As I began evaluating my own knowledge management practice, I turned to Harold Jarche’s model, Seek>Sense>Share to understand where my gaps were and how I could improve upon my processes. The first part, Seek, I’m quite comfortable with: I have a wide range of topics that I follow and explore, and I spend at least a half hour a day, often more, digging up new material or following up on leads. I have been an avid user of Evernote since its open beta became available in 2008. Since then, I have collected thousands of notes meticulously arranged under a series of notebooks and tags. In the last few years, I have also been using Zotero to organize and tag academic bibliographic information and papers. I scan much, much more than I capture, and am usually carefully targeting what I am seeking.
I do realize, though, that I have not been as disciplined in sense-making, the second pillar of Jarche’s model. Sense-making enhances content by adding to its context, categorization, and narratives. Different ways of accomplishing this might be engaging experts or peers in dialogues (or blogalogues!); introducing new perspectives; creating metaphors to explain difficult concepts; evaluating assumptions, evidence, and results; and creating visualizations like mind-maps to help organize and make sense of concepts. Ultimately, the goal is to add value in the sense-making process.
Ideal Content Curation Practice from Beth Kantor
On this last point, mind-mapping, I’ve discovered an application that I think can help develop a more solid sense-making process. I’ve used mind-maps before to take apart and rebuild processes, but I have not used them to organize and make sense of content. The Brain application (at https://thebrain.com) is an easy to use but very powerful mind mapping application that can collect documents, attachments, links, and other content, and facilitates organization and visualization of ideas. I grabbed the app and quickly visualized a few ideas related to enterprise social networks:
Image from the Brain application
I can now go back and add articles, my notes and comments, even PowerPoint decks that I have previously created to pull some of this content together. Once I have dropped in and arranged all of my content, I can use the map as is or export an outline for further analysis and comparison, both of which will help me in sense-making.