Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I know more than I can say

And I will say more more than I can write down.

David Snowden's heuristic, rule of thumb, "I know more than I can say and I will say more than I can write down", takes us to 21st century Knowledge Management.

With this rule of thumb, David Snowden solves a long standing debate in knowledge management about “tacit knowledge”, knowledge in people’s heads and “explicit knowledge”, knowledge written down. How do you get the “tacit knowledge” out of people’s heads and into “explicit knowledge” written down in knowledge libraries?

And the social media gurus need to pay attention to this as well because all the talk about chatting, twittering, blogs, wikis, Facebook comes into focus once you understand this rule of thumb about knowledge sharing.

I know more than I can say: What do you know? More that you can say.

And I will say it first and say much more than I can write down.

So where does really good information first emerge? In conversation. And really good information may never get beyond that. What is easier to do? Talk for 5 minutes or write for half an hour?

Everyone I know in knowledge management starts to think, work and support conversation processes. David Snowden moved onto narrative analysis. Dave Pollard defined knowledge management as enabling enriching conversations in a community. David Gurteen is a master of facilitating knowledge cafes.

Why? Because really good information, really important information emerges first in conversation. What do I know? You can't capture all that I know. And I can't get it all out. I would be writing for years and much of it would be useless to the current issue of the day. So what you and I want to capture is really good information (which is transient because it is good only for the current context).

Where does it first emerge? In conversation.

Because "the medium is the message" and the Internet is about connectivity, the tools that are shaping our future are tools about connectivity (enabling conversations). So as you puzzle over the rise of Facebook, Twitter, texting, and blogs, return to David Snowden's heuristic:

"I know more than I can say and I will say more t
han I can write down".

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