All entries for April 2008
April 27, 2008
Visited Caterpillar yesterday, my feelings is somewhat strange. Tom Peters said he can get a sense of the corporate culture within 30 seconds or so after entering the reception area.
There are two things on the wall caught me when I was there. One is six sigma, the other is their run charts. The six sigma part is quite interesting, they put up all the black belts profile, their projects, and how much is saved by each of these projects. They also put up the DMAIC process with some brief explanations. All these are in the centre of the wall, where people can see it. On the same wall, in the corner, there are some other posters about something called RPI, Rapid Process Improvement, or something like that. I cannot exactly figure out if they mean something similar to Business Process Engineering. What interesting is, there is also an memo from CEO to all the employees to reassure them six sigma is still one of Cat's fundamental business strategies. What more interesting is on the opposite wall, there are a dozen of run charts of things like accidents, accuracy of logistic delivery to storage location, absence from work, stuff like that. All of them are without control limits, and some have a target. I am than in pondering of perhaps what Deming would asked, what are they supposed to mean?
April 25, 2008
We finished off with the last day of sitting in classrooms for lectures, seminars, or team projects. We actually only started about 6 months ago, but it seemed to me it felt like for a long time. When looking back all the notes in paper or electronic forms we had, I am a bit astonished how much stuff we have covered. Some of them I would consider very useful, especially in the case of "management of change". Frankly, when Paul recommended this elective to me, I had really not much idea of what to expect. After the module, I gained not only some understanding of what change means but also got a new perspective of how I see myself. I would strongly recommend it to other students as well just like Paul recommended to me.
Generally speaking, I find the way WMG deliver their module contents quite refreshing with perhaps a few exceptions. It is quite different from my previous experience with Warwick where I attended a handful modules delivered by the department of computer science, engineering, business schools, and philosophy. Where lectures can mean dull, or even lifeless. Maybe, my attitudes towards learning also slightly changed? Since last time, it is only after leaving the universities, I suddenly found some of the materials I did not pay much attention to could be quite useful.
Anyways, still have a few PMA to complete and finish off the project where suppose to be the other half of the major learning points:)
April 22, 2008
In one of the OPP lectures, I guess I was being a bit to argumentative. However, there is some perspective towards the questions I never thought of. The thing interested me is the learning generated from the discourse. Discourse is one of the instruments to explore knowledge in some social science. I guess this is somewhat similar to the notion Paul used, "constructive critique". Some people also believe diversity is a key to create innovation, creativity, and competitive advantages. I suppose, diversity certainly will make certain scope of discourse rather than simply compliance. In the discourse, different perspective can be explored, a deeper understanding will be formed, hence more structure or insight of knowledge is built.
April 21, 2008
Just noticed that one of Warwick blog banners said "do it, think it, blog it". I guess this coincide with the point where Paul wanted us to write blogs for reflections. I had a look of what I have blogged so far, there are times, I had some interesting thought or question and trying to develop them further, but there are also times that I just simply write down stuff with less meanings and trying to sneak it before the closing gate of blog deadlines. Clearly, what you get from different practises is very noticeable. We are motivated to blog because there are marks tight to it. It makes sense to help us to gain a deeper understanding of what we've learned during lectures, seminars, self-reading and so on. There are also companies using the same tactics to encourage their employees for learn more. I've heard that GE give their employee book money and ask them to write something like a review essay, where more rewards will be given. Sure, any learning is good on individual bases and it will certainly create some positive learning environment for the organisation. Maybe I am a bit conservative on this, but I wonder how tightly this is in alignment with their business strategy. Sure today we value high on innovation and creativity, and the same with knowledge. Knowledge renew perhaps is always an important policy of any organisational HR policy. Hence it is important to create a learning environment. But the point is the policies needs to build up towards the business strategy as it is necessary to cascade it down. The question of GE would be what HR policy they need to have to ensure the individual learning can be consolidated into actions, and how can this be evaluated?
April 02, 2008
Whether knowledge management or organisational learning, much is focused on the learning experiences or gaining new knowledge. Surely, these two topics make us more knowledgeable in many ways. But I still feel there are some gap between knowledgeable and be able to create things. One thing is be able to recite and reuse knowledge does not necessarily mean creation of something new. Maybe that is why when it comes to the definition of knowledge, some have defined a higher level called wisdom. But I remain puzzled, how do people create things? Surely, knowledge forms a solid foundation for any innovative or creative activities. But this does not directly leads to create something new. Perhaps this gives the explanation why the organisational and ecological is much more powerful than the techno centric approach of knowledge management?