13:51 11/06/2004 Mathemagenic: Mathemagenic
...giving birth to learning...


  Monday, July 28, 2003

  Weblogs spamming Google?

Evan Williams [I lost track of how I came across this post]:

Most of the people who I've heard, anectdotely, say that they think blogs sometimes get undue ranking, mention coming across their own blog for searches. They don't necessarily complain about about coming across other blogs. Could that in part be because: a) They're using phrases to search that are natural to them (and, therefore, the words they use to write) but that aren't quite as likely to be used by others as they might think? b) They're not going to learn anything from their own blog, so they consider that result useless, while another blog's contents they may find valuable?

This confirms my feeling that weblogs are not at the top of all searches people do. Probably they are at the top of many searches bloggers do :)

More on: blogs 

  Friday, July 25, 2003

  You are my editor

Henry Copeland points to a story - A world without editors by Jeff Jarvis. Jeff writes about fighting with editor to get  his story about weblogs right:

So when I got the "edit" back, I responded by simply asking to kill the piece. [...]

Aw, to hell with it. I decided to just put the piece up here, for you are the audience I care about, not the handful of insular souls who'll read a self-referential, self-reverential faux scholarly periodical about weblogs -- when it would be so much better if they just read weblogs instead.

And if I'm wrong, you'll tell me. For you are my editor.

This last line is SO powerful...

  Procrastination as an important knowledge economy skill

Jim McGee with Rory Perry summarizes emergence of weblogs as mainstream content platform and an observation I loved (bold is mine):

One advantage of letting things pile up in your aggregator is that more efficient folks like Rory come along and organize stuff for you. I knew that eventually procrastination would become an important knowledge economy skill!

  Combining data from various devices and privacy

Designing for Ubiquity: The Perception of Privacy in IEEE Pervasive computing (requires subscription; bold is mine):

Ubicomp systems aim to be “distraction-free,” but as a result, users often forget the technology exists or fail to seriously question the role it plays in their lives. For monitoring systems, the issues are complicated because individual devices can collect data for different purposes, and combining data from various devices can reveal unanticipated information. The author was part of a team that investigated these issues in a sensor-rich eldercare facility. The team interviewed the facility’s management, staff, and residents, as well as residents’ family members, to understand how they viewed the technology and its effect on their privacy. Although our interviewees did see embedded technology as a central factor in their environment, few understood the technology, the data it gathered, or how it was used. These results have implications for other ubicomp environments, as well as ubicomp system design.
Related to all the discussions about weblogs and privacy and to some of our internal work.

More on: knowledge mapping 

  Fast link

I found this by occasion: Weblogs - can they accelerate expertise? (.pdf) - an essay about weblogs and learning, looks like a course assignment. Didn't have time to read in detail.

More on: blogs and learning 

  Thursday, July 24, 2003

  Internet and learning

Are You Ready for the Next Wave of Workplace Learners? by Margaret Driscoll [via LTI newsletter]:

The Internet has breathed new life into self-directed learning. In a 2001 study done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, adults and teens were asked how they use the Internet. Do they use it to teach themselves new things or to answer a specific question? The study found that 80-percent of all Internet users use the Internet to answer a specific question. More surprising, the study found that during a typical day, 16-percent of adult Internet users go online to answer a question. With this in mind, training organizations should consider leveraging learning strategies that take advantage of informal, self-directed, and collaborative learning.

The report is here - The Internet and Education: Findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. I checked some other reports too.

College Students and the Web (2001):

Sites with high proportions of college traffic:

[...]Livejournal.com, an online personal journal service, had the highest composition of visitors from the university audience (20 percent).

The Internet Goes to College: How Students are Living in the Future with Today's Technology (2001) - "college students say the Internet has enhanced their education". Some highlights

  • Almost half (46%) of college students agree that email enables them to express ideas to a professor that they would not have expressed in class, but, some interactions are still primarily face-to-face: Only 19% of students said they communicate more with their professors via email than they do face-to-face.
  • Two-thirds (68%) of college students reported subscribing to one or more academic-oriented mailing lists that relate to their studies. They use these lists to carry on email discussions about topics covered in their classes.
  • Two others I may need:

    • Email at work: Few feel overwhelmed and most are pleased with the way email helps them do their jobs (2002)
    • Counting on the Internet: Most expect to find key information online, most find the information they seek, many now turn to the Internet first (2002)
    More on: e-learning 

      Wednesday, July 23, 2003

      Bricolage learning

    George Siemens about Converging Knowledge Management, Training, and elearning:

    This paper looks at several obviously converging concepts. Learning is a multi-faceted process...and one aspect is not indicative of the whole. For example, structured, classroom learning does not account for the values of learning through experience...and vice versa. The contradictory characteristics of learning (structured but open, constructive but knowable, personal but communal etc.) are best represented in creating a "whole perspective" view. KM has a role...but so does elearning...and communities...and classroom learning. To assume that learning can be represented/produced by only one approach is to misjudge how learning really happens. This is why the view of an LMS as the center of elearning is so limiting. It's not about one thing...it's about a bricolage.

