Torill Iversen

Om ledelse, IKT og sånt


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The search for knowledge

I have just decided to start studying for a Masters degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, with specialization within  “organization, technology and innovation”.

My first courses is : “Strategic program and portfolio management”, “Technology trends and society” and “Collaboration, social networks and IT.”

I am really looking forward to start up again after a half a years break when finishing my bachelors degree. When I started studying whilst working a couple a years ago it was quite challenging, but as time went by it became more of a lifestyle. And now – after a half a year without studying  I felt I missed it.  I miss to discover knowledge – both others, but also my own. And by that I mean the creation of new knowledge – happening when theory and own experiences comes together and creates new thoughts.  And the really good feeling I get when I realize – often without warning  in some situation, that :” hey, I actually learned something !” I cannot remember to have experienced that when I was younger, I just studied to get a job. I  have got a whole new attitude towards learning and creating new thoughts as I have grown up.

And for that reason I am really looking forward to continue to my search for knowledge – existing or the knowledge I am about to create 🙂

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Part 3: The learning factor…

Continuing to let my mind fly off , thinking about how to improve organizations when it comes to learning, creating and sharing knowledge by the use of web 2.0. ( This is the third post in the theme : Enterprise 2.o. You find the others here on my blogg)

so .. The last couple of years I have been studying amongst other:  Change management, Learning organizations and  now Knowledge management. It should`t come as an surprise, but it occurs to me  that it is about seeing  and helping the employers to grow (learning, changing, adapting, learning ..) . It sounds really simple, but  I see over and over again that this is the single most neglected area by managers. During hard economics times the focus is on cutting down and reducing costs, instead on focusing on how to get people to deliver more ( at least in the government where I work) .

I like this graph, on the effectiveness of collaboration – cause it shows, in a very simple way, the unused potential within organizations . How to people grow seems to be forgotten by many managers in the hunt for better numbers and results.

Not all work, can be argued, is suitable for teamwork. I agree. Still, it is possible to use those factors that makes people perform better in a team, in other ways. What is a team, and what is the characteristics of them ? The most used definition of a team is Katzenbach & Smith`s (1998):

A small group of people with complementary skills committed to a common purpose and set of specific performance goals.

Further on, some characteristics of an effective team :

  • Clear Purpose
  • Informality
  • Participation
  • Listening
  • Civilized Disagreement
  • Consensus Decisions
  • Open Communication
  • Clear Roles and Work Assignments
  • Shared Leadership
  • External Relations
  • Style Diversity
  • Self-Assessment

Could an organization develop, or make use of A virtual team ( Wiki— also known as a geographically dispersed team (GDT) — is a group of individuals who work across time, space, and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. )

It is clearly to big a goal to have the ambition to get everybody within an organization to work in teams. But by using social software you can emerge some of the extra value that high performing teams collects. Social software alone is of course not the solution, there has to be a framework around it. The organisation has to be, or wanting to become a knowledge organisation or a learning one. Within this there is a lot of factors that management has to take in, amongst them the structure of the organisation, and also wich sets of values to grow and reward.

I think that Communication and social collaboration is two key factors in a good team. By letting people communicate free from the organizational boundaries I think it is possible to create many of the characteristics mentioned above. Extended use of a diversity of social software as for instant : Wiki, Social site (as FB), blogging, microblogging, RSS, Social bookmarking, discussion groups can work as ba for this. ( Nonaka: “Ba” can be thought of as an shared space for emerging relationships. This space ca be physical, virtual, mental or any combination of them. Ba provides a platform for individual and/or collective knowledge.) Nonaka propose on of the ba`s to be Cyber ba– which is the “combination”-phase of his very known SECI process.

SEKI prosessThis process has been put into a web 2.o orientated context by Mohamed Amine Chatti ( read his article here) ( I recommend his blog for further reading on the topic)

It is interesting to see the new technology  put into “old” theory. It gives an image of the shift we have to make in our thinking.

Well – not coming to any conclusion yet .. just drodling (  – thinking and writing in all directions ..)

But.. To sum up.. to create knowledge, to share knowledge  is a core activity for productivity  and for a knowledge organization.

Web 2.0 is appealing to a lot of people out there, and are getting them engaged and  communicating . This is the factor a innovativ organisation has to bring on into their strategies, and embed. By doing that I am surtain that the knowledge shared, created and valued added to the organisation will be increased!


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Part 2:… hunting the triggers E2.0

For not Norwegian readers (this is part 2 of a post i have written ( the first in Norwegian)). The topic is around my fascination and hunt for the triggers/motivation people have for blogging, sharing, and creating knowledge online (web 2.0)

The hypothesis is that traditional Knowledge management should be replaced by Knowledge Sharing. Knowledge Management (KM)  has been used in many organizations for many years ( 20 ++). But it has not really broken through as the success as it was pronounced to be. As Tom Davenpost is writing in his post ” Enterprise 2.0, the new new knowledge management?” , Quote: Knowledge management was getting a little tired anyway.”

The core issues with KM has been a couple of things:

  • Somebody (one or several) had to take responsibility for the knowledge sharing
  • A infrastructure (or ba), or IT that supports the sharing
  • Involvement and genuine engagement from the employees
  • Strict rules for what to share, and somebody was to approve the sharing (web 1.0..??)
  • The information got lost in databases – hard to find

So – can the use of Web 2.0 inside an organization help on some of this issues? How can the organization motivate for sharing, and what kind of information is worth sharing ?

Back to my triggers – why do people blog, why is “everybody” on FB, why are some people not attending to the social sites ( what holds them back- and how to trigger them?)  At lot of questions here  – but again; I am writing this blog as a brainstorming, trying to get an overview on what my topics in my forthcoming assignment on Enterprise 2.0 will be : ) So where to start ?

@jonwold gave me an tips on social behavior yesterday:  BJ Foggs Behavior model. BJ Fogg  argues that to get people the change there are three factors: Motivation, ability and triggers.

Motivation is divided in three parts Sensation (pleasure/ pain) , Anticipation (hope/fear), and Social Cohesion(social acceptance/social rejection).

For better Ability he mentions two paths: training or to make it more simple. Triggers  are : Facilitator, Signal, and Spark, used in the combination with the motivation and ability.

behavior People has changed their social behavior online, especially with web 2.0, no doubt about it. But there are also people who don`t see the use, that has an FB account but never checks it, that use Internet only to read the paper, and mail. And yes – I am talking about young people ( 20-50) ( I`m in the middle there ;)).  To be able to engage these people at work if introducing E 2.0, there has to be a change in behavior and mindset. Bj Foggs model points out some critical considerations an organisation have to take.

As an example: had a break just now – eastern holiday – and had to go with my folks to visit our neighbours  here on the cabin.  She – whom we visited- had tried to make an account on FB, but she had suddenly appeared as  an US citizens in there (joined the network of Hoboken, US) ( she is Norwegian), and by that she gave up. The site was to complicated, and there was to much information to fill inn before she could start. Her motivation was high, but the ability was to low. According to the model she needed a facilitator to get going, which- of course – I became.

Well, that is all for today.. have to gather more thoughts.. probably be back tomorrow 🙂 ( and this is how my eastern holiday goes by..;))