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terms of practice

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  • Paul Prueitt
    Please excuse the cross post. This letter and the two links develop some new ideas. Please respond only to the com-prac forum for continuation of this
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 16, 2001
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      Please excuse the cross post. This letter and the two links develop some
      new ideas. Please respond only to the com-prac forum for continuation of
      this discussion.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac

      or directly only to me. I will forward the message into the OntologyStream.

      I include a previous post from Denham Grey and Sun Li since both are of high
      quality and are worth reading and discussing.

      *****

      A community of practice is NOT a term of practice.

      By this we mean that a community of practice is a social unit where a degree
      of cohesiveness has been established.

      It is this cohesiveness that produces knowledge that is not merely the
      individual knowledge. (partial answer to Sun Li's question regarding what a
      CoP is that an individual is not).

      I say the above somewhat matter of fact. However, it is important to
      realize that a considerable investment is made by business and society in
      branding and advertising. This is made to control economic and political
      trends. The fact of advertising and branding is very important to any
      systems theoretical model of technology and social innovation.

      The branding may have an impedance mismatch between the message "used" and
      the product or service offered.

      This impedance is really necessary given the competitive nature of new
      company formation. Oracle's Larry Ellison was legendary in his promising
      product features that did not yet exist. This worked for Oracle during the
      time that Oracle was coming into dominance (read Mike Wilson's wonderful
      book "The Difference between God and Larry Ellison".)

      Ellison and others where bringing in the relational database. This proved
      to be, in the long term, a successful process.

      Business Process Re-engineering is an example of an unsuccessful branding
      and investment process.

      What was the difference? In one case the potential for a successful outcome
      existed, and in the other there was no potential because the general systems
      theory behind BPR was fundamentally flawed.

      http://www.bcngroup.org/admin/KNA/phases.htm

      Is a related short paper I work as a Model of Technology Growth. The URL
      links within this point to extensive work which I have prepared for my forum
      conversations.

      Back to the point about CoP as a branding term. We as a community
      interested in CoP recognize that we must talk about the social science as
      well as the economics of communities as social units. In this way we ground
      our discussion in something real (Relational Data Bases) as opposed to
      something not real (a systems theory foundation to BPR).