    Thanks for the bricolage learning methaphor (next to Jay's "Bouillabaisse" learning ;)


    George Siemens does a lot of work on his weblog, but still writes/points to interesting things:


    Martin Roell in Need an Expert? Ask the Blog-Headhunters!:

    I was talking to Lilia Efimova the other day when I was preparing for an interview with a journalist about k-logs. We talked about Weblogs and how they can benefit individuals and organisations. We reflected on Sebastian Paquet getting hired because of his Weblog and about Robert Scoble who got his job at Microsoft because of his blog.

    [...] So why don't HR-departments use the blogosphere in a systematic way? Is there a better way of finding clued people? (Yeah, ads in papers and assesment centers, right? You must be joking.) Is there a better way of knowing what someone is up to before you hire him? And you get free marketing too.

    Maybe there is a business opportunity for a "Blog-Headhunting"-Agency here: An agency that searches through the blogosphere to find the right bloggers for a vacancy.

    "Need an expert? Ask the Blog-Headhunters."

    So, when do we start? ;-)

    Talking about starting: there are some developments already. Phil Wolff is writing on weblogs and staffing (here too). And there is an announcement of Blossier, service that generates instant, up-to-the-minute dossiers on anyone who blogs [via Roland Tanglao]. I guess this service is fake, but it doens't take much to implement it.

    My practical questions would be: Are there enough bloggers looking for a job? Are there enough companies open enough to hire someone who blogs and most likely will continue blogging? After we know answers we can work on a business plan :)

    Still: I hope that when I look for my next job (in a few years, I have a whole PhD ahead) my weblog will play a role in it :)

    Later: see Phil's answers to my questions - Is the blogosphere a labor market in the making? and one-year-old The Staffing Value of Klogs and don't forget to check the discussion around initial Martin's post

    More on: blogs in business 

      Tuesday, July 22, 2003

      eLearning’s Next Chapter

    I'm listening to Jay Cross talking for the on-line workshop Lets Write eLearning’s Next Chapter Together. I enjoy it a lot as I enjoyed Jay's talk in Graz as listening to someone like-minded, but different. This talk should be on-line within a few days.

    Some highlights:

    While listening I found out that Jay moved his RSS feed (this explains why I wasn't recieving his recent posts).

    Later: follow-up posting by Jay Cross: 

      How do I seach my weblog?

    Just a brief thoughs about my ways of finding something in my blog:

    • If it was recently I scroll
    • If I remember the date and it's not too far from now, I use calendar
    • If I know the words I used before I use Google search on my site
    • If I can recall it by seeing its title I use All posts by title archive
    • If I can recall accosiated theme I use liveTopics (I don't use categories anymore because they break RSS feeds)

    Otherwise I get lost. No, in fact if none of these works I assume that something I'm looking for wasn't in my weblog, but somewhere else on-line.

    I wonder how my readers search my weblog...

      a weblog without an RSS feed...

    Chad Dickerson 

    a weblog without an RSS feed is like a cheeseburger with only the bread

    More on: RSS 

      Knowledge game

    Something I missed earlier [via Joy London]

    Knowledge game  by Dave Pollard

    This post contains The Knowledge Game, a tool you can use to educate yourself, or a group of business colleagues, about intellectual capital, innovation and knowledge management, and their importance for modern organizations. It's played as a game, with two to eight teams who compete against each other. Each team acts as the Board of Directors of a fictitious consulting firm, and the objective is to make investment decisions that provide the best ROI. Those decisions require choosing between investing in traditional physical and financial assets, and among six forms of intellectual capital: human, structural, customer, social, risk and innovation.

    More on: KM 

      Monday, July 21, 2003

      Why people do not ask questions? (2)

    I'm still thinking about Why people do not ask questions? and there are some updates:

    Sylvie adds

    One problem may be that people don't know WHO to ask. Also, what about the cost of finding: will it take me more time to find the answer than the time that finding the answer will save me?

    Denham Grey adds

    My guess it is all about social identity. If you feel confident in yourself there is little to stop you asking a 'dumb' question. You are not concerned what others may think of you - you need to get an answer and move on.

