a rich collection of SF I had seen in recent times, currently reading Ted Chiang ‘s “Story of your Life”

books, cognoise

KM KAP kaput

Heavily influenced by my current reading of Diffusion of Innovations by E Rogers. I was reflecting on how KM fails to diffuse. From a diffusion perspective I have experience in hitting a few successful S curves and some not so successful ones or those that fizzled out before hitting a critical mass of adopters.

The KAP framework as Rogers notes may not be really scientific and may prove nothing from a data/theoretical standpoint. But it has application on the field. KAP is a simple framework used to evaluate

  • Knowledge (K) : whether potential users have means to get knowledge on KM systems, processes and develop the minimal skills to use them
  • Attitude (A) : whether there exists a favorable attitude toward the new KM systems, processes among the intended users
  • Practice / Adoption (P) : whether KM adoption / practice happens with new users over a period

KAP gap is real in organizations specifically in adopting new processes that are not mandated including KM in most cases. May be a small walk across the building can bring to surface existing gaps.

WIth no KAP, KM is kaput…

books,, somedaymaybe

Panchatantra in VUE

Fable sets like Panchatantra are best performed with music and in the local language and a conducive setting. My intent is to recreate it with plain visuals, in VUE. All in all the exercise was satisfying, and I am happy with the outcome. Layers of narrative arising from the frame story, the complications of characterization and continuity becomes visible when done this way. The aim was not to give away stories which I strongly recommend for reading or hearing. I am not one to steal the thrill of hearing a good fable first hand, but rather to see how the fable will move from one to other in a map. I feel the use such a visual is only as an aid to performance. Click the image to see a larger version.

Panchatantra Book 4 Loss of Gains

Panchatantra Book 4 Loss of Gains

Loss of Gains is the smallest of the books in Panchatantra, I will need a long holiday to do the others where the number of layers are far higher than this. #somedaymaybe…

books, metaidea

A Whole New Mind: Symphony Chapter Resources, Activities and Links

Raja inspired me to create a resource page for Chapter Six: Symphony from Daniel Pink’s 2008 Book A Whole New Mind, I am hoping this post will be a useful accompaniment while you are actually reading the chapter.

All images in this post are links, click away. I have checked and rechecked the links, if any are broken do let me know.

Part I

The chapter starts with Daniel Pink portraying the first drawing class of Drawing on the Right Side of the brain experience. The class is structured to trick the left hemisphere then “the mind is free to see relationships and to integrate those relationships into a whole”. If seeing relationships is so critical in what ways can we accomplish this, at least in drawing negative spaces, shadows, distance between features come handy. Start from below to trick the left and activate the right.

Part II

What does it take to see relationships and the 3 types of people

1. Boundary Crossers

Who solve other domain problems with their perspective and leap if thought. Nicholas Negroponte archives from Wired is a great place to start

2. Inventors

Who can get into a flow state and possibly blend concepts from one domain to other. At you can get more details on conceptual blending and how it applies to invention

3. Metaphor Makers

Who can imagine metaphors and forge connections and communicate those experiences to others

Part III

This part explains “What does it take to see the big picture”. Here he explains how entrepreneurs and innovators who have the capacity look holistic, across various aspects prosper.

Part IV

This part explains the final day of the drawing class where he actually accomplishes a better self-portrait. I have been drawing for more than a year now and I personally see significant improvements in the portraits I draw.

Symphony Portfolio

As with every other chapter the portfolio part of this chapter is interesting

Hear Music Activity

Start to hear some great samples from the classical music genre, you can find at least one good rendition with a single search.

· Beethoven’s 9 th Symphony

· Mozart’s Symphony 35 Haffners Symphony

· Mahler’s 4 th Symphony in G Major

· Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

· Haydn’s Symphony 94 in G Major Surprise

Hit the Newsstand Activity

I would say hit the library on a Friday and browse older issues of magazines that you have never read, borrow them for the weekend

Draw Activity

One of the exercises that Daniel Pink suggests is a 5 line self-portrait, try it. It is fun, with just 5 lines can you draw your face?

Maintaining Metaphor log Activity

This is a simple exercise; just capture any compelling or surprising metaphors that you come across. Not just that try capturing metaphors that you use by simply being aware of what you are speaking. One week and your log will be so wide and rich, after this you can actually see the power behind creating meaning with the metaphors.

