PKM as the Neuroscience of organizations

One of my earliest posts (Jun 12, 2003) was KM and the Brain (included in its entirety below for ease of reference). Looking at it again nearly 2 1/2 years later I still think the main idea is valid, though I have one update.

Specifically, I think that the neuroscience aspect of KM relates more directly to the behavior of individuals within an organization (the neurons of the organization) and how they connect (or don’t) to each other. In otherwords, Personal Knowledge Management. Because the main function of IT in KM is to provide these connections, I believe it falls under this aspect as well.

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When we talk about brains, we talk about neuroscience as dealing with the technology and psychology/psychiatry as dealing with the processes of the brain. Many KM practitioners recognize, indeed advocate, the distinction of two perspectives on KM: Object and Process. Together they make up a System perspective. You can’t really look at one without the other. You can’t really function without both. As I’m sure you’ve deduced, I’m leading to an analogy:

Neuroscience <==> Object / Technology Perspective
Psych <==> Process Perspective

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Really Simple what? Thoughts on teaching RSS

I used to think that I kind of understood RSS, and could even explain it to people. By the end of the first morning at BlawgThink a couple of weeks ago I realized that I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did, and understood even less.

Jack Vinson talks about teaching RSS, and points elsewhere, in Teaching RSS:

Marshall Kirkpatrick gives us a very nice discussion of what he does when teaching RSS to people. Teaching RSS: A Discussion

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Dave Pollard’s choice of 12 best business books of 2005

Dave Pollard’s list of The 12 Best Business Books of 2005 is worth taking a look at. I’ll definitely be checking at least some of them out.

What really struck me about his review, though, was the summary at the end of the post (emphasis is mine):

In general, it was another disappointing year for books about business. The lack of imagination and courage among book publishers seems to be endemic, and the approach seems almost formulaic — give us a big name cult-of-leadership CEO and let’s bask in his wisdom, or give us a book about some intriguing new management theory, but make sure it sounds like it’s been thoroughly tested out in the real world by dropping the names of familiar Fortune 500 companies who allegedly have deployed this theory — even if they really haven’t. When will publishers, and business book buyers, realize that there are no guarantees, best practices or cookie-cutter implementation methodologies for anything? We should read books to get interesting and useful ideas, and then draw upon our courage and the wisdom of crowds — our employees and customers especially — to decide which ideas to pursue, experiment with them, and then decide how to implement them in the unique context of our own organizations.

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Cool phrase of the day: Effective Efficiency

Effective efficiency from Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance Weblog.

Jack Vinson and Jim McGee presented a session at BlawgThink about how knowledge management and collaboration affect productivity and process, which I like to look at as effectiveness and efficiency. (Now you know why the phrase appeals to me so much.)

BlawgThink attendee Jeffrey Phillips has also written a bit about process, etc in several posts: Sometimes process doesn’t matter and Actively Unhelpful are two that have caught my eye in recent days.

In the old days of the Industrial Age the relationship between efficiency and effectiveness was, for the most part, a linear one: the more efficient you were, the more effective (productive) you were. Even in the information age there are some activities which are, in essence, information assembly lines in which this relationship holds.

True knowledge work (whatever that is), however, seems to me to have an inverse relationship between efficiency and effectiveness. In other words, the more efficient a process the less room there is for the “waste” that is necessary to support innovation.

I don’t believe this is a straight linear relationship, though, nor is it likely a purely exponential relationship. Somewhere along the line, there is a spike that shows the optimum amount of efficiency to achieve maximum effectiveness in a given knowledge acitivity. (Note that, unlike an assembly line situation where most situations are very similar, true knowledge activities are almost always unique.)

Of course, this all goes back to what exactly we mean by knowledge work. There, I think more than anywhere, the definition of “productivity” and “effectiveness” is truly in the eye of the beholder.

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Who’s reading your blog: Blogger Blocked at U.S. Border

It’s hard to believe it has been almost three weeks since BlawgThink and I still haven’t written anything about it!! Between the holidays blah blah blah. Most of my writing these days has been on my autism blog, but I do have a lot of ideas in the works for here.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Top 10 Blog Usability mistakes according to Jakob Nielsen. (I’ve made at least one change to my site design based on that list, only nine more to go 😉

The number nine top mistake is “forgetting that you are writing for your future boss.” Sometimes, though, a future boss may be the least of your worries. I recently wrote about this on my aforementioned autism blog, 29 Marbles, and came across the eweek article Blogger Blocked at U.S. Border today:

Bloggers have no privacy and should expect none—a lesson painfully learned by a Canadian citizen who was recently turned away after U.S. border guards Googled him and pored over his blog to discover where he lives.

Just a quick reminder that you are writing for ANYONE that may want to find out information about you in the future.

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