Knowledge Management

Configuration Management Tales #1

Kim Robertson is the author of over 100 discipline specific training packages, 3 fiction books and articles for CM Trends and various other trade publications from industrial arts to Configuration Management. His latest collaboration Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application is available for pre-order on Contact Kim through LinkedIn or Kim.Robertsonatvaluetransformdotcom.Kim Robertson

His interests in education and training development started in his teens. He is a NDIA certified Configuration Manager with degrees from Westminster College in Mathematics and Physical Sciences and a Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix in Organizational Management with a sub-specialty of Government Contracts.

I enjoyed Kim’s storytelling so much that I left the time get out of hand. As a result, Kim talked himself in to a two part episode. The 2nd part will post next week.

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Data: Your Nearest Neighbor is Nano-Seconds

Kim Robertson started his first company at the age of 18 and has an extensive background spanning forty years in all aspects of business and aerospace. He is the author of over 100 discipline specific training packages, 3 fiction books and articles for CM Trends and various other trade publications from industrial arts to Configuration Management. His latest collaboration Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application is available for pre-order on Configure ManagementContact Kim through LinkedIn or Kim.Robertsonatvaluetransformdotcom.

Kim is the guest on the Business901 podcast tomorrow.

Joe: A lot of people want to control their own data. They want control of it. They’re generating it, and can they have ownership. Is that ever really going to be feasible?

Kim:   It depends on how you define that thing that you’re trying to control. I’ll give you an example. I have intellectual property that I feel is mine which may be photographs of family; it may be the types of things that you would share with people on your Christmas card and that sort of thing. If you are putting that information on Facebook for example, I believe a clause is still in the Facebook use agreement that as soon as you post something, Facebook can use that information anyway they want to including sell it to somebody else. So once you do that and sign up for that agreement, you have lost control of your personal IP. When it comes to things like patented technologies and trademark type technologies, countries have different ways of looking at it. For example, some companies say, we don’t care who built this IC chip; we’ll give a patent to every new application for it. So if you originally built it for a cell phone and now all of a sudden somebody has it saying, oh we’ll use that same technology for your garage door opener so you can open your garage from your cell phone; that would be two patents.

Once we get to some sort of international standard for what that IP means worldwide, it’s going to be a lot easier to protect it. Right now, you’ll find it’s kind of anybody’s game but it has been for years. Back in antiquity, for example, intellectual property and data encryption took different forms. There is historical records of this fellow who wanted to get information about a city out to the people that were going to invade the city, and so he had some trusted servants and he shaved their heads and he tattooed the instructions on their heads, let their hard grow and sent them out. It was a very early form of IP security. In Sumner, they used to have little clay balls that they put tokens inside. In the token maybe here’s three measures of wheat, two measures of metal, and four measures of beer, and once those were put inside the clay ball and both people’s seals were put on it, that was a binding protected piece of IP until that clay ball was broken. You could say, oh okay, you’re Fred, you’ve worked for me a week, so you want me to pay you your metal and your wheat and your beer.

The idea, that all of this is new, is not true; it’s just become more critical as we reach the population densities that we have. It was much easier to control when your nearest neighbor was 20 miles away. Now that your nearest neighbor is nano-seconds away in the electronic world, it gets very hard to control. I don’t think we’re ever going to really get there. I think that we’re making great strides, but a lot of that is based on trust, and some of the problems we find is based upon different definitions of what IP really is. For example in the US, we say we patented this design wherever you use it. In Japan they say, we patented this usage of that design, whatever it is. So, of course, there’s going to be disconnects until we come to a common language.

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What’s the Limitations to Dialogue Mapping?

In last week’s podcast (Podcast and transcription: Shared Understanding with Dialogue Mapping) , I asked KC Burgess Yakemovic of Cognexus Group that question:

Joe:   One of the things that challenges me when I’m looking at it is that I’m not sure let’s say how often I would use it or what’s the limitations to Dialogue Mapping. Is it easier to explain when to use it or is it easier to explain when you don’t use it?

KC: You know that’s a good question. There are aspects of Dialogue Mapping and again, this is one of the benefits of having this sort of the step-by-step process to get up to the point of doing Dialogue Mapping. Because formal Dialogue Mapping used in its entirety, the places where the benefits exceed the work, that goes into it, are fairly limited. If you’re a professional facilitator, you may use it a lot more frequently. If you’re working in a business environment, there are aspects of Dialogue Mapping such as the capture of information during a meeting that can be used without being the person doing the facilitation and those skills can be used very, very frequently.

I have some corporate clients who have trained a number of their staff members just to the level of doing the capture and not to actually doing the facilitation piece. They train a limited number of people to do facilitation because they’re not just going to have a large number of meetings where the benefit of the facilitation aspect is sufficient. One of the places that it does come into play very nicely is anytime you’re doing strategic planning, where you have a number of different positions, people have different things they are trying to accomplish and you want to get all of that information out and make sure that the plan that you’re proposing covers as wide a variety of things as possible; complex, complicated things. I’ve used this method in the software design area a lot to deal with problems that keep recurring. You’ll be doing a piece of design, you think you’ve got an answer to how this is going to work, you get out and get started on it and discover, wait that breaks something else over here. And now you go and try to fix that problem and wait now that broke something else.

