The Problem of “Universal” Speech

In this post, I’d like to continue a thread about “Universals”, or ideas that are higher than Strata 5-8’s (“abstract conceptual”). I will go over some of the previous discussion, talk about the problems of 6th Order communication and maybe make a point or two. If you are coming to this site from outside the theoretical framework, you may want …

Knowledge Sharing

An article by James Roberson (“CMb 2004–16: ‘Knowledge sharing’ should be avoided“) got me thinking about the problems inherent in the dictive to share knowledge. You know what happens: the boss, who is too small to be your real boss even though he’s your boss’s boss, gathers everyone together and points out that y’all missed some great opportunities because what …

The Social Nature of Knowledge and Learning

I’ve been reading The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. They have an interesting chapter on knowledge and learning, making the point that you can’t capture knowledge: it’s resident in the social network of your group. Sure, individuals have knowledge, but that knowledge is socially created. And you can’t give it away very easily: Curiously, …

Devizesbowmen shooting a recurve bow at archery target. (c) Jethrothompson (CC BY SA 3) Via Wikimedia.

“Ready, Fire, Aim”: Intuition, Analysis and Tacit vs. Explicit Knowledge

By investigating the solutions as you are trying to determine the problem, you get farther ahead. If you knew what they problem was, it wouldn’t be much of a problem: you’d just go ahead and fix it. Most of what we do we don’t truly understand what will work or why. We move around by intuition, using analysis to then determine whether we’re on the right track or how to sharpen our focus.

Mintzberg Quoting Mozart on Composing

For whatever reason, there’s something about the “Aha!” nature of genius that resists deconstruction. Or reduction. Or even reducing to a broth. One of the problems with many of the current KM theories and practices is that they basically ignore this. It’s as if knowledge and knowing were somehow the big secret. The big secret is guessing and doing. Then …

Illuminated incandescent replacement curly fluorescent light bulb

Knowledge and Abstraction

I’ve been reading KM articles and discussions lately. Again. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of the problem of different levels of abstraction. Just because I’m in Software Development doesn’t mean that I want the same level of detail as the guy down the hall. I tend towards big picture thinking, wanting to see the details of the program, …

Employees at Mid-Continent Refinery [ca. 1943 Tulsa, OK (LOC). By John Vachon]

Communities of Practice and Management Hierarchy: Can it work?

In this blog post from 2004, I muse on the interaction between the network forms of Communities of Practice and managerial hierarchies (cascades of Real Bosses, not simply organizational charts). I wonder if now, years later, this is still valid. Let me know what you think. How do Communities of Practice (CoP) interact with the self-organizing principles that Elliott Jaques …

Empty Space and Learning

One of the things that Block talks about is for managers to let their subordinates live with uncertainty. When they demand to know your vision, tell them the truth: you don’t know where the company should go right now. “Where do you think the company should go?” I started thinking about that as I read “Structural Holes and Good Ideas“, …