Sensing and Thinking

Tim Kastelle (a great source of knowledge on innovation) discusses how it’s better to have a good idea than a large network to fire off any old idea. Good ideas have better acceleration.

This is an important innovation lesson as well. We don’t need more ideas, we need better ideas. In many ways this is a stock and flow problem – if we only focus on stocks of ideas, we’re less able to get them connected to people. We need to think about our idea flow. As the story of these two posts illustrates, the quality of an idea has a lot to do with how well it flows through our networks. It is yet another example of the greater importance of quality, not quantity.

The notion of aggregating/filtering/connecting for innovation is one that I have looked at for personal knowledge management. I have revised this to Seek/Sense/Share in my quest to find a good metaphor/model to introduce PKM.


We can seek out (aggregate) all the sources of information on any subject and share them with the world, but if we don’t make sense of them, they’re worthless.

The narrow point of the hourglass is where less gets through, it’s under greater pressure and it’s what makes the act of sharing valuable – our special context.

PKM isn’t just collecting and filing  bits and pieces of information for later retrieval. There is an ongoing sense-making process that, through practice, develops cognitive skills. It’s knowledge management, not information or document management.

6 Responses to “Sensing and Thinking”

  1. Tim Kastelle

    Thanks for sharing your thinking process on all of this Harold. It’s fascinating to watch your ideas in this sphere progress. I’ll be very curious to hear how this model works with your clients. It seems to me like it’s a good one. It makes intuitive sense and it’s also pretty easy to remember.

  2. Kristina Schneider

    While I have focused most of my research on Communities of Practice and Collective Expertise, I see a necessary co-existence of both these principles in order to ensure the most optimal results in advancing knowledge and practice.

    It’s too back that Amplify doesn’t do linkback of sorts to “amplified” URL as I wrote the same comment here:

  3. Ken Gillgren

    Yes, I like the intuitive simplicity of the design and flow. Keep in mind that the interpretative process of the Sense stage may as often as not be the discernment or even creation of a pattern or web of relationships that “makes sense” of a high volume of data, thereby enabling the sharing of more data or facilitating the management of a greater volume/density of detail, simultaneously making less of more (the pattern of relationship information) and more of more (the detail plus the context/pattern that affords meaning to the detail, facilitating the receiving and utilization of more data than previously imaginable).
    Hmm, somehow that came out more complicated than it was in my head! Must be supper time.

  4. Brett


    Like Tim, I am enjoying seeing the progression of your thoughts on the nature of PKM. My focus of late has been on the role deliberate practice in the pursuit of mastery – at work or play – and I’ve been giving some thought to how PKM fits into that. You’ve given me some great ideas to pursue.

    To use your model, I have found “interesting people” and indulged my curiosity and am in the process of making sense of it all. After a bit of thinking, I’ll share and hope that it inspires someone else at the “seek” stage.


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