Volume 1 Issue 5 sePTemBeR 2009

Digital generations bring knowledge to life Part II: Saving the company Workarounds will save dysfunctional company.


Attention: Your expertise is about to expire. Here’s help.

Desperation Let’s look at the benefits.

American Muslim Breaks down barriers wherever she goes.

You don’t need training – when training isn’t the answer.

How conversation brings KM back to people

Knowledge Cafés

Wouldn’t you just love to tap these phones?

Transfer the passion

Your organization recognizes the value of knowledge. A great deal of money has been spent on process and systems. But too many of your people aren’t enthusiastic adopters. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could transfer their energy from those outside social networks they love and get the same kind of knowledge-sharing and collaboration going at work? You can.

Smart People bridges the gap
smart People magazine taps into the social networking craze and connects the energy to the work place. It’s a cool tool to help people realize the benefits of both networking and knowledge working. Now you can co-brand the magazine with special features specific to the organization. Then you make it available to all your knowledge workers, even clients and suppliers. They’ll love it, and it will change the culture and the way things get done around your place.

Smart People and Smart Organizations
Contact Smart People publisher, Jerry Ash smart.guy1@smartpeoplemagazine.com for details. Or call him: 813.335.1355

Volume 1 Issue 5 sePTemBeR 2009

6 When you don’t need training 8 Rules of engagement
Management often tries to fix a problem with training when training isn’t the answer. When leading people, teams, and organizations there aren’t any referees but you break rules at your own risk.

Cover story 4 Sugar rush at the
How conversation is bringing KM back to the people.

Knowledge Café

9 Popping pills

How far should a company go to improve its workforce?

Also in this issue
Eight norms of readers 3 The Knowledge Factor 40 KM Six Pack Part Four of a series of six articles introduces newly engaged employees and managers to the basics of knowledge-based enterprise.

10 Part II: Saving the company
People will change the organization by finding workarounds to the dysfunctional processes in their organizations.

12 Online marketing 13 Packaging

Retail and home shopping brands adapt to connect online with the “empowered consumer.” Made in China and absolutely re-usable. Consumers turn to other countries for the green solution.




14 American Muslim


Breaks down barriers by using her knowledge to build a bridge between different faiths and cultures.

16 Why are some people smarter?

It’s in the genes, but learning adds more cortical modules improving cognitive skills.

17 Getting to know yourself 18 Same as cash

Researcher describes theories behind self-knowledge and shows we can get to really know ourselves better. Become a black belt negotiator and make yourself another $5,000-10,000 a year. Other cultures do it!

Find out why and learn what you can do about it.

19 Is your avatar fat?

20 Attention!
Your expertise is about to expire. Scare you? Well, you may already be obsolute. This one will scare you straight!

23 Don’t mess with
How come there’s no mention in the MBA classroom of the importance of co-evolving relationships? You can either spoil my day or make my day – facial messages bounce back.

human nature

22 The world is open

Anyone can learn anything from anybody anytime. Here’s a look at how the Internet is changing education worldwide.

23 Emotional contagion

26 Desperation
is the mother of invention

27 Innovating every day

Let’s look at what benefits we receive when we find ourselves in a desperate situation.

Here’s how to succeed by thinking differently in dozens of real-life situations.

29 Let’s hear it

Women are less likely to share their creative work online. Why are men’s voices disproportionately heard?

for the men!



About Smart People

Following the eight norms of our readers
Publisher Jerry Ash smart.guy1@smartpeoplemagazine.com Managing editor Michele Ash michele@smartpeoplemagazine.com Technology by Boris Jaeger boris.jaeger@smartpeoplemagazine.com Graphic design by Associated Professional Services designer_aps@verizon.net Social network hosts Facebook Daniel Delgado Alan O’Neill Linkedin Skip Boettger John Veitch Boris Jaeger Ning Avigdor Sharon Twitter Jack Ring Alice MacGillivray mixxt Boris Jaeger

The editorial policy of Smart People magazine follows the “Eight Norms of Net Geners” as described by Don Tapscott in his book Grown Up Digital. We include Digital Pioneers and Catching Up Digitals. This is a new media publication in every sense of the word. It is published online using the interactive channels of Web 2.0 to enable ‘prosumers’ – people who want to have a hand in shaping the magazine – to collaborate on content and direction. The Eight Norms we use as our guidelines are:

Freedom: Net Geners demand the freedom to choose. The more the better. The Internet has enabled that right and we eagerly compete in that environment. Customization: The magazine will continue to evolve as Smart People representatives host discussion groups in the social networks and advocate changes in the magazine. Scrutiny: We expect smart people to examine our value and determine whether our magazine is unique and worth time and money. And, we expect to be continually tested. Integrity: To earn your trust, Smart People must deliver quality, relevancy and truth by sharing the best of knowledge and information from the most reliable of sources. Collaboration: Smart People magazine has been developed in collaboration with social networkers in an open, online worksite. Our prosumers continue to be our ‘board of directors.’ Entertainment: We learn and we do our best when we’re having fun. Smart People magazine is deliberately quick and lively and full of meaning, all at once. Speed: No one ever said magazines were speedy. But they’ll say it about this one. The magazine may be a periodical, but the flow of conversation is now. Innovation: There’s never been anything like Smart People magazine. We dare to be different because we think differently and we urge our readers to think differently too. We heed the Eight Norms because we believe in them.
Alice macGillivray Smart People Networkers Robert Wendover Generational Studies

entire contents copyrighted, 2009, by Associated Professional services, publisher. All rights are reserved. Contents may not be republished (in print or electronically) without permission of the publisher. opinions expressed are those of the writers and may not represent the opinion of Associated Professional services or smart People magazine. smart People magazine Associated Professional services 1811 Atrium Drive sun City Center, Florida 33573 Phone: 813.634.4397

Tom Davenport Information Technology Jane Dysart Library and Information Science David Gurteen Knowledge Management

The Smart People magazine Board of Directors is being carefully and methodically constructed to assure broad representation of the personal and professional interests of our audience, ranging from experts to ordinary smart people. We invite suggestions and assistance. Contact Jerry Ash: smart.guy1@smartpeoplemagazine.com





Sugar rush at the Knowledge Café

How conversation is bringing KM back to the people
David Gurteen’s Knowledge Café, hosted by chocolate manufacturer Cadbury at its headquarters in Bournville, England, brought together people to discuss the role of conversation in business.
By Joanna Goodman What brought me to the UK’s most famous chocolate manufacturer? I have been experimenting with microblogging on Twitter. My growing list of connections is broadening my reading on IT and KM, I am inspired by the quotation tweets and I’ve also discovered a couple of good restaurants. Recently, I decided to explore further. Anyone interested in technology will be aware of the webinars, seminars, white papers and other resources promoting social networking as a way of David Gurteen was organizing a Knowledge Café to discuss: What is the business role of conversation and how do we encourage more productive conversations within our organization? He used Twitter to invite people to participate in face-to-face conversations about conversation. The tweets in advance of the event promised a lively debate as tweeters bandied jokes around the names of popular Cadbury chocolate bars “Will we have to Wispa?” asked one. “Will the presenter give us a Twirl?” quipped another. Nearly 50 people met at the Cadbury headquarters, which reflect the company’s origins and its expansion into a global brand with Victorian buildings surrounded by a huge hitech campus. You can immediately see why it inspired the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After a short networking session, where samples of Cadbury chocolate lifted the mood, we sat down at tables of six for a brief introduction to the Knowledge Café. What is a Knowledge Café? According to David Gurteen, “A Knowledge Café is designed to engage people with a subject or theme. We start with a short talk and focus on one or two open ended questions. Participants break into groups to discuss the theme and questions and then reconvene into one large group for a final discussion. The Café is not about making decisions, but about gaining a better mutual understanding of a topic or issue.” The idea is to replicate the atmosphere of casual, but productive discussions between friends and acquaintances in a café or around someone’s kitchen table. It’s about using informal engagement to promote empathy and understanding, thereby building productive (working) relationships and avoiding and addressing (potential or actual) problems. Cadbury KM: using science and technology to create magic Louise Tirre, from Cadbury’s global knowledge management technology and engagement team, explained how Cadbury uses science and technology to create magic. Louise travels around the world supporting Cadbury’s communities of practice, which among other things, discover tastes and preferences of consumers in different regions and use this information to develop brands of chocolate, candy and gum.

boosting your business – and your knowledge base. So it’s interesting – and a little ironic – that I discovered on Twitter a KM event designed to promote face-to-face communication, both in its own format and in its subject matter.


