Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Poem of the Phoenix

There are two ways to look at poetry. There are two ways to look at life. It must be a lie because the 'poet' *makes* it rhyme. It can't be anything but the truth because the rhyme somehow falls in place.


Life is at the peak of confusion
Not when 'up' is followed by a 'down'
But when it blows both hot and cold
When one feels weak as well as bold

When nectar and poison are one
When soft and rough spoil the fun
When the child is both patted and hit
When the lamp is blown out immediately after being lit

When one reaches the mountain peak
And yet there are no traces of what one seeks
When the fire of life is doused out of sight
Just as it begins to burn bright

The words to repeat as always 
are Trust in God and hope of a divine blaze
The picture of a rising phoenix 
Shows silent strength and wipes off the jinx 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy New Year - 2012

1. Great message
2. Perfect illustrations 
3. Nice mix of quantitative and qualitative proof

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Context Rules

When one doesn't take the complete context into consideration, nothing may make sense. Things may seem contradictory and illogical. Decisions and conclusions under such circumstances can and, most probably, will go wrong. I may enjoy watching a speeding car in a Formula 1 race, but not on a busy road. Logic is a function of the context (if there is such a thing as universal logic). Detectives probably crack the case more because of the clues that the context provides than because of those provided by the content. Right? Wrong?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Here are four brilliant quotes that I came across recently and found to be thought-provoking. 

All cruelty springs from weakness. ~ Seneca

Notes: The next time you come across a person who seems to be cruel, see if you can possibly discover the weakness behind it...and address that!


There is one path for the fleer, many for the seeker. - Marathi proverb

Notes: Seek. Seek. Seek. Never ever give up.


Between what I think, 

What I want to say,

What I believe I’m saying,

What I say,

What you want to hear,

What you hear,

What you believe you understand,

What you want to understand,

And what you understood,

There are at least nine possibilities of misunderstanding.

- French Jurist Francois Garagnon

Notes: If we believe and understand this, we may trust more people around us.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thinkers 50

Vineet Nayar's "Employees First, Customers Second" philosophy has put him in the list of Top 50 Thinkers. Tom Peters, anyone? Sheena Iyengar (TED video on the dilemma of Choice) is the only Indian Woman in the list. 

Umair just about makes it at #49. Phew. Seth Godin, Gladwell, Marcus Buckingham, Rosabeth Kanter, Daniel Pink, Gary Hamel, Stephen Covey, Goleman and Nitin Nohria are all there. Ken Robinson is definitely there but I'd have expected him to be higher up the list.

Clayton M. Christensen is at #1 and, importantly enough, he is someone who talks about organizations' (single-minded?) pursuit of profits being not just the death of innovation but of the economy.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Warning: A Wandering Mind

How does one deal with the paradox of “be yourself” and “adjust” (the famous term that used to be associated with Bangalore and its people before the former became a cosmopolitan city) at the same time? In the long run, is happiness a consequence of listening to your heart and doing things your way or “adjusting” with what is? What if the situation you are in involves entities outside of your well thought-out and deeply absorbed (or prejudiced) value-system or communication model or something else equally important? Is it okay to kill a little part of you – in a virtual sense - and adapt yourself to the situation while pretending to align with it even if you are not perhaps really doing so? Is it okay to live with the attitude that you may, after-all, change or things will change or, well, you can change things somewhere down the path? Does it make more sense to be practical and result-oriented rather than attach yourself to a subconsciously acquired (some of it may be natural, if genetic causes can be labeled as natural) value-system (or communication model or…..)? Or, more alarmingly, how do you know it is not your ego that wears a clever disguise and convinces you to be the way you are?

An episode involving the ethics of a social worker triggered me off to muse about the identity of the so-called “truth” and the validity of a black and white world as opposed to a grayish world. I then attempted to see it from the perspective of the Mahabharatha, when a brave woman I know responded and declared that Sri Krishna may have won the war for the Pandavas by deceit but he achieved his goal (justifiable to some and not so justifiable to others) he set out to achieve and that is all, perhaps, that mattered. Outsiders, she said, only watch and debate his methods. How do you blend your thinking and action? If Sri Krishna is the answer to today’s ruthless, ambiguous and vague world, then what is the importance of the unquestioned obedience and love that Lord Rama is identified with? Go ahead. Share your wisdom. Some of you are capable of running a correspondence course on the human psychology in the context of relationships/communities, like the Master might say! ;-)  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

KM Asia 2011

Here is a very high-level mind-map of the recently conducted KM Asia 2011 Conference. Please note that this is only a bird's eye-view of the proceedings. You can look up the #kmasia11 hash-tag in Twitter for more details, ideas and thoughts from the conference attendees. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya

Ingenious. Inspiring. Brilliant. And a superbly shot video too.

Take a look at this video. It is the story of how people in the rural areas of Meghalaya, in India, connect and interact with nature and build natural bridges made out of tree roots! Reminds one of the blockbuster movie, Avatar. The video shows how an old man shares his knowledge of how these bridges are built with his grand-daughter. Someone from the source network said - very beautifully - in response to this video, "The joy of sharing the knowledge is its own reward".

More Information:




Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Some inspiration that I thought I would share:

Two great quotes that I came across today:

"Nothing is interesting if you're not interested." ~ Helen MacInness

Brilliant! Not something that many people understand or agree with, however true it is. I wish I'd known this quote a year ago. Could have probably used it to my advantage :-)


This was in one of the responses, in Quora, to a question on God's invisibility: Read the full set of answers here, in case you're interested. 

The worst kind of leader is one who is despised and defied. 

Next is the one who is feared and obeyed.

Then the one loved and praised.

But the best kind of leader is the one whose existence is doubted,

who accomplishes all things, and the people say, "I have done it myself."

-- Tao Te Ching


Moving on to less philosophical things, here's a nice set of slides on Social Media Strategy by @zaana. She has done a great job of collating data and ideas on the topic, with some cool pictures too



Finally, I loved this article on the two flavors of passion for work - harmonious passion and obsessive passion. Via @gautamghosh


In other words, I think it is all boils down to the philosophy of being engaged in work for inner happiness and yet being detached enough to pay attention to other dimensions of life. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Think Different Advt - Steve Jobs


Just reading these Buddhist tenets makes me feel serene. Following these, however, I know will require herculean effort and infinite faith.

    1. Bao Yen Hsin: The willingness to accept, without complaining, suffering and unhappiness because you understand it is your own karma.
    2. Sui Yen Hsin: Understanding that all situations are the consequences of karmic causes, and therefore, you maintain equanimity in all circumstances, both negative and positive.
    3. Tsung Fa Hsin: Realizing through practice the essence of your Buddha Nature, which is equanimity.

    Source: http://sped2work.tripod.com/bdharma.html 


    I found this interesting and thoughtful set of quotes on the significance of facts.

    “If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” -  Albert Einstein 

    “Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one's head.” -  Mark Twain

    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” -  Charles R. Swindoll 

    “There are no eternal facts as there are no eternal truths” - Friedrich Nietzsche 

    “If the dream is big enough the facts don't matter” -  Dexter Yager

    “I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts” -  Mark Twain

    “In the wild struggle for existance, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.” -  Oscar Wilde

    “It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think.” -  Robert M. Hutchins


    Isn't it ironic that the most opinionated people are the ones that think they are armed with all the facts, A to Z? Sometimes, reading (and remembering) a lot leaves one with a fixed mindset rather than an open mind. 

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Success or Joy

    A young and budding singer gets contradictory advice from established singers in the same forum. While one e.s stresses that he must not focus on showing (or tapping into) his talent but understand what constitutes winning (=mass acceptance), another e.s says the mark of a 'true musician' is to sing for 'himself' (my interpretation: do what is 'right' and do something simply for its challenging experience). This is likely to be a never-ending dilemma for some of us, irrespective of our professions.


    Great article on Daily OM -  

    Because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

    Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion.

