Thursday, December 19, 2002

Status Report : SynapShots :
* SynapShots is taking a break.
* Citations will resume January 2003.
* Your interest and support are appreciated.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Article : Innovative Measures :
By Tom Ambler - "Innovation can ‘just happen’ serendipitously, but don't count on it. The kind of innovation you need for continued success requires intentionally providing the right inputs and transforming them into valuable innovative outcomes. You need an ‘Innovation Machine’ comprised of the right processes, organization and culture. The diagram below illustrates such an ‘Innovation Machine’ with its typical inputs and outputs. It represents this author's boiled-down visualization of much of the collective wisdom from a number of innovation experts. Please take a moment to absorb and understand the nature of this ‘Innovation Machine.’ … Consistent winners in the innovation arena like 3M, DuPont, Pfizer and HP universally utilize metrics for their innovation efforts … 3M has utilized for many years a high-level corporate metric, ‘Percentage of Total Revenue from products introduced in the last 5 years.’ … HP utilizes BET (break-even time) for each new product development project … One excellent, high-level overall measure of innovation is the Wealth Creation Index (recommended by Gary Hamel in his book, Leading the Revolution) … A more practical, but less elegant overall company measure of the success of innovation is: Return on Innovation = (Cumulative 3-year net profits from commercialized new products) + (Cumulative 3-year new product total expenditures for commercialized, failed or killed products) …Systems that link specific people and teams to specific metrics need to put in place … The ‘Innovation Machine’ is different for every company"
* Go to Innovative Measures, published by the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. in the December 2002 edition of Course and Direction
Project : The Licensing Project :
"will build licenses that will help you tell others that your works are free for copying and other uses — but only on certain conditions. You're probably familiar with the phrase ‘All rights reserved’ and the little © that goes along with it. Creative Commons wants to help copyright holders send a different message: ‘Some rights reserved’ and our ‘CC Creative Commons’ logo … If you prefer to dedicate your work to the public domain, where nothing is owned and all is permitted, we'll help you do that. In other words, we'll help you declare ‘No rights reserved.’ … Note: To license a work, you must be its copyright holder or have express authorization from its copyright holder to do so … Creative Commons does not provide legal advice or services. We provide form legal documents; the rest is up to you."
* Follow the 3-step process:
1. Choose licensing options
2. Review licensing options
3. Tell the world
* Go to The Licensing Project
Symposium Videos : DSpace™ - Scholarly Communication in a Digital World : "DSpace is a newly developed digital repository created to capture, distribute and preserve the intellectual output of MIT … As a joint project of MIT Libraries and the Hewlett-Packard Company, DSpace provides stable long-term storage needed to house the digital products of MIT faculty and researchers
* Part One - Ann Wolpert and Hal Abelson - MIT Libraries Director Ann Wolpert defines DSpace and explains that ‘solving the digital problem’ is central to the mission of libraries and librarians. She also announces plans for a federation with other research based universities, and explains the critical role of the H-P MIT Alliance … Hal Abelson discusses the dangers of massive ‘propertization’ in academic environments. He offers some chilling, real-world examples of what can happen if all content in academic discourse is seen as ‘property’, and how a student's class notes can become a derivative work, with restrictions on sharing. He argues that universities need a ‘seat at the table’ as new models for scientific publishing take shape.
* Part Two - James Boyle and Clifford Lynch - In James Boyle's lively presentation on the new ‘intellectual property economy’, he asks the question, ‘If we cannot protect speech in a university environment, where can we protect it?’ … Clifford Lynch reflects on the beginnings of a repository movement, and talks about the need for leadership during this time of significant change in scholarly communication"
* Go to DSpace™ - Scholarly Communication in a Digital World, presented by MIT World

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Article : Asian Cities Connecting Through Communities - Mayors Find Quick Answers Without Leaving the Office : "Four years ago the World Bank linked seven cities in the Philippines in a CoP [community of practice] to share urban development strategies. Within months the original community expanded to include 33 more cities throughout East Asia, and it has recently inspired imitators in China and Indonesia. Here, Cecile Fruman and Hiroichi Kawashima describe how the World Bank has helped foster local government CoPs throughout the region."