COVER STORY KM at Cadbury has developed a variety of resources helping and encouraging people to share information and expertise across the business to develop, share and reuse ideas. Communities of practice around different specialisms share knowledge and drive innovation. Cadbury looks outside the business and the industry too. Its Open Innovation Team focuses on collaborating with people outside Cadbury through Web sites that seek input on developing recipes, processes and products. Cadbury is not just about new ideas. Some of its traditional products are its most successful brands. The KM team leverages 200 years of inventing chocolate and the company’s origins as a family business, reflected in its values and culture and representing a significant part of the brand. The conversation Each table discussed the topic and after a few minutes, one or two people moved to another table and discuss the same topic in a different group. Finally, the whole group discussed key themes and issues. For example: n Internal competition between individuals and teams represents a significant obstacle to productive conversation in business. Potential solutions include recognizing and rewarding collaboration and giving people credit for their ideas. It is useful to set the ground rules at the start of the conversation. n The right working environment facilitates casual interaction. The dilemma in terms of workplace design is that although it is important to encourage collaboration, people need to be able to work without distractions n Having separate meetings for discussion and decision-making is a useful way of stimulating open, trusting conversation. n Productive conversations are not necessarily face-to-face. Virtual teams can work too; success depends on buyin. For example at Cadbury, people put themselves out to join community of practice teleconferences, notwithstanding the time difference between participants. Bringing KM back to the people Knowledge Cafés are a fantastic networking opportunity, whether they are public or within organizations. In business, they are particularly useful for bringing people together during and after mergers, to build relationships between individuals and teams and transfer tacit or experiential knowledge. They also benefit educational establishments and communities of practice and interest. Open Knowledge Cafés like the one at Cadbury promote interorganizational and inter-personal knowledge transfer, helping people in different roles, organizations and sectors learn from each other, offering fascinating insights into different approaches to internal communication. Knowledge Cafés bring KM back to the people. KM experts, scientists, engineers, civil servants, educators, charity workers and creatives were drawn to the Cadbury event by our interest in learning and sharing knowledge, by the Internet and even by Twitter! We discussed how in the world of email, social networking, instant messaging and Joanna texting, we can Goodman is a bring the art of London-based conversation back freelance writer to the workplace and editor – not just having specializing in the legal and conversations, business sector. but having She has written conversations that extensively on add value. The value may technology, information or may not be and knowledge in terms of ROI, management, making money communication or saving time. and corporate Conversations social add value in ways responsibility. that are difficult Contact Joanna to measure: at joanna. goodman@ by avoiding misunderstanding, btinternet.com creating synergy between people and making their lives easier, reducing hassle and helping to create a great place to work. Nor is it just about organizations. Knowledge Cafés can work for just about any special interest group. “The outcome for participants is what they take away as individuals that they can act on and do differently,” explains David. The World Café is a case in point, www.theworldcafe.com, having developed a process where people get together to discuss social issues like sustainability – the object of the exercise being making our world a great place to live. To find out more about Gurteen Knowledge Cafés, visit www. gurteen.com




When you don’t need training
By Michele Martin When management finds that staff are not engaging in work behaviors desired by the organization, they often turn to training as the response for “fixing” the problem. But training frequently isn’t the answer. I want to share five situations that won’t be resolved by training. 1. To make up for poorly designed work processes Many organizations have poorly designed work processes and customer flow. These processes have often been jerry-rigged to meet regulations or accommodate some shortcoming. Staff have often developed workarounds that take them closer to their goals or that can be done more quickly and it is these workarounds that management doesn’t like. But generally the reason that staff aren’t adhering to a work policy or process is because the process isn’t working. They know perfectly well what they should be doing, so lack of skill isn’t their problem. Instead, they find that the process is not working for them, so they devise some other way to get their job done. 2. As a replacement for corrective action Several years ago when I was the HR manager for a large manufacturer, we had some serious problems with a couple of managers who were engaging in sexual harassment. Rather than disciplining the two offenders, my boss insisted that we needed to run a training course for all of the managers in the company (over 50 people). Since they had never done sexual harassment training before, running a session wasn’t a bad idea. But it wasn’t the complete answer to the problem, either. What was really needed was to use a corrective action process with the offending employees. I’ve found that many organizations are uncomfortable with confronting an employee who is not engaging in desired work behaviors. If a few people are having a problem with coming back from lunch on time, the next thing you know everyone is in a training on “time management.” Training should never be a replacement for corrective action. It’s frustrating to the people who are behaving appropriately and the staff with the problem generally don’t believe that the training is directed at them. practice what happens is that managers realize at the last minute that they’re supposed to be doing staff training at certain times during the year, so they run around trying to find a topic and a trainer to satisfy the requirement. Ongoing professional development is very much a necessity in today’s economy. But it can’t happen just to prove that you’re providing training to staff. It needs to be part of a larger professional development planning process that has clearly identified specific skills that staff need. And arranging for the training should be done thoughtfully, not haphazardly.


4. When performance expectations have not been properly developed I’ve written previously (in other publications) about how performance expectations are the real drivers of staff behavior and how they must be properly formulated to be effective in encouraging staff to engage in the work behaviors you desire. People respond to the systems in which they operate – they tend to do what they are rewarded for doing and to not do the things that are ignored or punished. 3. To satisfy a “requirement” I can train until the cows for professional come home, but if staff are development not going to be rewarded for One of my clients contracts using the skills I’m teaching, to a large government agency then it’s unlikely that they will that requires periodic staff actually use them on the job. development. Before you get someone Although in principle in to do a training session, this is a good thing, in first make sure that you’ve

WORKING set the right expectations for performance that will encourage workers to use what they’re being taught. 5. When you don’t have management understanding and buy-in I can’t tell you the number of trainings I’ve conducted that supervisors and managers had no clue about. This is invariably a recipe for frustration and confusion because staff don’t understand why they’ve been sent to a training about which their managers have no real knowledge. They know that the skills they’re learning will not be used or reinforced on the job if their managers don’t know anything about these skills, so to them, the training becomes “nice to know,” rather than “need to know.” And in most organizations, there’s no time for “nice to know.” As I said earlier, training only works when performance expectations have been clearly articulated and the training supports those expectations. For this to be the case, managers must know what’s going on in the training sessions their staff are attending. And they must be able to incorporate what staff are learning into the daily work of staff. Without management understanding and buy-in, there will be little transfer of training to the job. Which means that training has pretty much been a waste. So when is training the answer? For training to be effective, these conditions must be met: n Staff must lack skill in the area in which training will be provided. If people don’t know how to properly perform a task, then training can teach them how to do that. But if there’s some other reason that staff aren’t behaving in a certain way, training won’t help. n Performance expectations have been clearly set and the training that’s provided clearly leads to staff being able to meet these expectations. n Managers have a clear understanding of what is being taught in the training. n There’s a plan for ensuring that staff have the tools, resources and supports to use the new skills when they return to the job. How many times have you participated in computer training three months before the computer arrived on your desk? How much did you actually remember? ‘Nuff said. n Work processes have been adjusted to incorporate the use of the new skills. If staff are being taught how to use new tools, then the use of those tools should be embedded in their daily work. If they are being taught specific ways to engage with clients, then work processes should support staff in being able to engage in those behaviors. If you can meet these conditions, then it’s time to offer training. If not, then you need to rethink what you’re doing and make some adjustments to your plan. Michele Martin works with individuals and organizations to transform professional development experiences using blogs, social networks, wikis, social bookmarking and other Web 2.0 tools. Blog: http:// michelemartin. typepad.com/




Rules of engagement
By David Garic

Follow the rules, bend or break them, or ignore them
In a desperate championship game, a football coach calls a play – a special play he knows will work. The ball is snapped. The quarterback drops back to pass and throws to a running back who catches the ball while he is behind the line of scrimmage. The running back stops, sets, and throws a completed pass 30 yards downfield to a wide receiver, putting the team in scoring position. Wait! The officials are huddled in the middle of the field and then a yellow penalty flag ascends into the air, Illegal forward pass. The previous play is voided and the team is penalized. Surely the coach must have known that this type of play was against the rules. Or did he? If this very same play had been run the previous season it would have been perfectly legal and within the rules, but an off-season rule change made this play illegal. Yet, the coach was unaware of it. He didn’t know the rules. It proved to be a costly mistake since his team lost when the opposing team scored a last second field goal. When it comes to leading people, teams, and organizations, there aren’t any referees present to make sure we follow the rules. Over and over again, leaders call the wrong plays without even knowing they’re breaking the rules. All leaders are different and all leaders lead differently. Fortunately for us there aren’t very many rules for leading. So, just what are these rules and why are they so important? Rule #1: Leaders cannot motivate people Leaders repeatedly fool themselves into thinking they can motivate people by offering them some form of tangible reward or by instilling fear in them. In both cases they are wrong. Leaders cannot motivate people. What leaders can do, however, is be motivational. Consider this: All of us are self-motivated. We all do what we do because we, for a multitude of reasons, are motivated to do it. You see, the key for leaders when it comes to motivation is not believing that they can motivate people, it’s that they understand what motivates people, what drives them, and create the opportunities for them to satisfy those motivations. Rule #2: Check your ego at the door Leaders whose focus is egocentric take significant risk. Over and over again, leaders who behave as though their followers exist solely to serve them inevitably tumble from their exalted status. They fail to realize that in every circumstance, any influence that leaders enjoy is a direct result of the willingness of their followers to allow themselves to be influenced by leaders. If followers aren’t willing to be led, the leaders are powerless. Effective leaders focus on the needs, wants, desires, and expectations of their followers; every action they take is intended to help followers satisfy those needs, wants and expectations. Rule #3: Do it right Leaders have a moral responsibility to their followers to ensure that what they require of their followers is within ethical boundaries. Succinctly, they must create and maintain the ethical climate within which they operate. Simply by virtue of their authority and position in an organization, leaders can wield significant amounts of power. Misusing this power can produce horrendous and often deadly results. They


