Thursday, May 28, 2009

Freedom and Knowledge - What's the Equation?

Freedom is the only means to knowledge. Complete freedom to face the results/consequences of our actions. Adapted from here

This thought fascinates me. A lot of us love to blame others for what we go through (the unappreciated experiences). Is it because we are not 'given' that freedom or is it because we don't 'take' it? Tell me...

Learning to Learn

I'd recently written about education and learning in the context of "being yourself". Yesterday, I discovered a related post by John and found it to be passionate and inspiring. He proposes some interesting ideas and strategies on how education and learning can be reformed. He also backs it up with some well-researched material and links on the Internet. Makes for thought-provoking reading and motivates me to join the conversation and co-create some concrete stuff that can be implemented. Overall, it's a wonderful place to start if one is serious about contributing to the re-engineering of education/learning strategies. Any of you passionate about learning and education and willing to join this conversation?

People to Avoid

Courtesy: @masareus's RT of @GuyKawasaki's tweet

Check out this article on some of the typical "categories" of people that we are likely to encounter in our personal and professional lives and why we need to stay away from them! Interesting, amusing and useful! Actually I think it's quite funny! We can't change such people but, God forbid, it would be worthwhile to introspect and find out if we ourselves are infected by one or more of these 'toxic' qualities!

Reminds me of this poem I wrote a couple of years ago. :-) And, I guess avoiding such people is one thing but being able to laugh at such situations is another!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009


Heard on TV - "I am where I am because of my successes and I am who I am because of my failures".

Awesome! Fantastic! Stupendofantabulouslyfantastic!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life = ?

Mike Handcock says there are five things that we should always remember and follow in order to lead a great life. Love, Gratitude, Passion, Abundance (thoughts of) and Perseverance. Strikes five distinct chords in me. :-)

PS: Reminds me of this old post.

KM Tidbits

The KM Community in Bangalore meets up once every month to hobnob and (informally) strategize on KM. Given Bangalore’s traffic and the distance that one typically has to cover to attend these sessions (and mostly during the peak hours in the evening), I don’t, unfortunately, get to attend many of these meetings. But yesterday was different. The community met in the block right next to my office and I excitedly strode in, eager to learn a few new things and chat about a few known things.

The session had two speakers – Ramesh from Adobe and Dinesh (@dineshtantri) from Thoughtworks.

Ramesh happens to be a principal scientist and has nothing to do with ‘classical KM’ as he put it. But, if you ask me, he touched upon some of the most important aspects of KM. (I often think that KM is nothing above common sense and genuine faith in collective knowledge and benefits of collaboration).

Ramesh introduced the audience to some fancy tools and practices at Adobe

- a smart people directory integrated with details about location, reporting hierarchy, search, instant communication features, offline capabilities etc

- a tool that allows communities to share PPTs and recorded sessions including features that allow for any employee to edit, annotate, comment and discuss with the rest of the organization

- yammer for microblogging

Ramesh spoke about the importance of the need for KM tools to have personal relevance and be available from browsers (rather than have to be installed on the desktop). He also showed what Adobe was doing in terms of making collaboration and sharing possible from within documents. He demonstrated an Adobe document that had an inbuilt application that would respond to a ‘what-if’ analysis on an already collated data table.

An interesting discovery was that Adobe apparently does not have a department or function called “KM”.

Later, Dinesh from Thoughtworks spoke passionately about the importance of aligning KM strategies with Business strategies and came up with a pictorial representation that emphasized on the need for KM to lie in the intersection between Business Strategy, HR Strategy and IT. He spoke about the importance of working alongside HR to identify potential employees (assessing them for their KM quotient). He also advocated the use of SNA to understand how people connect with each other within the organization (Ref: Trampoline). He ranted about the overestimation of the importance of content repositories and asked the audience to rather focus on connections between people. He mentioned initiatives that not only connect employees but also cover ex-employees, potential employees, customers, suppliers and partners. He also touched upon the importance of providing anecdotal evidence of the benefits of KM to compensate for the complexity and abstractness of RoI-assessment efforts. He put up slides that demonstrated the clutter in the KM field – a whole plethora of tools, practices and ideas that jostle for space in KMers’ minds.

