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  Tuesday, February 22, 2005

  Training the nodes in the network + Kaisen

Piers Young:

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is a training manual for people who need to do a bit of personal knowledge (or something) management. At the risk of banging on about it, one of the things that struck me about van Riper's fluid, networked approach to operations was the emphasis on training the nodes in the network. For - in this case - Network Centric Warfare to work, there needs to be a heavy confidence and reliance on the personal 'nodes', and part of that seems to be achieved by training them. Good basic training and drill.

So I've been thinking presumably, with network-enabled organisation, to optimise efficacy, there needs to be continual basic training of the employees. And if that's right, then perhaps that training is effectively what PKM is really about, and I wondered, if I were a new employee of one of these network-enabled organisations, what sort of handbook would I like to get to get me started from scratch?

Funny enough, I was thinking about something like that to translate my PhD research into - simple instruments that people could use. One more reminder about parallel thinking with Piers (btw, Piers, shall we think on some practical way to work on it? ideally not asynchronous ;)

Pierse also links to Kaizen and 5s process, which he thinks is a good place to start:

SEIRI: create tidyness. Throw away all unused stuff, file away the rest.
SEITON: keep evertything at the right place. Keep the tools you need accessible, hide materials you don't need regularly.
SEISO: keep your (work-)space clean, remove all traces from the previous task before starting the next.
SEIKETSU: develop a personal sense for organizing your things. Develop routines, optimize your system according to your needs.
SHITSUKE: stay disciplined doing the above, make it a habit and permanent practice.

All these makes me thinking hard - something is missing... There are many books on time management and personal productivity, but even if you read them, change is not easy. You can tell me about 5s, GTD or any other approach, and I may even agree, but how to make it work for me? Talking about 5s:

  • SEIRI: how do I access what is useful and what not? how do I file something if I think it's useful, but don't know yet where it belongs?
  • SEITON: what is the right place? what to do if I need many tools together?
  • SEISO: and if I'm multitasking?
  • SEIKETSU: easy to say... where shall I start?
  • SHITSUKE: ah, if you know the trick to make me disciplined, you are welcome...

And now I have to run, so will think it over dinner :)

  Research on how artefacts support thinking and knowledge creation

In my yesterday's post on Blogging as creating space for important I mentioned that "I can go into a body of research on how artefacts support thinking and knowledge creation, but I wouldn't". Well, BensonBear asks to do so:

No, please go into the body of reasearch on how artefacts support thinking. Perhaps point to a survey paper? If you are not familiar, look up Andy Clark's work in philosophy of mind on "linguistic scaffolding".

Don't think that I'm ready for a proper literature review :) Actually, my thinking on roles, interplay and affordances of physical and digital artefacts in thinking and communication is heavily based on knowledge work/personal information management research - studies indicating how paper and digital documents, as well as their organisation in time and space support thinking and communication.

A good way to start it to read these:

The first one is a good introduction to the role of documents for informing thinking (~ turning information into knowledge). The second is a must read book for many reasons, but especially for understanding the role of paper and digital documents at work.

Personal information management is a more complicated issue - there is a lot of interesting things to read there. A good overview could be found in

In fact, Richard Boardman keeps PIM bibliography and finished his PhD on PIM in 2004, so his dissertation is a very good starting point for the topic (I'm reading it :). Unfortunately, his site is down at the moment and I have no idea if it's permanent or not.

The proposal of BensonBear seems to complement my current reading pretty well, as I didn't look much into the literature on cognitive processes that would explain why reliance on artefacts (as observed in PIM literature) happens.

I looked at papers by Andy Clark and this one seems to be relevant:

  • Clark, A. (1998). Magic Words: How Language Augments Human Computation (.pdf). P. Carruthers and J. Boucher (Eds) Language And Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998, pp. 62-183.

I just scanned it, but especially this seems to be very relevant - "six broad ways in which linguistic artifacts can complement the activity of pattern-completing brain":

  • Memory augmentation
  • Environmental simplification
  • Coordination and the reduction of online-deliberation
  • Taming path-dependent learning
  • Attention and resource allocation
  • Data manipulation and representation

I know that these sounds a bit too scientific, but I didn't have enough time to read the paper properly to add human-readable commentaries :)

Anyway, if you know more research relevant, please, let me know.

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© Copyright 2002-2005 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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