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Sun Li [mailto:sun@...]
      > Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 4:43 AM
      > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [cp] (unknown)
      >
      >
      > Paul has given me (us) a really comprehensive response to my
      > question. I'm still digesting his ideas (Prueitt, Event Modeling
      > and Knowledge processing, Jan 2000; foundational Paper on the
      > Transformation of Knowledge Ecology to a Knowledge Economy, Feb
      > 2001, etc.). His works really help not only the scientist, but
      > those non-scientists like the technical communicators with arts
      > background. Denham has also touched on the crux of my
      > question--how CoP can generate new knowledge. For me, I can
      > appreciate Denham's definition of knowledge--one being socially
      > defined. However, others (pure scientists for instance) may
      > critique there is a dangerous assumption: the community or
      > group's collective understanding is always true or better than
      > the individual's. If knowledge is produced when claims are
      > socially validated and meaning is negotiated & shared, we have
      > reduced "knowledge" to public opinion. It's not a desirable
      > outcome / scenario when we look back history when all people believed !
      > the earth is flat during the Middle Ages. So (it's) true CoP can
      > generate true innovation (or knowledge). Nobody would doubt this.
      > But a vital concern from a scientist perspective is it may also
      > generate false innovation or "knowledge," just like money can be
      > used to do a lot of good things as well as bad things, depending
      > on money in whose hands.
      >
      > The essence of CoP, to me, is a well-established tech-enhanced
      > environment with a dominating group of good people. (Good for the
      > purpose, like being competent, informed, trustworthy, generous,
      > leader-like, etc.) [quote me for this definition (smile)]
      >
      > Also, you (Denham) mentioned innovation may come from a variety
      > of sources, such as a strong desire from learning, a drive to be
      > "the best", etc. I have no doubt about these. However, these can
      > also be accomplished through other means. A related question
      > herewith surfaces: What is the kind of knowledge or innovation
      > being talked about that only CoP can generate (no other means
      > can)? What specific technologies, and how can they
      > theoretically, contribute to these functions? Perhaps, my
      > question may not follow the theme of the main discussion, but
      > these are an important concern of mine at present. Is there
      > anyone out there who can help?
      >
      .
      >
      >
      > >To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      > >From: "Denham Grey" <dgrey@...>
      > >Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 18:27:07 -0000
      > >Reply-To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      > >Subject: [cp] Generating knowledge
      > >
      > >Sun Li asks how CoPs can increase the generation of new knowledge.
      > >
      > >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/message/932
      > >
      > >Seems there are a number of avenues here. Let's start by looking at
      > >what we mean by 'new knowledge'. For me this takes us beyond
      > >information sharing (although this may result in new knowing for
      > >individuals) knowledge is produced when claims are socially validated
      > >and meaning is negotiated & shared.
      > >
      > >New knowledge starts with the adoption of different frames / schema /
      > >ontologies / concepts by the community. In essence, the group will
      > >bring forth a 'new world' through their physical interactions and
      > >dialog. Ed Schein points to surfacing individual and group
      > >assumptions as the key to reformulating models and frames. He
      > >advocates for action research and involvement with the group to co-
      > >design new ways of thinking and acting rather than 'forcing'
      > >interventions
      > >
      > >There are a large number of practices than can assist with knowledge
      > >generation. Here are some that work for me:
      > >
      > >1) Mining past experiences for patterns that show the 'best' solution
      > >to repetitive issues, participating in pattern writers workshops to
      > >surface, document and validate such patterns, arranging patterns in
      > >hierarchical level (structural coupling) and crafting a pattern
      > >language to improve group communication and recognize gaps.
      > >
      > >2) Making distinctions: calling attention to subtle differences that
      > >make a difference, making the group aware, sharing signs, assigning
      > >names and sharing meaning around new conceptualizations. Distinctions
      > >can evolve into more formalized patterns with the recognition of
      > >repetition, addition of context, specification of forces and
      > >solutions and validation.
      > >
      > >3) Ontologies: developing agreement and sharing the meaning behind
      > >key concepts, bounding a discourse domain, deciding what is 'in' and
      > >what is 'out', surfacing relationships between and giving names to
      > >concepts and abstractions.
      > >
      > >At a higher level the community needs to engage in practices such as
      > >language experimentation, building prototypes, teaching each other,
      > >structured inquiry, group reflection. They can recognize idea
      > >generations, i.e. time delimited, divergent - convergent - summary -
      > >critique - consensus formulation, and use this to bootstrap the next
      > >generation [Engelbart].
      > >
      > >Part of these practices can be to record rationale, structure a
      > >corporate memory around key issues, capture 'as is' key situational
      > >descriptors and answers as Paul suggests in his descriptive
      > >enumeration, [DE] practice.
      > >
      > >There are a number of affordances that can help here. Facile
      > >annotation, interactive (living) repositories, intuitive navigation,
      > >privacy gradients, many to many communication, persistent
      > >conversations, shared (situated) spaces, instant notification and
      > >more.
      > >
      > >Before any community can make use of these practices there must be
      > >some 'attractor' to support alignment, encourage engagement, allow
      > >the formation of trust and to help with the formation of both group
      > >and individual identities. The ability to hold identity in check,
      > >engage in creative abrasion, enter deep dialog and fail forwards, is
      > >far more influential than any technological affordance.
      > >This 'innovative social capital', as a colleague Mark McElroy calls
      > >it, is helped by having a shared purpose, empowering policies,
      > >leadership that walks their talk, open communications and equal
      > >access to information of market conditions and customer contacts.
      > >
      > >Knowledge generation in communities requires a balance, it is not for
      > >the faint-hearted or for those with frail or ultra-strong identities,
      > >it requires hard work, empathy and a continuous thirst for learning.
      > >CoPs are formed through self-selection, many come, but very few stay
      > >to form the core, teach the periphery, build quality knowledge, and
      > >generate true innovation.
      > >
      > >Innovation may come from a variety of sources e.g. problems & issues
      > >(internal or external to the firm), from scanning the environment,
      > >from identification of gaps and deliberate attempts to fill them,
      > >from a strong group desire for learning, from a drive to be 'the
      > >best' or a vision to be the market leader, or the most flexible firm
      > >in an industry segment, or a policy to have 30% of revenues derived
      > >from new products each year......
      > >
      > >Behind all this, knowledge generation is fundamentally a human
      > >pursuit, an art, a tacit elixir, a fine balance and much mystery.
      > >
      >>
    • doug.collins@gumshoeki.com
      TS, Good point on the danger of adopting false innovation. I also think that a community does better when an admixture of emipiricists and rationalists
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 17, 2001
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        TS,

        Good point on the danger of adopting false innovation.

