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May 23, 2006

Moving up the wisdom hierarchy


If you're an aggregator "harnessing collective intelligence", what are you aggregating? If it's data and information, you're competing with just about everything--Google searches, reference docs both online and printed, the majority of tech books and articles, etc. But if you're aggregating up the hierarchy through knowledge, and especially understanding and wisdom, you're adding huge value to someone's life.

If you're in knowledge management, what exactly are you capturing and managing?

If you're a teacher, what are you teaching? Facts and information, or practical knowledge and understanding? Are you teaching the What and the How but without the Why and the When? More importantly, what are you testing? (Not that in the US most public school teachers have a huge say in this, unfortuntately)

If you're a tech writer, what are you writing?

If you're creating tutorials and docs for your users, what are you focusing on? Remember, kicking ass and creativity usually doesn't happen at the data, information, and even the knowledge level. If you're not taking your users up the top tiers, you might be missing the chance to give them more inspiring (cognitively arousing?) experiences.


The idea (and a zillion variations including mine) of the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy has been going around for quite some time (especially in knowledge management circles), but how come everyone isn't paying more attention to it?! Some are, of course--Richard Saul Wurman in particular, has made a point of referring to his work as "the understanding business", rather than stopping with information or even knowledge.

[Other links: Russell Ackoff wikipedia entry, data-to-wisdom curve, WIKID + Power model, a different take on the origin of the DIKW model]

To read more about this announcement, please click on the link: Moving up the wisdom hierarchy


Posted by ACASA on May 23, 2006 at 01:32 PM in Blogger Search | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Knowledge Management and the Classroom

I’ve been reading about Knowledge Management (KM) lately, and I began to think about its application to education. Systems theorist Russell Ackoff posits that the mind can be classified into 5 categories—data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. The big split comes between information and knowledge. Data and information are inert—they do not cause things to happen.

Traditionally, education has focused on knowledge—the domain in which data and information get committed to memory. Not surprisingly, knowledge level learners can give regurgitate the facts. They can take data and information and kick back some of it because some of it stuck in their memory. However, knowledge level teaching and learning is not where the cognitive action is.

Real, deep learning occurs at the understanding and wisdom levels. These are the levels that require students to synthesize information and create. When students synthesize information they take new information and integrate it with prior knowledge. The more a student synthesizes the more a student gets to the why. Likewise, when students work at the wisdom level they create theory.

The question is at what level does student learning terminate? How do we know? The short answer is “ask”.

At a minimum we want students to learn at the level of understanding. We can facilitate deep learning if we relentlessly probe prior knowledge and connect it to new knowledge through writing and peer dialogue. All too often prior knowledge is queried at the beginning of a lesson, only to stay there. However, by explicitly revisiting prior knowledge in light of new knowledge we can help students to create synthesized knowledge. Another key to understanding is the ability to communicate effectively within the discourse. As teachers we can immerse students in the discourse of the subject matter. If we want students to talk in class they need to be taught how to talk in class. This includes building the requisite subject level vocabulary. The key of course is getting students to use this language in peer dialogues. Simply, the student that can integrate the term metaphor into a sophisticated peer dialogue about literature knows metaphor far better than a student that can define the term metaphor on a test.

Knowledge gets you in the game; understanding wins the game; wisdom takes the series.

Blog Post: Knowledge Management and the Classroom

Posted by ACASA on May 19, 2006 at 03:04 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 08, 2006

PBS Documentary: Improving Hospitals

Topic: Management Improvement
Clare Crawford-Mason and Llyod Dobyns have teamed up on a new documentary.  Previously they created If Japan Can-Why Can't We? and the Deming Library Tapes.

Good News - How Hospitals Heal Themselves
A One-Hour Documentary Airing on Public Television Spring/Summer 2006
Reported by Former NBC Anchor Lloyd Dobyns

This rare good news documentary reports on a surprising solution to escalating costs, unnecessary deaths and waste in America's hospitals. Doctors and nurses tell how they did their best, working overtime, while hospital conditions worsened. They were delighted to learn a new way to improve patient care dramatically and reduce unnecessary deaths, suffering, errors, infections and costs without additional resources or government regulations.

A patient is not an automobile, but...
The unlikely solution was to use Toyota management principles (systems thinking, lean thinking, TPS) to improve their hospitals. Systems thinking allows leaders and staff to see the complex, modern workplace with "new eyes" and turn problems into improvements. It has saved up to 50 percent in costs, thousands of lives, and avoided hundreds of thousands of medical errors. Significant improvements have already begun in hospitals in several major cities.

A companion how-to book, The Nun and the Bureaucrat-How They Found an Unlikely Cure for America's Sick Hospitals: an excerpt is available from management wisdom.com (you can also order a video or dvd of the program). "If you think that hospital care cannot be significantly improved in quality and cost, you have another think coming. Read this book." - Russell Ackoff
To read more about this announcement, please click on the link: PBS Documentary: Improving Hospitals

Posted by ACASA on May 8, 2006 at 01:35 PM in Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)