13:51 11/06/2004 Mathemagenic: Mathemagenic
on personal productivity in knowledge-intensive environments, weblog research, knowledge management, PhD, serendipity and lack of work-life balance...


  Thursday, October 31, 2002

  Moving... I expect to move my Radio to a new computer and to move my blog to another domain. I'll try to make it painless for others and to have automatic redirection for both blog and RSS feed. Sorry in case of problems...

  Wednesday, October 30, 2002

  Google cooking

Google Cooking Actually Works Now. Type in a few ingredients...  [a klog apart]

  Sin of indifference

[Quotes of the Day] George Bernard Shaw:

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essense of inhumanity.

More on: quote 

  E-learning is not important

Great link from elearningpost:


In his trademark entertaining way, Jay Cross point s to the real benefit of eLearning--its in the DOING and not just in the LEARNING. Organizations don’t benefit much if employees perform at the same standards after going through 'learning' experiences. http://www.meta-time.com/Learning/presentations/eLearning-not-important.html

Nothing really new for me, but this presentation is great to introduce e-learning :)

More on: e-learning 

  Why blogging 2

I realised that I can't wait to answer why do I blog? :)

I always need a conversation for growing my ideas. This is the main reason I blog. Even if no one comments, blogging makes it a conversation: I come to the idea next day and I can discuss it with "yesterday's Lilia" :) Of course, articulation helps growing ideas as well.

Another reason to blog is to make some free space in my memory: I can easily come back to it later. The Social Life of Paper says it well in describing the use of paper by air-traffic controllers:

By writing on the strips, they can off-load information, keeping their minds free to attend to other matters.

I also blog to keep a feeling of “coffee-table dialog” with my far-away colleagues: “You know, I’ve just read this article and was triggered with these ideas. What do you think?”

These were the reasons to start blogging. Later I discovered other great things:

  • blogging builds my own (customised! :) network of like-minded people without almost any effort from me
  • it is great for filtering links
  • it improves my English
  • it gives me a better face on-line that any profile I could think about (it allows googling me as well)
  • it's easier to search than any other "notes" I make
  • more nice things in the story about blogs in research by Sébastien Paquet

I post when I feel like it (often) and when I have time (not always). Sometimes I don't post things I'd like to because of confidentiality (something internal) or copyright reasons (blogging conference if presenters are not aware of me blogging). I hope that those two problems will be solved soon with conference blogging becoming usual and my work to encourage internal blogging pilot :)

And finally, as "David" says:

blogging is like a loving sexual relationship - you just do not realize how rich and rewarding it is until you have experienced it


  Why blogging

Ton Zijlstra starts a discussion at Knowledge Board about Conversations, blogs and related musings. He asks bloggers: 

So my questions to you are: Why do you have a blog? What does it bring you? How do you decide on what to blog and what not?

I'm leaving those questions till the evening, but probably you would be interested to add your own views

More on: KM 

  Monday, October 28, 2002

  Shades of meaning

This is something that worries me. I knew that my English was ok – enough for communicating the ideas, but now I’m getting frustrated.

There is a couple of KM discussions I would like to participate, but I can’t because of gap between their and my level of English. When it turns to a bit more philosophical, a bit more conceptual, a bit more “scientific” discussions, I’m lost with “shades of meaning”. All my attention focuses on trying to grasp the meaning and to be sure about it, so I’m not able to join in.

This is sad and stimulating for the same time. It stimulates me to improve my English, but also it pushes a lot of questions about the role of language in KM… Definitely I’ll come back to it.

   The meta-analysis of research findings [via Serious Instructional Technology]

   Two weeks old link from OLDailyVisual Thesaurus for playing with meanings of English words. This is definitely something useful for improving my language skills :)

   Wired News: When the Spam Hits the Blogs [via Roland Tanglao: KLogs] is something to be aware about.

  Leadership as releasing the energy of others

Writing a literature review for the new version of my PhD proposal, I looked at The adult learner book for a citation. Random page brought me to the chapter titled Making things happen by releasing the energy of others, a reprint of Malcolm Knowles' earlier paper. While I look at half a year back blue outlining, it becomes clear that this is the best representation of beliefs driving my PhD ideas. Beliefs don’t fit in the formal proposal, but they are perfect here.

It's about leadership, but for me this is the essence of KM:

...the highest function of leadership is releasing the energy of the people in the system and managing the process for giving that energy direction toward mutually beneficial goals.

Malcolm Knowles calls it creative leadership and proposes several characteristics of creative leaders (note – every paragraph is different citation; pp.203-209).

Creative leaders make a different set of assumption (essentially positive) about human nature from the assumptions (essentially negative) made by controlling leaders.

Creative leaders accept as a law of human nature that people feel a commitment to a decision in proportion to the extend that they feel they have participated in making it.

Creative leaders believe in and use the power of self-fulfilling prophesy.

Creative leaders highly value individuality. They sense that people perform at a higher level when they are operating on the basis of their unique strength, talents, interests, and goals than when they are trying to conform to some imposed stereotype.

Creative leaders stimulate and reward creativity.

Creative leaders are committed to a process of continues change and are skilful in managing change.

Creative leaders emphasize internal motivators over external motivators.

Creative leaders encourage people to be self-directing.

More on: KM leadership middlespace 

  Friday, October 25, 2002

  Blog as a learning tool

Sébastien Paquet is faster than me in linking You have to see the production by Matt Mower with his processes versus products [in Processes and products].

Matt in You have to see the production:

Lilia has pointed me at Knowledge work as craft work an article from April 2002 by Jim McGee which is most pertinent given my new focus on visibility.

It's a good read.  Of particular interest to me was where Jim talks about how, with the advent of purely digital methods of working, only the finished product survives.  This implies that it is only the finished item, and not how it was derived, that has value.  But we know that's wrong, our experience tells us that seeing the production is how we learn.

Another key aspect to visibility into a process is what you do when the finished item turns out to be wrong.  If you need to backtrack and try a new direction, what are you working from?

Seb in processes versus products (which was long waiting in my aggregator for a comment)

The gradual erosion of the "product" mindset is a direct offshoot of the availability of practically unlimited many-to-many communication. A product is a nice package that you can "get" and "consume", and it definitely has its usefulness. But in many ways, processes, as things you can "live" and "take part" in, mean more to most humans.

It's the difference between going at a live music show and listening to a recording of that show. It's the difference engaging a conversation with an author and reading his book. You often get more out of living a process than consuming a product.

But this is not the end of story: today my Aggregator brings more about the topic from Sebastian Fiedler commenting on Jim McGee's Knowledge work as craft work (bold is mine):

I would say that any type of complex knowledge construction can benefit from making the overall process visible. While Jim focuses on the context of knowledge work, I choose to look at it from a more general perspective of self-organized learning. People initiate intentional learning for all kinds of purposes. These purposes do not have to be related to "work" all the time. But reflecting on one's processes is also an important step towards improving your personal learning. The British psychologists Harri-Augstein and Thomas (1991) have put it this way: "To the extent that a person is aware of his or her constructions of experience - that is, personal meanings - he or she acquires consciousness. To the extent that a person becomes aware of his or her processes of construction and takes control of them that person acquires self-organisation in learning."

Summarising this discussion from learning perspective I would say that articulated (visible) process of constructing knowledge is good for (at least) two sides:

Then I would also add organisational learning* in a sense that knowledge flows faster in a company [see The Tipping Blog].

*I have to add that I don't like the term organisational learning. For me it means the same as knowledge management. 

  KM as a tool against terrorism

Probably it’s not something to write about in "professional" blog, but this is about learning.

These couple of days I hate having internet at home – I was on-line all the evening and morning following the story of hostages in Moscow theatre. It feels really bad… I worry, I can do nothing, I feel angry, I feel sad…

I knew that work pressure was good to cure many feelings, but yesterday I learnt something else. It’s not the pressure, but the opportunity to create something makes it easier. I believe in KM as a tool against terrorismmapping terrorist networks, catching small failures before it’s too late, helping people to get together to make better things happen…

It’s depressing to follow the news all the time, so I’m trying to get into work. It gives a feeling that I can make things better.

More on: KM 

  Thursday, October 24, 2002

  Workshop: The role of conversation in KM

David Gurteen is leading on-line workshop The role of conversation in KM. Let's see if I can participate and blog at the same time :)

Nice that on-line workshop has the same quality as face-to-face one for the unexpected: I met Ton Zijlstra whom I wanted to contact because I saw from his Knowledge Board profile that he is from the same city as me.

Bits of ideas:

Annette Leslie gives an idea of "the tool is paper based and uses visual language (text graphics and pictures) to update the status of projects and is displayed in corridors and coffee areas to encourage socialisation around organisational learning". Great! Another way for distributed conversation.

Helen Baxter: "Someone mentioned ways of capturing conversations. My partner and I have been working in the garden, with headsets and minidiscs and recording brainstorming sessions. We can then convert them to text using Dragon Dictate without having to touch a keep board or look at a monitor. It's great."

An idea that temporary workers should be knowledge workers by default :)

Something from another day discussion which poped-up again: "people are the best search engines".

Something to think about: the role of consciously trying to unlearn something in a conversation.

My summary

a good conversation = trust + (history: people and topics->) context + open emotions + questions that invite everyone to participate (<- reflection)

More on: KM 

   Came home and found this: hostages in Moscow theather... Scary...

  Wednesday, October 23, 2002

   Alvy Ray Smith on Digital Actors [JOHO the Blog]
Alvy Ray Smith has won two Oscars for technical achievement and was the founder of Pixar. He gave a terrific presentation on a single idea: "The simulation of human actors will not happen at any known time in any known way."

   Warren Spector and Amy Jo Kim on Games [JOHO the Blog]

Amy Jo Kim is now at a stealth startup called "there." "What's going on in gaming today is what you're going to see in the rest of technology in 3-5 years."

  Klognet links

Many posts in my news aggregator are not deleted because I'm thinking about klognet pilot in my research group and I want to keep links to all kinds of useful ideas. This is not the full list, but a try-out to clean my aggregator :)


More on: KM 

   David Weinberger in Why I Conference Blog says something about feelings I had blogging KM Summer School:

But why real-time blog since post-session blogging enables me to reflect on what was said and write more thoughtfully? But post-session blogging means that after a full day at an intellectually intense conference like PopTech, followed by an intellectually intense dinner, followed by an intellectually intense dessert, I have to go back to my hotel room and write a @#$%!-ing blog entry.

More on: KM 

  Klogging services

Matt Mower is working out his offer on klogging services in Can you see the light?

Well I've seen the light ladies and gentlemen.  In the time left to me, before the great job in the sky beckons, my approach shall be:

  • Klogging as an applied business tool.  How much money will this save you today, tomorrow, this week, next week
  • 1 problem at a time
  • I am providing consultancy, implementation and product.  I may not look like a consultant but I know how many beans make 5.  Also this is a non-existant market, there's nobody else doing this stuff to make me look bad.

Only when I've got some success from this approach will I broaden it out, leveraging case studies and satisfied customers.  Sound sensible?

It's difficult to sell the service than nobody knows what is blog. I would tackle it as change management idea. People would like to see what it is and how it works and why it's better. So I would start with making something to show.

For example, there is a community of KM kloggers. Just imagine that we are sitting in one company and someone wants to have an overview what's going on - topics, discussions, most cited references. There is no way you can do it (KMpings give only current view about who is writing what). This could be the case: get people involved, create an infrastucture, prove that it works, get your example to show...

Other "small" services for the end-kloggers I thought about:

  • personalisation - I want my blog to be able to do this or to look like that, but I don't want to get into all those technical details - could you help me?
  • technical coaching - I need some advice how to install or configure it - could you be my personal "helpdesk"?
  • language coaching - Blogs for developing language skills
More on: KM 

  Tuesday, October 22, 2002

   [From Sift maillist (to be fair I don't remember when I subscribed :)]

Sift Tips 11: Writing great content for the web

Writing effective text for the Web is more than just stringing words together and hoping for the best. Yes, you need to convey information, but if you really want to capture the interest and engagement of your users and members, the text needs to do much more. Ideally, you want your writing to:
  • attract their attention
  • grab their interest
  • pull them into the content
  • add real value to their work
  • make then want to register or return, and
  • increase their sense of trust in your community.

Nothing really new for me, but nice as a link for a couple of people.

More on: e-learning KM 

  My Radio wish list

"Phil" comes with long list of My Top Five Blue Sky Radio Wishes.

My priority list is much shorter [I took some of Phil's items]:

Personally, I would love to have Radio being able to handle Cyrillic. Now I can't post for my family, friends and Russian colleagues. But the worst thing is that I can't recommend Radio to them.

We are thinking about starting a klognet pilot, so I want these two as well:

More on: KM 

  Monday, October 21, 2002

  News aggregator attic

Sometimes I hate my news aggregator: I'm too busy to read it all and even more busy to comment. So I have a lot of "interesting bits" staying in the list for ages. But sometimes it's good. I come to an "old, uncommented post" and see it from new perspective. Like old letters found in the attic...

Seb's Open Research pointers to Digital Dashboards, Dirty Dishes, Messy Desk, Workspaces and Web Logs. I found this piece there (bold is mine):

Knowledge workers need to develop and maintain situational awareness. Situational awareness works on three levels. First is receiving and perceiving information. Aggregation is nice here. Second, conceiving and comprehending what the information means and how it fits together to form indicators of your present situation. The third and where I think Ray excels is projection, prefiguring, putting your comprehension to work resulting in the ability predict what’s next, for Air Traffic Controllers it may be as little as five minutes for Ray Ozzie and Dave Winer it may be five or ten years. For this reason it has been said that Ray in the form of Groove and Dave in the form of Frontier/Radio have prefigured many future software applications still unknown to us today.

More on: KM 

   Sébastien Paquet in A level-headed report on blogging pointers to Caslon analytics profile: web logs and blogging and provokes thinking:

I'll let you read and think about it for yourself before I comment.

More on: KM 

   Gurteen Knowledge-Log:

Open Conversation. One little insight/technique from Malcolm Allan from last week's knowledge-café. In a conversation when someone says something with which you disagree - to keep the conversation open and creative - reply with the words:

"And my map of the world is a little different - can I share it with you?"

or a similar phrase.

Something for me to use :)

  Sunday, October 20, 2002

  Attention to small failures as trigger for learning

I really like these “weekend morning readings” – I have time to read, to think and (more important) to write it down.

The first one is about synchronicity. Today, I had two printouts to read: [1] Jim McGee’s review of Managing the Unexpected (book by Karl Weick, Kathleeb Sutcliffe and Robert Quinn) and [2] Chapter 8: Storytelling to share knowledge by Steve Denning (advance text of a forthcoming book THE SQUIRREL: The Seven Highest Value Forms of Orgninizational Storytelling).

Damn. I just found that Denning’s chapter comes with “not for quotation or citation without written permission”. Now I can’t write more about it. I just hope that providing the link is ok.

Back. I was going to write about the idea in both texts about the need to pay attention to small failures. Now you have to read [2] yourself. [1] says:

Small failures (weak signals) are sought out and treated as opportunities to learn instead of anomalies to be explained away.

Weick et al. write that an organisation needs to operate mindfully and suggest two objectives and five charactiristics focused on them [Note: this is my comment on Jim McGee's review of the book. Not good as a reference.]

  • Objective 1. - Anticipating the unexpected. Contributing characteristics: preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify interpretations, and sensitivity to operations
  • Objective 2. - Containing the unexpected. Contributing characteristics: a commitment to resilience and a deference to expertise
More on: KM KM&learning 

  Saturday, October 19, 2002

   Special TechLearn Briefing on Blended Learning [video and more here; via recent TechLearn TRENDS]

Elliott Masie speaks about blended learning developments of last couple of years and defines three directions for the discussion:

  • the need for instructional design models for blended learning
  • lack of tools and systems that can support it
  • business case for blended learning

Nice to see this discussion started. But I'm more interested to look at the learner's role in "blending":

...the learner consumes a single method, a classroom, an online, a book, and then they go and they turn it into a Blended Learning experience by their own informal actions. They talk to a peer. They go to another class. They take something online. They do a practice. They read some supporting manuals.

I don't believe that even "new" instructional design methods can predict and embed into a system all learner's choices. I believe in empowering learners to make those choices. As a technology support I would like to see "personal learning management" and "personal knowledge management" tools.

  Friday, October 18, 2002

  Killer-app: tool for just-in-time learning

Seb's Open Research in Connecting individual people is the killer app:

Wetware. Britt Blaser describes the next killer app:

I need an index of "amateur" experts with proven track records who are available immediately for high per-minute rates which I only pay when I'm satisfied, which means they have to be confident that I'll be reasonably satisfied. So we also need a reputation engine in addition to an expert index. They need to be "amateurs" for the same reason that the best bloggers are amateurs....

Britt is involved with Xpertweb, which looks quite interesting. [Kumquat's Musings]

The picture on the right comes from the Xpertweb site. Simplicity itself speaking. Although I'd have drawn the arrows in the opposite direction. It starts from you. You sense a need, you think about it, you articulate it, then you pretty much know what you need. But you don't know how to do it. You find a trusted expert who'll do it. The result comes back to you. Everyone is happy.

I think we need to develop tools both for figuring out needs and for finding experts. Such tools are likely to coevolve.

(1) Sometimes I want trusted expert who can do it (fast!), but in other cases I want trusted expert who will teach me how to do it myself (better for the future).

(2) I would like a bit more, for example knowledge-searching engine that points me to different knowledge sources

  • people (who can do it for me or who can help me to learn it)
  • communities/discussions
  • documents
  • courses
  • books
More on: KM KM&learning 

  Messy papers on my desk

Knowledge work as craft work also points to The Social Life of Paper (which I'm printing out) with this citation (bold is mine):

But why do we pile documents instead of filing them? Because piles represent the process of active, ongoing thinking. The psychologist Alison Kidd, whose research Sellen and Harper refer to extensively, argues that "knowledge workers" use the physical space of the desktop to hold "ideas which they cannot yet categorize or even decide how they might use." The messy desk is not necessarily a sign of disorganization. It may be a sign of complexity: those who deal with many unresolved ideas simultaneously cannot sort and file the papers on their desks, because they haven't yet sorted and filed the ideas in their head. Kidd writes that many of the people she talked to use the papers on their desks as contextual cues to "recover a complex set of threads without difficulty and delay" when they come in on a Monday morning, or after their work has been interrupted by a phone call. What we see when we look at the piles on our desks is, in a sense, the contents of our brains.

Now I don't feel quilty about those messy papers in my desk :)))

  Knowledge work as craft work

Just came across this story of Jim McGee: Knowledge work as craft work

Highlights from the text (bold is mine):

...The "symbolic analysis" that Robert Reich identifies as the essence of knowledge work is designed to create the one-of-a-kind results that characterize craft products...

...There is a dangerous tension between industrial frameworks and knowledge work as craft work that needs to be managed. Forcing industrial models onto the management of knowledge and knowledge work accounts for much of the disappointing results of knowledge management efforts to date...

...One thing that differentiates knowledge work today from other craft work is that, except for final product, knowledge work is essentially invisible...

...While today's tools have made the journey from germ of an idea to finished product so much easier, they have also made it harder by making it less visible...

Direct value of visibility

...One value is in the ability to backtrack to a previous version when a line of analysis fails to pan out. Moreover, that ability to backtrack can make it more likely that alternatives will be explored because the effort and risk of doing so is reduced...

Indirect value of visibility

...The first will be increasing the value of knowledge work as a learning environment for other knowledge workers. As craft work, knowledge work fits more into apprenticeship learning models than in conventional training approaches. Making the work process and its intermediate products more visible will make the apprenticeship process more effective

The second aspect of visibility is better leverage of communities of expertise and practice. More and more of the difficult problems organizations face require groups of experts to coordinate their expertise and invent multi-disiciplinary solutions. These problems don't identify themselves in advance. They show up. They generally get addressed by whatever team can be identified and assembled quickly. The more visible you can make those experts and their expertise by making their thinking visible, the more likely you will be able to field a team that will work...

He logically finishes with linking these to blogs development :)

More on: e-learning KM KM&learning 

  Course as a playground for KM instruments

Jim McGee continies writing about his experiences with blogs in the classroom in Part 2. Forced blogging = flogging?

He reflects on "four hurdles to pass to move from willing volunteer to competent blogger":

  • learning the technology environment (more)
  • developing an initial view of blogging (more)
  • plugging into the conversation
  • developing a voice

I will be adding links here as he continues with more ideas on the each of them.

But my attention was triggered by another thing as well:

Figuring out how to turn reluctant MBAs into competent bloggers should provide useful insights for turning other knowledge workers into bloggers as well. While I do believe that working with willing volunteers is the preferred organizational change strategy, even early adopters will benefit from some careful handholding and guidance.

It correlate with the discussion we had during our KM/learning workshop about different ways of learning: course could be the solution.

  • course provide time and space for learning (which could be a problem with more informal learning at the workplace)
  • course provide guidance of experienced instructor
  • instructor does not only facilitate learning process, but he has certain autority to "push" participants beyond the limits of what they would do by themselves

Taking Jim's example: those MBAs can get addicted to blogging and probably will take it back to the workplace. Without that "small bit" of instructors autority this is less likely to happen (here I have to comment that I fully agree that you have to convince adults before they will learn something, but in a course environment it's a bit easier than in working environment).

So, I think that a course could be a really good playground for new KM instruments. Formal settings make it easier for participants to start participating in communities or using blogs (or something else KM). Given this experience in "safe" settings it's much easier to continue doing same things back to work.

Summarising: Training professionals have to make sure that KM instruments are integrated in course designs.


Course instructor plays with new instruments as well. This is one more reason why I miss teaching so much (more). Does anyone need "guest instructor"?

More on: e-learning KM KM&learning 

  Thursday, October 17, 2002

  Blogs for developing language skills

One of my friends has commented on my not perfect English and suggested her help for improving it. She is going to start Radio blog, so I think about the following:

  • She makes a special category, which is not visible in her blog, but has an RSS feed.
  • Then she uses this category to comment on my posts pointing to errors and suggesting improvements.
  • I subscribe to this RSS, get my personal feedback and correct posts.


For me it should be more effective than any course or private lesson: no stupid exercises, but just-in-time feedback to improve my writing.

This could be a service that someone can provide for bloggers. Personally, I wouldn’t mind to pay a bit for it.

For multinational companies this could be a solution to help their employees developing language skills and overcoming fears of writing in foreign language.

More on: KM 

  Wednesday, October 16, 2002

  Organisational learning is about building networks

Business 2.0: The management secrets of the brain [via elearningpost]

Your brain is the ultimate example of a complex, decentralized organization. And because we (usually) behave coherently, smoothly integrating new circumstances as they arise, the brain is also the epitome of an adaptive organization, a learning organization, a shared-vision organization -- in short, the ideal modern company.

Management rules we can learn from our brains:

  • Never try to micromanage a large, complex organization
  • Don't let bottom-up self-organization go wild
  • The best way to control your subordinates is to just point them in the right direction
  • Be careful listening to the voice of experience -- that voice could be your own
  • The organization can't succeed without passion.

I would add one more parallel: <organisational> learning is about building networks. [I'll try to search for the good reference about this process in our brain].

What would be the  metaphor for KM?


So far I wasn't able to find the reference, but I know from somewhere in my studies that within the brain learning is about making connections.

The funny things is that I found something else: Brain-Based Learning article in The Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. And I loved this piece (bold is mine):

Like a symphony orchestra, the various parts of the brain are instruments that play collaboratively to provide meaningful learning. Learning is the music of the brain.

More on: KM 

  Channeling Innovation

Recent SynapShots with Channeling Innovation link:

Channeling Innovation : By James L. Fahey; Published October 14, 2002 - "Despite its importance to business, innovation can be a confusing distraction. An effective process for managing innovation allows organizations to respond to markets while remaining focused on business objectives … Seven Steps for Channeling Innovation:
1. Clearly articulate business objectives and priorities
2. Include all the right people
3. Pick a leader and an administrator
4. Create a list of recommended innovations
5. Publish the list and give all participants access
6. Meet regularly with a clear objective
7. Stick to the lists
Although the process for channeling innovation appears somewhat elaborate, it is actually quite efficient and consumes relatively little human resource time.

More on: innovation KM 

  Special Interest Group on KM Research - Quaerere

[This is a follow-up of KM Summer School]

Hard work and a lot of e-mails of last two weeks had paid off: Special Interest Group on KM Research - Quaerere was created at Knowledge Board.

From Quaerere: goals and objectives

«Quaerere - Research and Action on the Learning Society - constructing meaning and knowledge through interaction»

Quaerere - from Latin (pronounced Kuerere), means to inquire, to search, to investigate and also to want.

Motto: "Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion" (Originally from Francis Bacon, Novum Organum)

Purpose: to promote the building blocks of the Learning Society

Goal: Theory building and practice improvement on knowledge management and organisational learning through reflexive interaction


  • To work on-line and to meet regularly face-to-face
  • To develop peer support and personal commitment to research goals
  • To report on the process while we go through our work and interaction
  • To work in an interdisciplinary way
  • To invite other researchers in Knowledge Management related areas

More on: KM Quaerere 

   In Russian: training evaluation before, during and after
More on: Russia 

  Monday, October 14, 2002

   Roland Tanglao: KLogs:
Syndicate Your Page. (SOURCE:"42")-Look ma, no software! Automagically produce RSS files without blogging software, cool!
Do you have a webpage that you'd like to see provided in RSS, a syndication format used by hundreds of programs and read by thousands of people? Now it can happen. All you have to do is add a simple marker around each item, like this:

I don't need it now, but it's nice thing to keep :)

   Finally, it came live: www.mathemagenic.com I couldn't think about better present for my birthday!

I hope to find enough time to build it. I hope it will grow into something that adds value for other people as well. I'm happy to be at the beginning of this way.

  Friday, October 11, 2002

  Tacit, to be articulated

Motivational Quotes of the Day:

Grasp the subject, the words will follow. Cato the Elder

  Thursday, October 10, 2002

  Corporate objectives and learner-centered learning

Two things from "Buy my software and good luck." [Seb's Open Research]

Everybody is talking about learner centered learning. And yet (as Levy argues) e-learning is intended to promote corporate objectives. There is an inconsistency here.

  • And Seb's comment:

To go back to Stephen Downes' observation, is there an inherent contradiction between learner-centered learning (or individual-centered KM) and corporate objectives? I'm not sure. I think it might depend on the maturity of the corporate culture, i.e. where it lies in the internal competition-collaboration spectrum.

(1) Depends on e-learning type. Content-driven learning (=something usually understood as e-learning) is definetely something promoting corporate goals, it has to focus on "will pay back" areas because it costs too much. But taking e-learning in a broad sense of learning on-line [more] makes it easier: giving initiative to people themselves is cheaper.

(2) I thought that this might be relevant: the distinction between formal and informal learning from Center for Workforce Development study (1998)

Formal learning

  • of variable relevance to worker needs
  • communicated information is constant across learners
  • variable gap between current and target knowledge
  • instructional
  • variable temporal gap to application
  • represents core "organizationally beneficial" knowledge
  • scheduled
  • occurs in a settings other than that where the knowledge is used
  • has specified outcomes
  • with a "trainer" who is accountable for results

Informal learning

  • extremely relevant to worker needs
  • communicated information is variable across learners
  • small gap between current and target knowledge
  • constructivist
  • immediately applicable
  • core and other knowledge
  • arises spontaneously
  • occurs in the settings where knowledge is used
  • with/without specific outcomes

(3) All these takes me back to my thinking about Formal/informal interplay and Supporting informal learning. In any case I believe that only learner-relevant learning is effective enough to invest in, so companies have to find the way to build on learners' interests.

  Good practice, not best practice

gRadio in Don't always aim for the top, when the middle presents a better target.

Collecting best practices from the top performers may not be the best practice, ironically. Top performers often do things in a way that make management uncomfortable, or that are not easily replicable. As I had mentioned in Of Tom Gilbert and K-logs, the performance of top performers may not be easily replicable, by them, or by others.

A company seeking to obtain the highest ROI should try to make all of those folks tagged as low performers achieve at the level of those folks who are tagged "competent'. Here's why. There is greater room for improvement there, and the results are likely to be both attainable and sustainable, and at a more reasonable level of investment of effort, time, and costs. Think about the effort required to move a C+ student to being a B+ student. That is almost always far easier than moving someone from being an A- student to being an A+ student. Reduced range of error and return on investments play major factors here. In addition, pulling up the bottom performers toward the middle is far more likely to bring in greater gains than bringing some of the upper end people toward the very top.

True... One more argument of using good practice instead of best practice.

With one more thought: what if those top-performers are early adopters of tomorrow's mainstream? What if they do innovative things that could bring real break-through?

More on: innovation KM 

  Learning trends

Elliott Masie in recent TechLearn TRENDS (bold is mine):

2. Learning Issues in Italy: I have just returned from a visit to Italy where I spoke at a Human Resources Conference. Key learnings from dialogues:

  • Strong desire for more localized e-Learning content.
  • Views of Learning more closely linked to "culture of workplace" issues
  • Legal and Union issues are throwing some hurdles to learning implementation
  • Desire to closely link Knowledge Management and e-Learning efforts
More on: e-learning KM KM&learning 

  Wednesday, October 09, 2002

  It takes courage to blog

This is scary: blog gives you publicity you probably don’t want. After your name pops up at the first page of search results you kind of expected to provide high quality content.

In any case it takes courage to go public. It’s even more difficult then you have high-quality everyday reading from the blogs of others. It’s easy to start doubting and believing that you have nothing "smart" to contribute. And finally, Google returns your own blog when you search for something that interests you.

It’s not funny. It’s nice at the beginning to see your name at the top. It takes a lot of courage later to continue writing. Just because you feel that you are in the "spot-light".

The story behind: After checking my referrer logs I found out that a couple of people came via Google or Yahoo. Both refer to my log at the first page when searching for informal learning.

More on: KM learning informal 

  Knowledge networker

Recently my colleague and me were searching for the term that goes beyond "knowledge worker". One suggestion was knowledge networker. I liked it as it represents the important side of knowledge work: networking with others.

Today I tried Google on knowledge networker. The bad thing is that we are not the first, but the good one is that it gave only 57 suggestions. This means that there is still a lot of space to define the term.

I’ll take some time to come up with good definition, but two things I know for sure:

Looks like it’s you :)

More on: KM 

  Innovation with "Water - Slush - Ice" metaphor

Kumquat's musings via Curiouser and curiouser!

The metaphor describes how innovations go from ideas to implemented projects. Here's a diagram that illustrates this process:

water to ice:

The process starts with a highly networked community that encourages innovation. In the early stages (water), there are a large number of players that introduce and discuss new ideas. As the more interesting concepts gain momentum, key players become known through their contributions. The ideas are then ranked and prioritized. Project teams form around the highest rated ideas and resources are allocated. The best, most valuable ideas are the ones that survive, and the most qualified and motivated people end up attached to the project. The result: the right projects with the right people.

For me it refers to another question we are discussing: how a community of practice can come up with innovative ideas. This metaphor says something about number of people you need - would be interesting to related it to the size (=type) of CoP that is capable of innovating.


More on: innovation KM 

   Seb's Open Research with an idea of technology to support distributed blog-based conversations: Making group-forming ridiculously easy.
More on: KM 

  Monday, October 07, 2002

  Birthday learning

Today is my birthday and I was leading the workshop focused on KM/learning connection. I've got some interesting ideas from it, but my main learning today is:


I'm just tired :)))

  Thursday, October 03, 2002

  Evolution of thinking

Sébastien Paquet summarises his thinking about blogs in research in story on Personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research.

Uses of personal knowledge publishing for research:
  • Helping in selecting material
  • Visible web of interpersonal trust
  • Managing personal knowledge
  • Obtaining speedy feedback on ideas
  • Facilitating connections between researchers
  • Clustering content relating to emerging fields
  • Fostering diversity
  • Opening up windows in the Ivory Tower(s)

I like this story not only for the good quality content that provokes thinking and saves time of trying to explain "blogs" to my colleagues, but also for one more thing. For me, as a regular reader of Seb's Open Research it illustrates the evolution of thinking: I recognise "bits of ideas" that I've seen before, and I'm fascinated to see how they emerge into a whole. What could be better for the "researcher-to-be" than observing how someone's thought grows?

More on: KM 

  Blogs are petri dishes for knowledge

Thanks to Gurteen Knowledge-Log for this one: blogs are Petri dishes for knowledge

Originally came from We Blog:

Weblogs spread memes like no other medium. More ideas are being pushed around the network of minds connected by blogs than any other set of communications. It is like a petri dish for knowledge.

More on: KM 

  Need to go beyond the content...

One day I will redesign my blog. So, far Brilliant Corners is the best example of kind of visibility and layout I want. With this background please :)

To be fair: I expect to get nice present in few days (why not for my birthday?) - a domain with hosting. I'm thinking about it and I have million of questions...

I want something that can expand in the future, with easy web-based editing, preferably by several editors. Easy to change design, easy to export to other applications. May be a company web-site one day (who knows :)

Now I have only Radio and a lot of questions. Two main are:

  • should I go for something ready-made (like Manila) or have it custom-made (my husband promised to help :)
  • how I'm supposed to move my blog from radio.weblogs.com to my own domain?

I don't have to struggle with it now, but I will have to confront them from Monday on. I'm afraid of all those questions: I'm just someone how creates content and I'm not ready to dive into technology so much :(

More on: KM 

Tacit knowledge provides the meaning, explicit knowledge is the carrier. Same process, different mediums, slightly different interpretations (we are not machines). [KM in a nutshell]
More on: KM 

  Wednesday, October 02, 2002


This link was open on my desktop for a couple of days, so I forgot its source.  www.shouldexist.org is a nice way to collect ideas that may turn into new products or projects. Something similar can subsctitute companies' "suggestion boxes".

More on: innovation 

  How to write usability report

How to write usability report by Bruce Tognazzini:

  • The opening paragraph
    • Say something nice in the opening paragraph
    • Make the benefits explicit
  • Headings
    • In observational reviews, outline improvement ideas, not criticisms
    • In usability study reports, use simple topic headings
  • Content
    • Know the product's or service's users
    • Know your readers
    • Accentuate the positive, but deliver the news
    • Don't overreach
    • When in doubt, recommend testing
    • Check your grammar and spelling
More on: usability 

  e-learning ballons: Learner at work!

TechLearn TRENDS #245:

e-Learning Balloons: One of our readers wrote in about their attempt to help e-Learners with some privacy during real-time sessions. Their company has made up a set of printed balloons, that say Learner At Work! They blow them up and tie them to cubicles or chairs during longer on-line sessions. They report it helps with both privacy and also publicizing the growing rate of e-Learning in their area. Of course, some learners are also inhaling a bit of the helium and changing their voice sound during on-line chats.
More on: e-learning 

  Too many RSS feeds

I'm subsribed to too many RSS feeds: I don't have time to keep up. So, I have to options: (1) to learn how to scan them without in-depth reading or commenting, or (2) unsubscribe and leave only some of them (preferably those that filter the rest :)

More on: blog reading 

  Added value of knowledge sharing

Small example: I was commenting in the discussion about corporate universities and thought of recommending a book (Beyond Training and Development by William J. Rothwell). While searching for it I found this summary, which is a good help not only for those without the book, but for myself as well. One page up I found this list of KM/e-learning book summaries and I'm already busy printing :).

You never know what waits for you when you answer someone's question!

More on: KM KM&learning Russia 

  Tuesday, October 01, 2002

   This article about corporate universities in Russia (in Russian) is a bit controversial: it's nice to see something about the topic, but I wouldn't agree with the idea of "outsourced corporate university" as they suggest. For me corporate university means something aligned with company's strategy and culture and can be hardly outsourced.
More on: Russia 

  Back to work

I'm back from one more week off. This time I went home, to Moscow.

This was a strange feeling - one week to see my friends and family, running around and a quiet pleasure of discovering that knowledge that I gain with my current work far from home is relevant for my country. Definitely Russian KM/learning market is growing. This makes me happy: I will have something interesting to do back home in a couple of years.

Another discovery is that my blogging helps to keep in touch. I was surprised to find out how many people read it (not this "professional" blog, but another one, personal ;) It will keep me motivated...

© Copyright 2002-2007 Lilia Efimova Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Last update: 3/25/2007; 10:30:00 AM.