        I also think that a community does better when an
        admixture of emipiricists and rationalists participate
        --anything to avoid crossing the line from being part
        of the practice to accepting perception as dogma (my
        rationalization only).

        Doug


        --- In com-prac@y..., "Sun Li" <sun@j...> wrote:
        > Paul has given me (us) a really comprehensive response to my
        question. I'm still digesting his ideas (Prueitt, Event Modeling and
        Knowledge processing, Jan 2000; foundational Paper on the
        Transformation of Knowledge Ecology to a Knowledge Economy, Feb 2001,
        etc.). His works really help not only the scientist, but those non-
        scientists like the technical communicators with arts background.
        Denham has also touched on the crux of my question--how CoP can
        generate new knowledge. For me, I can appreciate Denham's definition
        of knowledge--one being socially defined. However, others (pure
        scientists for instance) may critique there is a dangerous
        assumption: the community or group's collective understanding is
        always true or better than the individual's. If knowledge is produced
        when claims are socially validated and meaning is negotiated &
        shared, we have reduced "knowledge" to public opinion. It's not a
        desirable outcome / scenario when we look back history when all
        people believed !
        > the earth is flat during the Middle Ages. So (it's) true CoP can
        generate true innovation (or knowledge). Nobody would doubt this. But
        a vital concern from a scientist perspective is it may also generate
        false innovation or "knowledge," just like money can be used to do a
        lot of good things as well as bad things, depending on money in whose
        hands.
        >
        > The essence of CoP, to me, is a well-established tech-enhanced
        environment with a dominating group of good people. (Good for the
        purpose, like being competent, informed, trustworthy, generous,
        leader-like, etc.) [quote me for this definition (smile)]
        >
        > Also, you (Denham) mentioned innovation may come from a variety of
        sources, such as a strong desire from learning, a drive to be "the
        best", etc. I have no doubt about these. However, these can also be
        accomplished through other means. A related question herewith
        surfaces: What is the kind of knowledge or innovation being talked
        about that only CoP can generate (no other means can)? What specific
        technologies, and how can they theoretically, contribute to these
        functions? Perhaps, my question may not follow the theme of the main
        discussion, but these are an important concern of mine at present. Is
        there anyone out there who can help?
        >
        > PS I like to be called Sun or TS, or TS Li (my full name is Tsze
        Sun Li).
        >
        >
        > >To: com-prac@y...
        > >From: "Denham Grey" <dgrey@i...>
        > >Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 18:27:07 -0000
        > >Reply-To: com-prac@y...
        > >Subject: [cp] Generating knowledge
        > >
        > >Sun Li asks how CoPs can increase the generation of new knowledge.
        > >
        > >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/com-prac/message/932
        > >
        > >Seems there are a number of avenues here. Let's start by looking
        at
        > >what we mean by 'new knowledge'. For me this takes us beyond
        > >information sharing (although this may result in new knowing for
        > >individuals) knowledge is produced when claims are socially
        validated
        > >and meaning is negotiated & shared.
        > >
        > >New knowledge starts with the adoption of different frames /
        schema /
        > >ontologies / concepts by the community. In essence, the group will
        > >bring forth a 'new world' through their physical interactions and
        > >dialog. Ed Schein points to surfacing individual and group
        > >assumptions as the key to reformulating models and frames. He
        > >advocates for action research and involvement with the group to co-
        > >design new ways of thinking and acting rather than 'forcing'
        > >interventions
        > >
        > >There are a large number of practices than can assist with
        knowledge
        > >generation. Here are some that work for me:
        > >
        > >1) Mining past experiences for patterns that show the 'best'
        solution
        > >to repetitive issues, participating in pattern writers workshops
        to
        > >surface, document and validate such patterns, arranging patterns
        in
        > >hierarchical level (structural coupling) and crafting a pattern
        > >language to improve group communication and recognize gaps.
        > >
        > >2) Making distinctions: calling attention to subtle differences
        that
        > >make a difference, making the group aware, sharing signs,
        assigning
        > >names and sharing meaning around new conceptualizations.
