Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The KMix Program

I believe this post may liberate me from boredom for a while. There was a time when the highlight of a good week - for me - was likely to be the process of writing a creative/humorous/meaningful post. Now, one needs to be satisfied - more often - with a quick and witty observation or insight, shared in a jiffy, in the form of a tweet or a status update. Arguably, the process of blogging is a more mentally engaging and absorbing activity. What a to-be-recorded speech for a permanent audience demands of (and gives) you is different from what a quick remark in a largely informal setting does. However, the most dangerous addition to the former situation is, potentially, rambling. 

To get ahead with this post, it is not meant to be an accurate reflection of reality. You may or may not recognize these characters or may only be able to partly relate to them. This post is meant to provide more humorous relief than genuine insight. That said, by Toutatis, let me proceed. 

Look around in your organization or even your personal social circles. You may possibly find at least one of the characters described below, only their names are likely to be very different. You need to understand what roles they might play in your knowledge management program/strategy before the sky falls on your head. Let's call the program, you are in charge of, KMix as it rhymes with the characters' names and sounds harmonious etc. 

Asterix: A star hero(ine) who is both intelligent and action-oriented. A person who shares his knowledge on the go and inspires others to solve problems, accomplish things and stay active and alert in life and at work. But he also knows when he must keep his mouth shut. Your knowledge management program - KMix - must engage him at any cost. He is your program Salesman (Ref: Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point) in more ways than one. He needs a micro-blogging account if not anything else.

Obelix: A good-natured but ignorant bloke (or girl) who is happy following Asterix around and using his 'raw' skills when asked to. He can beat up the bugs and be the life and soul of a wild-boar party. He does not consume the magic potion of knowledge but is nevertheless an asset in certain situations. He may never understand the meaning of a knowledge management program (KMix, in this case) but he needs to be mentored by one of the Asterixes so his skills are leveraged upon. He needs to follow Asterix's tweets even if Getafix (coming later) does not allow him to consume any of his blog recipes. He may need a micro-blogging account to at least declare that he has spotted boars (opportunities) or Romans (competition) 

Getafix: The wise man (or woman) in the organization. A thought-leader who has plenty of important and magical recipes and is content sharing it with the action-men and women. He is a Maven (Ref: Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point). He likes to cook up reliable stuff that will help fix problems. He is the expert or adviser that your knowledge management program (KMix) must point to when there is a crisis or when your action-men and women need to get started. He is the person who is interested in discovering knowledge and putting multiple pieces of it together. Ignore him at your own peril. He needs to have his own blog of recipes and might also want to create demos, documents and presentations at times. 

Cacofonix: A lot of you would probably jump up and say you know this person really well and he sits right next to you. A man (or woman) who can't help sharing his, err, so-called wisdom. Someone you'd like to shut up every time he opens his mouth, which is quite often. He thinks he is great, but the problem is no one else does. The KMix program could do without him and his noisy ways. He, after all, adds to the information overload and forces you to focus on information filters as much as information fillers. His blog may have no use for feeds/email alerts and his tweets may be blocked by most colleagues. But remember to release him when you want to chase away annoying competitors.

Vitalstatix: The manager who may not necessarily fight battles himself (or herself) but is a powerful entity. He is the one who decides whether the battle should be fought or not, in the first place, and then puts people on the job. He, however, listens to Getafix and Asterix and considers their views before he decides what to do. He is a people connector (Ref: Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point) who knows everyone, can see the big picture and has a bird's eye-view of the situation. (He is carried around on a shield in the actual Asterix and Obelix stories.) He needs a social networking account and needs to be subscribed to important knowledge sources if not anything else. 

My version of KMix stops here even though I am tempted to include Dogmatix (as a character or subject matter expert who focuses on ethics, values and is the champion of the Organization's environmental initiatives etc) and UnHygienix (as perhaps a character who knows how to 'fish' for knowledge but does not know how to curate it and package it well so it can be consumed by others. What he needs is good training ;-) ) as additional examples but that would be taking it too far, uh? Woof. 

PS: All credit for this post goes to the authors of the Asterix and Obelix series (Goscinny and Uderzo). My version of these characters, for KMix, are nothing but simple extensions of the real characters. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Creativity Techniques

Though it is true that I've come across plenty of articles - in the past - on these lines, this particular list of ideas and the way this post has been written resonated with me. Quick reference....followed by the link to the original article and some extracts

- Psychological Distance 
- Fast Forward in Time 
- Path of Most Resistance 
- Indulging in Absurdity 
- Combining Opposites 
- Re-conceptualization
- Using Moments of Extreme Emotion (Positive/Negative)

Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques | PsyBlog
    • Project yourself forward in time; view your creative task from one, ten or a hundred years distant.
      • Physicist Niels Bohr may have used Janusian thinking to conceive the principle of complementarity in quantum theory (that light can be analysed as either a wave or a particle, but never simultaneously as both).
        • ....that experimental participants produced higher quality ideas when forced to re-conceive the problem in different ways before trying to solve it. Similarly a classic study of artists found that those focused on discovery at the problem-formulation stage produced better art

        Wednesday, August 03, 2011

        Seek. Sense. Share.

        Beth Kanter - SM Model

        I'm always looking for simple and catchy ways of communicating what knowledge management is all about. Most people, incorrectly, believe it to be something abstract and conceptual - something that cannot be practiced too easily because it only has theoretical clarity. Many KM practitioners plunge into complicated and/or dry explanations (and I'm sure even I've been guilty of this in the past ;-)) which makes the situation worse. Admittedly, this blog has, perhaps, plenty of such posts (self-written and borrowed from other writers) and corresponding ideas. Looking at the brighter side, ultimately, each one of us may be able to relate to and remember at least one of these slogans/models/definitions and apply it effectively.  ;-)

        I came across Beth Kanter's (http://www.bethkanter.org/seek-sense-share/) SM model (pic above) via G+ this morning and thought it was simple and easy to remember for people who are still confused about what KM is. Any practice, process, idea, tool or behaviour that attempts to help us seek, sense or share is, in my opinion, a knowledge management entity.