I guess there were more aspects that were discussed but have probably slipped my mind as of now. If any of you folks who were there at the session are reading this and think I should have included something very important, from your perspective, please do feel free to leave your comments here.

Now, coming to what I am thinking of as a direct consequence of the session yesterday….

I think many of us KMers who have been here long enough are somewhat aware of many of these aspects but where we perhaps fail is in engaging the decision makers and being influential enough to make the change. (Which takes me back to something I’ve always ranted about…the CKO should be a powerful person reporting directly into the CEO and therefore have a say in most related matters like HR, IT, Quality etc) Most business leaders are always in a hurry and do not want to focus on what seems to be abstract. They’d rather approve the implementation of what seems tangible to their minds. It’s time for us in the KM community to start discussing the details…go beyond the policies and the ideas and study and understand how to tackle things at the ground level. We may not be able to teach each other how to be influential but we can still break through some of the organizational resistance to KM by focusing on relevant examples, publishing case studies that include contextual knowledge and solutions, discussing day-to-day experiences etc. I know some of these things will not come easy due to there being representatives of competitors amongst the community members but I think it is nevertheless doable.

Also, I think KM challenges, objectives and solutions are quite different from one organization to another and we perhaps need to spend some time understanding and bucketing (roughly) environments that we work in. This may not altogether avoid the fallacy of people blindly copying other organizations’ KM strategies and solutions but it will at least make them pause and think about the uniqueness of their own environments.

That’s all for now. I suspect that there are some more thoughts trying to find a place here. I can hear some muffled voices at the back of my head. Actually, it sounds like these entities are gagged….but to go on and expose them will be an overkill. We’ll bring out those voices some other time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Design Guide

Aah! So, it's not just me who keeps picking up something or the other to rave/ramble/rant about from C&H. Check this out...a guide to design inspired by the incredible C&H pair. Beautiful!

PS: Incidentally, the last strip in the post was apparently Bill Watterson's last cartoon strip as well.

Finding your Purpose...

People who give & are involved in a purpose that is greater than themselves are the happiest people & live the richest & most meaningful lives imaginable. - Cynthia Kersey

If you're trying to find your purpose in life, consider what Cynthia says. Meanwhile, I will too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Being Yourself....

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think this quote hits the nail on the head. The so-called transformation starts with parenting strategies by the family, goes on to influences at school and then slowly to a lot of obsessed and maddening groups in the society. I'd be surprised if I come across anyone who thinks they have managed to get away untouched by the society! But, yes, the degree of influence varies. I wonder what it really takes to remain oneself when a huge crowd of people are desperately trying to 'chisel' you according to their preferences. The worst of such a situation is when people don't just share their 'perceptions' but emphasize that what they're saying is 'right' while what others are saying is 'wrong'! Education should be about learning to think for ourselves, discovering our own minds and what is 'good' for us. That is probably one of the most fundamental and radical of changes that we need to bring about in our society if each of us is to remain what we 'are'. Life is indeed a paradox that demands we manage ourselves while also managing our relationships with others (whose influences we are, therefore, constantly going to be subjected to).


Update: @davidgurteen discovered this post and liked it. He spread the word on Twitter and also messaged me on Twitter and pointed me to a related - wonderful -quote that I must add to this post! :-)

Thanks, David! I think this quote must be read and understood by all those who are patronizing.

Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them. - John Holt (American Educator)


Here's another related post from Luis. (The video is on the lines of what I've dreamed of as 'KM for Schools')


Two lovely posts by Matt. Both of which revolve around aspects that I myself have pondered over and 'am therefore able to relate to very well. Especially like the way Matt ends the first post (is there a way out?). And the second post - particularly the graph - reminds me of my own ramblings, on rules and rebels, here. Incidentally, I just realized, that these two posts are about opposing about the pursuit of growth and the other about recession/undesired change.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hobbes’s View of Life


Logic. Geography. Science. Hobbes is not in a mood for philosophy! :-)

H’mm. I know. Lots of C&H on my blog these days! When I have no clue what to post on the blog for more than a week or so, more often than not, C&H, I have observed, comes to my rescue. I end up with a strip that either makes me think or laugh or want to share with my blog-friends. This strip, needless to say, made me do all three.

Happy Weekend! Remember Calvin’s thumb rule - weekends are good only when you do something absolutely pointless.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Aa..ha! is 5 Years Old!

Whoo! Hey! Ha! Ho! Yippee! And so on!

Wish Aa..ha! a very happy birthday, folks! She’s been around for 5 years now. This blog is no longer a toddler, you might say! ;-) It’s a wonder no one has ever complained and somehow let this blog be for 5 whole years! H’mm. Miracles do happen, like I’ve always believed. I wasn’t really keeping a tab on my blog’s birthday but it just struck me now…all of a sudden and out of the blue or whatever. So, what have I to say on this inconsequential occasion? I’ll share something I was musing about this morning, not that you’ll stand up and take notice, bow and bless my blog.

What I thought of inspires me and the kind soul that I am, I wish to infect you folks as well. So, get ready then. Straighten your back and focus.

We must do whatever we do with sincerity, passion & patience* or not do it at all. [*I suspect am convinced that we are all being gradually rapidly consumed by the need for speed]

Tada! :-) Should I say anything else? Feeling like a 5-year-old myself. Seem to have forgotten how to talk/write. What a nincompoop of a post this one has turned out to be! Anyway, I know I am likely to be forgiven for it is my blog-birthday! Move on and hope for the best. I may speak some sense when I come back to write the next post!

Storytelling - 1,2,3,4

Liked this. [I use it often at work. Honestly, many people don't read/listen but those who do are influenced to a certain extent] :-)

1. Introduce the characters. Stories involve people so describe them.

2. Set the scene. This often involves some challenge or difficulty that has to be overcome.

3. Explain what happened next and how the situation resolved itself.

4. Draw out any conclusions or lessons learnt.

KM Quotes from NASA

KM Quotes from here -

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a little want of knowledge is also a dangerous thing." Samuel Butler

"Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you; you must acquire it." Anonymous

"Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance." Robert Quillen

"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." Oscar Wilde

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification." Martin H. Fischer

"Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness" George Washington

"Knowledge is only potential power." Napoleon Hill

"Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse." Proverb

"Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge." Kahlil Gibran

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." Confucius

"The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge." Thomas Berger

"The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do." Benjamin Disraeli

"There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating; people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing." Oscar Wilde

"There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it." Charles F. Kettering

"There is no knowledge that is not power." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach." Aristotle

"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge." Lao Tzu

"To know and not to do is not to know." Proverb

"To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge." Henry David Thoreau

“A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.” Thomas Carlyle

“Abstract knowledge is always useful, sooner or later.” Robert A. Heinlein

“Alchemists turned into chemists when they stopped keeping secrets.” Eric Raymond

“All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.” Arthur Aufderheide

“All knowledge is worth having.” Jacqueline Carey

“All men by nature desire to know.” Aristotle

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

“As much as possible, to boost mankind's collective capability for coping with complex, urgent problems.” Douglas C. Engelbart

“Better is the enemy of ‘good enough.’” John Berg

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” George Bernard Shaw

“Collaboration equals innovation.” Michael Dell

“He who tells all that he knows, tells more than he knows.” George Harrison

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

“I collaborate therefore I know.” KM World Magazine

“I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” John F. Kennedy

“If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is a man who has so much as to be out of danger?” Thomas Henry Huxley

“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.” Isaac Asimov

“If knowledge is power and power corrupts, doesn't knowledge corrupt?”

