How to change someone's mind

It's no great secret that lots of our present debates (climate change, vaccines, genetically modified organisms, even national broadband) have two sides with deeply entrenched views.

In these circumstances, there is a tendency for people to shout their points of view louder. Unfortunately, this tends to reinforce the views of the other side if they feel they are being personally attacked (there's even a name for this phenomenon: the "worldview backfire effect").

To understand why this happens, we must look at the nature of our long-term memory. Although we are capable of remembering facts and figures ("semantic memory"), marketing has long been aware that people have better recognition and recall of memories relating to their own personal experiences ("episodic memory"). These memories are largely based on our senses and emotions.

[Winning hearts and minds.]

Gamification - fad or fun?

The rise in "gamification" as a management technique to change staff or user behavior is simultaneously exciting and exasperating. Exciting because it means that managers are beginning to recognise that incentives are necessary to change behavior; exasperating because it claims some special insight into how incentives are implemented and managed.

For example, the recent KMWorld feature on KM behaviors and adoption through gamification talks about employees being given "an insight into the level of impact he or she is having across the organisation" and "being recognized and rewarded for that". Yes, the outcome is increased "impact of collaborative behaviors on the organization" (which is great!) but the reason is the recognition and reward, not gamification per se.

Put another way: if the game was there, but managers publicly or privately told staff "I see you've been wasting your time getting points with that collaboration leaderboard again", and over the long-term promotions went to people who ignored or gamed the system, then it would rapidly lose its effectiveness.

Using RecordPoint to make SharePoint records-compliant

Undoubtedly, one of Microsoft's biggest successes of the past 10 years has been Microsoft SharePoint.

After a couple of stuttering early releases, SharePoint 2003 became a useful and viable choice for organisations that were heavily reliant on Microsoft Office documents (ie just about everyone), due to its ability to provide flexible, end-user customisation of sites and seamless opening and saving of documents in Office (no more download -> edit -> upload cycles!).

Strategically it's been brilliant, because it has become a natural extension of using Office for people who don't like receiving documents in their inbox like Strategic-Plan-v12.1+JC comments.docx. Microsoft's also incorporated SharePoint integration into many of their products including Dynamics CRM, and even made SharePoint the underlying platform of a few (Project Server, Forefront Identity Manager).

But that typical Microsoft ease of installation was always countered by recordkeepers who would say (with perhaps a tinge of relief) that "it wasn't records compliant". And this was true, unless you locked down most of the features that made SharePoint a platform people wanted to use in the first place! So in many organisations, SharePoint lives side by side with an "official" recordkeeping platform like TRIM or Objective.

[Why RecordPoint fills the gap...]

Blog relaunch

If you've visited this blog recently, you may have noticed the new theme and a few other tweaks to content. (If you are reading this via RSS/Atom, you'll just have to trust me.)

So what is knowquestion, you may be asking? Simple: knowquestion is my new consulting venture offering specialist Information and Knowledge Management services. To start with, I will be focusing on providing support for agencies making the switch to using SharePoint + RecordPoint as a records-compliance platform. This is an area where there is increasing interest, but not a lot of expertise out there yet.

On checklists, maturity models and methodologies

There is a lot of empirical evidence that shows checklists are one of the best ways to ensure consistency and quality in execution, even for domain experts.

And a maturity model is essentially just a slightly fancy checklist. So they should be a good
thing ... right?

Managing unknown risks

David Griffiths has a post struggling with how to correctly plan around low-probability, high-impact events (a.k.a. "black swans").

He writes:

... we can talk about historic data from past events, but implications and impact will not be transferable ... We can talk about frequency, but we cannot predict the next event or a likely time-frame for that event. We can raise awareness, but we offer nothing ‘tangible’.

How to correct misinformation

We know that misinformation, once established, can be surprisingly hard to correct. Now there is research into how you can most effectively debunk misinformation.

See Skeptical Science for more – with a great printable diagram of how you can put the findings to work.

A KM curriculum

I have previously discussed my problem-solving pattern based around 3 interlocking (and nested) cycles of knowledge processing, information processing, and business processing. All parts of of these cycles are valid targets for KM interventions to improve overall organisational performance.

Where I think many KM articles or broader educational programs go wrong is presenting a case study without explaining what the actual "KM" bit is.

What really matters?

Once, a team had to find a 20% saving in their budget. They were in despair since all of their costs were equally important and necessary to deliver their services. They decided to hold a workshop to work out what could be done.

The very first thing their moderator asked them was, "So, what would you do if you lost 50% of your budget?"

Sometimes tougher restrictions breed creativity and innovation in ways that fully-funded initiatives do not.

Blameless portmortems

For organisations committed to continually improving, self-reflection is critical. I particularly liked Etsy's description of how they conduct blameless portmortems when something goes wrong: