Friday, October 24, 2003

The ever-informative Imaginatic newsletter pointed me to the IdeaFlow Blog . This article proposes using Logic Puzzles in teams as a way to discover each person's strenghts and weaknesses. To me it sounds a more memorable and robust way of disclosing these than the more formal profiling tools like the Belbin Test or Myers-Briggs.

Indeed you could replace all the questionnaires with a Compendium of Games:
* Extraversion-Introversion = Karaoke Night
* Sensing-Intuition = Cluedo
* Thinking-Feeling = Truth-or-Dare
* Judging-Perceiving = High-speed Monopoly

Mind you, there's nothing like a free bar and a session of Twister to get to know what your colleagues are really like, its just that nobody likes to remember it the morning after.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Knet Map from Konverge and Know is another Social Network Analysis tool new to the market. Its simple 'question of the week' format makes it very easy to collect data. Trouble with all these tools is that few companies would appreciate the benefits sufficiently up-front to pay the kind of cash they ask for them.

Mainstream Social Network Analysis
There are a few indications that SNA is being made more accessible to the business world. e.g.
Entopia -- Social Network Analysis is a plug-in for their Quantum Suite. I saw Quantum last year and it takes an individual-up approach to KM (think Personal Knowledge Management that tries to scale). The problem with this approach is that it can lead to lots of duplication and fragmentation as everyone keeps 'their' version of a file (think of how people handle e-mails with attachments).
The great thing about this new module is that it maps networks automatically based on real, rather than reported interests. Downside is that mapping your interests and contacts can trigger 'spyware' reactions in staff. Entopia has some privacy controls, but this is a very delicate area, and I think makes management very wary.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

I've just been to Intracom 2003 in Montreal. A predominantly Intranet-based conference but with a strong KM track. Turnout was good (more buoyant that other KM conferences I've been to recently), though there's still a general sense that KM professionals are struggling to keep the momentum of the programmes going.

Hubert St-Onge was there advocating that we abolish our Training departments. Unable to resist this provocation I cornered him afterwards. To me what he mostly seems to be anti is the politics\inertia of trad training departments that assume putting people in a classroom is the default answer. That much I agree with, though I do feel e-learning advocates understate the problems of motivation in self-paced learning.

Richard McDermott and Marie Eychene (Ericsson) gave a presentation on Virtual Communities that generated a lot of audience interest. McDermott had a nice observation that online quiet is quieter (are people silent in rapt attention or disinterest?) and loud is louder (an argument between 2 people can swamp a discussion forum and there are no social cues like rolled eyeballs to shut them up).

Naturally, there were some misses too - one presenter claimed "Knowledge in the world is doubling every 12 months, perhaps every 10 now". Pah! Content doubling I might believe, but knowledge? We also had the old humbinger of a hierachy of data-information-knowledge-wisdom, as if wisdom comes from knowledge by adding the right meta-tags.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

A lot of people comment that knowledge isn't like money because I can give you knowledge and still keep it myself. Most recently I heard this in a presentation from Loraine Ricino of Siemens where they had a quote from an exec in a promotional video "If I give you an idea and you give me an idea, then we each have 2 ideas, its that simple!". True, but it doesn't mean its cost-free.

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of the recipient. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention" - Herb Simon.