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

Guillermo A. Galdamez

Hey Robert,

Thanks for the questions.  A few things came to mind when I read your post.

It sounded to me like there are currently no opportunities for these interdisciplinary conversations to happen.  Like you pointed out in an earlier message, this is not likely to happen through serendipity, so this will require a deliberate effort to not only create a space where conversations can happen, but also, bring together different people. These conversations should also be institutionalized, and built into important organizational processes (managing the portfolio, or launching a new project).

One technique to consider is the 'peer assist' - that brings in different experts together for a facilitated discussion in the face of an expected challenge. The other technique that came to mind is the knowledge cafe, which similarly brings together groups of people to make sense of a situation (David Gurteen has written extensively on the concept of Conversational Leadership).

Hopefully you find these thoughts helpful.

Best of luck!

On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 2:50 AM Robert M. Taylor via <> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

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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