        Distinctions
        > >can evolve into more formalized patterns with the recognition of
        > >repetition, addition of context, specification of forces and
        > >solutions and validation.
        > >
        > >3) Ontologies: developing agreement and sharing the meaning behind
        > >key concepts, bounding a discourse domain, deciding what is 'in'
        and
        > >what is 'out', surfacing relationships between and giving names to
        > >concepts and abstractions.
        > >
        > >At a higher level the community needs to engage in practices such
        as
        > >language experimentation, building prototypes, teaching each
        other,
        > >structured inquiry, group reflection. They can recognize idea
        > >generations, i.e. time delimited, divergent - convergent -
        summary -
        > >critique - consensus formulation, and use this to bootstrap the
        next
        > >generation [Engelbart].
        > >
        > >Part of these practices can be to record rationale, structure a
        > >corporate memory around key issues, capture 'as is' key
        situational
        > >descriptors and answers as Paul suggests in his descriptive
        > >enumeration, [DE] practice.
        > >
        > >There are a number of affordances that can help here. Facile
        > >annotation, interactive (living) repositories, intuitive
        navigation,
        > >privacy gradients, many to many communication, persistent
        > >conversations, shared (situated) spaces, instant notification and
        > >more.
        > >
        > >Before any community can make use of these practices there must be
        > >some 'attractor' to support alignment, encourage engagement, allow
        > >the formation of trust and to help with the formation of both
        group
        > >and individual identities. The ability to hold identity in check,
        > >engage in creative abrasion, enter deep dialog and fail forwards,
        is
        > >far more influential than any technological affordance.
        > >This 'innovative social capital', as a colleague Mark McElroy
        calls
        > >it, is helped by having a shared purpose, empowering policies,
        > >leadership that walks their talk, open communications and equal
        > >access to information of market conditions and customer contacts.
        > >
        > >Knowledge generation in communities requires a balance, it is not
        for
        > >the faint-hearted or for those with frail or ultra-strong
        identities,
        > >it requires hard work, empathy and a continuous thirst for
        learning.
        > >CoPs are formed through self-selection, many come, but very few
        stay
        > >to form the core, teach the periphery, build quality knowledge,
        and
        > >generate true innovation.
        > >
        > >Innovation may come from a variety of sources e.g. problems &
        issues
        > >(internal or external to the firm), from scanning the environment,
        > >from identification of gaps and deliberate attempts to fill them,
        > >from a strong group desire for learning, from a drive to be 'the
        > >best' or a vision to be the market leader, or the most flexible
        firm
        > >in an industry segment, or a policy to have 30% of revenues
        derived
        > >from new products each year......
        > >
        > >Behind all this, knowledge generation is fundamentally a human
        > >pursuit, an art, a tacit elixir, a fine balance and much mystery.
      • Paul Prueitt
        I agree with Doug when he says: I also think that a community does better when an ... I have a new position paper on: Market Space Development. I claim that
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 17, 2001
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          I agree with Doug when he says:

          "> I also think that a community does better when an
          > admixture of emipiricists and rationalists participate
          > --anything to avoid crossing the line from being part
          > of the practice to accepting perception as dogma (my
          > rationalization only). "

          I have a new position paper on:

          Market Space Development.

          I claim that "KM" is a branding rather than an Innovation.

          My paper focuses on Innovation as a technology genome where the Innovation
          adoption being a technology adoption by a economic-social system complex.

          The paper is at:

          http://www.ontologystream.com/private/ia.htm

          and is only two pages.

          Might the con-prac forum provide me a peer review of this paper?

          To be more explicit, it is my claim that a new generation of knowledge
          technologies will be evolving from existing private innovations - which are
          in a pre-formative stage or a Phase 1 stage of phenotype expression (of
          these innovations).

          Reference: "Technological Innovation as an Evolutionary Process (2000)
          edited by John Ziman.
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