* Downloadable as a 4-page, 136 KB PDF
* Go to Asian Cities Connecting Through Communities, posted on the Knowledge Sharing Portal of the World Bank Group (to appear in the January/February 2003 edition of KM Review)
Article : Rising Stars in Virtual Education - A Peek into 2010 :
By James Shimabukuro - "[depicts the author's vision of the future of technology in education and is published here in full to stimulate discussion regarding that future] … Winter, 2010. Maile is on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, drying and warming herself in the early morning sun that has just appeared over the Koolaus. Her surfboard, gleaming wet, is on the sand next to her. Today, nanotechnology is responsible for the assimilation of computers and computer technology into every aspect of our lives. The notebooks that students use are small, extremely powerful, plentiful, and cheap. Computers are now a part of almost everything (Feder, 2002; Matthews, 2002). Maile surfs on a smartboard, which automatically tenses and relaxes as wave conditions change (Pyper, 2001; Swanson, 2001; Fairley, 2001) … She activates her Voice Internet Pad, or VIP. 'VIP' is a generic term for these computers, which are mass produced and marketed under many different brand names. The supply is ahead of the demand, keeping prices low. From the moment it was released, students called it ‘viper,’ and the name has stuck, despite initial protests from the industry. The viper is an Internet-based computer the size of what used to be called a notebook, but it's thinner, lighter, and much more robust. Advances in microminiaturization (or ‘M&M’) and integration have resulted in simpler designs, and simpler has meant lower prices and less fragility in the end products—less to protect from rough handling, accidents, and the elements. Nearly the entire width and length is a screen. The ancient keyboard is gone. All commands and input are via voice (Gates, 1996, p. 85) or stylus. The viper is made of a flexible synthetic that is nearly impervious to the impact of a ten-foot drop, sand, sun, and saltwater. In fact, Maile often tucks it into the back of her bathing suit and takes it out to the lineup on days when the waves are small and the wait between sets is long. It is solar powered, of course, and she has wireless Internet connections, which are universally free or very affordable (Gates, 1996, pp. 284, 292), wherever she happens to be. [Readers are encouraged to respond via the ‘discuss’ feature in the Options menu and to participate in the live Author Forum session that will be broadcast online]"
* Go to Rising Stars in Virtual Education - A Peek into 2010, published in the November/December edition of The Technology Source
* Source: Originally encountered on the e-Learning Portal on the Development Gateway
Conference Proceedings : Social and Human Capital in the Knowledge Society - Policy Implications :
Held October 28-29, 2002 (Brussels)
* A sampling of presentations includes:
- Human and Social Capital in the Knowledge Society: Background Paper
- The Knowledge Revolution: Old Myths and New Opportunities in a Networked Society
- Challenges and Opportunities in Managing Virtual Work - Work-Life Balance in the Knowledge Society
- Human and Social Capital for a Sustainable Knowledge Society
- Seizing the Benefits of New Technologies in a Changing Economy: Key Requirements for Human and Social Capital Policies
- Panel I: Human and Intellectual Capital, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Panel II: Social and Human Capital for Sustainability
- Panel III: Sharing and Transferring Knowledge
* Presentations are downloadable in PDF format
* Go to Social and Human Capital in the Knowledge Society - Policy Implications
Interview : Taking a Positive Approach to Change - Appreciative Inquiry :
