Many lenses on knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing - deep sharing - is based on the idea of conversation. I have been interested in the ideas of knowledge sharing for many years, and since I am in the midst of reading Kate Pugh's Sharing Hidden Know-How, I am seeing related topics all over.
Kate's book goes in deep on creating a "knowledge jam" in which people have the opportunity to share and learn how to deal with thorny problems. Among a number of things I have enjoyed about it so far is the emphasis on getting people to connect their ideas and contexts, with a goal of DOING SOMETHING with what they've learned - not simply writing lessons learned or best practice documents.
Another direction comes from a talk by Francis Gouillart this morning on his concept of co-creation as described in The Power of Co-Creation (or his HBR article, Building the Co-Creative Enterprise) with Venkat Ramaswamy. Co-Creation has a number of elements to it, but the knowledge sharing view has to do with getting people thinking and working and learning together to build something new from the pieces they have. Gouillart talked about the idea of an engagement platform that creates the space and boundaries around which people co-create. These can be products, people, a business function, a social need, or a physical space. The platform acts as a catalyst for the creation - for the sharing of knowledge. I was also intrigued about the idea that co-creation is focused on the experience that is being changed, rather than on the process. Patti Anklam has written up a nice summary of the Gouillart's talk from the point of view of net work, Co-Creation - because the knowledge is in the network.
And then I came across Nancy Dixon's blog post on Guidelines for Leveraging Collective Knowledge and Insight, which has a great set of principles for helping people make deeper connections - so important when you attempting to enhance knowledge sharing. It's no surprise that Dixon wrote the forward to Pugh's book.
One key principle in the sharing of hidden knowledge comes across in a number of ways as "I don't know what I'm thinking until I tell someone." or "We only know what we know when we need to know it." (Snowden) or several other varieties. And how do you get to this point of telling someone? You engage in conversation with them. That seems to be the nature of the links I am making in my head today.
What about all the software means for engaging people and storing that knowledge? They can help and do some interesting things, but there are also some limitations that we often don't acknowledge. I think that will be the subject of another blog post.
[Photo: "Viewpoint" by HamburgerJung]
Previous entry: Classic paper on why technologies fail
Next entry: Subordination isn't easy, but it's critical