WORKING are expected to define what is right and what is wrong, and when they choose to ignore what is right and expect what is wrong, they place their followers in harm’s way. To do it right, leaders must: n Define a clear, understandable set of guidelines for their followers. Give examples of what is right and what is wrong. n Define and determine ahead of time what the rewards are for ethical behavior. Conversely, determine ahead of time the consequences for unethical behavior. n Monitor the level of stress and pressure followers are performing under. Determine what the optimal level of stress is and seek to prevent it from increasing. You can choose to follow them, bend or break them, or ignore them. Whatever choice you make, the rules are the rules, and they are as real as Newton’s law of gravity. Like Newton’s law, the rules have a predictable effect on how successful or unsuccessful any leader will be. As long as people are in positions of responsibility, attempting to influence other people to achieve a goal, or to get the job done, the rules will be there. David Garic develops and trains leaders in organizations and is the author of Leading from the Front. Web site: http://www.garicconsulting.com

Popping pills to enhance workforce
How far should a company go to improve its workforce? What type of “self-improvement” culture should an organization adopt? In the summer 2009 cover story for The Conference Board Review, writer michael schrage seeks to address these questions – and the many uncomfortable and provocative issues they raise. “organizations may soon be forced to rethink everything they thought they knew about improving talent and bringing out the best in people,” writes schrage. “All over the world, the best-performing people in the best-performing organizations always look to get better at getting better,” says schrage, a research fellow at the mIT sloan school’s Center for Digital Business, Boston. “In tomorrow’s global markets, being the best will increasingly depend on ready access to the best technologies, the best (and presumably legal) drugs, and the best coaching and mentoring money can buy.” Indeed, most firms think nothing about supplying their workers with free coffee. Is it now time for HR to dole out caffeine pills too? of course, that’s only the onramp to a road fraught with ethical dilemmas. Companies will face far more difficult decisions when it comes to recommending to its executives self-improvement techniques – counseling, coaching, and yes, even drugs. As it is, “strategically awkward decisions around personal enhancement are found everywhere talent strives

to outperform and overachieve,” schrage points out – from concert musicians popping beta blockers to calm anxiety to beauty pageants paying for contestants’ breast implants. The corporate realm is no different, particularly with Western companies facing competition from those in less-regulated countries. “The irony here is that tomorrow’s business leadership has no choice but to enhance its performance around how it enhances performance – or forfeit its people and best opportunities.” The Conference Board Review (www.tcbreview.com) is The Conference Board quarterly magazine of ideas and opinions for business leaders. The full article is downloadable at tcbreview.com/a-better-workforce.php. To contact author Michael Schrage: courter@conference-board.org





Part II: Saving the company

How ordinary smart people will change the organization
In Part 1, August 2009 issue, presents a bleak picture of the state of business management in the u.s. Part II digs deeper.
By Dave Pollard organizations in the 1990s. Senior managers expressed concerns that email would be a scourge, and many attempted to limit its use. They were right about it being a scourge, but not successful in limiting its use. only customers had access to) and sophisticated, interactive public Web sites. They found to their chagrin that decision-makers in most organizations were too busy to visit their Web sites, and that most of the people browsing the Web pages they had so carefully crafted were job-seekers, students doing papers, the competitors and the media. So here we are in 2009, and the principal information flows in most organizations are still exactly what they were in 1975. What’s changed: n Instead of typed memos, instructions are now sent to employees by email; performance data is sent back up to management by email, or captured electronically automatically. n Peer-to-peer conversations are still mostly real time and face-to-face or voice-tovoice (or IM); asynchronous conversations in email threads are arguably the least effective. Email has allowed more conversation with colleagues outside the organization. With young workers much learning occurs through such conversations, though IT security in most large organizations prohibits many of the social media used by young workers to communicate outside the organization, nullifying much

In the 1980s and 1990s, most organizations invested in three new technologies, mostly reluctantly: fax, email and intranets. Fax was a faster and cheaper Managers thought email would be a way to send marketing scourge and they were right. materials to customers and Corporate intranets were to receive orders, and send used at first to automate the instructions to and collect two dominant types of shared performance data from remote organizational information: operations, and it was not policies and procedures, and an expensive technology to directories. introduce. Eliminating hard-copy Its heyday was a mere manuals and directories decade. was a welcome change, but Email and intranets quickly became corporate massive repositories for intranets millions of context-free were archived documents that were introduced of almost no use to anyone but in most the author. The consequence has been an explosion in complex server technologies, taxonomies and search technologies . . . for information that almost no one finds to be of any value. Documents touted as “reusable best practices” were dumped into the corporate intranet and abandoned. To try to connect to customers, many organizations in the 1990s and 2000s have invested in ‘extranets’ (Web sites that


CHOOSING of this advantage and creating do it for them), there has If that were the end of the considerable animosity. been a swing back to restory, we could just shrug off n The library has been intermediated research, as KM as another business fad largely supplanted by the most employees learned and move on. intranet, but it is now much they lack the significant But there is something harder to find things and competencies needed to do happening in organizations there are fewer information quality research. today that is beginning professionals able to help Young workers tend to to improve the quality you find stuff, so searching still do their own online of information and the Dave Pollard takes longer and is less research, but only until effectiveness of information is former chief effective. The intranet in they find an appropriate flows that matter, something knowledge most organizations is still intermediary and reach that creates a second officer of ernst & used principally for the same the level at which they opportunity for KM people to Young, coaches two purposes: looking up are permitted to delegate actually do something useful. entrepreneurs policies and procedures, and research. What is happening is and writes “How directories. n Most marketing material that people are beginning to to save the n Email has allowed a is now sent by email and manage their own information World” which massive increase in the also duplicated on the and information processes. ranks high on amount of work delegation organization’s public Internet People are finding the blog lists in between employees in most site, but in these electronic workarounds to the Canada – http:// organizations. forms it is mostly unread. dysfunctional processes in blogs.salon. It is easier to delegate In other words, in adding their organizations. They com/0002007 work when you don’t have to the volume and complexity are finding ways to draw on to face the person you’re of information systems, we people in their growing online asking to do it, even though have added relatively little networks to do their jobs the chance of it being done value, and in some cases better. well is less. Email also allows actually reduced value. The They are realizing that much more procrastination in reason for this is simple: if tomorrow’s workers organizations – people send requests for We could shrug off KM, except people – by necessity – are now information to others managing their knowledge and information on their own. Friday afternoon, as an excuse to put off will end up working in a working on a project until the 1. We have not done anything to substantively dozen different jobs in their next week. improve the ability of lifetimes, they need to take There is considerable senior management to responsibility for their own evidence that email has manage the business learning and their own had a significant negative (i.e., to manage cash knowledge, and take it with effect on productivity and flow, share price, risks or work effectiveness, because them from one job to the next. there is no accountability opportunities). Increasingly, they are to the sender for time of 2. We have not done keeping their knowledge the recipients that has been anything to substantively in their own personal wasted, and because it costs improve the effectiveness repositories, and in their own nothing to send an email of any of the information personal networks. to an unlimited number of flows that matter in recipients. organizations, or the In Part III, October issue, learn n After a period of quality of the information. how smart people are changing disintermediation (people We have, in short, the organization one person at a doing their own on-line implemented a solution that time. research instead of having addressed no problem. We librarians, assistants or introduced new KM tools information professionals because we could.



