Personal Knowledge Mastery (#PKM) and #Sensemaking

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.

 

Beth Kantor

Ideal Content Curation Practice fromĀ 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:

 

ESN

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.

3 thoughts on “Personal Knowledge Mastery (#PKM) and #Sensemaking

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  1. I, too, find the sense-making part the most challenging. Although – my collecting and curating could probably use some of your organizing skills, too.

    But what occurs to me is that Jarche’s model is also a good reminder of the challenges of KM (and learning) at larger scales, too. Not just personal KM. But think about teams, or organizations. That time and effort required to truly reflect and make sense is a tough one to crack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point about the organizational implications of KM. I think the exact same thing is true of my KM work in my organization–I’m far better at collecting and organizing information than I am at sense-making, and leading my teams in sense-making with the data that we collect. This gains particular relevance when we start talking about how to use ESNs for organizational KM–how do we keep Yammer and the like from becoming mere dumping grounds, and learn to leverage those ESNs for sense-making and true collaborative knowledge building? Hoping we can get some insight on this from the new Treem and Leonardi book!

      Like

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