    Denham also provides a beautiful quote (I may be wrong here, because it isn't 100% clear) from Verna Allee:

    Only questions have the power to beak our current midsets, they set in motion the deep relection needed to alter our beliefs.

    It is the place and the space 'between not knowing and our desire to know' where we are most attentive, self-aware and alive. Questions hold the key to this special area.

    David Buchan suggests to look in Charles Feltman's paper Leadership and enemies of learning. In this paper the author actually refers to the key enemies of learning described by Julio Olalla:

    • Our inability to admit that we don't know
    • The desire for clarity all of the time
    • Lack of priority for learning – "I don't have time"
    • Inability to unlearn
    • Ignoring the emotional dimension of learning
    • Ignoring the body dimension of learning
    • Confusing learning with acquiring information
    • Not giving permissions to others to teach us
    • Lack of trust

    I knew that the discussion would point to the learning domain earlier or later.  I have something to add to this, but this post is getting too long :)

      More on weblogs in business

    Thomas Burg points to B- Blogs Listing (see also for I-Blog Discussion List) and BloggingWorks Workshops. Business blogs world is speeding up.

    More on: blogs in business 

      Friday, July 18, 2003

      Weblog address on business card
    My spankin' new business card. [Seb's Open Research]
    Wish I would have the same: my weblog address on my business card. This is an example to follow :)
    More on: blogs in business 

      IM adoption

    Yesterday's thinking about media-competition was a follow-up from reading the article by my colleagues - IM [@Work]: Adoption of Instant Messaging in a Knowledge Worker Organisation. It's worth reading for people interested in instant messaging, but I was triggered by references and findings related to technology (IM in this case) adoption:

    Technology self-efficacy, perceived compatibility of IM with work and pressure from social contacts at work to use IM explained best why some employees adopted and used IM more than others.

    More on: technology adoption 

      Thursday, July 17, 2003

      Organising a conference

    This is what you do in the blogosphere: you don't even ask. Someone asks question that you have in mind, other people comment, you learn.

    SiT: Response on organizing a conference

    Context - I'm organising KM Summer School 2003 and have the same questions as my request for inspiration David in mind. I even thought about Open Space, but wasn't able to find a good "how-to" link. Now I have it next to the pointer to World Cafe and some other ideas.


    More on: KMSS learning event 

      Tools integration, media competition and media stickiness

    Another thing that keeps me thinking recently.

    There is a lot of discussions in the blogosphere about merging between weblogs and other systems (e-mails, IM, wikis, etc.) [e.g. Weblogging is merging with...?, The future of the weblog as a communication tool (1) and (2)]

    I would like to look a bit broader and ask why people need less (or even one) systems to do what they want to do? It's clearly about time and convenience, but I'd like to see scientific explanations and studies.

    This question is related to several things I do:

    1. The need for integration and it's assumed value is one of the drives for my studies of KM/learning connections. Next to organisational issues I'd like to see one entry point personal learning/ searching/ sharing space.

    2. I constantly bump into the idea of communities competing for their members attention. The number of communities/groups/environments for someone to belong is limited. [I remember reading related discussion in blogs or at Knowledge Board, but I can't find it]. It's becomes visible in the blogosphere (e.g. Ton's post - "since I've been writing my own blog, for a little over half a year now, I've seen my contributions to KnowledgeBoard plummet to, well to nothing really"), it also appears in some of interviews we do studying knowledge sharing, and it is consistent with my personal experience. Making choices between different communities is more complex than deciding which tools to use, but still there is a question of choices between multiple platforms.

    So, I'm looking for explanations of why and how people choose tools to communicate. So far I found two relevant concepts, both without much details.

    1. Media competition

    In his I-KNOW keynote Gerhard Fischer used this term to address the choice that people made using the easiest media to communicate instead of the one intended by designer. I googled the web-site, but came across only one reference that explains it: Talking to strangers: an evaluation of the factors affecting electronic collaboration by Steve Whittaker. This paper describes a study of factors influencing use of Lotus Notes and gives examples of talking face-to-face or mailing instead of posting to the database (looks so familiar :)

    2. Media stickiness

    Don't mix it with Gladwell's stickiness, in this case it is used in a negative sense. New Methods for Studying Global Virtual Teams: Towards a Multi-Faceted Approach (Steinfield et al., 2001) describes the study of communication between virtual teams and provides one interesting observation: teams stick to using not ideal tools once they started to use them.

    ...each team tended to continue using the media they initially had chosen to use in a consistent fashion over time...

    ...groups engaged in seemingly irrational behaviour, sometimes failing to take advantage of more efficient communications tools...

