Filtering is about trust

Some things I learned on Twitter this past week (the first article describes what I’m trying to do here with Friday’s Finds):

@cdn – Filtering is the new search. The next frontier in information management. Search is about Where. Filtering is about Who. It’s about Trust.

Excellent checklist for remote workers & managers. via @dria

@JaneBozarth [ Jane was looking for some case studies on Twitter in the workplace]: microblogging at Qualcomm & Qualitative Study on Micro-blogging at Work

@timkastelle – Great post by Irving Wladowsky-Berger – focus on idea flow, not idea stocks: The Business Value of Social Networks.

Value creation has thus been shifting from protecting proprietary knowledge, to fostering collaboration, both within the company and beyond its boundaries, in order to help the firm participate in as broad and diverse a range of knowledge flows and thus improve its competitive position. It is within this context that one has to consider the business value of social networks, and their impact in helping people better connect with each other, and build sustaining relationships that enhance knowledge flows and innovation.

More complexity, more crises: we need new management models. via @tdebaillon

Our environments are more complex than they were ten or fifteen years ago, or maybe even three years ago. Complex situations become more common and more normal every year. It would not be a good response to panic or blame others. It’ll probably be better to accept the fact that the world is quite complex, and that there is not a standard solution for everything. As crises become normal, deal with it normal.

@valdiskrebs – Is the sun about to set on the corporate machine?

For one, the existence of a burgeoning alternative landscape in which corporations have no real part will push the Western corporate model further towards redundancy. Trends in such boom fields as fair trade, farmers’ markets, organic produce, self-made and/or recycled products, the barter economy, the black or alternative economy, micro-brands, Islamic banking, micro-credit, social networking and, ethical investment all carry, in different ways, the germs of the corporation-as-we-know-it’s demise.

@gsiemens Lack of Sympathy

Comment #13 by Howard – Before universities existed, most people learned by apprenticeship. As Harold points out, before WWII universities apprenticed elites; priests, doctor, scholars, teachers, etc. . .. The mode of learning was still an apprenticeship model and most elite education ended with a very specific apprenticeship practice like a dissertation or medical residency, or for the wealthy, an initiation into “the club”. But educational theory ignored the way things worked and stressed knowledge over doing, knowledge that was represented by a degree. Many people are now finding out that a degree correlated with higher incomes, but did not necessarily cause them. Knowledge alone proves to be no covering, the emperor has no clothes. We may not be blacksmiths or leather tanners, but evolution has not changed us that much and we still learn in much the same way as we always have, by watching other people do things. I think education would be better off if it focused on doing instead of knowing.

10 Responses to “Filtering is about trust”

  1. Gilbert Babin

    That last comment by gsiemens is a really interesting.

    “but evolution has not changed us that much and we still learn in much the same way as we always have, by watching other people do things”

    I don’t agree that apprenticeship is learning by watching other people do things.

    This said, I totally agree that we still basically learn the same way as we always have.

    We might think in a more linear fashion, and that is changing fast, but we still learn the same way.

    I also believe that ORGANISATIONS/SYSTEMS still learn the same way they always have. An organization has intelligence and it learns. And as individuals, organizations think in a linear way, but that is fast changing. .

    A lot has been written on how to train employees/members but very little is being said about training the organization itself. And as silly has this concept sounds, this is the type of thinking that does lead to change.

    So, if you had to train the organization instead of the individual, what would you do differently?

  2. Bud Hunt

    Wow. I’m really looking forward to the conversation around how you teach organizations things. I happen to work for one – and I am helping them to think about their Internet use, among other things. How should I best be doing that? How do I teach the organization?

  3. Simon Bostock

    Excellent question from Gilbert.

    First off (and slightly pedantic), I think we have always worked to train the organisation over the individual. A significant proportion of training has always been about developing a ‘culture’ in the workplace – the ‘self-development’ aspects took second place.

    So, I guess part of the answer would be to allow a culture to emerge into the open that is a true reflection of how people are feeling.

    Second, if we think *we’re* suffering from filter failure and information overload, can you imagine what organisations must be feeling? There are only so many experts and consultants you can bring in to deal with this.

    it’s a cliche that ‘all staff are in marketing’. All staff are in Knowledge Management should become another.