Online marketing
A new report published by Experian, a global information services company, suggests that retail and home shopping brands need to adapt in order to connect online with “the empowered consumer.” The report, titled “Engaging Online with the Empowered Consumer,” highlights that the rise of Web 2.0 and social networking, price comparison sites and online discount codes have all led to consumers expecting greater value and service levels. According to Experian’s report, the reality is that many retailers and home shopping companies are failing to live

Retailers engage power of Internet shopper
n 45 percent of customers are single purchasers, with figures rising as high as 75 percent in some cases. n 60-70 percent of “best” customers have not purchased in the last 12 months, signifying that companies are taking one or two seasons to recognize that high value customers have lapsed. n 30 percent of customers generate nearly 70 percent of revenues. Experian’s report suggests that brands need to encourage repeat purchasing and loyalty by blending offline and online insights to dictate precisely how and when a company engages with today’s increasingly-savvy customers. For example, insight from Hitwise, an Experian company, found that online shoppers are evolving – with 27 percent of online shoppers over 55 years old in 2008 compared to just 12 percent in 2005. According to the report’s authors, the biggest problem is that while many companies have a multi-channel marketing strategy in place, more often than not it operates in isolation of the rest of the brand portfolio. The result for the consumer is a fragmented experience with inconsistent service levels and value propositions. Online consumer behavior is changing rapidly and while online fashion retailers have embraced

up to consumers’ multichannel expectations. Using the home shopping sector as an example, Experian’s analysis reveals the harsh reality of customer engagement:

online strategies such as expanding email marketing and search strategies, and targeting lifestyle and social networking sites, traditional catalogue retailers have generally not been as quick to adapt. As a result, online fashion retailers have seen a 31 percent increase in UK Internet traffic over the last 12 months compared to just one percent for traditional catalogue companies according to Hitwise. Marie Myles, director of marketing consulting for Experian’s Integrated Marketing division, commented: “Our new report lifts the lid on why engaging online with the empowered consumer is a business imperative in today’s tough economic climate. The fact that online retailing has grown by 40 percent in the last 12 months underlines why brands must change the way they communicate. “While ‘wow’ factors will be memorable and generate conversations, innovations in marketing and brand loyalty will be lost if the basics continue to be ignored. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on the exploitation and application of existing data assets. The enhanced insight derived from this approach and the move to a coordinated customer contact strategy will lead to more profitable and longer relationships between brands and consumers.”




Made in China and absolutely reusable
In our western societies almost all food and drink products are packaged. Packaging is useful for hygienic reasons and helps to dramatically reduce foodrelated illnesses, but it is all too often over-designed and wasteful. Only Germany has hung onto the tradition of reuse systems and 60 percent of all beer, mineral water and soft drinks is coming in refillable bottles, which can be reused up to 40 times. In China, consumers are starting to adopt western consumption patterns and growing amounts of packaging are rapidly becoming a major issue. Over the last two decades the Chinese economy has been enjoying growth rates of 8-10 percent. In this period of growth and boom environmental issues have been in the background, but there are new and sustainable trends emerging. Absolut Vodka has been one of the most iconic brands since the 1980s and it defined an era and generation as much as the Pet Shop Boys and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Last year the designer Jamy Yang was given the opportunity to design the promotional package for Absolut Pears for the Chinese market. The design is a 21st century interpretation of the classic Absolut bottle in combination with reuse functionality. The pack can take two bottles, has a handle and, as it is easy to carry, avoids the use of a shopping bag. The material is attractive and transparent and the container can easily be reused as a small suitcase, storage unit, a bowl or even as a pendant light. It can also be taken back to the shop to stock up supplies or to friends’ houses and parties. When the container has reached the end of its first cycle, it is 100 percent recyclable. Jamy Yang was recently ranked as one of the Ten Excellent Young Chinese Designers recognition. He studied and worked in China and in Germany and received various international design awards including 2002 Germany Red Dot Concept Gold Award and 2008 Design For Asia Silver Award. Yang is represented by Y-TOWN, an independent brand characterized by creativity and a fresh design attitude.

The brand constantly stretches the boundaries of beauty and human needs, as well as the interaction between design and everyday life. At the core of organization’s work is the redesign of oriental culture, the rethinking of modern life and reuse of everyday material.

Reader exchange – Departing knowledge won’t come back
Alan o’Neill wrote: I was listening to the BBC1 News and heard this quote from an lDV (van maker) worker who has just been made redundant: “The knowledge is going and it won’t be coming back.” This echoes what I have been saying for years about knowledge management “By the time you realize you need Knowledge management, it is too late.” When are companies going to wake up and recognize that the key knowledge resides in the minds of their staff, the smart People. It has value, it is useful, but most importantly . . . it can be lost. Jerry Ash replied: The digital culture outside the workplace provides freedom and opportunity and that’s what digitals will demand when they go to work. enabling knowledge to work. Isn’t that what we’ve told the C-level they need to do – enable, not just manage?





American Muslim
“I want to help bring peace and harmony to the world,” says Ayesha Siddiqui, who is proud to be an American-Muslim, a Pakistani-American and a New Yorker. “I’ve lived in the Middle East and here; I feel I can be a bridge between different faiths and cultures.” Coming from someone else, this could sound like a lofty dream. But Siddiqui, 34, a married mother of two sons, breaks down barriers wherever she goes. Named New York City College of Technology’s (City Tech) 2009 valedictorian, she is the first Pakistani Muslim female student to receive this honor in the history of the college. “I have always worn the hijab, the head covering that Muslim women wear,” she explains. “People I meet have a lot of questions that I am always happy to answer, like ‘How come you are going to school when you have a husband and children?’ ‘How come you talk to male students?’ and ‘Is Islam really about killing other people?’ “I stress that my religion is not narrow-minded,” she continues. “My husband totally supports my going to college and having a career. Women can talk to men who aren’t family members. And, Islam is a religion of peace; we don’t condone killing.” When she was six years old, Siddiqui’s family moved

Breaks down barriers wherever she goes
from Karachi to a small town in Oman. Non-Omanis were not permitted to attend college there, so at great financial sacrifice Siddiqui, who now lives in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, was sent back to Pakistan to study. Her father had always supported her education endeavors and she never disappointed him, graduating at the top of her class in every school she ever attended. “My father would tell me that I was his life savings

John’s University in Queens, applied for her immigration. What should have taken no longer than ten months ended up taking three and one-half years; she finally arrived in New York in 2000. Before their marriage, Siddiqui’s husband said he would send her to college here. By 2002, though, she was a mother of two and thought it wasn’t possible. Two years later, her husband urged her to pursue her education. “He convinced

Ayesha Siddiqui says her religion is not narrowminded. Her husband totally supports college and career. Women talk to men and Islam is a religion of peace.
when I’d worry about the finances,” she noted. “He would say that education is money well-spent.” It’s not surprising that Siddiqui, the oldest of five children, aspired to join the foreign service when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Karachi University in 1996. “I wanted to earn a master’s degree in mass communications and eventually represent my country as an ambassador,” she says. While studying for Pakistan’s civil service exam, she got married. Her husband, who grew up in Karachi and earned a master’s degree in medical technology at St. me to go back to college. Having been given this second opportunity to study and have a career, I wanted to do something different.” Siddiqui, who was on her school’s debate team in Oman and used to sing, act and host shows there, always enjoyed drawing and making greeting cards for friends and family and posters for school events. Recalling this, she decided to get her college degree in graphic design. “I loved it from the first day of class and knew it was for me,” she said. “I truly believe that effective visual communication can help resolve issues, conflicts. Graphic designers have a responsibility to society because design is a universal


LIVING language – it speaks to so many people.” Siddiqui worked hard and earned her associate degree at Kingsborough Community College in one year with a GPA of 3.97. She finished the requirements for her bachelor’s degree in communication design at City Tech in two years and is the first advertising design and graphic arts student to be named valedictorian in City Tech’s history. During the entire time, her whole family back in Pakistan – parents, inlaws, siblings – were committed to her going to college. Her mother-in-law, who is in her seventies, visited often to help out. But it was up to her and her husband to come up with a way to make it work. “My husband and I have no relatives here, so we really had to coordinate our schedules. He worked the night shift – 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. – as a technical specialist in Maimonides Medical Center’s blood bank and also had a weekend job. “That’s so we’d have the money for me to go to college and he could be home for the children while I was in school,” she explained. “I cooked meals for my family every day,” she adds. “When my chores were done at 9 or 9:30 at night I would start my homework, often staying up until midnight. Then I would get up at 6 a.m. and start again.” Her studies almost derailed this past fall when her father died in Islamabad, where her parents moved after her father retired. “I was so bereft, I thought of giving up,” she says. And then she felt her father’s presence and his words, “I raised you to be a strong woman. Go back and focus. Find your strength.” “And I did. By pulling myself out of the sadness, I am stronger than ever before. And that’s the message I gave to graduates,” continues Siddiqui, who delivered her valedictory address at City Tech’s June commencement in the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. “Find your strength within your weakness and remember nobody is perfect. Treat everyone with respect.” During an internship at the Women’s Press Collective, Siddiqui found her professional path; she’d like to be a graphic designer for nonprofit organizations. “I learned so much there, especially how to survive with limited resources.” Siddiqui, who earned a 3.98 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 at City Tech, misses phoning her father to let him know her grades, but his death made her realize even more how supportive her husband, children and mother-in-law have been. “My sons are so proud of me. When I got my only A-minus, my oldest son wanted to know what went wrong. Both of them have

very high expectations of me. Sometimes, my husband would tell me not to push myself so hard. But I said no, I have to do my best.” And she has. New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State, US. Padcast: http:/ /www1.cuny. edu/forums/podcasts/?p=650




