October 27, 2010

Profound Knowledge… in daily life?

Demings idea of Profound knowledge involves 4 factors relating to knowledge.

1. Appreciation of a system

2. Knowledge about variation

3. Theory of knowledge

4. Knowledge of psychology

How do these fit into daily life though? Do they all even apply to any aspect of our daily living? Well, for me this is a purely subjective matter. Everyone may interpret if and how these do factors come up during our to day lives. Well, for my view on this I will not start at the beginning, but conversly start at number 4. I believe this is the easiest aspect of profound knowledge to apply to our daily lives. Knowledge of psychology... Think about it... Is this not present in how we interact with everybody we speak to? We behave in a manner fitting to the company we are in. In other words, we act appropriately. This implies we have enough knowledge of (or at least an intuitive understanding of) the psychology of those around us to behave appropriately.

Now moving onto point 3. Theory of Knowledge. For me, this applies to our understanding of what constitutes knowledge. How we learn and our methods in acquiring knowledge. In essance our knowledge of the most efficient way to learn for ourselves.

As for point 2, for me this relates to individuals having awareness that things change. An example in my life, traffic. I know that if I leave my house at 7:50am to get to uni, with average traffic I can arrive, park and be in the IMC by approximately 8:40. But I know that this can vary. If for example, there is no traffic, I can be at uni by 8:20. However it may be that traffic is above the norm, which could delay me by up to an hour as has happened in the past meaning I arrive at 9:40 and am late for everything! My knowledge of this variation means that I can plan ahead and leave earlier, avoiding possible traffic problems and guaranteeing my timely arrival! Knowledge of variation for me is definitely a useful concept.

Finally, I get to point 1. Why did I leave this till last? Simple. My understanding of how this may fit into daily life is more vague than the other points. Appreciation of a system. In relation to our day to day lives, for me this implies knowledge about how any system we deal with works. For example, the library. I know that system and understand the process by which I use it. I enter, search for a books, find it, check it out. I know this system. Again, using sports facilities. I know that to go climbing I need to only go to reception, check in, and climb. I have knowledge on how this system works and can make use of it effectively. While this is my interpretation of the day to day relavance of point 1, I believe that the idea itself is much more complex than this and that my interpretation of it has somewhat oversimplified the ideas behind it...

What say you all? Am I the only one who struggles to see a deeper meaning of appreciation of knowledge in day to day living? Or can anyone shed some light and possibly a deeper understanding of this concept in daily life?


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I don’t think it’s possible to apply it to daily life – it’s too complicated! For all your knowledge and understanding of variation, there will always be variables outside your understanding or control, or your ability to predict. I don’t think there has ever been anyone who understands everything, which I think is what you’d need to be able to do in order to grasp how it all fits together in a system! It is arguably necessarily vague.

    But, I think, this is why we have models and theories, like EFQM Excellence, or quantum theory. They help us, in their simplified, fundamental principles, to understand enough of what is going on around us, and plan for it.

    I believe that daily life is essentially made of endless subsystems, like getting a book from the library, or getting dressed in the morning. They all interlink in so many ways. But it’s impossible to always understand and predict what will happen, because the biggest varying factor is people. People in daily life will often surprise. In the first example, there might be too many people in the lift going to the 5th floor, and you have to climb the stairs (system change), or in the second example, you decide to lie in for an extra 15 minutes (system change) which makes you late. That action then impacts on your housemate, who usually uses the bathroom at the time when you go in (system change). He is then late too, through no fault of his own, and he never could have predicted your variation (unless you do it a lot!).

    I think this is the point. You can only apply what you know, about knowledge, psychology and variation. How it all comes together is a constantly-changing thing. So, I think, what Deming’s idea is, is that as long as you know all this, you have a fighting chance! It is possibly easier in a workplace, because people know each other, and come to learn quirks, tendencies, etc of their colleagues, i.e. they have an appreciation for how it all fits together.

    28 Oct 2010, 16:58

  2. Paul Medhurst

    Being profound about things like this is what I often find myself doing late at nights so here goes, although my grasp of concepts may be a bit primitive (it has literally taken 5 minutes for me to think of that word).

    Right;

    1. Appreciation of a system
    Few people ever really appreciate any system. There will always be grumbles. Kids at school know that they have to being in books and such, but never do. I know that I have to buy a ticket before I get on a train, but rarely do. People will always try to find a way around any system in order to make the system suit their needs.

    2. Knowledge about variation
    This is almost literally impossible to have, unless you define your terms. You cannot know in advance about any variation that may occur in your day. You just can’t. You can however, like the post above, make allowances for certain quirks that are likely to crop up, such as carrying stationary for kids who I know won’t have a pen.

    3. Theory of knowledge
    What?

    4. Knowledge of psychology
    We all know, not through studying and reading books, how to influence people in a way that we think is either appropriate, or that serves our own needs. We use words and actions that we know, or expect will cause a desired outcome. Again, this obviously comes with knowledge of people either specifically or in general (i.e I know not to mention the war to Germans).

    29 Oct 2010, 00:52


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