    • Harold Jarche

      I disagree that we have always worked to train organizations. ISD (the foundation of ADDIE and most corporate training) is based on individual training and many, if not most, courses are about getting individuals up to certain standards. It’s not often that we get groups of workers at all levels together for collective training. A group excursion on a ropes course or rafting down a river is the stereotypical team-building activity but real collective learning is not often done in organizations. I’ll gladly change my opinion if there’s data to the contrary.

  4. Gilbert Babin

    To add a bit on the concept of “Training the Organization/System”….

    You can look at an organization as a black box. What would happen if you would give an exam to the black box.

    Basically you contact the organization to test their knowledge. They could then use any of their internal resources and contacts to do the exam and come back to you within a prescribed period with the answers to the questions.

    What you would find is that many organizations could not give you the right answers in their own domains of expertise. Although many individuals within the organization could. Frustrating for the individuals who know all the answers…lol

    I have many times contacted organizations with the simplest questions about their own businesses and no one could give me an answer. The expertise was there inside the company but from the outside it sure didn’t look like it was.

    You can improve each part in a system all you want, it doesn’t mean that the total system will be able to respond to situations.

    Wirearchy and many of the discussions in this blog have the potential to create the intelligent organization but these semi-neural networks do have to be trained. And training the nodes is different than training the whole.

    Organizations learn by doing mistakes and sometimes doing things right. So technically one could create challenges for organizations to help them learn. Its really just an instructional design problem..ah ah


  5. Simon Bostock

    I’ll give an example of a middle management programme. But my main point is that, as soon as you make a statement about getting individuals up to certain standards, and you as a manager decide what those certain standards are, you are training the organisation and not the person.

    All middle managers have to take a number of courses, some ‘intermediate’ and some ‘advanced’. Each of the courses is a day long and seeks to encapsulate the ethos of the organisation – this is how we do things round here.

    There’s a million management models and a million ways to measure success/standards but managers in this organisation have to work to the ‘way we do things round here’ as laid out in the courses.

    One course is ‘recruitment and selection’. All delegates learn how to use the company’s competency framework to test, interview and select new hires. No deviation from the procedures are tolerated. Anybody who brings up evidence for the potential weaknesses of competency profiling is politely but firmly told to follow the company line.

    In setting the standards, often arbitrarily, the company is training the organisation – to be the organisation. If I was slightly more hysterical I might say that the training programme was designed first and foremost to inculcate workers into the preferred methods of upper management – training is part of command and control.

    But I’m not hysterical and will say that this inculcation is merely incidental. Nevertheless, training in organisations has the effect of training people to be like the organisation.

    You’re right that we don’t get groups of workers of all levels together for collective training. This is bonkers but, again, a symptom of using training as a tool to shape/reinforce the organisation rather than enabling personal development.

    Am I right in saying that you’d see ‘training the organisation’ as a positive thing? Are we disagreeing on the definition of the word ‘training’? If it helps, when I talk about us having always trained the organisation, I’m talking about us doing something that we’ve called training but that has few of the positive connotations.

    • Harold Jarche

      Gilbert hits the nail on the head here: “Wirearchy and many of the discussions in this blog have the potential to create the intelligent organization but these semi-neural networks do have to be trained. And training the nodes is different than training the whole.”

      Not only do nodes need to be competent but the connections between those nodes need to work. That means “training” the network. Training meaning doing work and reflecting on how that work was done. I see this as a positive move in getting the organization to work better. The military knows this because it spends much time and resources on collective training, even though all personnel are individually trained. Few civilian organizations can conduct collective training because they are too busy getting work done.

      This is the challenge for the networked organization; learning as we work and working as we learn.

  6. Simon Bostock

    Then we are in total agreement. In fact, it’s hard to see anybody disagreeing with the idea of improving an organisation’s ability to manage change and leverage the expertise of its members.

    And I think the idea of creating “challenges for organizations to help them learn” is the right one – it’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few years 🙂

    But I’ve never made any headway when calling it ‘training’. I’ve never managed to persuade an organisation to do ‘collective training’ but I have project managed ‘business development’/’service development’/’innovation’ programmes.

    I like Gilbert’s idea of the Black Box. It reminds me of the idea of a barium meal – feed some new skills/information to an organisation and record how fast and with what fidelity the signal reaches the bowels of the organisation…

    Which I suppose is where I struggle with the word ‘training’ – or, more accurately, my clients do. (Training has long been a term of art for me.)

    Training = input = measurable improvement in ability against target. This we’re talking about here is utterly different in terms of metrics. Training the organisation ~= development ~= increased responsiveness (with any ‘target’ likely to have unintended consequences).


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