Don't worry, nobody can steal your knowledge

Why do I share my knowledge? Well, actually, I don’t. I could not share my knowledge with you, if I wanted. There is no such thing as knowledge transfer. Data and information can be transferred, but not knowledge.

So what is the idea behind behind personal knowledge management and the Seek-Sense-Share framework if knowledge cannot be shared in the first place? For me, PKM is a set of practices I can use to better articulate my knowledge. Seeking information from diverse sources gives me a better chance of seeing a fuller picture of our complex environment. Taking time to put my thoughts into words forces me to reflect and try to make some sense of the divergent voices coming from all over. Sharing the results of this sense-making gives back to the networks from which I drew my information and also provides more feedback loops from a variety of perspectives. It enhances serendipity.

Sharing information and viewing it through our individual filters is the best that we can hope for in terms of knowledge transfer. But not sharing would be much worse. As Luis Suarez writes on a very related post:

To me, since we are all embarked on a lifetime learning experience of what we know, what’s around us, who we are, what we do and why we do it, who we connect with, etc. etc. knowledge sharing is innate to our human nature of wanting to connect and collaborate with others. We, human beings, are social beings, and as such have been bound to share what we know with others, so that our learning curve never becomes flat. On the contrary.

While knowledge cannot really be shared,  our knowledge-making experiences can. Perhaps that is why we love stories. They are a glimpse into others’ knowledge, more nuanced than any other communication medium. Sharing is essential for our own sense-making. So share as much as possible. Nobody can steal your knowledge anyway. But we will all lose, if we don’t share it.

6 Responses to “Don't worry, nobody can steal your knowledge”

  1. Adam Weisblatt

    Knowledge is like a flame. You can spread it but it is not diminished.

    This is a good distinction. You cannot share knowledge because it is tied to your framework for understanding the world. However like with stories, you can show your framework of understanding (visualization would be one way.) People can adapt their framework of understanding by considering yours and so they will be able to acquire more knowledge.

  2. Lars Hyland

    Adam, I endorse your likening of knowledge to a flame. Makes me think about the literal flame symbolism of the recent Olympics and Paralympics and whether there will be a reframing of mindsets that last beyond the excitement of the event. Closer to home, sharing through storytelling and applied practice is crucial to embedding new learning and behaviours. In corporates, if only more managers would adopt this frame of thinking then a major obstacle to innovation and change would be removed.

    In the past, I’ve reflected on how the maxim Knowledge Equals Power has now been eclipsed by Your Network Equals Power Squared, to demonstrate that the traditional practice of hoarding knowledge is counterproductive in a richly interconnected world.

    Howard, thanks for a blog post that caused an enjoyable pause for reflection.

  3. Lovelyn Onyemerekeya

    It was really a delight to read your blog. As the world has become a global village, knowledge sharing has become imperative for the survival of the human race. The knowledge that is hoarded in no time becomes obsolete as there is always in thinking out there. But as people share knowledge they open new vistas and innovations are made.

  4. Doug Pederson AKA SpectateSwamp

    To share knowledge you have to have it cataloged well. Otherwise it’s just dumping data on others.

    My search engine / multimedia player allows me to share knowledge better than anybody.

    Check out:
    “nobody shares knowledge better than this” the thread goes on for 2500+ responses.

    Being able to randomly select a group of LARGE text then Video then more text or pictures makes looking worthwhile.

    Grab a copy of the program at:
    http://www.telusplanet.net/public/stonedan/search.exe

    Put it on a USB stick.

    Move some mpg videos there.

    Change the program to catmydrive.exe and run it. That will catalog the videos.

    Rename another copy of the search.exe to randomseg.exe and run that.
    It will randomly pick a video and a random segment in it. Again and again.

    Change a copy of the program to cagmydrivegolf.exe And run that. It creates a timeline playback where the video plays. Then it starts at 6 seconds from the end, switching to slow motion for the last 3 seconds (the swing)

    By looking at the resultant catalog for the golf option you can see how the timeline playback can be set.

    Never editing video means that there isn’t a ton of clips cluttering things up.

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