This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Listen and learn leads to improvements

Ears

I heard Francis Gouillart speak a couple months ago about Co-Creation (post), and I finally took the time to read his HBR article with Venkat Ramaswamy, Building the Co-Creative Enterprise.

My world these days is all about process improvement, which can be a very focused effort of "here is my solution, implement it." Happily, that is not the way I work - I don't think I am wired up to force fit my ideas. I think this is one of the reasons that knowledge management has always interested me, and why I continue to be interested in the possibilities of social business approaches.

Back to the idea of Co-Creation. In my reading of the article, I kept seeing the idea that Co-Creation is all about listening, rather than telling. Sure, there is a general direction you are trying to go, but the people who do the work are the best people to highlight the needs and make recommendations on how to get there. I like how the article highlights not only internal people, but also customers and suppliers - anyone who interacts with the process in question. This requires openness on the part of the business: open-mindedness, open data, open ears, open eyes, open channels.

One thing I've done recently that has reinforced this idea is to make relevant information visible for people. Businesses are still learning that email is where knowledge goes to die (cite). But knowledge can never develop when the relevant data are locked away in data systems and reports on our network. Get the useful stuff out of jail and make it useful. Put it up on a wall (or into your social tools) so that people can see it, think about it, point to it, and talk about it as they stand there together. Make it possible for all see and play with the data: not just the experts who might "own" the information. With the information and some general direction on where you want to go and the permission, it is amazing what the people with a vested interest will do to get there. Why should we restrain them?

[Photo: "Ears" by Daniele Sartori]

That can't possibly work here

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