    ...We observed that teams learn to use a tools and subsequently mutually adapt the tool and the tasks so that they do not need to diverge much from their past experiences.

    I don't know yet how to formulate my follow-up thoughts, so that's it so far. Other references are welcome.

      Wednesday, July 16, 2003

      NL bloggers wanted!

    Erik van Bekkum:

    A call for bloggers in The Netherlands! I have been thinking with Lilia Efimova and Ton Zijlstra about getting bloggers together during the holidays and get to meet the people behind the blogs...we're thinking about doing something fun and informal, perhaps a picknick, on a Saturday?

    Who is in? Go to the comments field of this entry and let us know who you are, where you live and what period would best suit you. If you cannot attend, syndicate this entry to your blog or email your blogofriends.

    Of course, it's going to a be a Dutch treat! And: you don't have to actually have a blog to come. It's going to be fun!

    More on: face-to-face time 

      Information foraging and weblogs as snack-bars

    Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster by Jakob Nielsen

    A bit of definition:

    Information foraging is the most important concept to emerge from Human-Computer Interaction research since 1993. Developed at the Palo Alto Research Center (previously Xerox PARC) by Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli, and colleagues, information foraging uses the analogy of wild animals gathering food to analyze how humans collect information online.

    [Read the middle yourself] and then:

    The patch-leaving model thus predicts that visits will become ever shorter. Google and always-on connections have changed the most fruitful design strategy to one with three components:
    • Support short visits; be a snack
    • Encourage users to return; use mechanisms such as newsletters as a reminder
    • Emphasize search engine visibility and other ways of increasing frequent visits by addressing users' immediate needs

    Next to the fact that it's a useful theory for my work, it also calls for some parallels with blogging:

    • Weblogs are rather snack-bars then restaurants: you can come often, find something to eat and leave fast. They are even better: snacks are changing (there is always something new), but the cook is the same, so you can easily get a feeling of cooking style and quality.
    • Weblogs use RSS feeds to notify you when something tasty is served (and you can even try it without going there).
    • Google loves blogs and brings readers directly to snack they want.

    From this perspective the only problem with blog-snack-bar is that once you are there you can hardly find anything beyond the front raw of snacks :)

    I also wonder when Jakob Nielsen will write a bit more about weblogs (because his Alertbox was a role-model for me when I started my weblog and because he is a bit sceptical now).

    More on: blogs usability 

      Why people do not ask questions?

    Thinking about something not new...

    In a corporate KM context we think how to improve knowledge sharing. Once you realise that it's not a technology problem most of discussion goes around "why people share/do not share knowledge?", motivation and culture.

    From another side if you start zooming in and study knowledge-sharing motivation of real people it's easy to find out that many don't mind to share, but don't do it because nobody asks them or because they are not sure that others need to know. It seems that the problem is not with motivation to share, but with motivation to ask. So, I guess we have to turn the problem upside down: "why people do not ask for knowledge of others?"

    This question may be more difficult: sharing your knowledge at least makes you an "expert" while asking others can "show" how "stupid" you are. Next to it there is "not invented here" syndrome and higher satisfaction of inventing your own solutions rather than reusing work of others.

    My questions:

    • Why people ask/do not ask questions (search for expertise of others)?
    • What can be done to create an environment that motivates people to ask more questions?
    • Will an environment where people ask questions improve knowledge sharing (and contribute to KM)?

    Any ideas, comments, references are welcome.

      Between bloggers and their employers (2)

    From notes of the Voxpolitics event on blogs and politics (I have no idea what it was, you can start digging in from here) [via Cindy Lemcke-Hoong], about Stephen Pollard, "first major journalist in the country to be running a weblog":

    And he's not writing for free - people respond to his comments and inspire him to write pieces for which he gets paid.

    This simple phrase gets the value of blogging for free - it inspires you to come up with other pieces (with more insight/analysis/depth/structure) to get paid for.

    For me it would also draw a border for copyrights: I'd like to "own" my blog (to give it away under Creative Commons) even if it is related to my work, while my company owns more elaborate products (e.g. papers) that can be inspired by it (of course when a company pays me to work on these products :).

    In fact I don't like to get paid to blog, because I want the freedom of doing it and I want to own the content. I'm also addicted to blogging enough to think that I would not be happy if I couldn't do it. And I have scary phrases in my contract to worry about these issues :(

    [Related: What Does European Law Say About Blog Ownership? (thanks to Martin Roell), Between bloggers and their employers, Bloggers Gain Libel Protection, BlogTalk: who owns narrated experiences?]

