Joitske Hulsebosch has an interesting blog post about her experience getting special shoes made. The shoemaker and his (own) mould:
… He explained that every shoemaker has his own way of working, there are subtle differences in how you approach it. He would never want to work with a mould made by his colleague, but rather create a new one. His mould of the same foot will be quite different. This surprised me, it seemed so logical to share the mould as an outsider.
This jumped out at me from many discussions and attempts and creating knowledge management within organizations or teams. Even when the attempts aren’t aimed as high as a fully-baked KM effort, but simply encouraging people to share their materials, do I see these kinds of problems. I have the challenge myself.
We all think different ways about the work we are engaged in. Writing things down, designing models (physical or computational), presentations, … Each of us have our own style, and working with other people’s gear is often a challenge. Maybe it takes us out of our comfort zone.
The challenge that Joitske raises is that while this is a common situation, the attitude we take limits our opportunity to learn. Maybe the way someone else thinks - as articulated in their materials - can teach us different ways of thinking. While I am not perfect at this, I often find new ways of approaching an idea give me a useful additional perspective.