Why are some people smarter? Learning capacity can increase intelligence
Why are some people smarter than others? In a new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Eduardo Mercado III from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, describes how certain aspects of brain structure and function help determine how easily we learn new things, and how learning capacity contributes to individual differences in intelligence. Cognitive plasticity is the capacity to learn and improve cognitive skills such as solving problems and remembering events. Mercado argues that the structural basis of cognitive plasticity is the cortical module. Cortical modules are vertical columns of interconnected neuronal cells. Across different areas of the cerebral cortex, these columns vary in the number and diversity of neurons they contain. Identifying how cortical modules help us learn cognitive skills may help explain why variations in this capacity occur – that is, why people learn skills at different rates and why our ability to learn new skills changes as we age. Studies examining a number of different species have shown that, on average, a larger cortex predicts greater intellectual capacity. The source of this correlation is unclear, but Mercado believes that a “more expansive cortex provides more space within which a larger quantity and greater diversity of cortical modules can be distributed.” In other words, Mercado notes, when it comes to intellectual potential, it is not the absolute or even relative size that is important, but how many cortical modules (with various types of neurons) are available. These features of cortical organization and function determine how effectively our brain distinguishes events. This ability to differentiate events may be what enables us to learn cognitive skills. One implication of this proposal is that experience can be as important as genetics in determining intellectual capacity. Specifically, structural changes of cortical modules generated by development and learning experiences may also contribute to individual differences in intelligence. This research has important implications for improving educational techniques and can potentially lead to new methods for rehabilitating patients suffering from brain damage. In addition, understanding how cortical modules function may lead to new ways of increasing intelligence. However, Mercado cautions that “new technologies for increasing cognitive plasticity have ethical. Implications. He concludes, “The phrase ‘changing your mind’ may soon take on a whole new meaning.”



Getting to know yourself a little better
How well do you know Although it can be fairly yourself? It’s a question many simple to assess how people’s of us struggle with, as we try attitudes change over time; to figure out how close we that is, have them predict are to who we actually want how they will feel at certain to be. time and then actually In a new report in measure their feelings at that Perspectives on Psychological time, it is more difficult to Science, a journal of the measure people’s current selfAssociation for Psychological knowledge accurately. Science, Some psychologist methods of To know more Timothy about yourself, try to acquiring D. Wilson accurate see yourself through information from the University on a person’s the eyes of other of Virginia feelings or their people. describes personality theories are to compare behind self-knowledge (that reports from their peers is, how people form beliefs and study their nonverbal about themselves), cites behavior. challenges psychologists However, Wilson encounter while studying it, has “great faith in the and offers ways we can get to methodological creativity” know ourselves a little better. of his “fellow social The study of selfpsychologists” and is knowledge has tended to confident that questions raised focus on how accurate we by these types of experiments are at determining our own will be answered in the next internal states, such as our few years. emotions, personality and Although Wilson attitudes. acknowledges all the However, Wilson notes interesting findings that have that self-knowledge can come out of new technologies, be broadened to include such as fMRI, he cautions that memory, like recalling how those type of studies may not we felt in the past, and be very relevant to studying prospection, predicting how issues associated with selfwe will feel in the future. knowledge. While a number of There are a number of researchers are conducting theories that aim to describe studies that are applicable to self-knowledge by a dualthose various facets of selfprocess model, pitting the knowledge, Wilson observes unconscious against the that there is not much conscious. communication between Wilson notes that these them, one reason this field is theories are pessimistic in that challenging to investigate. they view the unconscious as something that cannot be breached. However, he remarks that “self-knowledge is less a matter of careful introspection than of becoming an excellent observer of oneself.” Wilson suggests some ways that can help us learn more about ourselves, such as really attempting to be objective when considering our behaviors and trying to see ourselves through the eyes of other people. Another way of knowing ourselves better is to become more aware of findings from psychological science. Wilson concludes, “Most of us pay attention to medical findings that inform us about our bodies (e.g., that smoking tobacco is harmful), and can learn about our psychological selves in the same way.” For copy of “Know Thyself” and other articles in the Perspectives on Psychological Science special issue “The Next Big Questions in Psychology,” visit www.psychologicalscience.org




Same as cash
By Michael Soon Lee How would you like an extra $5,000 to $10,000 or more a year? ‘This money can be earned simply by becoming a better negotiator, yet most people in the United States rarely take advantage of the power of bargaining, except on rare occasions when making large purchases like cars and houses. In other countries, like Asia, people negotiate everything everyday and save thousands. Negotiating is like a martial arts contest where power, leverage and

Become a black belt through negotiating
symbolizes purity and lack of knowledge like a seed waiting to germinate. Likewise, in negotiating there are indicators that you are a novice such as not being aware that everything is negotiable under the right circumstances. Not only cars and houses can be subject to haggling in the United States, even such items as death and taxes can be negotiable as well. For instance, if you can negotiate better healthcare, you are likely to live longer and if you can reduce your taxes, you instantly increase your standard of living. The author regularly receives a “good patient” discount from his dentist because he always pays his bills promptly and, when representing clients before the IRS, has gotten the agency to forgive tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes. The second rank is usually the yellow belt and represents the seed reaching for the sun and getting ready to grow. In martial arts you prepare for a contest by spying on your opponent to find any weaknesses. In negotiating you do the same thing by doing your homework about the party you are bargaining with. For example, if you’re buying a diamond ring, what are the attributes that make one more valuable than the other and what’s the lowest price you can find the one you want on the Internet? The third belt is green, which symbolizes the seed beginning to sprout. In martial arts you learn how to warm up by stretching your muscles so you don’t injure yourself. In negotiating you warm up by building rapport with the other party through small talk. Many amateur bargainers miss this step, which is crucial because people like to do business with people they like. The fourth belt is blue symbolizing the plant reaching for the sky. In martial arts you practice your punching and blocking techniques. At this stage in the bargaining process you learn to respond to offers in a way that doesn’t give away your intentions. For example, if a seller offers you a five percent discount you should reply, “You’ll have to do better than that.” This implies that their offer isn’t good enough without you putting anything on the table yourself. The fifth belt is usually brown calling to mind the plant becoming firmly rooted

timing can mean the difference between winning and losing. In martial arts the black belt symbolizes mastery of the craft and there are seven major belts that you must master before being awarded the highest honor. Beginners in martial arts start out as white belts. This


LIVING into the earth. In martial arts this is the stage when you learn to use time effectively in a tournament. Negotiators at this level know that it’s crucial to set deadlines for the other party otherwise there is no pressure to come to agreement. Savvy bargainers know that if you give people all day to make up their minds they will take all do. They are also aware that the one with the least time pressure usually wins. The sixth belt is red symbolizing the setting sun and the fact that the plant has matured. This is the stage where martial artists learn to always be on guard because there can be unfair fighters who will kick you when your back is turned or even hit you below the belt. Similarly there are dirty fighters in negotiating who try to trigger your emotions by insulting you or those who will try to renegotiate a contract after signing it. Experienced negotiators do not allow themselves to get emotionally involved and protect themselves against renegotiations by always saving something for the end for such events. The final belt is black meaning that the highest level of skill has been achieved. However, just like in martial arts, the learning never stops. In fact, there are actually 10 degrees of black belts each one harder than the last. In negotiating you can never stop learning if you want to be a master. There are many ways to improve your bargaining skill such as going to garage sales and flea markets and to constantly look for opportunities to bargain. Michael “Soon” Lee, MBA, is a nationally recognized professional speaker and author of the book Black Belt Negotiating™. He has negotiated everything from multi-million dollar real estate transactions to major motion picture deals and even discounts on gas for his car. He is President of EthnoConnect™. Web site: http://www.ethnoconnect.com

Does your avatar make you look fat?
Creating a second life avatar, or virtual representation of oneself, that is thin and physically fit may encourage individuals to become healthier and more physically fit in their real lives, according to a study by researchers at RTI International. The study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, found support for the idea that individuals are more likely to engage in physical activities in their real lives if their avatars in second life engage in physical activities. “Based these on preliminary results, it seems likely virtual reality users may adjust their identity to be consistent with that of their avatars,” said elizabeth Dean, research survey methodologist at RTI and the study’s lead author. For this study, researchers interviewed 29 residents in the second life virtual world. Half the participants were interviewed by a thin avatar and half by an obese avatar. The study also found that participants interviewed by the thin avatar were more likely to report that their own avatar shape was thin than those interviewed by the obese avatar. The average body mass index (BmI) reported by participants was also higher when interviewed by the obese avatar than was reported by those interviewed by the thin avatar. The researchers suggest that the ease of manipulating the size and shape of one’s avatar in second life gives researchers the opportunity to understand social factors surrounding issues such as obesity, body image and physical fitness.