    More on: blogs in business 

      Tuesday, July 15, 2003

      Blogs vs. KnowledgeBoard (2)

    Erik van Bekkum does a great job with bringing many Knowledge Board discussions into blogosphere. Recent links:

    [See also Blogs vs. KnowledgeBoard discussion]

      Virtual Communities as Learning Networks

    Erik van Bekkum points to a new weblog by Stephanie Allen, which is related to a study on Virtual Communities as Learning Networks. This study will try to answer the following questions:

    • How do employees learn in order to do their jobs well?
    • How can virtual communities help employees learn to do their job well?
    • What can organizations do to support virtual communities so that employees can do their job well? 
    • What do organizations gain from supporting virtual communities?

    [this post also refers to Improving Knowledge Worker Performance article, which I just want to note for further reading]

    Erik comments:

    The question that may be missing is about how the collective learning in a community takes place, and it's impact on the individual learning process. Just recently I was talking about this (yes, at the coffee machine) with Ad Dekkers. if you consider the increase of individual capabilities through collective learning and collective capabilities, you have a better understanding of how the community adds value to the learning process of each participant in the community.

    My few cents:

    1. Nice to see more e-learning/training people looking at communities of practice as a learning environment.

    2. I recognise dialogues that I hear often then learning and KM people get together in a discussion about learning in communities: learning people stress individual learning while KM people say how and why group-collective-organisational learning is important. Sometimes they talk about the same thing without understanding each other. I believe (and some theories say) that learning is always social. From this perspective the nature of learning in a classroom and learning in a community are not so different, the difference is in a degree of steering/facilitation.

    3. If I would do this study (and I'm studying related things anyway :) I would:

    • check studies of informal learning first, especially those explaning how it happens and how it can be supported (some references are here, especially [1] and [2])
    • focus on performance-improvement (in other words on the whole chain share-learn-apply at work; I address it as a performance-focused knowledge sharing in I-KNOW paper)
    • and then add KM-world knowledge about communities 

    In other words, this study could be a good way to get best from both training and KM worlds: understanding how people learn, how to facilitate learning and performance change as well as understanding communities as living systems.

    Looking forward to see where this study goes.

      Future-proof URLs in Movable Type

    Future-proof URLs in Movable Type [via Roland Tanglao: KLogs] - if I decide to move...

    More on: Movable Type 


    Back to everyday morning routine: breakfast, e-mail, newsaggregator. And half an hour before I find out how much work is waiting for me in the office :)

    More on: life 

      Thursday, July 10, 2003

      Weblogging is merging with...?

    Phil Wolf comments on my earlier note about the number of technologies one can cope with predictions about merging between e-mail and blogging clients. As usual, it worth reading as a whole, so just a short teaser:

    A prediction:

    The vendors who dominate messaging will shape blogging. AOL and Microsoft have fat clients, web clients, and chat clients. Watch them:

    1. Bring blogging into their messaging family.
    2. Absorb blogging user and group digital IDs into their identity mechanisms.
    3. Offer faceted blogs (everyone sees just what they're intended to see and not what they don't want to see) using digital ID. You're not part of their ID world? No facets.
    4. Push blogging into all their customer touch points (voice, SMS/iMode, handhelds, desktop software, etc.)
    5. Fold blogging community servers (the Technoratis and Popdexes) into email and search servers.
    6. Offer tools for good citizenship (i.e. censorship, filtering) via community servers.

    I'm not recommending this, mind you. I just have a hard time imagining a sustainable alternative scenario.

    See also Corante: Social software - More on merging IM and Blogging

    More on: blogs 

      Sweet home

    I'm in Moscow at the moment and mainly off-line, but I'm thinking and talking about blogging a lot. Walking around I found myself "writing blog posts in my head" :)

    I love this city and I wish I could be here more often. This is a downside of having fun job in another country: you miss your own places. Does anyone want to start a project in Russia?

    More on: life 

      Monday, July 07, 2003


    Morning references:

    More on: blogs in business 

      Sunday, July 06, 2003

      How selection of blogging tool functionalities influences specific uses of blogs?

    Clay Shirky about AOL choices for their blogging tools [Corante: Social Software]:

    AOL, by its nature, will affect the future of weblogging by choosing to emphasize or de-empahsize certain aspects of these patterns, and some of those choices are already made.

    I really wonder if there are more research on how selection of blogging tool functionalities influences specific uses of blogs [I touched this issue in my BlogTalk paper and also discussed off-line with Michael at I-KNOW 03].


    More on: blogging tools 

      New KM blog: metakappa by Gino Tocchetti

    New blog about KM: metakappa by Gino Tocchetti. Don't have much time to check it now, just subscribed...