By Kali Saposnick - "An Interview with Jane Magruder Watkins … The expression ‘You find what you look for’ often describes those naysayers with an unerring capacity to identify what's wrong with a situation. Negative energy usually bogs everyone down and impedes the search for a solution. But what happens when people champion the positive? In most cases, tremendous forward momentum and enthusiasm emerge … A unique approach to organizational challenges called ‘Appreciative Inquiry (AI)’ captures this energy. It focuses on the best in people—their greatest successes and peak experiences—in order to produce extraordinary results. 'AI is a perspective on the world,' says Jane Magruder Watkins, organizational consultant and author of the newly released The Essentials of Appreciative Inquiry: A Roadmap for Creating Positive Futures (Pegasus Communications, 2002). ‘Rather than being a specific technique, AI is a process that easily aligns with many methodologies. If you want to do strategic planning, team building, or any type of organization development, AI can help you do it with accelerated speed and effectiveness.’ …"
* Go to Taking a Positive Approach to Change - Appreciative Inquiry, published in the December 2002 edition of Leverage Points
Report : New Work Organisation, Working Conditions and Quality of Work - Towards the Flexible Firm :
By Peter Oeij and Noortje Wiezer; Published in 2002 - "In order to remain competitive, the European Union Member States have to adopt new work organisations which are innovative and create a high quality of work. What impact have the new forms of work organisation had on workers and companies? Has it led to greater control over work and more flexibility? Or has it resulted in increased pressure and loss of control? This report focuses on the relationship between new forms of work and working conditions and the impact on the quality of work. It looks in particular at the effects on workers’ physical and mental health, safety, working time, lifelong learning, job security, job satisfaction and job control. It concludes that satisfaction with working life in Europe is determined by factors such as the pattern and duration of working time, the pace of work, job content and job autonomy. The literature used for the report is drawn from a variety of sources, including Foundation studies"
* Downloadable as a 100-page, 418 KB PDF
* Go to New Work Organisation, Working Conditions and Quality of Work - Towards the Flexible Firm

Monday, December 16, 2002

Article : Making Work-at-Home Work for Everyone : By Jimmy Guterman - "Thanks to technology and the increasing mobility of society and business, decentralization has become a massive trend. The fears and aggravations associated with business travel in the wake of September 11—not to mention the financial costs—have pressured companies to cut back ‘face time’ with far-flung colleagues and have increased the demands on virtual work … But this rearrangement of the conventional office comes at a cost: It breaks up the informal social network of work—the way that people informally meet, talk, solve problems, and interact up, down, and across the chain of command. Knowledge management research has shown that this kind of ‘indirect learning’ is key to successful companies, although it rarely shows up in business plans and organization charts. But as John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid write in The Social Life of Information, the truth is ‘people often find what they need to know by virtue of where they sit and who they see.’ … So how can managers and employees bridge the gap when the person with the answer to an important question may no longer be down the hall but in an office halfway around the world? Experts warn that as important as planning and technology are, they are no replacement for in-person meetings. Managers can, however, create a strategy for meetings and online follow-up that keeps communities working together … ‘If we ever give up our need to be face-to-face, we might as well pack it in and become automatons,’ says Jessica Lipnack, CEO and cofounder of NetAge, a West Newton, Massachusetts, firm that offers software and services intended to help people work together better. ‘The value of face-to-face can't easily be replaced, just augmented. When you decide between remote and in-person interactions, it's hardly ever an 'either/or.' It's a ‘both/and.' … In their book, In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work, Larry Prusak and Don Cohen point out that the companies with the most success at virtual work have strong internal networks, a clear sense of values and culture, and a deep reservoir of trust between bosses, employees, and coworkers. For that reason, they say, one consumer-products company discourages distance work for anyone who has been at the company less than a year."
* Go to Making Work-at-Home Work for Everyone, published in the December 16, 2002 edition of HBR Working Knowledge
Article : Psychologists Now Know What Makes People Happy : By Marilyn Elias - "The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don't care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily … Now a burgeoning ‘positive psychology’ movement that emphasizes people's strengths and talents instead of their weaknesses is rapidly closing the gap, says University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman, author of the new book, Authentic Happiness. The work of Seligman and other experts in the field is in the early stages, but they are already starting to see why some people are happy while others are not: The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have … Everyone has a ‘set point’ for happiness, just as they do for weight, Seligman says. People can improve or hinder their well-being, but they aren't likely to take long leaps in either direction from their set point … Life satisfaction occurs most often when people are engaged in absorbing activities that cause them to forget themselves, lose track of time and stop worrying. ‘Flow’ is the term Claremont Graduate University psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced cheeks-sent-mee-hi) coined to describe this phenomenon … Everyone has ‘signature strengths,’ Seligman adds, and the happiest use them. Doing so can lead to choices that astound others but yield lasting satisfaction … Gratitude has a lot to do with life satisfaction, psychologists say. Talking and writing about what they're grateful for amplifies adults' happiness, new studies show. Other researchers have found that learning to savor even small pleasures has the same effect. And forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, says University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson."
* Go to Psychologists Now Know What Makes People Happy, published December 10, 2002 in to USA Today
* Source: Originally encountered on the nibbs newsletter
Article (Short) : Researchers Discover Gene that Controls Learned Fear : Published December 13, 2002 - "The gene identified by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia University encodes a protein that inhibits the action of the fear-learning circuitry in the brain. Understanding how this protein quells fear may lead to the design of new drugs to treat depression, panic and generalized anxiety disorders … According to Kandel, further understanding of the fear-learning pathway could have important implications for treating anxiety disorders. ‘Since GRP acts to dampen fear, it might be possible in principle to develop drugs that activate the peptide, representing a completely new approach to treating anxiety,’ he said. However, he emphasized, the discovery of the action of the Grp gene is only the beginning of a long research effort to reveal the other genes in the fear-learning pathway."
* Go to Researchers Discover Gene that Controls Learned Fear
* Source: Originally encountered on the nibbs newsletter
Article (In Two Parts) : Personal Knowledge Publishing and Its Uses in Research : By Sébastien Paquet - "In this two-part document, I analyze an emerging form of knowledge sharing that I call personal knowledge publishing. Personal knowledge publishing has its roots in a practice known as "weblogging" that has been rapidly spreading on the World Wide Web over the last three years. It is a new form of communication that many expect will change the way people work and collaborate, especially in areas where knowledge and innovation play an important role … If you are a researcher or knowledge worker who is not very familiar with weblogging and personal knowledge publishing, reading this document should help you grasp the significance of this practice and better understand how you might benefit from getting involved in personal knowledge publishing. Although the emphasis is on research work, most of the ideas generalize to other kinds of creative knowledge work where knowledge sharing plays a role … In the first part, I describe what weblogs are, and explain how they are altering communication patterns on the Web. The second part focuses on personal knowledge publishing and similarly describes the new patterns of communication that this practice is giving birth to. In particular, I explain how these patterns can facilitate the emergence of new communities of knowledge. I also point out the current limitations of personal knowledge publishing. I review the most important points in the conclusion."
* Go to ‘Personal Knowledge Publishing and Its Uses in Research’ - Part 1 and Part 2 (posted December 16, 2002 on the Knowledge Board)
Sunday, December 15, 2002
Article : Five Barriers to Executing Your 2003 Plan... and Proven Methods to Overcome Them : By Bob Zagotta - "Annual Planning - Powerful Management Tool or Exercise in Bureaucracy? … Each year the average organization spends 20,000 person hours in planning, budgeting and forecasting for every $100 million in annual revenue (source: The Hackett Group). With an investment of this magnitude, it would follow that most companies expect significant results from their plans … Unfortunately, this is often not the case. The ability to bring together people, strategies, and operations to drive results evades even many seasoned management teams. Based on experience with over 50 companies on the topics of strategy, planning and execution, it is evident that the most critical barriers to successful execution typically fall into the five categories described below:
- Barrier #1 The Underlying Strategy is Not Clear
- Barrier #2 The Plan is Overly Optimistic
- Barrier #3 No One is Accountable for Results
- Barrier #4 The Plan Has Not Been Actively Deployed
- Barrier #5 The Plan is Static (in a dynamic world)
… Successful strategy execution is a living, dynamic process. Strategy itself begins life as a set of agreements about markets, products, revenues, growth and the like. The rest is execution. Unless there is an ongoing process for evaluating execution, making decisions about it, and closing the loop with the original strategy, the effort dies. That’s why it is important to distinguish between strategic planning (those high-level agreements) and execution -- an ongoing process for reviewing and maintaining strategic progress."
