Personal Knowledge Management by Harold Jarche (BlueIQ Ambassadors)

13 thoughts on “Personal Knowledge Management by Harold Jarche (BlueIQ Ambassadors)”

  1. Luis, have been following Harold’s work for some years now since you linked me to him.
    One of the key challenges I see is the conflict of knowledge as an artifact (as recorded in SN and other repository tools ie explicit) and “knowledge in use” – that required (in demand) for us to apply it NOW. Over the years we have improved our ability to search/find information (remember IBM’s STAIRS in the 70s – oh sorry that was before you were born ) but we need to improve our ability to apply the information/knowledge to the current situation at hand.
    We need to differentiate between convergent thinking (know-how /compliance /competency/ ordered/ process knowledge)and divergent thinking (know-why /patterns/ complex). Dave Snowden and the Cynefin model gives some leads in that direction.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Great post Luis!
    KM is also one of my favourite topics, and that’s why I like so much your blog!
    Thank you very much for all the material you are sharing in this post, it’ll be a pleasure read them.

  3. Hi Luiz,

    I’m a skeptic on Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). I first heard about it from Ron Young (our names seem similar but we are not the same person. Ron Young is from UK, I’m from Singapore).

    Here is the thing about PKM that make me skeptical: blogs, wikis, and other social computing (web 2.0) tools are the tools to organise information rather than knowledge. And to turn information to knowledge, you need to talk to people so that you can validate the information that you have as knowledge. For example: I can blog about ‘the world is flat’ and I believe it is true until I converse with other people and find out that ‘the world is round’.

    What do you think?

    Roan Yong
    (twitter: @roanyong)

    1. I think a key element of PKM is social.

      The blog posts etc themselves aren’t necessarily knowledge, organised. But, like Jon says, authorship does imply some kind of information processing.

      Probably more importantly, the artefacts of PKM are both boundary object and cognitive tool. We can have richer, less-prone-to-cognitive-and-social-bias conversations when we bring our exobrains and mind-maps into play. The power of chaining and chunking extensible PKM fragments in asynchronous, multi-participant conversations is something qualitatively different from the conversation of the watercooler, for example.

  4. blogs, wikis, and other social computing (web 2.0) tools are the tools to organise information rather than knowledge. And to turn information to knowledge, you need to talk to people so that you can validate the information that you have as knowledge. For example: I can blog about ‘the world is flat’ and I believe it is true until I converse with other people and find out that ‘the world is round’.
    What do you think?

    I think that during both 1) the process of reading and watching and listening to information that one organises (either right away or during the composition of some content that will be published or shred somehow), and 2) the process of talking to others to validate, extend, revise, put-to-use the information one has at hand (and available through other means) .. during both of those ‘processes’ a human being is thinking, synthesizing, evaluating, etc.

    I think that knowledge is born and/or developed during each process.

    1. Hi,

      Thank you @Jon Husband, @Harold, @Simon. This conversation becomes lively because of your participation.

      If I read your (@jon, @harold, @simon) argument correctly. You are basically saying that PKM is social, and thus interacting with others is part of PKM. Wikis, blogs, and other web 2.0 tools are useful because they facilitate the social learning from a person’s point of view.

      But that is my point. If PKM = social learning from a person’s view (it’s personal), then PKM = personal information organiser. For example: let’s say I received 100 comments that ‘the world is round’. I can still believe ‘the world is flat’. Since the learning is asynchronous then it’s difficult to conduct dialogue. It’s hard to explore deep underlying assumptions when you can’t engage that person on emotional level.

      I’m not saying making knowledge personal is impossible. It can be done through reflecting what has happened and re-interpreting what we have learned in our context / situation.

      What I disagree with is managing personal knowledge. I think we can’t consciously ‘manage’ personal knowledge, because we based our decision (this is where we recall our personal knowledge), based on pattern recognition and emotional tagging. This implies what is vivid and recent will pop-up in our head more frequently than other personal knowledge. How can we then ‘manage’ personal knowledge? putting our personal knowledge in blogs / wikis does not help because we (often) don’t consult what we have written when we make decision on the fly.

      1. @Roan – possibly.

        I’m not sure I’d take such a reductionist approach to the term’s elements ie ‘personal’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘management’, though. There’s definitely a ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ thing going on here 🙂

        A concrete example of the kind of process I’m talking about might help?

        I’m giving a talk on ‘Co-creation and Technical Communications’ to the Technical Communication UK conference in September. The main thing I’m going to say is exactly what you’re saying when you talk about ’emotional tagging’. I think creating vehicles for ‘knowledge transfer’ is less effective than creating ‘engines for cognition’. (Bluntly, eLearning and manuals suck because they attempt to chew our food for us.)

        So, I use Amplify to clip and write a short post on an interesting article about ‘Embodied Cognition’ and share it on Twitter.

        I have conversations about the piece with people and the post gets ReTweeted a number of times (more than my usual Tweets). Interestingly (and, to a degree, gratifyingly) the ReTweets mostly come from Cognitive Psychologists. Immediately, I have (a) patterns and (b) emotional tagging. (Not that I notice, of course. The metadata that comes with conversation amd social media comes pretty much effortlessly.)

        I’ll do this for every element of my talk. When it comes to the time to answer questions and, later on, apply this knowledge to work on clients’ projects, I’ll make decisions on what I say – and advise customers to do – based on this compressed knowledge (to mangle Weick’s ‘Intuition is compressed expertise’.)

        I can’t ‘control’ my Personal Knowledge. But I can ‘manage’ it in such a way as to maximise the opportunities for dialogue, schema-building and emotion.

  5. Hello all!

    I’m Kate (@kcbower), a grad student at Northwestern studying KM and change management. My final project (“Capstone”) is focused on PKM and the concept of self-management, or behavioral self-regulation.

    Roan, I’m also interested in the question of whether or not we can consciously manage our own knowledge. Definitions I’ve explored seem to suggest that PKM relies on the conscious effort, but I have yet to see the notion incorporated fully into any model.

    I speculate, however, that it’s an important component. I’m newer to this than most of you, but I would think that consciously making the effort to code and store our individual knowledge could support our recollections when making a decision – like a trigger, particularly for those that learn visually. I think it’s also a useful practice for those that aren’t quick decision makers, and do need time to reflect and dig back into/refresh what they know before making a call.

    What do you think?

    Also, if you would like to support my research – going on now – I’m surveying KM practitioners and researchers to learn more about their PKM practices and ability to self-regulate. Info: Survey:

  6. Management is a loaded word but PKM was the term I started using several years ago (from Lilia Efimova) and I’ve stuck with it. Dave Pollard used the term Personal Productivity Improvement for while. Luis calls it PK Sharing and that’s a good term, but PKM is still prevalent in the field and is a common search term. I’ll continue to use PKM, knowing the limitations and connotations of the term, until a better term enters into common use.

    Perhaps I am an anomaly, but I frequently (daily) refer to my blog posts, bookmarks and other knowledge artifacts. I pull these out, as needed, in conversations with colleagues and clients and even here while responding to this blog post. Each time I pull out an artifact, that action reinforces my knowledge related to it. That’s why I write my “Friday’s Finds” blog post summaries of Tweets; to reinforce my learning for the week.

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