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Expanding minds through knowledge management

Expanding minds through knowledge management

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Published by Gunja Chaturvedi

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Published by: Gunja Chaturvedi on May 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Gunja Chaturvedi (M.Pharm Pharmaceutics) , BITS Pilani)

If the knowledge creation is natural and if wanting to share what you know is so humanly satisfying, then what is the problem? What sends these behaviors underground? Why do we all go dumb?

From many years, people have had to choose between living in a lovely place near their family and being able to interact with more people in less attractive, more crowded places to gain new understanding and accomplish more. Those who live in an idyllic place blessed with flowers, music and good weather, find considering the alternative painful and unattractive despite the apparent advantages. From biology it is evident that all life engages in knowledge creation and we humans are no different. We all are designed for learning. No one has to teach an infant to work, or talk, or master the spatial relationship needed to stack eight building blocks that don\u201ft topple. Children come fully equipped with an insatiable drive to explore and experiment. In fact when asked to do a task, most of us feel the need to change it in some way. We fine tune it, we adapt it to our unique context, and we add our own improvements to how the task is done. We are developing new knowledge all time.

Unfortunately, the primary institutions of our society are oriented predominantly toward controlling rather than learning, rewarding individuals for performing for others rather than cultivating their natural curiosity an impulse to learn. Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. The forces of destruction begins with the toddlers\u2013 a prize for the good costumes ,grades in school , gold stars and on up to university. On the job, people, team, division are ranked for offering rewards for the top ones and punishments for the bottom ones.

Ironically, by focusing on performing for someone else\u201fs approval corporations create the very
conditions that predestine them to mediocre performance.

Today we all know that we need to be much more skilled in this competitive era. The complexity of the twenty first century world has speeded up the pace of evolution and those who cannot learn adapt and change simply will not survive. Because traditional disciplinary knowledge is limited in its ability to support the challenging decisions that lie ahead in our path. We are entering into a new era where the future will be essentially determined by our ability to

wisely use the knowledge, a precious global resource that is the embodiment of human intellectual capital and technology. While expanding our understanding of knowledge as an essential asset, we realize that in many ways our future is limited only by our imagination and ability to leverage the human mind.

The conventional view about of knowledge management begins with the assumption that valuable knowledge already exists. Knowledge management is all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. However knowledge does not simply exists, but the people create it and this can be done efficiently by managing the knowledge along with knowledge making or production. Effective knowledge creation and sharing puts demands on the way people relate to each other. Untrustworthy behavior, constant competition, imbalances in giving and receiving information and a \u201cthat\u201fs not my job\u201d attitude endangers effective knowledge sharing. So, in order to overcome this situation, motivating people is a perfect solution and motivating people to be more knowledge competent does require an understanding

of \u201eCare\u201f. \u201eCare\u201f is something that most human beings can relate to through their personal

histories. To care for someone is to help them to learn, to increase an awareness of events and consequences and to help them nurture personal knowledge creation, while sharing insights. Genuine care gives rise to empathy, making it possible to access and understand people\u201fs needs. When care is low, individuals will try to hoard knowledge rather than sharing it voluntarily. Knowledge sharing is a critical human behavior that we need to carefully cultivate and harvest.

Since the educational system came into existence, learning has been predominantly others- directed. Teachers teach and decide what the student needs to know and the students supposedly learn what the teacher teaches. Each discipline has its own rules, areas of interest, language, standards of excellence, field of inquiry and specific paradigm of reality. But in a complex world, this approach is inadequate because multi discipline merge and multi dimensional knowledge is required. So rather than being told what to learn, learning must be self- directed by those people who face continually shifting problems that require multi\u2013disciplinary comprehension. The present education system is caught in a dilemma as to either stick to what we have been doing for ages or accept what the world is doing. In such conditions, it is dubious whether students are learning the skills which they need. Because in present scenario it is not important that how much they are learning but the matter of concern is, what they are learning is

able to enhance their prospects for employment and helping them in making decisions in
complex situations or not.

Forthwith ,but taking the readers to the barricade of the present condition which is definitely and inevitably affecting the knowledge creation, sharing and decision making as well among the fresh minds. We have never given much thought to the basic need of knowing and understanding English language which is the most important determinant of the access to higher education, employment possibilities and social opportunities. The school leavers who are not adequately trained in English as a language are always at a handicap in the world of higher education. More often than not, teaching is in English. Even if it is not, in most of the subjects, books and journals are available only in English. And those who do not know English well find it exceedingly difficult to compete for a place in our premier educational institutions. This disadvantage is accentuated further in the world of work, not only in professional occupations but also in white collar occupations overall. This reality is not lost on our people, who recognize that English language is a critical determinant of access to, and opportunities for a better life. The irony in this situation is that English has been a part of our education system for more than a century. Yet English is beyond the reach of most of our young people, which make for a highly unequal access. Since language learning takes place not only through direct instruction but also through assimilation from the environment, classroom needs should be equipped with appropriate supplementary audio-visual and print material. Resource libraries could be set up in every classroom, comprising of a collection of books, magazines, newspapers, audio-visual material and posters, appropriate to the age of the student. Language learning opportunities should also be created outside the classroom through specific bi-lingual radio and TV channels, which could be introduced for the formal and informal learning and teaching of English. Also, knowledge clubs should be formed to discuss and disseminate knowledge as well as extend the use of English language.

Coming back to learning process which is an initial and integral part of knowledge management.
The irony of this learning is that it demands two things we don\u201ft have; a tolerance for the messy,

nonlinear processes and the other one is time. But creativity is only available when we relax into confusion, open our minds to not knowing, and wait for the insight to surprise us. New knowledge is born in messy processes that take time. Moreover, insights and innovations are the

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