    It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons.

    This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular. 

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Management Theory, Anyone?

    Absolutely loved this article. Feast for thought...! (Link and extracts below)

    The Management Myth - Magazine - The Atlantic
      • One of the distinguishing features of anything that aspires to the name of science is the reproducibility of experimental results
        • Another, even more fundamental feature of science—here I invoke the ghost of Karl Popper—is that it must produce falsifiable propositions
          • Over the past century Taylor’s successors have developed a powerful battery of statistical methods and analytical approaches to business problems. And yet the world of management remains deeply Taylorist in its foundations.
            • Much of management theory today is in fact the consecration of class interest—not of the capitalist class, nor of labor, but of a new social group: the management class.
              • Each new fad calls attention to one virtue or another—first it’s efficiency, then quality, next it’s customer satisfaction, then supplier satisfaction, then self-satisfaction, and finally, at some point, it’s efficiency all over again
                • But what happened to such stalwarts as McKinsey, which generated millions in fees from Enron and supplied it with its CEO?
                  • Our firm wasn’t about bureaucratic control and robotic efficiency in the pursuit of profit. It was about love
                    • “R-I-P. Rip, shred, tear, mutilate, destroy that hierarchy,” said ├╝ber-guru Tom Peters, with characteristic understatement
                      • The lessons Mayo drew from the experiment are in fact indistinguishable from those championed by the gurus of the nineties: vertical hierarchies based on concepts of rationality and control are bad; flat organizations based on freedom, teamwork, and fluid job definitions are good.
                        • On further scrutiny, however, it turned out that two workers who were deemed early on to be “uncooperative” had been replaced with friendlier women
                          • It was a way of harnessing the workers’ sense of identity and well-being to the goals of the organization, an effort to get each worker to participate in an ever more refined form of her own enslavement.
                            • The Taylorite rationalist says: Be efficient! The Mayo-ist humanist replies: Hey, these are people we’re talking about! And the debate goes on
                              • In most managerial jobs, almost everything you need to know to succeed must be learned on the job
                                • No,” he said, shaking his head with feigned chagrin. “There are only three forces in this case. And two of them are in the Finance Ministry.”
                                  • but the point is rather lost if students come away imagining that you can go home once you’ve put all of your eggs into a two-by-two growth-share matrix.
                                    • Taylor’s pig iron case was not a description of some aspect of physical reality—how many tons can a worker lift? It was a prescription—how many tons should a worker lift? The real issue at stake in Mayo’s telephone factory was not factual—how can we best establish a sense of teamwork? It was moral—how much of a worker’s sense of identity and well-being does a business have a right to harness for its purposes?

                                    Friday, September 16, 2011

                                    Death of Deprivation

                                    Deprivation of Love is death of the Soul
                                    Deprivation of Knowledge is death of the Mind
                                    Deprivation of Trust is death of the Heart

                                    Deprivation of air, water and food is death of the Body
                                    Deprivation of Freedom is death of Individuality 
                                    Deprivation of Conversations is death of Relationships

                                    Death of Deprivation is all we need.

                                    Give your Children all you've got. Because you're all they've got. Happy Families are the foundation of a happy world. 

                                    PS: Update: (Optional ;-))

                                    Deprivation of Encouragement is death of Confidence
                                    Deprivation of Travel is death of Wonder
                                    Deprivation of Financial Assistance is death of Choice

                                    Tuesday, September 06, 2011

                                    Misfits - Umair Haque


                                    Inspiring article from one of my current favorite writers, Umair Haque. 


                                    It's not that every misfit accomplishes something fundamentally unexpectedly awesome (for example, yours truly). And it certainly is the case that misfits have also been some of history's greatest villains. But it's also probable that most things unexpected, radical, and breathtakingly awesome take just a little bit of nonconformity; just a little bit of dissatisfaction with "the way things are.

                                    Hence, I'd say: the biggest and most unforgivable crime industrial age institutions commit againstour humanity is to deny us the freedom of our own singular humanity. They stifle us at every turn, fitting us into neat boxes, relentlessly and brutally pressuring us — when they're not pulverizing us — to conform, obey, fit in, toe the party line.

