Pehong Chen – How you represent knowledge is more important than knowledge itself

When I was studying for my PhD degree – I studied computer science – for all the stuff, a lot of technical detailed stuff classes I have been through, the one class that I found to be most intriguing and actually valuable to me, was not about anything about computer science. Because one day my teacher, my professor, said “today we’re not teaching”. It was a operating system class, “so today we’re going to teach you how to do effective communication”. So thereafter I paid quite a lot of attention to that question, because I find that communication, as we know, is even more important than the content itself. How you explain, like I said, how you represent the knowledge more important than the knowledge itself.

So as we all know that any great leaders, is absolutely have to be a great communicator. There’s almost no way to be the other way around. So I think you hit the nail on the head in that, whether its our employees, our students in school, I advocate that we spend more time teaching people how to communicate and how to collaborate. Because those are the two things that’s very key to the next generation, this next sort of… this next generation of doing… being a digital, living a digital life.

We’re already seeing that phenomenon in the consumer space. Our kids, our next generation, is a lot more used to sharing than we ever were. And we haven’t really gotten quite used to that yet in business. In other words, in the general sense, not all sharing is that scary. A lot of businesses feel like “jeez, that seems really terrible” you know “what if my secrets get, you know, stolen” and all whatever. But they get stolen anyway if that has to be stolen because what’s preventing it from leaking out through email so the door is already wide open you don’t even sense that.

But I think in this new way of communicating through a network, it really offers you more protection than this wide open email paradigm or email culture. However, so we need to put the executives’ mind at peace that doing this networking this way, is actually even safe than allowing this wide open. You have no company has a way of stopping anyone from sending out email to someone else or by mistake often even, so one is the sort of mindset we need to change, that it’s actually better this way, more protection, more securing, and second, like you said, is to make them everyone feel comfortable about communicating this way.

And what we find to across the world with people that putting some effort into this transformation, is everyone becomes more, not only communicative, but more accountable, more judicious, because when you say things that are more open, actually you become a lot more careful than just sending something in an email that you think is very, very private. So this is indeed an important business change in culture and, like I say, when we’ll look back in 5 to 10 years, we will find that to be very, very common place. But today we need to do that education, and the best way, in my view, for this education is to go and practice that, little by little. Then you will know that – it’s not that scary, very effective.

Other Videos

Pehong Chen - It's a sort of steps that is highly, highly sort of flexible

Pehong Chen - It's a sort of steps that is highly, highly sort of flexible

Well if you look at how business processes happen, you can generally categorize them into three kinds. There are the so called structured processes. These are very well practiced business workflows that for the most part have they already been captured in some sort of transactional system: SAP, Oracle, or a lot of domain specific mainframe applications in different vertical business industries, so these things continue would follow what they have been doing because that’s sometimes represents years and years[...]
Pehong Chen - The foundation of this thinking is sharing, sharing, sharing

Pehong Chen - The foundation of this thinking is sharing, sharing, sharing

I think the key is to align personal interest with the organizational interest. Why would people want to share? Because they need to recognize or experience the value, the benefit that if they contribute one share, they can get 10 shares back, right. Because that’s a huge ROI. But if you cannot really recognize that, then of course you don’t find contributing to be important, how sharing to be important. So whereas, in the PC world where we grew up[...]
Pehong Chen - We need to form a new set of KPIs

Pehong Chen - We need to form a new set of KPIs

However, I would err on the side that everyone should take on responsibility of organizing their own digital life. By that I mean in email you’re really a passive player because you’re not in control what gets pushed to you, especially if you were a CC; that’s the most challenging question. Should I answer or should I not answer? Should I reply or not reply at all? A lot of those challenging decisions. In the social networking for business you can[...]
Pehong Chen - Knowledge has to come in graduation with granularity

Pehong Chen - Knowledge has to come in graduation with granularity

So which is why knowledge has to come in graduation with granularity. Knowledge is a pyramid. Knowledge is not assumed single unitary entity, so the only way that knowledge can achieve a maximum flow, is if we try to allow every user to create content in his natural granularity, so think of it as a pyramid of several different graduations, different levels. And indeed, like you said, the smallest unit could be a tweet, a micro blog of 100 words,[...]

Comments over the web

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *