Updated: 3/25/2007; 10:31:14 AM.


on personal productivity in knowledge-intensive environments, weblog research, knowledge management, PhD, serendipity and lack of work-life balance...
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  Friday, December 13, 2002

  Q-Dialog: semiotics, learning and complexity

Angela starts a very difficult part with trying to talk about our vision and long-term future when time is scarce, which results into heated discussion. We definitely have to find the way to deal with problems like that.

After short "eating break" Angela presents her work on organizational semiotics and I still can't explain in my own words. I'll add her presentation here later, but now I would just provide my free associations to her talk.

What is communication about: to say something or to say something in a way that our audience will understand?

Angela says that we shouldn't talk about needs, because there are values beyond those needs. So we have to talk about values :)

What do we need to deal with complexity? I feel that we need another complexity, because if we try to use something simple the "real thing" slips away.

Angela has to find other ways and new metaphors to explain things she explains if she want them to be used in business.

Action points:

  • do not allow Angela to talk without presentation :)
  • we've got a reading list, but I'd like to get people's comments why we should read it
More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Dialog: KM processes anth their enablers

Gerald talks about KM in his company. Bits:

  • Weggeman:
    • Knowledge is a personal ability to perform a given task
    • Knowledge <- information * (experience + skills + attitude)
  • Processes around knowledge in an organization: use, develop, assure, disseminate, combine
  • Enablers of those processes: leadership, culture and motivation, people and organization, ICT
More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Dialog: KM in industrial research

Christian presents his work on KM for industrial research processes of an industrial research center. This environment seems to be quite similar to my company, so I guess that we can reuse many ideas from his research.


  • Research process model
  • Knowledge typology
  • Process to define it
  • Romhard/Probst KM model
  • Linking research process with knowledge typology

Action points:

  • See how this work could be related with KM in my company and our research of KM in R&D
More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Dialog: transactive memory

Tanguy introduces the concept of transactive memory:

A group of people that have developed a feel for who is best at storing what information. Because there is consensus on who knows that, retrieval is easier. Transactive memory us a property of a group of people.

The focus of the research is come up with a conceptual framework to look how the transactive memory can be supported.

Action points:

  • This work has some relations with my company's work on knowledge mapping, so this is something to explore.
  • Also - check ELM (expertise location management) systems
  • Ask Tanguy for the references about transactive memory
More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Dialog: knowledge creation in virtual and co-located teams

Melis studies how knowledge creation process differs between virtual teams and co-located teams. She uses COSIGA (computer supported multiplayer simulated game focused on teaching concurred engineering) to study simulated new product development process (NPD) because:

  • studying real NPD process is difficult
  • this simulated environment resembles real process closely (Melis claims)

Some intermediate results: awareness of what is happening and predictions about the future are getting worse in virtual teams vs. co-located teams. "Virtual people" were losing their awareness with time. Angela notes that we can observe the same with PhD students. Roberta suggests analyzing this situation from point of view of information overload. Atta comments: space synchrony is stronger than time synchrony for serendipity and invention.

Action points:

  • ask Melis for the references on use of activity theory framework for the qualitative analysis and situational awareness
  • ask Atta about space synchrony and time synchrony, as well as opportunistic learning
  • I have a colleague who studies shared understanding in virtual vs. co-located design teams - may be interesting.

Funny observation: some of us are really traditional from methodological point of view and others are heretics :) I'd like to do my PhD somewhere in between.

More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Diialog: distributed KM

Roberta talks about success and failure criteria for knowledge management systems and looks at the connections between organizational models and technology architecture in centralized vs. distributed settings. She presents many interesting ideas, but we don't have much time. My summary is that her research is about (1) global knowledge vs. local knowledge, (2) distributed KM as interplay and coordination between autonomous local nodes, and (3) matching technology to organizational models and not vise versa. Also interesting: why KM systems fail, why ontologies do not work between groups or communities.


...Centralized systems forced semantic schema onto people that may not share it since it is (1) irrelevant (too generic to fit the heterogeneous and specialized needs of users) and (2) oppressive; the schema is the expression of one community and is therefore rejected by other groups (Starr).

...Centralized organizational model: knowledge is "cleaned" to make objective and useble for others (centralized schema), but it's difficult to use locally. This works in smaller group: within organizational unit or community of practice.

...Knowledge appears as heterogeneous and dynamic systems of "local knowledges" situated within communities that live in the interplay between the need of: (1) sharing a perspective within a community to incrementally improve performance, and (2) meeting different perspective of various communities to sustain innovation.

Roberta action points:

  • recommend articles that illustrate the presentation
  • provide the link to I-KNOW 2003 conference
  • (for me) documented cases of KM technology failures
  • make sure that Roberta presents her work at KMSS03
More on: Quaerere 

  Q-Dialog: logistics and lessons learnt

Lessons learnt from this morning:

  • we should have our meeting room next to our hotel
  • if not we should spend money to get transportation to the meeting space
  • we should have stricter program if we want to get results and fit everyone in two days
  • we can use an alarm clock with loud sound for keeping time
More on: Quaerere 

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© Copyright 2002-2007 Lilia Efimova.

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.

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