Attention: Your expertise is about to expire
In the old days, people hoarded knowledge as a hedge against colleague competition or obsolescence. But the shelf life of knowledge and expertise is short-lived in the fast-paced environment of the 21st century. Be careful not to let yourself go beyond your expiration date. Here’s what a consultant may be telling your boss. It’s just as relevant to you.
By Ross Shafer The headline got your attention didn’t it? It’s scary to think you might actually become obsolete. What’s really frightening is to already be obsolete and not even know it. You see, it doesn’t matter that you’ve been an expert in your field for 20 years. Or that you are a leading expert in your field, today. What are you doing to make sure you’re an expert tomorrow? In 10 years? You already know that technology changes weekly. You know that today’s workforce consists of four wildly different generations. And, you just heard your competition recently went “global” – or has started franchising. Bold growth begs to ask bold questions . . . like, “Am I still relevant?” Are you relevant to your customers, your clients, your patients, your colleagues or your employees? If you aren’t important to your core (and vital) constituents, you are destined to experience a withering market share and the loss of your most talented co-workers and staff members. So what can you do about keeping your edge? How can you continue to grow when the trends seem to be outpacing you? Attend the wrong convention Yes, I’m actually asking you to “crash” a big general meeting at a hotel near you. Find out what big convention is in town. Dress well. Show up. Tell “security” at the door that you don’t have your badge but that you didn’t want to miss the guest speaker. (All true). Ninety-five percent of the time you’ll be able to sit down and soak up some information that will likely revolutionize your business. In my job I get the opportunity to attend 80+ conferences and conventions each year. I have a front row seat to a myriad of best practices. And then do I my best to cross-pollinate them at the next conference. For example: I went to a grocery convention and found out that 42 percent of grocery shoppers still don’t know what they want for dinner at 4:00 p.m. I passed on that valuable tidbit to a chain of successful seafood restaurants. They immediately started running their radio ads at 3:00 p.m. Planting another meal option in the minds of the listeners (when they are starting to think about dinner) has caused their restaurant business to climb. Best practices are a moving target What works today might not work tomorrow. I heard Jack Welch tell a group of tech executives that when he ran General Electric he would actually penalize a manager for not being forthcoming about a better way he/she was doing things. That policy became an inside joke at G.E. A manager would call Jack’s office and say, “Hey, I think we’re onto something really cool in Des Moines. Please tell Jack so I don’t get caught with it.” Companies like 3-M are never satisfied with exceeding sales goals on today’s great products. They take enormous pride in the fact that 30 percent of their products didn’t even exist four years ago. They innovate to remain relevant. I was at a Kodak camera meeting in the late ‘90s where a top sales executive stood up and told the group, “Don’t


LEARNING be freaked out by digital photography. It’s a fad.” Endorsing that kind of irrelevance has diminished their stock value, their employee recruiting, and their market share. I wonder if the folks at Polaroid had similar denial toward the digital revolution. Stop losing sleep over technology If you have email, a Web site, a reliable server, and the ability to sell products and services online, you’re doing great. You’re better off worrying about the human communication skills of your work force. With the rampant proliferation of cell phones, voicemail, email and text messaging, more and more of your customers and clients are craving human contact. They want to talk to human beings. They want a trusted relationship with you so they can stop “dating” your competition. Honestly, they could care less what generation of routers and switchers you’re running. They want you to listen to what they need – then consult them on their choices. We teach Customer Empathy™ classes … instead of customer “service” because today’s customers want you to understand their point of view before, during and after the transaction. They want you to know they often feel helpless, out of control, and anxious about the purchase; especially if it’s a high-ticket item. You may be a person who sells homes, computers, or BMWs all day long. But your customer may only buy an item that huge two to four times in their lifetime. Creating a trusted emotional connection with your customer is the only recipe for long-term customer loyalty. Listen to our culture Don’t just subscribe to your industry magazines. Every month, go to your local newsstand (or go online) and read a variety of publications you normally wouldn’t read. Pick magazines about science, medicine, sports, money, guitars and women’s issues. Get a sense of what our culture is talking about. How are they spending their time? How are they spending their money? Listen to people talk at the supermarket, the drug store, the fast food restaurant, the hardware store . . . wherever. You’re listening for “buzz.” Buzz is the new stuff everybody is talking about. You want to be buzz. Young people know about buzz They are often early adopters of technology, games, phone services and anything fun and interesting. Their shorter attention spans demand it. Have a meeting with the Millennials in your workforce. Ask them what Web sites they surf. Ask them where they spend their weekends and off time. Ask them to help you set up a Wikipedia page or upload homemade company videos to YouTube. Young people are relevant by design and peer pressure. They embrace change because change means “better.”

Remember, they’re anxious to download software upgrades. If you take an active interest in paying attention to life and humanity, obsolescence will never be your problem. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to focus on more important crises . . . like your hairline? Ross Shafer is a TV personality turned business consultant and conference speaker/humorist. Web site: http://rossshafer.com/index. php




The world is open
A new book by an Indiana University School of Education professor takes a comprehensive look at how Web technology is changing worldwide education. The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education, written by Curt Bonk, professor of instructional systems technology, documents the many ways in which he says innovations

Anyone can learn anything from anybody anytime
that have made economic Bonk also discusses a 21globalization much easier. year-old behind a free online Bonk’s book provides a book catalogue who already framework for understanding made his mark on the Internet the availability of education by helping author “Real through Web technology with Simple Syndication,” or RSS, at his own list of 10. age 14. “With it, people can go down the list Collaboration is from birth not of ‘flatteners,’ to death – from K-12 to the as Friedman talks workplace. about, but of ‘openers,’ as in the doors becoming Not only is education open for education,” Bonk changing in the places where said. the Internet is available, “By having that list of 10, the resources available on it is a somewhat succinct list the Internet are changing from the potentially hundreds education even where the that could be listed, so as not Internet is not available, Bonk to overwhelm people with the said. possibilities.” People are taking The 10 key trends Bonk knowledge to remote places. explores include “Web “For instance, in Western searching in the world of eChina, I talk about the ‘1kg books,” “availability of open Project,’ where people go source and free software,” on the Web, volunteer their and “real-time mobility and time and visit schools in portability.” The beginning Western China, and bring one letters from each trend spell kilogram of stuff with them,” “WE-ALL-LEARN.” he said. The book documents “These kids don’t have numerous stories of eInternet access. But really, the learning, from the founding Internet’s enabling them to of Wikipedia to a high school get education that normally student who took coursework wouldn’t happen.” traveling with her family at In the book, Bonk points sea. out how the different trends Extensive interviews have especially impacted include a young millionaire worldwide education, in Tapei who made a fortune particularly open courseware first translating Lord of the and open education resources Rings books and then used on the Web. Shared online that money to translate video and “wikis,” online texts open courseware from the that readers can contribute to, Massachusetts Institute of are having a large influence. Technology into Chinese and NeXT PAGe make it available for free.

have made it possible so “anyone can learn anything from anyone else at any time.” The book is inspired by the best-selling work of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat.” In the book, which came out in 2005, Friedman documented 10 “flatteners”



Don’t mess with human nature
By Charles Ehin Think for a moment about your most memorable work and life experiences. What aspects of those events ultimately surface as most meaningful? My guess is that the episodes are closely linked to mutually rewarding relationships. “Things” seldom enter the picture. But guess what? Nearly all business schools, at least at the introductory levels, are still focused on the four functions of management – planning, organizing, leading and controlling. These functions were originally introduced by the two most prominent management gurus at the beginning of the 20th Century! The last time I checked we’re supposed to be firmly anchored in the Knowledge Age. So what gives? How come there still is almost no mention in the classroom of the importance of co-evolving relationships which is such an important part of human nature and one of the most critical components of the innovation process? Why? I guess it’s hard to stop a charging rhino (old habits are hard to break). It may also be because relationships are emergent and, therefore, are hard to track if they can’t be included in financial statements. Organizations and social networks are composed of people. They are organic entities, not machines. Therefore, human nature

should receive the utmost attention instead of machine metaphors like the Industrial Age functions of management. What’s most disturbing about the lack of focus on human nature is the fact that most of the work in any enterprise is accomplished in informal networks where meaningful “unmanaged” relationships are the name of the game. In the May issue of Smart People, I mentioned my discovery of the “organizational sweet spot.” Is it any wonder that in the sweet spot mutually supportive relationships and


Anyone can learn anything from anybody anytime

“The fact is that collaboration is from birth to death these days,” Bonk said. “You have to do it in K-12 schools to survive oftentimes, and also in workplaces.” “The vast majority of people going online are not looking at it to take a course, or to get a degree,” Bonk said. “They’re doing it out of their own personal volition. They’re doing it out of their own learning quest, if you will.” Through the testimonies of e-learners, teachers, technology leaders and others, Bonk points out that

not only are the methods of instruction changing, technology is also altering the way we learn things. “If all you have in your tests are dates and states and capitals – which you can easily have access to and put on your flash memory sticks -- what have we really taught people?” Bonk said. “So we have new questions about education and about types of knowledge, levels of knowledge, types of skills, problem-solving. What should be the goals for education?” There is an extensive Web presence accompanying the book. “I truly tried to show

that the world is open by having a lot of free content,” Bonk said. The site, http:/ / worldisopen.com, features links to resources and references from the book, some excerpts, as well as a book prequel and postscript. Bonk will soon be adding an e-book “extension” of the text. The site also links to his personal blog, TravelinEdMan (http:/ /travelinedman. blogspot.com/), as well as discussion spaces for readers to share their own stories which can be expanded in a wiki.



