More on Knowledge Management

My blog will be a regular InnovationManagement.se feature, every fortnight or so introducing a particular theme with relevance to innovation, furthermore pointing to some interesting conferences, web sites, or alike, and also introducing a ‘law’ of potential interest.

Those laws would be laws in the vein of Parkinson’s Law. His basic classic one is about seven people doing the work of one person though his first book is vastly richer dealing with, among others, where to position oneself at a cocktail party or why the bike shed beats out the nuclear reactor for corporate board involvement.

My first theme is: Knowledge management

Knowledge management does not of course equate with innovation but there are large areas of overlap between the two concepts. Numerous knowledge management resources are available, from books and research results to consultants and web pages. Two of the latter, out of many, will be highlighted here – two rich and generous ones.

Jane Hart is a social business consultant who has created a platform in her Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies where she is providing a host of resources for free, such as a guide to social media and one on the top 100 learning tools (work in progress!).

The other person to be mentioned in this context here also hails from Britain; he is David Gurteen. He shares tips and experiences, spiced with appropriate quotes and jokes. Like with Hart’s updates, there is an RSS feed, and Gurteen also offers a newsletter. Among resources, you can find, for example, blogs, websites, and forums – all geared at KM, Gurteen’s short for knowledge management.

Bits & pieces

Marc Andreessen is best known as the creator of the first web browser Mosaic which then begot Firefox, an initial success and money spinner. Learning the ropes there, Andreessen has continued to foster innovation as a venture capitalist with a hands-on approach, one of his more mixed successes being Ning, (employed by, e g, Innovation Management), a social network resource (recently also in the headlines as an HP board member when Mike Hurd was terminated as CEO; HP had acquired another Andreessen startup, Loudcloud). Andreessen shares his ideas and experiences at blog.pmarca.com.

Bill Gross is a serial inventor with a number of successes but also failures (tilted towards web ideas, the dot.com crash hit his company hard) to his name, and to the name of his company, Idealab. Gross sees himself as a formidable idea engine while having found in himself a very bad manager, so he attempts to recruit people with entrepreneurial skills to run his various startups (the Idealab web site claims more than 75), offering these entrepreneurs a decent share of their startups.

Altshuller’s Law for problem solving, and for the ideal technology

Genrich Altschuller was a Russian scientist who made a most remarkable breakthrough. He developed a system, most often abbreviated TRIZ (for the Latin letters in the original Russian abbreviation), for solving problems, based upon existing patents and laws of nature. According to TRIZ, each and every problem can be reduced to a number of basic principles and contradictions or conflicts to be eliminated, methodically and systematically.

Furthermore, TRIZ indicates that every field of technology evolves in a regular way, advancing through a series of stages, always the same and in the same sequence. This Law says that the ultimate stage is reached through a systematic maturing in ever more reliable, simple, and efficient steps; the more complex a system, the further it is from its ideal and final stage. When final, the system has no components any longer, just pure function. Thus, for example, the ideal lawn mower would be no such thing – it would be eliminated – but genetically modified grass that stops growing at the ideal height, with Wimbledon density.

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