Reading a blog today, and I was reminded of a discussion I had a few days back. I opened the blog, gazed through it, and thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to read it. It looked quite long, and I wasn’t sure I was quite up to it. This is not to say that the blog wasn’t quite nice … Its just me getting into old age.
So what was the discussion I talked about? This was about management books, and why I usually don’t get around to reading them. This is because before I think about reading a book, I usually read the summary of the book on the back cover or the inside flap. From what I have seen, most books give you an adequate idea of what the book is about, anmd the book itself is a lot about specifics, illustrations, etc., which means I can gather quite a bit from the back cover.
Which brings me to what I am writing about … And this I will try to keep short, for reasons obvious.
If you can’t express yourself adequately in half a page, you probably can’t … I feel if you have understood a subject, you can describe it in very little, and shouldn’t have to write on and on about it.
This, I feel, is something to training much more … Explain a concept in a simple form, and with illustrations, build more around the concept in chewable layers.
This is something i come across whenever someone asks me what i work on. Well, i tell them i work on KM. Usually this leaves a kind of glassy look in their eyes, and earlier this look used to make me a bit uncomfortable. Now though, instead of trying to explain what KM is (why i cant seem to be able to do in less than 5 sentences, which by the way is the limit i think that one should have for defining something, outside of which you dont really know what you are trying to define), i just tell them what i think they would understand. Some of the things which work are best practices, portals, search … Not much more which people really relate to the idea of Knowledge Management.
Which is why this blog seems quite nice. The analogy seems to work, and i agree that everyone looks at KM from what it means to them. Support engineers like to look at KM as a KEDB, while sales folks like to look at KM as presentations, while delivery folks like to look at KM as project repositories. Which is why i agree with Allan when he writes:
Tapping into what others know so I can build on what they have done in order to do my job better.
Now this might mean different things to different people but thats meant to be because after all different people have different kind of work to do and hence would require different tools from KM to be able to do their work better. What is important here is that the same reason is what i feel must get us to make KM more relevant. People should be able to look at KM from the perspective which makes their life simpler, whether it is expertise-location, document repositories, communities or any other tool which knowledge managers may have put to them. Why this is also more important is because as repositories grow, conversations increase, you will find that people will find it more and more difficult to actually distill what they need to do their work better from all the conversation and content and be able to find it easily. Already we are seeing this, one of the reasons i am not too regular on twitter. This is because there are so many updates when i login the morning that by the time i go through them there is already a backlog of more updates to read. If we keep KM like this there will be a time when people may switch off (at least at work) which means that we need to make sure we can present content which is useful and relevant to users so they can then choose what they want to leverage to do their work.
I have logged onto twitter … finally! OK … so i was trying out facebook all this while. And, for all the cool things that twitter gives, i somehow find the functionality at facebook way too cool. Actually, this is early days yet, but from what i am seeing, one thing which is really like about facebook, which i am missing at twitter is the way i can see all the applications my friends are installing, all the groups they are joining, etc., etc. … this, to my mind, is a wonderful way of easing the process of discovery. These were my thoughts when i had joined facebook. And not much which is changing here.
Though, the thing i really like about twitter is the way short, sweet, quick messages can just be shot out. This is an interesting thing to do, especially because this enables me to capture the “thought of the moment”. Rather than writing a long blog, i can write a series of short snippets, which could basically become the source for my blog. Its akin to something i have been thinking of doing for some time now (since i started writing my book … yes, more about that soon!), that is, carrying a dictaphone and just recording whatever thought occurs right at the moment when it occurs. Its this kind of functionality that i find quite interesting. More so, in the organizational context, this could be really nice, because with this, rather than asking folks to write their experiences in a blog which could be quite lengthy for people to write, or worse still, asking them to write documents, people can simple capture this “thought of the moment”, and share this with whoever wants to see what they are reading … especially with their social networks!