Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Book I Am Reading

These days, i am reading a book titled Shadows of the Mind ... written by Roger Penrose. This is a rather interesting book ... One that i would definitely recommend to anyone who is even remotely interested in human thinking. Though, of course, you would need to make sure you are at your most alert when you are reading the book (using a language slightly closer to English would have been actually a wonderful idea ...).

Just so you know ... i am still on chapter 1. Though, soon to move to chapter 2! Now, that would be an achievement (and if you read the book, you would quite agree with me!). The basic point of the part that i am reading now, is that there is the aspect of understanding "what needs to be done", and of being aware of "why it needs to be done". And, what Sir Roger Penrose argues (to my mind, quite effectively), that while the former is something which can be easily understood by any intelligence, through the form of mathematical algorithms (i would stretch this to the hilt, and say something similar about documented information, or, if i may use the term ... explicit knowledge!), the latter, in other words, awareness of what we are doing, and why this needs to be done to achieve a particular objective is something which is the tricky part.

And this is where i would extend the logic from chapter 1 of the book, to the two aspects of Knowledge Management i deal with ...

Codification, which is my fancy word for documented information

Collaboration, which, to a lot of folks, is the "other" part of KM

And this is where i would like to make the point that while what some folks call KM 1.0 focussed on the former, it is the latter which is the trickier part. One of the points Sir Roger goes on to make ...

It also allows us to have some kind of direct route to another person's experiences, so that one can "know" what the other person must mean by a word ...

This is where i would like to bring out the importance of collaboration ... from the basic premise that there is something which is beyond the objective (i am using the term loosely here) nature of things, and this is where managerial imagination comes into the picture, to imagine an organization where this can be tapped into. And this is something which large part of web 2.0 technologies are focussing on.

This also reinforces the point that some aspects of Knowledge, and hence of Knowledge Management must remain beyond measurement, at least till such a time as we can generate a framework which is scientific, and can bring these into the scientific fold (though this is something which the book argues against ... something i would surely write about again).

Tongue in cheek ... there are always ideas relating to our field of work from domains which are not necessarily related. Something i have written about before.

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