All entries for March 2011

March 30, 2011

facebook: a Knowledge Management System

U guys may be thinking that am gone crazy, which I myself agree, I am seeing KM in facebook now! But I just cant help being facinated by KM!

I was going thorugh some literature regarding KM, and for a break, I log in facebook. The next thing that comes to my mind is, this is knowledge base too! and that too, quite an effective one (ofcourse besides all the crap that we share)!

How do I think it is so appropriate?

For instance, a friend of mine (fellow civil engineer) shares, he is at a site for tunneling right now in Srinagar. He has had this opportunity to visit the site as a part of his job. Though, this information is of no use for me today, but, in case I am in such a kind of situation, or have a project relating this, there it is, somewhere in the back of my mind, that he may know something about this. Maybe I can contact. Maybe, the day I contact, he doesnt have much to share, but on the other hand, maybe he knows somebody who has!


March 29, 2011

K "Based" AM

The challenge of KBAM, indeed invites thought and reflection from the past 6 months. As I sit down to find the links, while certain things start aligning, others start getting more confused, and invite more thought..

From the middle of my course of this analysis, I sit down to write and invite comments on something I've been thinking today, and have also asked my team..

This subject involves two big chunks 'KM' and 'AM'. Both of them have a lot of learning to offer and a lot of literature available to research through. But my question is, why is this subject called Knowledge Based Asset Management and not just Knowledge And Asset Management?

With my immaturish level in this subject yet, I have not yet been able to establish this link. Maybe you guys came across something.. Maybe there is nothing prescriptive here too, and we can have our own linkages.. Do share..


March 28, 2011

Decision in Time

After some more dose of decision-making reflection, and critique on our approach of decision making, it made me wonder, did we consider the timing aspect of the decision?

I came across some literature regarding it, which says the importance of timing. A very good decision at one time maybe absolutely insane at another.

This made me browse through the decision making tools and techniques a bit more. We tried using quite a number of tools in our approach, but in none of them there was the aspect of timing considered. Is it that the ranking in the tools, is dependent on the time or situation, and therefore it can be considered to be accounted for within the approach. Isnt it a part of robustness, that the decision be tested through variation in time. Should there not be a technique or a test for robustness in terms of timing? Maybe there is something, that I'm not aware of, or havn't realized..

If anyone knows about something of this sort, could you please clarify..

Good Luck!


March 24, 2011

Leadership for me

A thought struck my mind while I was thinking about my entrepreneurial venture (dissertation topic) by which I mean a very small scale organization to begin with. The question that I asked to myself was, ‘What I want my role to be?’

In search for an answer, the first thing that came to my mind is me working around 12 hours a day, files and folders around me. Then this suddenly lead me to think, is this what I thought when I wanted to be an entrepreneur!?

NO! So then I realize, I cannot generally be a part of the daily activities, and running projects. This is too much of an underutilization of my potential. What I need to do is, look at things from a distance, which means, looking at where we’re heading, if at all we are, and where we wanted to head to in the first place. And this is from where the roots of continuous improvement will be laid in the organization. Even if it is a small scale organization, I cannot allow it to be static over the years, and to break this staticity, this is one thing I have to be sure of. I cannot let myself fall in the trap of solving the urgent and important only and forgetting about the not-urgent and important!

This is probably the essence of an MBE over any other standard business management masters course. Either of them would teach you to manage people and day to day activities. But this is something that most organizations wouldn’t even realize they are lacking without having lost a number of years!

Halfway through the course, I can now see a bit of clarity in my mind, how am I going to put the wisdom (it is worth being called that) that I gain from this course, to practice. The beauty is, I have something to begin with!


March 23, 2011

Decision Implementation!?

While going through some literature regarding decision-making methodologies, I came across the term decision implementation, which is the last step in the decision making process. I realized that this area gained little attention in our in-module work or our blogs, but anyways, this doesnt make it less important.

To be precise, the notion I came across is that one of the benefits of group decision-making besides improved judgement etc is that a group involved in decision-making would imply a greater commitment from everyone involved in the decision-making process at the time of the implementation of the decision.

Absolutely true! I can now extrapolate it a bit, saying that this maybe an additional reason for organizations to ponder over making their own decisions before deciding to outsource them (like WaveRiders).

I must say, i had not thought about group decision-making from this point of view!


March 21, 2011

The first hand case study of Leadership:

I must admit, after the LE module, I think in any group I am going to be, I am going to look at it from the Leadership point of view. When there is no leader, I think ‘there should have been one’ and when there is one, thinking that what could be the areas of improvement..