    More on: blog new 

      I-KNOW: my paper is on-line

    Finally, I can share it: paper I presented at I-KNOW03 conference, 3-4 July 2003, Graz, Austria - "Converging knowledge management, training and e-learning: scenarios to make it work" and presentation. Abstract says:

    Companies are starting to recognise synergies between knowledge management, training and e-learning programs, but a closer look reveals that these integration ideas are rarely implemented in practice. The goal of this paper is to provide a starting point for collaboration between corporate KM and HR/learning teams by mapping existing practices of linking KM, training and e-learning efforts. We provide an overview of experiences and future ideas of collaboration derived from several studies, group them in three themes and then illustrate each theme with a scenario. The first theme gives examples of using HR and training instruments to support knowledge management. The second theme represents cases of using KM methods (namely a community of practice) to support HR learning management efforts. The last theme describes how KM and HR/learning teams could work on joint initiatives. Then we discuss the added value of the scenarios and propose further practical steps and research directions.

    Selected papers from the conference are availiabe on-line  during next two weeks.

    More on: I-KNOW KM&learning 

      Friday, July 04, 2003

      I-KNOW: Gerhard Fischer

    This is the last keynote by Gerhard Fischer from Center of long life learning and design

    He speaks about "the end of the beginning" and changing paradigms. His papers could be found at http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~gerhard/papers.html

    Gerhard distinguishes between communities of practice and communities of interest in a new (for me) way: in community of practice people share same practice and the it drifts towards a shared language (groupthink is a drawback), while communities of interest cross several communities of practice and bring them together based on the interest. The primary goal then is "integrating diversity" and making all voices heard.

    I'm too tired for detailed notes, so just things that caught my attention:

    • gift culture - social statues is determined by your sharing (paper with more details)
    • media-competition - using the easiest media to communicate (instead of the one intended by designer)
    • informed participation
    • "remembering lessons from the past and archiving information is necessary, but not sufficient, because the information needs( specifically in design) of the future will not be the same as they were in the past"
    • Knowledge sharing: motivation of a group is different of motivation of an individual.
    • Challenges in KM systems research: testing not in experimental, but in real settings. (This is something I always say to my colleagues when we are discussing evaluation strategy for KM tools we work on :)
    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: track

    My talk (paper, presentation). In brief: I presented the examples of partnership/joint work between KM and HR/training/e-learning teams from several studies we did, summarised them as three themes and illustrated with scenarios.

    As usual presentation can be polished more, but I'm happy that I managed to finish 1 minute before the "timeover" and had some interesting questions:

    • Are there any studies showing effects or ROI of integration?
    • What are the most important/most common barriers between KM and HR teams?
    • What can be done for providing "blended learning" type of environment if training is outsourced?

    Dietmar Paier (www.zbw.at) provides a good overview of using SNA in KM based on a case-study.

    Some points

    • Wetzstein 03 study: both formal and informal structures are important for creating knowledge in organisation.
    • Informal structures of information and communication flows shape the patterns of information exchange and knowledge processes
    • Zack 00: use of information and knowledge tends to follow existing social structure
    • Providing SNA back to an organisation is a great source for the reflection and change
    • No theoretical framework of using SNA for knowledge networks is available (Is it true?)


    • What are the indicators of healthy knowledge network?
    • How does it (SNA) scale?

    David Hicks talks about applying ideas from structural computing to KM. I didn't got it totally (and in any case it's too technical for me), but someone may be interested to look at their prototype at http://cs.aue.auc.dk/construct/

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: morning thoughts

    I'm missing some presentations because I'm finishing my slides (I present a paper in a couple of hours). It's quiet in conference "e-mail room" and I'm happy to have a bit of time to check my news aggregator and to think.

    Yesterday evening our discussions were jumping to blogs from time to time (at least after yesterday's presentation of Jay Cross people know the word :) I talked about my experiences and most common reply was "it sounds interesting, but I don't have time". I tried to explain that I don't have time too and that blogging works for me when it integrates with or takes place of other activities. But still people are sceptical and don't see the real value of blogging. I'm used to it and this just confirms my earlier observation: blogging value is difficult to explain to non-bloggers.

    It's pity that I'm not presenting about weblogs :) There are a couple of nice examples:

    1. Dina points to post of Microsoft employee, John Porcaro, who says:

    Frank Maslowski, another stellar Microsoft employee (who happens to report to me) started up his blog. I'm officially adding blogging to all their review objectives for the new fiscal year! I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say, you'll want to stay tuned to this one. And I expect a good dose of humor sprinkled throughout.

    2. This is a nice illustration of speed and feedback loops in the blogosphere: David Buchan comments on my conference postabout ontology building. David, thanks, I'll come to it later.