Professor Charles (Kalev) Ehin is an author and recognized innovation dynamics authority. His latest book is The Organizational Sweet Spot: Engaging the Innovative Dynamics of Your Social Networks. Web site: www.Un Management. com.

Don’t mess with human nature

unmanagement reign? Put another way: at the sweet spot the focus of each individual’s frame of mind shifts from the “dreaded power of the boss” to “engaging and enjoying the power of the surrounding coevolving networks.” It helps to keep in mind that every organization, if it’s still in business, has at least one sweet spot. The trick is to find it and let it see as much “daylight” as possible rather than having it function in the darkness of the bowels of an enterprise constantly on the lookout for the controlling hand of management. Therefore, what’s essential is developing an organizational context that facilitates the emergent (non-supervised) use of unique individual skills and talents in concert with other individuals.

What makes the sweet spot so powerful is its sellorganizing dynamics. The major factors in this churning process are the sharing of tacit knowledge (un-codified

knowledge grounded in personal experiences), the expansion of social capital (goodwill provided to informal network members through valuable information, influence and cohesion) and human nature (fundamental human computation differentiating between hostile and hospitable stimuli). Recent research has added two more key components to the dynamics of the sweet spot – pride and the wandering mind. Strangely, psychologists until very recently ignored pride as a basic social emotion. That no longer is the case. Researchers analyzed unprompted responses to winning or losing a sporting event. They found that expressions of pride after a win were similar to all nations involved – a slight smile, with head tilt, and hands on hips or raised high. Most importantly, they found that people tend to associate pride with higher status even when the person involved ranked relatively low on the totem pole. Just imagine what a little “natural” pride can do instead of prizes doled out by management such as the “employee of the month award.” That person is eager to start or join another project. Also teammates will be more enthusiastic about receiving advice from such people and inviting them to join their team.

Mind wandering is the other new component deserving a prominent place in the organizational sweet spot. Neuroscientists have found that our minds wander at least fifty percent of the time when we are involved in a task, even when explicitly asked to pay close attention. Interestingly, two regions of our brains become active during mind wandering. One is the executive control system. This area of the brain influences both our conscious and subconscious thoughts toward important goals. The other region is the default network. Essentially, this region becomes active during self-referential thinking. That is, reflecting on personal experiences or picturing yourself in the future. The bottom line is that we innately, consciously or unconsciously, reflect on the here and now and the future. In effect, we try to balance the current with what lies ahead on the horizon. Now, how do you think this all plays out in different organizational contexts? That is, one based on the firm adherence to the functions of management, the other based on the principles of human nature or sell-organization. I’ll let you answer that question on our own. What I suggest is that we start paying much closer attention to Mother Nature and leave the functions of management where they belong – on the pages of history books.



By Carol Kinsey Goman

Emotional contagion – good and bad
Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, is an author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is The Nonverbal Advantage – Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work. For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510.526.1727, email: CGoman@ CKG.com, or through her Web sites: www. CKG.com and www. NonverbalAdvantage. com.

It started out to be a wonderful day. The sun was shining and I was singing along with my favorite radio station while driving through unusually light traffic to the San Francisco airport. Then, as I was turning into the airport parking lot, a driver abruptly pulled in front of me and glared through his rearview mirror. At the ticket counter the airline employee frowned and sighed as I explained the need to make changes to my itinerary. By the time a scowling attendant took my airline ticket, I scowled right back. My good mood had been contaminated! No one is immune to emotional contagion. Facial gestures and their underlying emotions (both positive and negative) are highly infectious and “catching” them is a universal human phenomenon. We all tend to mimic the facial expressions and reflect the mood of those with whom we have contact. Getting a genuine smile can brighten up our day. And angry frowns are upsetting. We’re hardwired to mimic expressions and emotions and have been doing so since infancy. Nine-month-old babies look longer at their mothers and express greater joy when their mothers are themselves joyful. One-year-olds, after watching a videotape of an actress portraying either positive or negative feelings, will mimic the actress’ expressions and alter their own emotions accordingly. As adults, we remain susceptible. Swedish researchers found that merely seeing a picture of a happy face produces fleeting activity in the muscles that pull the mouth into a smile. In fact, whenever we look at a photograph of someone portraying any strong emotion, like sadness, disgust or joy, our facial muscles automatically start to mirror that expression. And it isn’t just a physical response, since our facial expressions will subtly trigger the corresponding feelings. A business simulation experiment at Yale University gave two groups of people the assignment of deciding how much of a bonus to give each employee from a set fund of money. Each person in the group was to get as large a bonus as possible for certain employees, while being fair to the entire employee population. In one group, the conflicting agendas led to stress and tension, while in the second group, everyone ended up feeling good about the result. The difference was in the “plants” – actors who had been secretly assigned to each group. In the first group, the actor was negative and downbeat -- and in the second, positive and upbeat. The emotional tone of the meetings followed the lead of each actor – although none of the group members understood why his or her feelings had shifted. In my change-management consulting, I’ve noticed that in times of organizational uncertainty, employees instinctively pay more attention to the facial expressions of those around them. People search for smiles or frowns to get a better sense of how to interpret and react to a situation, and then they begin to mimic the predominant emotions. When someone moans about an upcoming change or rants that the company is sure to go under, co-workers can be “infected” with a kind of collective anxiety about the future Especially now, in challenging times, we need to make sure we’re part of the positive emotion solution, and not part of the problem.

In times of organizational uncertainty, employees instinctively pay more attention to the facial expressions of those around them.





Desperation is the mother of inspiration
By Bob Goshen Everyone has been there at one time or another – the cold sweats or the sickening of the stomach when presented with a challenge that seems totally overwhelming. The initial shock, the process of questioning how could this be happening? Why did this happen to me? What am I going to do? And for some, is life really worth living? An event that causes total desperation! Whether faced with the possibility of a life-threatening illness in yourself or a loved one; or an unfortunate downturn in business that affects yourself, your employees and the suppliers you’ve built relationships with, desperation is there. But you see, everyone has encountered the challenges. There are those who have lost a family member or a child and have grown past that initial desperation. You’ve heard story after story about challenges that would make most people no longer desire fellowship with others, stories that would send most people into total isolation; yet they have stood strong and have for the most part helped others who have had the same challenge they experienced. So what do you learn from desperation? How can you say that inspiration is produced by desperation? Can desperation be our friend? Let’s look at what benefits we receive when we find ourselves in a desperate situation. n It makes you reevaluate where you are. You must immediately ask the question, what created this challenge? Is it something I did? What principle did I violate to receive this pain? Could I have done anything differently? Was this totally out of my control? Desperation makes you stop and readjust to the now. It makes you take inventory of your life and often puts life back into balance. It forces examination of actions. n It challenges your character. It either makes you a better person or a bitter person. It makes you lean on the values learned that keep you secure in your thoughts and actions. It moves you into a stronger pattern of patience and endurance, by beginning to find just how strong you are and how the years have given you the ability to endure much more than thought possible. n It slows you down. Often the diagnosis of a disease immediately slows a person down. It makes you look at activities over the years and how our bodies and minds have been treated. Desperation related to a health challenge drives you to the deepest core values and creates a brand new mindset that says “health is the most important asset we maintain,” and we will work harder to feed our bodies. Desperation as related to health is sometimes the only way God has of saying, “You’re too stressful; slow down.” n It makes you consider your faith. Many have found in those times of great desperation they move closer to spiritual beliefs. The greatest cure for desperation is hope. It is the only ingredient that can move a person forward from that slippery slope of desperation. The hope that tomorrow will be a better day, the hope that relationships will get better. And for those who have lost a loved one, the hope and belief in knowing they are in a much better place. Whether it is a business not coming together or a much larger family challenge, you were placed here on earth not to survive but to thrive, to give light to those who have none. Even during the desperate years of the 1970s when this nation stood in “stagflation” for more than a decade, when the Dow Jones hit 850 points, when there were gas lines two miles long as we rationed gasoline, and the record was set for bankruptcy, there was new inspiration. For during this time “Skylab” was put into space, the Concorde fly from Europe to the United States in less than four hours, and a young



Innovating every day
By Holly G. Green Who doesn’t recognize the need to constantly innovate today? After all, just look around at all that is new in our world in the past few years. Are you twittering? One million+ others are. Do you have a product or service video up on YouTube? Twenty-five million+ people do. And are you LinkedIn or participating in SecondLife? These are just a few of the new social media innovations that are dramatically changing how people connect and get work done. Now think about other areas that are changing just as rapidly: technology, diversity, competition, products, etc. It

