Supporting better, faster decision-making is a major imperative for KM practice. Richard Marrs and I will present our work on Sense-Making at the 11th annual KMWorld & Intranets Conference and Exhibition Nov. 6-8, 2007. "Accelerating Decisions and Innovations through Sense-Making" is scheduled for Nov 7. The venue is the McEnery Convention Center, in San Jose, California.
This session draws on insights from cognitive psychology and complexity science to reconsider how knowledge workers individually and collectively interact with their information environments and share their perceptions and opinions, with important implications for how to support knowledge work. Research suggests that in real-time, real-world settings, neither executives nor experts really depend on the kinds of rational, deliberate analysis supported by KM systems and practices. Because of these mistaken assumptions, many current technologies and business processes actually suppress rather than support evolved human mechanisms for real-time sensing and responding. Structured hierarchies prevent the social construction of organizational knowledge. Technologies and techniques designed to manage bandwidth instead constrict perception. Information overload, paralysis-by-analysis, costly mistakes and bad judgment are the inevitable result.
Instead, executives and experts rely on high-bandwidth sense-making, and internalized knowledge that often manifest as intuition or gut feelings. Such skills become increasingly important in emergent and uncertain conditions and need to be supported accordingly by cultivating, networking and leveraging all of your intellectual and information resources. Sense-making happens at the levels of individuals, teams, organizations and communities. Knowledge, information and data are everywhere in business ecosystems, but the challenge of synthesizing fragmentary signals into actionable intelligence is really more about human cognition and organizational culture than business technologies and organizational structures. We’ll look at structures, practices and tools that support sense-making and lead to better business outcomes.
Richard Marrs is Managing Director at the Warren Company, specializing strategic alliance and collaborative innovation architecture. He was a founder and VP for Customer Solutions at Halifax-based Coemergence. Richard has 30 years’ experience in the worldwide mining industry, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and partnerships, knowledge management and collaborative work practices. He was Director of Corporate Development at Magma Copper and later at BHP Copper as VP of New Business Development—two of the mining industry's most successful acquirers during the 1990s. While at BHP, Richard laid the groundwork for a knowledge management function within the company. He later served as president of knOwhere Inc., a Silicon Valley-based consultancy specializing in collaborative work processes and creative problem solving. Richard holds a BA in Psychology from the University of South Alabama in Mobile and an MBA from the University of Phoenix in Tucson, Arizona. From 1986 to 1990, Richard served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Phoenix.
One of the first to write about PKM, Steve Barth is a recognized authority on knowledge management and organizational learning, especially the dynamic relationships between individual knowledge workers and their peers, teams, organizations and communities. An award winning business writer, he was a founding editor of Knowledge Management magazine (now destinationKM.com), helped launch Emergence: Complexity and Organisations, and wrote the “Personal Toolkit” column for KM World. He was the first Visiting Scholar to Harvard's Learning Innovations Lab in 2002 and served as editorial director for the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity (now Cognitive Edge Pte). Steve currently advises international corporate and government clients.