                                     If we had more freedom of individualism in organization, we'd have less politics, bureaucracy, jargon, time-wasting, wheel-spinning, and an almost embarrassing level of hubris that would have put Icarus to shame — and veritable monsoons more humility, imagination, creativity, empathy, trust, respect, wisdom.

                                    We need those free thinkers. In fact, in a world where perma-crisis seems to be the status quo, by which our so called leaders seem paralyzed and hopelessly confused, we've never needed the misfits more.

                                    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. 

                                          Wednesday, July 20, 2011

                                          Future of Work

                                            • Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
                                              • Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques 
                                              • Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

                                              Monday, July 18, 2011


                                              I know bucketing people is not particularly considered wise. But I can't help it. Do you find yourself focusing on one of these dimensions of life constantly? I am skeptical about people being able to concentrate on everything. In some cases, it may be two dimensions (like W and F).

                                              1. The W group: Wisdom, Work, Wit (includes pursuit of all mental skills)

                                              2. The F group: Food, Fitness, Family (worldly relationships), and Finances

                                              3. The S group: Serenity (search for peace and quiet), Spirituality (intrigued by sincerity, morals, supernatural experiences and social-causes) and Sensitivity (emotional rather than rational aspects, creative endeavors that don't necessarily make sense to others)

                                              If you find yourself falling under one of these categories, do you think it is easier for you to relate to others in the same category?

                                              Thursday, July 14, 2011

                                              Tube Tales

                                              I think life is like an endlessly long toothpaste tube whose cap may suddenly appear on the horizon and then, what's more, come unscrewed without any notice whatsoever. The tube, meanwhile, will always be squeezed. It is there to be squeezed. There's always something or the other that squeezes it, gently or otherwise depending on how much the squeeze is resisted. (Whoa!) The pressure is bound to result in an excess in one place and a shortage in another.

                                              You may temporarily believe you're free if and when the squeezing ceases for some reason. But, psst, the contents have only been moved to another section of the tube (read life). You live under the illusion that you've solved the problem and can move on to a smooth and unobstructed path. But the so-called solution, in reality, did not clear the problem forever but only moved it to some other place or changed its appearance. ;-) Your solution is now the new problem. Your problem was perhaps the solution to a previous problem. Hang on. This is not pessimism. What I am driving at is that this simply means there is perhaps no such thing as a problem or a solution. Everything is the tube.

                                              Wednesday, June 22, 2011

                                              The sum of divinity

                                              The serenity of Buddha's face. The compassion & forgiveness in Jesus's arms.  The wisdom in Krishna's words.  The sum of divinity. 

                                              Wednesday, June 15, 2011

                                              When it Rains Ideas

                                              Some ideas are like thunder & lightening followed by a downpour. They shake you up and then vanish. 

                                              Some ideas are like the gentle and cool breeze that you may or may not notice, but they have a subconscious impact. 

                                              Some are like a continuous drizzle, you must accept & live with them. 

                                              Wednesday, June 08, 2011

                                              Experts and Wikipedia

                                              It is hard to resist the urge to share something that is one or more of the following. Isn't it? 

                                              • Inspiring
                                              • Thought-provoking
                                              • Humorous
                                              • Positive/optimistic/hopeful 
                                              • Paradoxical 

                                              In other words, one feels extremely compelled to share things that fall into one or more of these categories.  It is harder to resist the urge if you love to write and enjoy, like the Master would say, spreading sweetness and light.

                                              I was reading a thought-provoking article on Wikipedia and how it has changed the way we perceive knowledge creation and generation, wherein Marshall McLuhan is quoted as saying that technology can alter cognition (and to think we've been fond of saying 'Technology is only the enabler, folks').

                                              Here are some extracts that I liked.

                                              ".....The place where an idea could be owned by a single person. One of McLuhan's genius insights was his understanding of how the shift from an oral culture to one based on print gave rise to our modern notion of the individual as the originaator and owner of particular ideas."