How to succeed by thinking differently
can be a bit mind boggling and certainly intimidating to ponder how to keep up these days. What does innovation look like at work today and do you need to spend millions for a research and development department to come up with the next great product or service? How can you more actively incorporate new thinking, new products and new options including getting more done with less into your day-to-day activities? Today innovation needs to be about: n Challenging the ways we do things even when it has always worked well; n Continually creating new products, services and ideas that have value for stakeholders; n Trying different and novel ways to deal with ongoing challenges; n Constantly seeking and implementing new and better ways to achieve results. Innovation is more than brainstorming or idea generation. To be truly innovative, you have to do something different. And for businesses, whatever it is you do must have value for at least one of your stakeholder groups (employees, customers, suppliers, partners, etc.). Key actions you can take to be more innovative include developing awareness and understanding of your own assumptions, beliefs and biases – we all have a lot of them. They are the thoughts that pop up as soon as we see someone, hear something or even smell a particular scent. Making assumptions about possible solutions to a problem can limit creativity, causing difficulty. At the beginning of any project or when faced with a tough situation, pause for a moment and note your assumptions. What do you believe to be so and could it be different? Learn to recognize when the strongest thoughts appear in your head and stop for a moment. Ask yourself “What if . . . I am wrong . . . There is something else . . . It could be interpreted another way . . . There is more I know/do not know about this”? Ask the right questions Focus on where you want to go (versus where you are or what is in the way).


man who quit college started a company called Microsoft. Yes, “desperation is the mother of inspiration.” Bob Goshen is an international marketing consultant, trainer, and founder of three corporations. He is a former U.S. spy turned global business guru who specializes in creating a leadership culture that gets things done. Bob has developed marketing strategies for such noted companies as CocaCola and Sunrider International. For more information visit www. bobgoshen.com



How to succeed by thinking differently

Give yourself a clear target by describing, as clearly as possible, what it looks like when you achieve success. Think about which beliefs you need to move out of the way or suspend (i.e., “that’s not the way we do things here . . . our customers will never accept X . . .”). Jot down the most interesting questions you can come up with to encourage thinking differently and make your questions open ended and future focused.

you look at challenges from different perspectives. They help change our perception so that the same data has different meaning. Stage your field of vision Get the right things in front of you. Adult humans are very visually driven creatures, but today there are more distractions than ever competing for our time and attention. Make sure your targets are visible to you as much of the time as possible. Get them on the wall in your office; have them pop up on your task list on your computer and PDA. Make sure they are visible to everyone involved as well. If it is not in front of you visually, you probably won’t do it, so take the time to fill your working area with the visuals that help keep you focused on success. Connect the dots in new ways Figuring out patterns forms a large part of our intelligence. Your subconscious mind likes closure. When faced with an incomplete picture, it works to complete the mental image by inferring the missing information. Your mind works the same way on an unsolved

problem or challenge; it loves to dive right in and get the job done by using what you already know or expect. So, look for successful approaches that can be applied to your situation. What products, services and/ or companies are incredibly successful right now? What can you adapt from what they are doing? Original ideas can come from recognizing new connections between familiar things and transforming them into something new. In many ways, our own brain gets in our way the most and minimizes our innovation. We can learn to leverage the power of it by pausing every now and then to: n Define excellence up front (don’t do it over, spend the time to do it right the first time); n Consider different perspectives and angles; n Ask simple questions to trigger a new way of perceiving; n Ponder the impossible. Holly G. Green is author of More Than A Minute, and CEO and managing director, The Human Factor, Inc. She has more than 20 years of executive level and operations experience in Fortune 100, entrepreneurial and management consulting organizations. She was previously president of The Ken Blanchard Companies, a global consulting and training organization as well as LumMed, Inc. a biotech start up. For more information, visit morethanaminute.com.


Consider different angles Pose questions to prompt your brain to look at the same data in a new way. “What would our competitor invest in if they were us? What one thing do our customers really want us to change? What do our employees think would provide the most fuel for our success?” Questions help



Study finds men more than women share their creative work online
A Northwestern University, U.S., study finds that men are more likely to share their creative work online than women despite the fact that women and men engage in creative activities at essentially equal rates. “Because sharing information on the Internet today is a form of participating in public culture and contributing to public discourse, that tells us men’s voices are being disproportionately heard,” says Eszter Hargittai, assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University. Hargittai co-authored the study with Northwestern researcher Gina Walejko. Overall, almost two-thirds of men reported posting their work online while only half of women reported doing so. However, when Hargittai and Walejko controlled for likely to contribute online content,” says Hargittai. The study titled “The Participation Divide: Content Creation and Sharing in the Digital Age” recently appeared in the journal, Information, Communication and Society. Hargittai and Walejko found men were more than twice as likely to share music on the Web that they had created or re-mixed than were women; and that men were also considerably more likely to post film or video they made when compared to women who engaged in filmor video-making. “Much of the early research about the Web dwelled on accessibility and on digital technology’s ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’” says Hargittai. And early conversations about the Web revolved around its potential as a social leveler once access issues were “It appears that lack of perceived resolved. Today, skill is holding women back from researchers putting their creative content out like Hargittai – who directs there,” says Hargittai. Northwestern’s Web Use self-reported digital literacy Project – and Walejko study and Web know-how, they how people use the Internet, found that men and women who creates content for the actually posted their material Web and whether or not the about equally. Internet contributes to social “This suggests that the equality. Internet is not an equal In their survey of creative playing field for men and content – whether online or women since those with more offline – the Northwestern online abilities – whether researchers found that on perceived or actual – are more average two out of three men

and two out of three women engage in creative writing, art photography, music or film/ video generally (and this does not relate in any way to the Web). “So while creative output, on the aggregate, is equally distributed among men and women, the sharing of such content is not,” Hargittai says. Of the 61 percent of the full sample who reported engaging in at least one type of creative activity, 56 percent said they posted at least some of their creative work online. Not surprisingly – since it is the easiest content to post – the most popular type of creative content shared online was creative writing. Just over half of the students who report engaging in creative writing also reported posting their work online. Video was the second most popular creative work to be posted, at just under 50 percent. Again, Hargittai points to the ease of posting such material. “Video-sharing sites like YouTube make it relatively simple for people to share their own or remixed videos,” she says.




KM Six Pack #4
By Jerry Ash Before cultural change in a knowledge-based organization can occur on the shop floor, the right corporate culture has to be in place in the executive suite, creating an environment where people are comfortable developing new work practices. Restrictive procedures and guidelines from the top down leave little place, if any, for human emotions, inspiration, know-how and individual or collaborative adventure in the employee culture. Managing today requires knowing what people face in their jobs and finding ways to reconcile issues and enable creative thinking. Leading and following in the KM community is a collaborative up-down exercise. There are several keys to establishing a knowledge-friendly corporate culture. The most important are: n Seeing the organization less as a machine operated by people, and more as an organic and biological organism composed of people, expanding and even mutating with innovative ideas or faster response times than that of competitors. n Seeing the business based on individual and collaborative commerce instead of corporate commerce, which will

Company: Not managing but enabling knowledge
change the old concept of the firm. n Seeing the role of managers as one of communicating, mentoring and enabling, rather than managing. Organizations in the Industrial Age took big people and put them in little boxes, then gave them a half-written script – the job description – and expected them to play a role. The minute they started to be themselves, their scripts were stuffed in their faces. Often the most common misconceptions remain that employees have limited or narrow capabilities, are untrustworthy or even disloyal – and thus, the need for rigid rules. And yet, no one’s goal in life is to do a mediocre job at a company he or she hates. In fact, most want to do a terrific job on meaningful projects at a company they care about and with people they like. The organization that genuinely recognizes the necessity of KM and builds an environment that welcomes initiative and collaboration will find that a positive change in employee culture – top to bottom – will quickly follow and corporate achievements will soar. In the best KM model, managers are valued not because they are in control or know more than their staffs, but because they can quickly

This is the fourth in a series of six articles introducing newly engaged employees and managers to the basics of knowledge-based enterprise.
communicate the things they do know and get staff to do the same with each other. Where the company is willing to change its organizational chart from vertical lines to overlapping circles, hierarchy will take on a wondrously different complexion. Modern-day leaders will build environments of trust and mutual respect where creative contribution is the norm. Such norms in corporate culture have, in recent years, changed the way staffs work, share, learn, and respond to clients’ needs. These are self-motivated workers who know their knowledge is important to the performance of the company and to themselves. They are energized and committed to increasing innovation, performance and productivity. They are testimony to the impact that changes in corporate culture and management practice can have on the knowledge-driven organization. See Six Pack #1 through 3 in the May through August issues [www.smartpeoplemagazine. com]. In the October issue: Not hoarding but managing one’s personal knowledge.


Economic crunch affecting your people? Is doing more with less stressing them out? Do something for them and the company.
Co-brand Smart People magazine and make it available to everyone – employees, suppliers, even customers. It’s one cool tool that reaches out to the digitally connected to transfer their passions for social networking, online learning and research from the outside-in. Results: Less stress. Happier, more creative and collaborative workers. And higher productivity to offset the lean years.

for EvEryonE
Contact Smart People publisher, Jerry Ash smart.guy1@smartpeoplemagazine.com for details. Or call him: 813.335.1355

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