KM Meets Pirsig

KM Meets Pirsig – I was impressed by David Snowden’s contribution to the European Knowledge Management conference as reported by Ton. Well I see David’s presentation at the launch of the London Knowledge Network includes a quote from Pirsig as his second slide.

[Quote] Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best 20-20 hindsight. It’s good for seeing where you’ve been. It’s good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can’t tell you where you ought to go. [Unquote] Pisrig ZMM

David Snowden is head of IBM’s consultancy Cynefin Centre.

How mainstream can Pirsig get ?

[Post Note : My basic take on this has always been that objective “scientific” rationale tends to be a post-rationalisation, justification, apportioning (or deflecting) blame, showing just-cause, attributing success, etc but has little use in “decision making” about what you should do next.]

Talking of which … On slide 6 (with build) he uses “Edge of Chaos” to denote that transition from ordered to chaotic, just as does Mark Maxwell in his “Sweet Spot” essay on MoQ.

Paul, Seb, Ton, take a look also at slide 7 in our discussion about ontologies – this is my point …. we need “emergent ontologies”, where the data preceeds the fixed framework. I particularly love to see this presented as an anitidote to that old consultancy cliche the Boston Consulting Group’s 2×2 grid ! Although David goes on to use what look like 2×2 grids in caricature, it is significant that the distortion involves non-clear-cut dividing lines and oddly shaped grey-areas or no-man’s-lands.

Also liked the Tom Peters “Ready, Fire, Aim” allusion on slide 8, where the complex and chaotic dynamic patterns involve action before sensing and responding. The “guided missile” response as I like to think of it.

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