Anyhow, from the RDM module, besides the lessons learned about decision making, an important lesson was learned about leadership. Being a part of the team of a majority of strong personalities, was indeed a great learning experience in itself. It is appreciable how ideas cross and add value to the thought process and give a new outlook.

On the other hand, in such a group there is a lot of critique and this is where I realized was a need of leadership more than anything else. Or rather, maybe there was a need of some ‘positional power’ to intervene and conclude or divide the work in such a way that it does not affect the holism or the integrated nature of the result.

We did divide work, but what this caused was everyone indulging in doing their own part, with little view of the problem as a whole, thus the result was a set of results isolated from each other, put together in the end.

In short, what I’ve learnt in business excellence until now is always, in Excellent organizations, 1+1=3. But in our case here, it was just 1+1=2. In my belief that extra bit which should have been in an output from a group of stars, was missing because there was a need of a binding force of leadership. So I am taking this lesson as a case study of ‘absence of leadership’, which I believe works for me..


March 20, 2011

A view from my window..

Was going through the RDM website when I came across the concept of 'Cognitive Inertia'. This has been very well illustrated with the help of an example, that never is the case when the view from two different windows is exactly the same.

This implies, that always, there is some area that is common to all, which we call the 'obvious'. While, there is some which is visible only to a few, but this doesnt make it false!!

This beautiful comparison, clarifies some things in mind, and raises some doubts. There can be a situation, especially, in case of risky decisions that organisations have to make, when there is a perspective which is only viewed by one (or maybe a few). On the other hand, the consensus of the group is very different. Now, the person is nearly certain that this is not going to work, but the group wont believe in him. This can be dangerous! Rather I've been in a situation like this, where i was certain that this would fail, but had no other option but to go by the consensus.

How should a situation like this be handled? Suggest guys..


March 19, 2011

Were we Robust?

One thing that I noted in this module during the in-module work is that there is nothing called a successful decision. What we can aim at is only a ‘robust decision’ which can cover most uncertainties and has the maximum probability of success. 

From our experience as a team, I can suggest that we have experienced a failure of systems’ thinking. It may sound too critical, but all that I mean is that any decision cannot be the most appropriate one, practical and especially robust, if it is not a result of an integrated approach of all areas of work.

We have been introduced to more scientific means of decision making. But, we all agree that in these too, a human aspect is involved in the form of choosing the criteria ratings and probabilities etc. This is not rocket science with its set of formulae and principles. Hence, for the best use of these tools and techniques, an understanding of the gaps created by one and filled by another must be clearly understood.

What we as a team tried to do is adopt maximum number of tools and techniques, but if we try to compare this scenario with actual working environment, would we actually do this? Would we try to use anything and everything or would we employ the bare minimum number of tools and techniques and make sure they are effectively used? So, from my understanding, what we lacked was an understanding of how a problem like would be tackled in the ‘real’ world.

So, I have in mind some clarity what all we did wrong, but I still have to reflect on the ways in which, I can avoid that from happening..


March 18, 2011

The board of directors view..

After todays presentations, an interesting insight to the how one problem can penetrate and result in different decisioning, and in the end, you never know which one was better, because its all about trying to gain the highest probability of success..

What bothers me still is how organizations would come to the decision? If me as one among the bard of directors, was to make this decision, I would be so confused! All the approaches have some mathematical and logical evidence. They clearly show an indepth analysis. Even if we assume there was minimum bias ( which is though practically impossible) after all these different opinions, i would probably inevitably and unknowingly add a bias with regard to my first opinion or representativeness!

Bias is so inherent in human nature and minimizing it could be so difficult. Thinking robotic, as I also blogged previously, would just not be possible. (Probably articficial intelligence develops enough someday to minimize this).


March 15, 2011

Think Critical!

Having tried to use all the tools and techniques, tryin to figure, what were the assumptions we made. Having a list of some assumptions, that were predecided, now in the process of critical thinking, I notice, there were certian things which we assumed and we did'nt even realize we did! This is again a form of bias.

As I see from others' blogs, everyone is struggling with bias! How to minimize it!? The same is with us. Trying to compare it to real world scenario, I think for a large scale, it'd be all the more difficult! For nearly all means of decision making that i can think of there is a 'but, what if' that occurs. 

For example, Benchmarking. There is a major chance of confirmation bias and availability heuristic!


March 2011

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