    Something else: I love this conference as it's not only about KM (and blogging), but also about meeting great people, dancing, learning how to make sushi and a lot of fun. Will turn back to my presenytation now...

      Thursday, July 03, 2003

      I-KNOW: Track 2 "KM in industry"

    Marianne Kukko from Finland presents the results of interviews with HR practitioners from 44 Finnish companies. For me the results are biased towards HR activities (e.g. training). The interesting detail of the study is about language: lack of Finnish KM terminology makes things more difficult.

    Ulrich Kagrlmann talks about SENEKA project. Between other things he talks about KM trends:

    • globalisation
    • regionalisation
    • dynamisation of job profiles
    • continuous training on the job
    • integration of job and private life
    • multiple job
    • micro-companies

    Matteo Bonifacio speaks again: this time the richness of diversity in knowledge creation and about a contradiction between social and distributed way of creating knowledge and centralised technology support for it diversity. He examines several theories that say the same: diversity is good for innovation.

    Then he talks about technology adoption, that happens in three ways: technology fits people's practice, technology is shaped and changed by these practices or practices are changed to adapt to technology. Practices are social and distributes, so centralised technologies usually fail. If centralised technology succeeds it may be worse: it will imply the reduction of diversity and, as a side effect, of innovation and adaptability. So, next logical step would be to let people have their local technologies, but provide ways to coordinate between them (this is my simplification of distributed KM approach).

    One of the question from the audience was about number of technologies that one can cope. I share this concern given the number of communication/discussion tools I use. I have some follow-up thinking, but it's not getting out of me now :)

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: comments on posting

    Yesterday I didn't make many notes: it's not easy with technical demos, presentations were quite short and I stayed too far from the plug, so could not be on all the time. Today it's easier: keynotes were almost one hour long, presenters have more time too and I'm smarter to come early to find plugs :)

    Please forgive not clean code and editing after posting. I'm typing in Word (because it check spelling and I make a lot of mistakes with blind typing) and posting it in the breaks (as I don't have wifi card and have to login from a special room).

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: Jay Cross

    Jay Cross gives funny and entertaining speech "The rise and fall and rise of eLearning" (slides should be on-line, but it seems Jay needs more time to make it happen). He talks not only about e-learning, but also about "hunting elephants", learning as network building, blogs and enterprise software. He asked how many people in the audience were reading and writing blogs: around 10 and 2 respectively :)

    I'm getting more and more interested why blogs are not used much in research. I wonder if I can make a paper on it (as KMSS paper deadline was extended till 25 July, I hope that I can push myself to write it till then).

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: Peter Schutt

    Peter Schutt from IBM speaks about "post-Nonaka knowledge management". He discusses scientific management based on Taylor's approach to people, proposes that current business theories (e.g. TQM, BPR) are building upon Taylor too and then suggests that we are at the turning point now, because scientific management can not be applied to knowledge work.

    He states that KM is not about managing knowledge. It's about managing knowledge work and about productivity of knowledge workers. (This reminds me things that Jim McGee is writing all the time).

    He talks about stages in KM history and gives a couple of great citations:

    since knowledge is intangible, boundaries, and dynamic and cannot be stocked it has to be exploited where and when it is needed to create values (Nonaka, 2001, "The emergence of "Ba")

    You cannot manage knowledge like you cannot manage love, patriotism or your children. But you can set up and environment where knowledge evolves (Larry Prusak)

    The rest of the presentation is focused on three things that are important if you would like to create an environment to support knowledge workers: organisation&culture, processes, information technology. The slides contain interesting frameworks to think about, but too complex to write in a blog. Just a couple of notes:

    Organisational knowledge is 4% structured, 16% unstructured and 80% experiences and expertise of people, but 80% of IT budget spent on managing that 4% (refers to analysts from somewhere)

    Use of baseball and soccer metaphors to compare old style culture and KM supportive culture.

    See also The post-Nonaka Knowledge Management article by Peter Schütt

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: Ben Shneiderman

    Ben Shneiderman speaks about Leonardo's laptop (which is his new book). I guess main ideas should be somethere on-line, so I'll search for them rather than writing them here.

    Things I found interesting:

    More on: I-KNOW 

      I-KNOW: Ontologies +

    I was surprised that a lot of things for the rest of the day were quite technical: social issues "around communities" and then jump to presenting systems to support them. I'll dig out the links to demos and sites and post them later.