* Go to Five Barriers to Executing Your 2003 Plan, published in Issue 4, Fall 2002 of Virtual Strategist
Book (Forthcoming) and Companion Web Site : Visualizing Argumentation - Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-Making : Edited by Paul A. Kirschner, Simon J. Buckingham Shum and Chad S. Carr; Available in January 2003 - "Computer Supported Argument Visualization is attracting attention across education, science, public policy and business. More than ever, we need sense-making tools to help negotiate understanding in the face of multi-stakeholder, ill-structured problems. In order to be effective, these tools must support human cognitive and discursive processes, and provide suitable representations, services and user interfaces … ‘Visualizing Argumentation’ is written by practitioners and researchers for colleagues working in collaborative knowledge media, educational technology and organizational sense-making. It will also be of interest to theorists interested in software tools which embody different argumentation models. Particular emphasis is placed on the usability and effectiveness of tools in different contexts … Among the key features are: Case studies covering educational, public policy, business and scientific argumentation"
* Content is organized into the following sections: Authors (About the); Contents (Table of) with links to related materials; and Resources (Argumentation Tools with Structural Visualizations)
* Go to Visualizing Argumentation
* Pre-order this book at Amazon
Briefing : Forward to the Future – Nanotechnology and Regulatory Policy : By Glen Harold Reynolds; Published November 2002 - "Nanotechnology, which involves the manipulation of matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules, promises to revolutionize many aspects of human society. At the very least, it can be expected to drastically reduce energy consumption, to dramatically advance medicine’s ability to cure a prevent disease, and to significantly increase the precision and effectiveness of military devices and weapons … The dramatic capabilities of nanotechnology are also likely to lead to calls for regulation or perhaps prohibition. This paper examines three possible regulatory futures for nanotechnology: prohibition, limitation to military applications, and modest regulation with an emphasis on civil research … Prohibition seems clearly unworkable, as the knowledge and tools needed for research into nanotechnology are widely available, and the capabilities offered by nanotechnology so potent. Military nanotechnologies, by their very nature, will be more dangerous than the civilian versions since these tend to be more robust, and founded on a much deeper experience base. Also, a military monopoly would cause society to forego many benefits of nanotechnology or place them under control of Pentagon bureaucrats … Drawing on expereince with other regulatory technologies ranging from atomic energy to recombinant DNA, the paper concludes that a regime of modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphsis on self-regulation and a responsible professional culture offers the greatest prospects for reaping nanotechnology’s benefits while minimizing any risks."
* Downloadable as a 26-page, 224 KB PDF
* Go to Forward to the Future (listed on the right panel), published by the Pacific Research Institute
e-Zine (Issue no 1, Volume 4, December, 2002) : Next Practice - Creating the Context for Commitment : By Roger Said and Johan Roos – “In observing and analysing traditional strategy-making processes, Imagination Lab researchers have noticed that a root problem may be the lack of commitment by the strategists themselves, which suggests that the strategy process itself may inhibit commitment. Our research indicates that the strategists must themselves commit to the strategies they create in order to spur commitment effectively throughout the rest of the organisation. To bring this about, strategy-making processes should allow participants to:
1) embody themselves in the strategy; and
2) engage in open and honest dialogue."
[NOTE - Next Practice is a quarterly, two-page management summary of one of our latest research findings]"
* Downloadable as a 2-page, 109 KB PDF
* Go to Creating the Context for Commitment (located at the bottom of the page), published by the Imagination Lab
* While you are there, checkout their Working Papers