Re: How KM can help combine or leverage subject matter knowledge from several different domains to address one problem #collaboration #expertise

Robert M. Taylor

On my own question ... interestingly Nick Milton has recently blogged reporting on a study [Yang, L., Holtz, D., Jaffe, S. et al. The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers. Nat Hum Behav (2021).] that indicates that remote working weakens the kind of cross-group/bridging connections in organisations. And I think this makes some sense. On reflection it's what I meant when I described how 'predicted' work such as specific projects and processes is optimised, and how people are focused on their own work and teams - - all at the expense of the serendipitous. I agree with everything Nick says that we can do about this situation in his blog. (Funny how the universe sends an answer when you need it, isn't it?). I also recall Dave Snowden alluded to this same issue in his recent Rebel Wisdom discussion (towards the end) 
On the good news side, in SYSTEMIQ, throughout the pandemic so far, when people were meeting in the same place, in person far, far less, we've had a variety of remote social events and frequent online coffee breaks and so on, and I think some of these things can help. But I think the value of the chance meeting is something we have all missed and I think part of it is the boundary-spanning.
Near the start of my career I was with Deloitte and at that time we were ~500 consultants in the UK so we could all just about get together in the country's biggest hotel, which we did for three days each New Year. The question came up once as to how much this all cost - because there were open bars the whole time and lots of white space in the agenda. The answer from the Partner was that there was always a spike in new business following these events and I think it was because we met informally and chatted and somehow we always made connections we wouldn't otherwise have done: "Maybe I could introduce you to my client" sort of thing.

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