    My taking from this session is about choices to make during ontology building process and some implications (I'd like to make a mind map out of it, but don't have any software here, but at least it's something)

    • one expert vs. group involved
    • expressiveness (detailed and complex ontology) vs. maintainability (simple ontology)
    • automatic vs. manual
      • automatic: quality is questionable
        • when ontology is good? mainly depends on user tasks (also: ontology in corporate settings usually reflect power distribution)
        • tools to use and their costs?
        • change: too fast if generated on the fly
      • manual
        • costs: people (+learning curve to learn about ontologies), time, iterations
        • process can be as valuable as ontology itself: commitment + questioning mental models and reflection
      • evaluation instruments: ontoclean, usage mining
    • group vs. organisational ontology
      • depends on company's type/size/culture (diversity)
      • how to combine/relate group ontologies into organisational ontology -> ontology mapping
        • multiple ontology mappings are not easy (usually some common structure for all ontologies is needed) 
        • monodirectional mapping (objects from a certain system, e.g. database, are mapped into an ontology, so it can be used to retrieved them
    • other issues
      • lessons learnt from db modelling
      • unstructured data is difficult to extract/create an ontologies
      • ontology ownership

    Note: You may be surprised why I'm talking about ontologies. At work I'm involved in a process of ontology-building, so I have a lot of practical questions to be answered. My interests are not so much about technical details, but more in social and organisational issues around it. Where do you start in order to build an ontology? Whom do you involve? What roles to they take? What tools can help? Will be an ontology accepted by others? How do you update and maintain an ontology? Any references that answer these questions are welcome

    More on: I-KNOW ontologies 

      I-KNOW: time for learning

    This is a bit polished version of my notes from the I-KNOW 03 day 1. I went to the workshop about communities.

    Oliver Vopel: "In order to reduce complexity and ambiguity one does not need more knowledge but more confidence"

    Matteo Bonifacio is a great presenter – I'm happy that he will be speaking at KM summer school. He presents two different scenarios about a same person. One with decision-making as a result of access to all kind or resources in KM system and another on changing a reality by asking questions (so your prediction at the end is not a prediction, you made it). Then he refers to four groups of KM approaches to explain and contrast these scenarios. There is more in the presentation, so I hope it will be on-line.

    There is an interesting comment that makes a dichotomy between time to learn vs. time to do things. Matteo adds that probably it's not about time as such, but about responsibility that you have for the results. If it's high you will focus more on getting things done and have less space for learning. With less responsibility to learn more, but sometimes do not get results right. Jay Cross adds that learning is part of the work. Another comment is related to the time horizon of learning: learning for the future looks like learning, but learning for immediate work looks like work.

    I'm thinking about both perspectives: each of them is true. I agree that any work you do brings you something to learn, so learning is embedded into work. But I think that this is mainly "experience building" part of Kolb's learning cycle, with some degree of reflection. But you need more time and less work pressure for more reflective mode of learning and definitely for discovering and changing your mental models and learning habits (see a bit about it in my discussion with Sebastian)

      Tuesday, July 01, 2003

      I-KNOW: first evening

    I'm in Graz, Austria,getting ready for I-KNOW conference tomorrow. I had a nice evening, but now I sit and wonder how can I recognise Jay Cross if I see him? My BlogTalk experience says that people don't look that their on-line pictures :) Looking forward to hear Jay's keynote about learning.

    Don't know if and how I will be blogging this conference, as I'm still not sure about conference blogging after BlogTalk (Sebastian too)

    By the way, German keyboard layout is just a little better than French, but still not easy for me.

    Updats: just talked to Jay Cross, so one thing is easier :)

    More on: I-KNOW 

      Life, like autumn silence, is in the details

    I went to Parking Lot blog via my referers and I found this:

    From the Ends to the Beginning is an online bilingual anthology of Russian poetry. Here is a Pasternak poem, about blogging I suppose...

    Let's scatter our words... by Boris Pasternak

    This is one of my favorite poems by Pasternak, one of those that marked my early teen discoveries in poetry. These words:
    But life, like autumn
    Silence, is in the details

    The only thing I can't help is English that doesn't show the beauty of his words in Russian...

    Chris Corrigan, thanks for early morning present. 
    More on: blogs life 

      Bloggers Gain Libel Protection

    Stephen Downes:

    Bloggers Gain Libel Protection. Good news for bloggers and services (such as universities) that host blogs: in a U.S. court, they cannot be held liable for the truth of information passed on through this medium. When you think about it, it makes sense: "on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward." Imagine what life would be like if you were responsible for the truth of everything that was said or repeated in your building. It would be absurd - and it would also be absurd in blogspace. By Xeni Jardin, Wired News, June 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
    I knew that blogging had something to do with the freedom of speech :)

    More on: blogs in business 

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    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: 6/24/2005; 9:36:38 PM.