implementing a triple operating system

A triple operating system aligns work and learning and has a network perspective. It is based on three interrelated processes, first proposed by Valdis Krebs: Awareness, Alternatives, Action. My perspective is that people in organizations cannot take appropriate action unless they have systems in place to consider alternatives, and are aware of the complex environments in which they operate. While my network learning model [previous post] looks at knowledge flow from the individual’s point of view, the triple operating system is an organizational perspective. (more…)

implementing network learning

In the network era, developing the skills of a master artisan in every field of work will be critical for success. While getting work done collaboratively will continue to be of importance in all organizations, it will not be enough. New ideas will have to come from our professional networks in order to keep pace with innovation and change in our fields. More importantly, a safe place is needed to connect these new ideas to the work to be done. Communities of practice will continue to grow as knowledge artisans need to integrate their work and learning in a trusted space. As the gig economy dominates, communities of practice can bring some stability to our professional development. These are owned by the practitioners themselves, not an association and not an organization. You know you are in a real community of practice when it changes your practice. (more…)

governance, reflection, practice

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“What’s the point of innovation if you’re not building a better society?”Nils Pihl

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” – Sam Adams, via @JimHays

“Democracy is a market based decision making system. We need a network based decision making system now.”@JohnRobb

Note: Perhaps it’s ‘monitory democracy’: (more…)

sense-making tools

johnny-automatic-tool-box-800pxDaniel Dennett’s Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking begins by presenting a number of tested approaches to sense-making. Here are a few that I would consider practical tools for personal knowledge mastery. He starts by discussing the value of trying to make mistakes.

“I am amazed at how many really smart people don’t understand that you can make big mistakes in public and emerge none the worse for it. I know distinguished researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to acknowledge that they were wrong about something … Actually, people love it when somebody admits to making a mistake … Of course, in general, people do enjoy correcting the stupid mistakes of others. You have to have something worth correcting, something original to be right or wrong about … if you are one of the big risk-takers, people will get a kick out of correcting your occasional stupid mistakes, which shows you’re a regular bungler like the rest of us. I know extremely careful philosophers who have – apparently – never made a mistake in their work. Their specialty is pointing out the mistakes of others … but nobody excuses their mistakes with a friendly chuckle. It is fair to say, unfortunately, that their best work often gets overshadowed and neglected …”


holistic technology

I first came across the work of Ursula Franklin through her CBC Massey Lecture series on The Real World of Technology.

Dr. Franklin died last week and I found this line from her obituary illuminating.

“[Ursula Franklin] distinguished between the holistic technology of creative artisans and the prescriptive technologies of large corporations and bureaucracies that discouraged critical thinking and created a culture of compliance.” – The Globe & Mail

In the book based on the lecture series, Franklin elaborated: “When work is organized as a sequence of separately executable steps, the control over the work moves to the organizer, the boss or manager. In political terms, prescriptive technologies are designs for compliance.” (more…)

we are the media

As we shift from a market-dominated to a network-dominated society, we do not lose our previous tribal, institutional, and market organizational forms. However, their relationships between each other changes. For example, print-based media now operate at electric speed increasing the urge to feel immediate outrage for events not directly connected to us. Short-form social media writing platforms like Twitter push the printed word to its limit and in so doing, reverse it to a new form of orality. A tweet is ephemeral and soon forgotten, like a quick spoken comment.

Social media can extend the emotion of our words, while obsolescing the linearity of long-form writing. They can retrieve the immediacy of oral communication, with the caution that this can quickly reverse into constant outrage. This is a danger when our existing institutions have lost much of their authority with the public.

“When the prevailing mood is anti-elite and anti-authority, trust in big institutions, including the media, begins to crumble.” – Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief Guardian News & Media


humanity in beta

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

Stephen Downes“Consciousness is, in other words, a community phenomenon, and not merely an individual phenomenon.”

The (not so) secret life of a networked and networking scholar, by @14prinsp

“Yes, I know Facebook uses my clicks and ‘likes’ to profile me. Yes I know the space is increasingly becoming creepy. I am increasingly guarded on what I share. I continuously look over my shoulder to see who is watching. I installed ad-blocking software, use Ghostery and my search engine is DuckDuckGo. I check my privacy settings almost on a daily basis. And yes, I know it will not undo the surveillance and the collection of my data.

But for now, I am playing with friends in the park, discovering, sharing, growing and learning. Yes, I am increasingly aware of those watching. But for now, Twitter and Facebook are my oxygen that allows me to breathe. For now…?”


principles and models for the network era

The End of the Market Era

Capitalism today is the ultimate expression of a market dominated society, where money is made from nothing, as financial traders manipulate stocks, currencies, and whatever else they can. Its final growth spurt was enabled by ubiquitous fossil fuels so that supply chains could take advantage of either cheap goods or cheap labour due to the human inequalities on our planet. But the age of oil is ending, and markets are being replaced by networks as the dominant organizing model. Nafeez Ahmed recently stated that the end of capitalism is inevitable.

“At the core of this radical re-wiring is a transformation of the human relationship with nature: moving away from top-down modes of political and economic organization, to participatory models of grassroots self-governance, localized sustainable agriculture, and equity in access to economic production.” –

One theory that has informed my own work is David Ronfeldt’s TIMN (Tribes-Institutions-Markets-Networks) Theory showing that all four of these forms will co-exist as we enter the next evolution of society, but networks will dominate. This explanatory theory shows what has happened as we have previously transitioned from one dominant organizing form to the next and is a good starting point to discuss what we can do about it. (more…)

Group KM

PKMastery is an essential discipline, especially for knowledge artisans. However, practising PKMastery is not going to get work done. PKM is primarily a framework to facilitate learning in networks through cooperation. In order to collaborate, more structure is necessary, as well as agreed-upon rules for sharing knowledge. Group Knowledge Management (KM) takes PKMastery to the next level: getting things done. (more…)

from knowledge worker to master artisan

A Foundation for Modern Work

My Personal Knowledge Mastery model of Seek > Sense > Share is focused on helping individuals work better in teams, and contribute to professional communities by developing and engaging their social networks to continuously learn. This approach has been used in several organizations. Today, it is critical to take control of your own learning and build a professional network. Engaging with other people, especially those different from us, is the key to making sense of information.

One reason the PKMastery framework is getting attention now is because work in the network era is changing the nature of the job. PKMastery requires that individuals take more responsibility for their learning, and that organizations give up some control. Automation is removing routine work from people’s jobs, leaving only non-standardized and more complex work. In this network economy that thrives on creativity, people have to not only stay current but create unique ways of operating and connecting.

The discipline of PKMastery helps to ensure that we remain connected to our human networks in order to maintain our curiosity and develop empathy for others. It is only by empathizing that we can truly understand the relationships in our social networks. Machines can analyze but only humans can feel.  The network economy is seeing the rise of knowledge artisans, who create new meaning through cooperation and building value with their peers. (more…)