                                              McLuhan foresaw. "If the printing press empowered the individual, the digital world empowers collaboration."

                                              McLuhan's chief insights centered around the idea that technology strongly affects not only the content of culture, but the mind that creates and consumes that culture. He maintained that technology alters cognition itself, all the way down to its deepest, most elemental processes.

                                              "It is not only our material environment that is transformed by our machinery. We take our technology into the deepest recesses of our souls. Our view of reality, our structures of meaning, our sense of identity—all are touched and transformed by the technologies which we have allowed to mediate between ourselves and our world. We create machines in our own image and they, in turn, recreate us in theirs"

                                              In a traditional encyclopedia, experts write articles that are permanently encased in authoritative editions. The writing and editing goes on behind the scenes, effectively hiding the process that produces the published article. [...] Jaron focuses on the "finished piece," ie. the latest version of a Wikipedia article. In fact what is most illuminative is the back-and-forth that occurs between a topic's many author/editors. I think there is a lot to be learned by studying the points of dissent. [...]

                                              Thursday, June 02, 2011

                                              Thoughtful Moments

                                              A few of my own thoughtful twitter moments today 

                                              How can love & forgiveness exist where there is a tendency to constantly observe, analyze, assume & judge?

                                              Sharing is the Mother and Curiosity the Father of Serendipity. #inspired_moment


                                              An inspiring post by Sudhir Krishnan that I came across this morning (and this post happens to be somewhat related to my first thought)

                                              However noble your thoughts and actions, there will be some people who will not be pleased. Even Jesus and Buddha faced opposition. While one needs to take care not to deliberately hurt others, there is always the possibility of falling short of some people's expectations. As long as you have given your best, move on and do not blame yourself. Detach yourself from what is essentially the other person's karma.

                                              Wednesday, June 01, 2011

                                              The Evolution of KM

                                              KMers everywhere have been desperately attempting (but in vain?) to get people to stop associating KM only with content repositories and embrace other concepts like 

                                              • the simple sharing of thoughts, experiences, ideas, articles and musings (via internal and external blogs and microblogs, bookmarking), 
                                              • discovering colleagues who might collaborate, guide, mentor, or support employees (via internal social networking, author-discovery, people search), 
                                              • collaborating efficiently to co-create content and innovate through collective wisdom (via workspaces, conversations apps, wikis, community-platforms, discussion-Q&A forums). 
                                              • Additionally, KM also includes softer techniques like 
                                                • storytelling for effective knowledge sharing, 
                                                • checklists for effective knowledge capture and reuse 
                                                • after action reviews for learning from the past, 
                                                • unconferences for unstructured and serendipitous exchange of knowledge, 
                                                • social network analysis for finding important information nodes in the organization, job rotation, succession planning etc. 
                                              In short, KM in its truest form is a versatile portfolio of various techniques and tools, rather than plain content reuse.

                                              This may be painfully obvious to KMers who've been in this field for a while, but what could be the reasons why organizations typically stick to content management rather than pursue other ideas as well, as a part of their KM initiative? 

                                              1. They live in the past and believe knowledge equals (or almost equals) structured content

                                              2. They're not comfortable with spending energy and resources on things that are hard to control and bring discipline to (content collection and reuse is relatively easy to define, control and monitor) 

                                              3. They're not comfortable with spending energy and resources on things whose benefits cannot be accurately quantified (content reuse is relatively easy to measure and quantify in terms of time saved) 

                                              4. They don't see the connection between the 'new' techniques/tools and KM, as they know it. Therefore, they'd leave the pursuit (and facilitation) of these ideas to, say, the HR or Operations or IT functions, or the Project teams themselves

                                              Which brings us back to the rhetorical question. Should we call Knowledge Management something else and wrap it up in something that sounds more commercial rather than academic? Will a rose by any other name smell better? And, not to forget, is it already happening in organizations that are using the label of Enterprise 2.0 or does that sound equally esoteric?