[ba-ohs-talk] Towards an OHS Manifesto that Enables KM
Jack and Johannes, (01)
This is a good discussion on advancing technology. My sense is that if you
improve learning by converting information into knowledge, this is the modern
equivalent of turning straw into gold, and so is useful for kids and adults.
Recall discussion on 011029 about benefits of continual learning in light of
social pressures in the work place that suppress knowledge due to fear of
accountability, explained on 991108. (02)
So, not only is there the sales battle of learning a new way of working that
saves 10:1 relative to existing methods, as Johannes points out today, strong
leadership is needed that helps people overcome what Friedman calls the Tyranny
of the Status Quo, and Grove characterizes as "walking through the valley of
Take slight issue, or perhaps just saying things a little differently on
benefits of KM for repetitive tasks. (04)
One of the more interesting discoveries using organizational memory is to
discover useful patterns of conduct at low levels of detail which are otherwise
hidden by the "fog of war" syndrome we all face day-to-day. When we receive a
letter, or craft a letter like this, we have a particular point of view bound by
near-term events. Similarly, when we make a phone call, design a detail for a
structure, plan a meeting, write some code, or mow the lawn, the meaning of our
action is narrowly focused on near-term objectives. The organic theory of
knowledge recognizes that assembling otherwise inert information into
chronologies for various contexts discloses repeatable patterns over long time
spans that otherwise are only discoverable by trial and error, often calamity at
great cost. (05)
In other words, when we assemble the record on a subject over long time spans,
we are often surprised to discover how often certain things appear together that
impart cause and effect, which seem wholly unrelated but for the process that
produces the record. Such insights involve huge savings of time and money,
because oversight leads to crisis and calamity, which will later be attributed
to Murphy's Law to excuse earlier decisions to avoid good management in hopes of
saving the cost of "overkill." (06)
So, one might say that finding useful repeatable patterns in unstructured
information that comprises the majority (about 99%) of human affairs, might be a
useful advantage of adding "intelligence" to information for saving time and
money. The challenge is getting people to believe in deferred rewards of
knowledge, as folks presently believe in the immediate, but much smaller,
rewards of information. Helping people experience the power of turing straw
into gold is the sales challenge for KM. (07)
Johannes Ernst wrote:
> >In every sense of the world, there is a strong correlation between
> >what I have said and the Personal Knowledge Management software your
> >firm http://www.r-objects.com/ offers.
> I know, that's one of the reasons I've been lurking on this list ;-)
> > Indeed, that is the primary thrust of KnownSpace. In fact, I have
> >been thinking that a "PKM" might be the very next Killer Application.
> My own opinion is that something of that nature has to be -- not sure
> whether the next, but one of these days/years/decades. (hard to
> Note that most big software investments over recent years have gone
> into automating repeatable processes, be they customer service, or
> sales funnel management, or supply chains or what have you -- but if
> you poll CEOs, they are much concerned with making sure their
> employees are smart, and those smarts are being used. For me, the
> very essence of being smart is close to the opposite of a repeatable
> process. Taking these things together, the big push towards knowledge
> worker productivity improvement has to come real soon now, as soon as
> we figure out how exactly to do it - which obviously assumes that MS
> Office is not the answer (and we can probably take this as a given on
> this list)
> > Forgive me: us old farts are going to have a heckuva time accepting
> >new technology. My view is this: start with the kids.
> Ah, now I understand. I follow this argument.
> On the other hand, to put this into perspective, every new cycle of
> technology, regardless of whether software or automobiles, or
> whatever, has had that problem of resistance to change, and having to
> find smart ways of getting around that resistance.
> In his famous book, Andy Grove was arguing that a new technology
> needed to be "10 times" as good as an established way of doing things
> to win, along a dimension that is customer-relevant such as money. In
> other words, 10 times more (preferably measurable) bang for the buck
> for specific users. Those technologies succeed that find such a
> segment, and go from there, and all others fail in the market.
> The problem with the education market is that there's not much money
> to be made for software companies, compared with other software
> market segments. And decisions are made because of all sorts of
> drivers, just not economic drivers. (whether you like that or not
> depends on political position, but the fact remains)
> >I should point out that Doug Engelbart is very interested in
> >improving the software industry and I think that to be a great use
> >case pool as well. I, however, as a software developer myself, am
> >already struggling with a new approach of my own invention:
> >OntoCentric(tm), which wants to build everything starting from a
> >central ontology. Even though I am trying to invent a new
> >technology, it's not easy to use it for I have far too much baggage
> >dragging me into old habits.
> I think you are just making the "10 times" argument using yourself as
> a user ;-) If you were convinced that the "new way" of doing things
> (and I admit I know nothing about your approach, so this is
> definitely not a value statement) was 10 times better than the old
> one, e.g. you could write code 10 times as quickly as before, I think
> it's likely you'd go through all of the pain of all this newness. If
> it is "only" 3 times or so, it's often not enough to overcome that
> > OTOH, for the reasons stated above, I still maintain my belief that
> >education -- that is, environments that stimulate the growth of
> >world-class critical thinkers -- to be of the highest value to
> >humanity in the near term.
> As this famous quote says: "a race between education and catastrophe".
> The problem is, how do you make money off it. And the fact of the
> matter is -- again, regardless of what we'd like or political opinion
> -- that things that make money happen, and things that don't, tend to
> not to. So the trick is to do it in a way so that lots of people can
> make lots of money in the process, because the likelihood that it
> will happen that way is just waaaayyyyy higher...
> Anyway, so much about random thoughts. I appreciate your response.
> And this is an interesting list.
> Johannes Ernst
> R-Objects Inc. (010)