“If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, and corruption is crime, and crime doesn’t pay... Does knowledge, in the end, leave you broke?”

“If things are not interesting in themselves, how can any amount of knowledge about them be?” George MacDonald

“If you don't like that idea, I've got plenty of others!” R. Buckminster Fuller

“Ignorance hates knowledge.” Death Star

“Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” William Shakespeare

“I'm looking forward to a world where the whole concept of ‘e-mail’ – a special mode of operation where everything is viewed based on discrete transactions – is replaced by a much more powerful way of viewing and sharing connected information in context.” Harlan Hugh

“Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world.” Albert Einstein

“In a knowledge-driven economy, talk is real work.” Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak

“Information is not knowledge.” Albert Einstein

“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Samuel Johnson

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein

“It isn’t what you know that counts; it’s what you think of in time.” Benjamin Franklin

“It’s the people, stupid.” Alan Kay

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Knowledge and human power are synonymous.” Sir Francis Bacon

“Knowledge is experience; everything else is information.” Albert Einstein

“Knowledge is free at the library. Just bring your own container.”

“Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.” Louis L’Amour

“Knowledge is more than equivalent to force.” Samuel Johnson

“Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” Samuel Johnson

“Knowledge is power, knowledge is safety, knowledge is happiness.” Thomas Jefferson

“Knowledge is power.” Sir Francis Bacon

“Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.” Albert Einstein

“Knowledge shared is knowledge squared.” Microsoft

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance” James Madison

“Knowledge, having irritated and stimulated our appetite for power, will lead us inexorably to our ruin.” Emile M. Cioran

“Knowledge, in truth, is the grate sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams.” Daniel Webster

“One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge.” Lao-tzu

“Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Sensory raw material, the only source of our knowledge … may lead us to belief and expectation but not [necessarily] to knowledge.” Albert Einstein

“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” Benjamin Franklin

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” John F. Kennedy

“The great end of knowledge is not knowledge, but action.” Thomas Henry Huxley

“The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.” John F. Kennedy

“The only reason [groupware is] worth the effort at all is that it's inevitable.” Susanna Opper & Henry Fersko-Weiss

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” Albert Einstein

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein

“There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.” Albert Einstein

“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.” Sir Benjamin Disraeli

“Trust is the bandwidth of human communications.” Karl Erik Sveiby

“We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“We must know; we will know.” Hilbert

“What you know you know. What you don’t know, you don’t know. This is knowledge.” Confucius

“Where knowledge ends, religion begins.” Benjamin Disraeli

An Unusual Post

An unusual post that caught my attention - You can read it here. The message: It’s OK to be fooled. Learn to laugh at yourself and yet don’t let the experience dictate to your trusting nature. Here are some extracts that I found to be compelling.

We’re going to be fooled sometimes. Especially if we easily place our confidence in people. But I’m not going to give up trusting just to avoid being had.

I’ve observed that some of the happiest people I know are far from being the most wary – in fact, they are quite often open and trusting. These contented folks share at least two traits.

The first is that they are trustworthy. They are known to be honest and true to their word.

And the second trait these happy and satisfied people share is that they easily trust others. Sometimes their trust is misplaced, but they’ve discovered that the benefits of trusting usually outweigh the risks of disappointment.

To be honest, I am not completely sure that the benefits of trusting always outweigh the risks of disappointment. But I, nevertheless, buy the overall argument by Steve. I especially love the way Steve ends his post:

And I’d rather believe there is goodness in most people, for that is the only way to find it.

Quite true! But I’d be surprised if people find it easy to trust others given the complicated times that we live in. I think a lot of it comes from our natural and inherent qualities that have somehow – magically – been left intact even as we waded through the vagaries of life.