formulation, or possibly extension of the first rule would be:

If you ask someone, or a body for specific knowledge in the context of a real need it will never be refused. If you ask them to give you your knowledge on the basis that you may need it in the future, then you will never receive it.

KM Blog of the Week

Findability by Peter Morville

The Honeycomb Story

Since writing user experience design a few years back, I’ve enjoyed the assorted alternate versions of my original design honeycomb, and I even joined in the fun this year with my own unfinished user experience strategy honeycomb. Apparently, Will Evans was so upset by the hole, he added “story” (first suggested by Greg Corrin) to make it whole.

KM Link of the Week

The Kingdom of Taxonomy on Video by Patrick Lambe

Here’s a video presentation of “the Kingdom of Taxonomy” in two parts, looking at the roles that lists, trees, matrices, facets and folksonomies play in taxonomy design. It was prepared for this month’s SIKM Leaders Community call.

  1. Part One: Lists & Trees
  2. Part Two: Matrices, Facets And Folksonomies

KM Book of the Week

Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company by Robert Sutton

A breakthrough in management thinking, “weird ideas” can help every organization achieve a balance between sustaining performance and fostering new ideas. To succeed, you need to be both conventional and weird.

  • Hire misfits
  • Pursue the impractical
  • Find happy people and encourage them to fight
  • Reward failure but punish inaction
  • Forget your own successes

These and other counter-intuitive strategies will unlock ideas you never knew you had.

Table of Contents

Part I: Why The Weird Ideas Work

1. Why These Ideas Work, but Seem Weird

2. What Is Creativity, Anyway?

Part II: The Weird Ideas

3. Hire “Slow Learners” (of the Organizational Code) (Weird Idea #1)

4. Hire People Who Make You Uncomfortable, Even Those You Dislike (Weird Idea #1.5)

5. Hire People You (Probably) Don’t Need (Weird Idea #2)

6. Use Job Interviews to Get Ideas, Not to Screen Candidates (Weird Idea #3)

7. Encourage People to Ignore and Defy Superiors and Peers (Weird Idea #4)

8. Find Some Happy People and Get Them to Fight (Weird Idea #5)

9. Reward Success and Failure, Punish Inaction (Weird Idea #6)

10. Decide to Do Something That Will Probably Fail, Then Convince Yourself and Everyone Else That Success Is Certain (Weird Idea #7)

11. Think of Some Ridiculous or Impractical Things to Do, Then Plan to Do Them (Weird Idea #8)

12. Avoid, Distract, and Bore Customers, Critics, and Anyone Who Just Wants to Talk About Money (Weird Idea #9)

13. Don’t Try to Learn Anything from People Who Seem to Have Solved the Problems You Face (Weird Idea #10)

14. Forget the Past, Especially Your Company’s Successes (Weird Idea #11)

Part III: Putting The Weird Ideas To Work

15. Building Companies Where Innovation Is a Way of Life

Related blog posts by Bob Sutton

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

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