Personal Knowledge Management Planning Guide
Understanding the analytical dimension
- making sense and recognizing patterns in order to quickly understand the nature of an issue or situation.Sense-making and pattern recognition are key ways that people make decisions in demanding situations (e.g., under timepressures, uncertainty, vague goals, high stakes and changing conditions.) As individuals interpret problems they firstassess the situation to determine if it is similar to previous experience; if so individuals tend to reapply previouspractices judged to have been effective. If the problem is novel (has not been experienced before), sense-making andpattern recognition needs to shift to allow individuals to be more thoughtful in identifying approaches.
- quickly evaluating a course of action by imagining how it may unfold. Envisioning is the intuitive, just-in-time capacity to imagine how an action will unfold. For skilled practitioners, this involves simultaneously being able tosee past and future, understand outcomes and then adjusting behaviour, in real time, when actions do not result indesired outcomes. Due to our memory limitations people usually construct mental simulations using around three variables and around six transitions. Envisioning creates mental models; our models emerge out of own experience andare difficult to articulate. Increasing our awareness/building capacity around mental models involves reflection (ability toslow down thinking processes to become more aware) and inquiry (personal conversations to allow us to test ourassumptions.)
- applying formal analytical methods when a rational choice strategy is required, e.g., there is a need to providejustification, to find agreement when stakeholders have different positions or optimization is required (the process of identifying, through comparison, the best course of action.) Analysis involves applying formal methods which arespecific to one’s work function and/or industry; this may include forecasting, optimization, mathematical modelling,probability and statistical analysis, network analysis, budgeting, processes mapping, etc.
- generating new ideas or concepts, or developing new associations between existing ideas or concepts.Developing creative capacity may involve seeking diversity of experiences (in life and work), participating in a range of avocations that encourage people to think differently (e.g., photography, arts, extensive reading), working with mentors(who are recognized as being creative and open to risks) and extending networks.
- seeing beyond specific situations, to understand the linkages and interactions that comprise a whole system. This involves the ability to consider diverse cause and effect elements, wider implications, multiple influences and theinterconnectedness of forces. Further, since human / organizational systems tend to be dynamic, open and complex, itis often impossible to clearly define a complex problem, given the many elements, their changing nature and a lack of clarity around the ideal end state or solution.
CompetencyDescription InterpretRecognize patterns and make sense of problems EnvisionCreate mental models to solve problems ApplyApply techniques and models tounderstand and address problemsCreateImagine new options, redefine issuesContextUnderstand system elements and complexity of problems