Updated: 6/24/2005; 9:38:07 PM.


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  Friday, January 09, 2004

  Boundary spanning

Writing previous post I realised that it would be interesting to look at "boundary spanning" activities of knowledge networkers. I know that there is some research on the topic, but I'm not familiar with it. What would be interesting from my perspective is better understanding of personal triggers and processes of boundary spanning and match-making:

  • How do you spot an opportunity to make a connection?
  • Why do you feel like connecting "related, but not connected" ideas or people?
  • How do you do make a connection (especially if it is not a single case of connecting two ideas from different fields, but a more complex case of connecting two totally different methodologies)?
  • What does it give to you?

In my case it's much about enjoying diversity, having fun of spotting similarities and differences, feeling pity when different sides do not know about each other or don't understand each other, even more fun of "translating" ideas and connecting people... I'm happy that I found quite early in my professional life that I enjoyed building bridges and was able to achieve results doing it, so I came to being conscious about choosing job and project opportunities that allow and require "boundary spanning". The funny thing is that I didn't reflect much on how I did it before writing previous post :)

  Personal effectiveness, improvement.ru and boundary spanning

I feel like explaining how did I came to adding personal effectiveness to my "PhD mix". It's a very funny way - via Russian time-management community.

Some time back I discovered the improvement.ru community (btw, professionally I "belong", mainly as a lurker, to two Russian on-line communities, this one and e-xecutive.ru). It's a "time-management beyond time-management" community: taking time management as a starting point, its members talk about many related things, which could be anything from goal settings, scheduling and chronometric to fighting (or not) with laziness, using PDAs to organise ideas, biorhythms and healthy food. I would say, this is about things that you need to make the best of your life and a name of the web-site reflects it well.

For a few months I was lurking: reading and thinking that this would be a great space to write in Russian about weblogs as professional instruments. I'm still thinking about writing on weblogs, but at least I've got a bit more actionable sense  getting into a time-management course, offered by the community leaders. My main motivation to start the course was about learning to make choices that would create more time to do things I want to do (link to loose ends piece). The funny thing is that I ended up with spending more effort thinking how the ideas behind this course are relevant for my PhD than in working on my time management skills :)

The course comes together with a book on time management (translated into English: Time management: from personal effectiveness to company development by Gleb Archangelsky). It's a pity that most of you don't read Russian, because this book connects "foreign" TM ideas with original Russian thinking on and around this topic. Between other things with methodological thinking and TRIZ, two Russian "ways of thinking" that I touched a bit in my professional life and placed into my "should learn in-depth after coming back to Russia" list. I'll try to find more resources in English and to write more myself to add "boundary spanning" value.

I feel very funny reading this book. It's like flying over the river with no bridge, but occasional swimmers across, spotting possible connections and thinking why/where/how to build a bridge. I guess this is because the book is very much "Russian", building on Russian thinking around TM-related topics with only some connections with "foreign" ideas. It feels "heavily related, but not connected" with most of the things I was immersed in during last 2,5 years working abroad...

Coming back to my starting point. The book heavily uses the idea of time management as a starting point to improve personal effectiveness. And because I'm very eclectic and bring into my PhD research everything that seems to be relevant I used it once to explain why I focus on individual perspective in KM. It worked to get the message across, I tried it a few more times and then realised that it solves some of the problems with using knowledge work/knowledge worker as terms.

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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