Following Links Activity

It is a fun exercise to follow just a single link from a web page and going deeper and deeper. After you have reached the 6 th level, just try making the connections between them all the way back to where you started and see how we can actually learn by serendipity.

Random Website generates random urls. Another great way is Google Reader Play.

Look For Solutions in Search of Problems Activity

Using 2 powerful questions from Yale professors Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff to examine existing solutions (possibly in your project)

· Where else would it work?

· Would flipping it work?

Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small

Creating an Inspiration Board Activity

When on a project, just keep tacking compelling pictures, fabric, page to a physical board. Over a period it will serve as a wild collage from which connections can be made and will always expand and enliven your work.

Reading References


9 Books Read

My style of picking books is heavily influenced by my field of work, and on I also have a bizarre taste, and think I need self help books still. So past few months have seen some reasonable reading, and ranged across 4 themes of Complexity, Human Mind, Fiction offbeat and self help.

Complexity Reads

I had been introduced to the complexity world by Dave Snowden, I did attend one of his accreditation courses in Chennai last year and he had given me a bunch of references. And Nature of Technology figured on top.  This book changed my way of thinking about technology, succinct explanation of the complex trends that technology evolution follows.

Fits perfectly in sequence to Harnessing Complexity (Axelrod 2000).

Thinking on how the economy is created by technology, how re-domaining takes radical forms and how by pushing scientific limits by adding sub systems increases overall complexity is all very fascinating.

Axelrod in his primer Harnessing Complexity had cited opensource as the biggest complexity project in action and I wanted to dig more.

What better way to start than reading Linus’ autobiography. It was a fun read and I am more of a believer that laziness is the mother of invention.

Next book in line is Cathedral and the Bazaar

Cognition Reads

Sources of Power by Klein, it is not comparable with “Working Minds” which was the first book on CTA  (Cognitive Task Analysis) I read. This one is much lighter but serves as an intro into the area well.

I picked Man and His symbols at Pune airport on a return journey, purely as an accident. It was actually the last of Jung’s creations.

The significant move away from Freud by Jung and the development further by his followers were all explored here in a great introductory form. I see a great vacant conceptual space in using motifs as way of deriving archetypes and the stories that are cited are very fascinating, made me look more closely on karma/re-birth (still not completely convinced).

David Rock is a business author turning to cognition to write books like “5 strategies to tame information overload” type stuff. Mid way while me and my colleague were reading this book, we lost the book, did get the drift of the book. The metaphor of stage was used to explain the limits of our cognition, specifically pre-frontal cortex. Some strategies were powerful.

Making of Intelligence is a great take on 2 large ‘snake oil’ movements of this century, viz. IQ and Bell Curve.

Richardson rips apart both in a very systematic manner and provides more viable and plausible explanations of intelligence (naturally led from complexity thinking) based on a set of regulations as layers on above the other (genomic, cognitive and socio) and interacting.  Actually the entire series Maps of the Mind except for pure clinical stuff like pain science is awesome, Steven Rose does a great job being the series editor.

But for some reason you get the feeling that Richardson is one dis-gruntled professor with real strong opinions and would not take any unfounded expo on anything.

Fiction Reads

Not sure how I got interested in Murakami but was a great find.

The thin line between reality and imagination or for that matter realities of different people is explored in an original fiction form in The Wind up Bird Chronicle.

The setting of urban neighborhood and life, and war makes the narrative even more richer with many layers.

OFOCN is a long time overdue and possibly the hang over from naive thinking on anti-establishment from my college days. Nevertheless great read and a much better form than the movie as usual.

Self Help Reads

Becoming entrepreneur on sustainable business possibly ego less is my job utopia. I follow Dave’s blog at and got inspired by his thinking and self exposition ventures. Recommend the book only for the hedgehog model construction and the tools the book gives for reflection and self discovery. Last part was too preachy to really act on anything concrete. Looking forward to the workbook that Dave promised (hope it is upcoming). Case studies were awesome through out the book.

books, cognoise

Inbox and your Pre-Frontal Cortex

May be more people will read this post if I renamed it to something like “5 Strategies to deal with information overload”. I was never a fan of ruled notebooks, and the moment I got a chance to switch to plain notebooks I always did. I need the freedom in all the page space, to doodle, to have better representations of what is said than just writing a bunch of text line by line, to recall much easily from those representation. I will hold that rant for another day…

The point of this post is your email inbox today is more like the ruled notebook, and information predominantly text (even what you don’t need also) keeps falling into it. And you have to deal with all that every day. The dealing actually happens in a very small muscle space in  your brain called Pre-Frontal Cortex. Guess the number of concepts that it can hold at any point it is just 1, more than this to a max of 3 the cognitive processes diminish/fade.

I read this book Your Brain at Work and midway we actually lost the book so could not complete it really. He uses the metaphor of stage and actors to explain what goes on in the pre-frontal cortex. The strategy that I have in mind is to use the 5 basic cognitive processes and make a better designed inbox. Lets go


Recall the context and stage players and these are typically time/date, names, resolutions, turnarounds, emotion, the idea itself etc. Current tools are limited to follow up and categorize, if you increase the number of categories or folders you are likely to end up searching harder. I like the way xobni helps in the recall as a conversation, less PFC load more the fun.


It is history in a way but slightly constrained. So easiest solution here is outsource the memorize function to the system by rules, or lists. Memory in a social setting is something to think of, but I am not clear on how personal email and social memory will relate at system level.


This is a high cognitive load process and as you increase the number of variables it gets more complex. Get those assumptions cleaned up and reduce the number of variables.


Defer and delegate rules help here but a more intuitive classification and color will aid the process.


Emails sent within deep hierarchies will have a typical structure of 1 person in To and 1 in cc. In flat hierarchies there are typically no ccs or all others in cc. But structures that are in between the two designs there is continuous movement of to, cc and sometimes even to bcc. It becomes unclear after 3 responses on who owns what actions and all are overloaded with useless information.

I am thinking inhibiting cc as a whole.

What is your information overload management method?

books, cognoise

Transition Planning Applying Method Cards

I was meaning to write about this since last KM Asia when my boss got the KM method cards and the guidebook from Patrick Lambe . My KM day job is around IT Projects delivery and I am in a way limited by the tool set that is available for the projects’ disposal to do better things with Knowledge. So I shuffled the deck of method cards barring the tools.

My goal is to pick and choose what might make a decent set of methods and approaches for managing transitions that are so common. We routinely take over applications either from our customers or other vendors for maintenance and on going sustenance support. I set out to create a tool kit for practitioners to immediately use.

Here are the specific Method cards that came out

1. Cultural Archetypes: A representation of org culture and is very effective in making people speak about key issues without getting personal or talking apple pie motherhoods. As the card indicates Anecdote Circle is necessary for collection of a large body of narratives. Even an ethno would do here. You can find a detailed method for Archetype creation on Cognitive Edge. Works best when done on the floor or a large table rather than wall.

2. Story Listening: Obviously this makes perfect sense. I refer to Kurtz’s work that is fresh.

3. Story Telling: When you tell a good story you actually trigger patterns/emotions in the listener, that is buried deep. Template for stories or constantly looking for turnaround stories or just telling positive stories are all recipes but not close to the principles of narrative, which is best captured in this screen writing bible by McKee

4. Expertise Knowledge Audit Interview: X has 5 years more experience than Y, in any work performance of X is scales higher than Y. To bridge this gap we need to be able to articulate what X knows. Because experienced folks are expensive, and every large group with more experienced folks comes under the “measurement of efficiency” radar. The group may have to trim itself of these experts in an unplanned manner, so we need to manage this knowledge leak, and loss in a way that it provides continuity for the group as well as business continuity for customers. Here I feel Crandall, Klein et al work is best in the excellent handbook Working Minds.

5. Knowledge Audits and Maps: You may know lots of forms of knowledge maps, but most still lacks the dimension of knowledge flow. It is working for my context best as it renders itself nicely for operational reviews at group level and improves find and opens up opportunities for sharing and collaboration.

6. Anecdote Circles: Main reference for AC is on CE

Here are the specific Approach cards that came out

1. Expertise Transfer: The card included all sorts of methods and tools that covered a wide range of group facilitation, to personal learning methods, to representation. My picks for the context of a project in addition to above would be concept mapping, and Peer Assist

2. SME: This Approach I feel works best within a CoP. Most prominent issue I see here in organizations is there is no expectation/responsibility set for this on the SMEs.

All in all the cards provides a range of methods and approaches and what is likely to work in context and in conjunction.