There was one situation that we actually wrote up in a paper that it turned out there were six interconnected questions that all had to be answered simultaneously to develop a solution that would really work. We would not have noticed this if we had not been capturing our information in an IBIS structure and realized these questions kept not getting — the answers to the questions kept shifting. We took those six questions, put them out in a room at the same time with all of the people involved in the design and when we saw all of these questions together and the answers we proposed, we realized that we didn’t have the right solution, but we were then able to clearly define a solution that solved all six problems simultaneously.

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A Salute to PPD

To some, Dota 2 is just a video game. To Peter “PPD” Dager, it’s a career. Watch as PPD prepares for the biggest video game tournament to ever take place, The International 4: a 10 million dollar gaming tournament in Seattle where the best Dota 2 teams in the world compete for the largest e-sports prize in history.

Many people will view this video not knowing the challenges that face video game players to reach this level. They all posses skill and a mental aptitude that is very unique. In addition, they all have to have a unique psyche to withstand the constant turmoil of roster changes, inconsistent sponsors and the personalities of various cultures. It is not uncommon for teams to have three and even four different nationalities playing together.

I will add to the video what in my opinion was a defining moment in Peter’s career.  I was an undiscovered observer looking out the kitchen window. It occurred outside of video games when the neighborhood sports star who happened to be faster, stronger and much more popular got corned by Peter in a squirt gun, of course with Super-Soakers) fight cornered him. The neighborhood boy looked Peter right in the eye and said, “don’t you dare shoot me.” It was even intimidating to me, as an observer.  Peter, hesitating only slightly,  unloaded the super-soaker into the boy. I thought at the time, that not only was he fearless but it said a lot about Peter’s will to win.

Peter’s will to win certainly helped propel his career and get him where he is today. However, what stood out to me in the video was the moment after the final lost where Peter is signing autographs. There are few people that could appreciate what it took for him to stay there and do that. He may have had to overcome his biggest challenge, his self. To stay around and control all of his other emotions after losing said an awful lot to me. I salute PPD and his efforts in becoming a champion in more ways than just on the playing field.

Find out what PPD and his team Evil Geniuses are up to these days:
– Website:
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Buy PPD’s official shirt and support him directly (designed and conceived by Peter himself)!
– Link:…

Using the Power of Visualization in Business

  Michael Gelb explains the power of visualization and how it relates to innovation and creativity. You can find out more n Michael’s new book: Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius.

Related Podcast and Transcription: The Power of QiGong

Joe:   When you think of it in sports, it’s become accepted through the years and you kind of visualize standing behind a golf ball, your swing, and if you think the water on the right, well guess what, it usually goes in the water on the right. But in business, that’s always been kind of taboo. You never really did that.

Michael:   Yes, well you know it’s — how about if I just cut to the chase and say, “That is really stupid!” No, I mean, the detachment, the notion that somehow you are some kind of a disembodied mind. Yes, I mean just take it on this level, forget about performing on a more creative, more intelligent way. Just let’s look at in the context of healthcare. The biggest expense companies have, or one of certainly the biggest expenses they have is the healthcare contributions for their people. And when people actually get sick, obviously that’s not good for anybody and most of the illnesses in our world today are caused by one of the two things; either lifestyle, a lack of exercise, poor diet and fundamentally stress is the greatest contributor to most illnesses that people experience, and then the other big contributor is going to the hospital.

Iatrogenic illness is about 25% of illnesses in the United States, so between lifestyle and then the treatments for the lifestyle illness — you know I just met a guy on a plane, I just did a seminar out in Florida and this guy sitting next to me said he used to be really overweight, and he was out of shape, and he got some kind of sinus infection and he went to his doctor and the doctor put him on really heavy-duty antibiotics for 21 days. The sinus infection went away, and instead he got a yeast infection and that lasted for months and wrecked his life for a while until friends of him said, “If you keep taking drugs, you’re going to keep getting a reaction. You need to change your diet and start exercising.” So the guy lost over 100 pounds and he said it absolutely changed his life and the great thing is that he had no idea that there was a connection between his lack of exercise and his crappy diet and taking antibiotics, and the fact that he was way overweight, out of shape and prone to all these problems.

This is so simple, and yet we keep spending more and more money on various kinds of pharmaceuticals and people want a magic bullet. You’re responsible to a large extent for your health and for your level of energy and here’s the great news, people have been studying how to cultivate more energy for thousands of years, and this is not just anecdotal or superstitious. The Harvard Women’s Health Newsletter recently described this ancient Chinese art and said, “It’s not just meditation in motion, it’s medication in motion.” These are research-validated to help with so many of the common challenges that people face. Especially, this is relevant to you if you’re 20, 30, or 40. But if you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90, the margin for error is less.

Learn about Lee Holden’s Qi Gong Exercises & Program

When to Use Dialogue Mapping 0

This past week, I have investigated Dialogue Mapping and been starting to use it. The context that I first used it in was capturing meeting notes which I could argue the pros and cons of this, but find for virtual meetings particularly interesting and better than most other attempts. The one problem I have found was trying to do it without being the facilitator. One, it is hard to keep up and asking to re-clarifying certain points sometimes seems out of place. It does demonstrate how unstructured most meetings are! Dialogue Map

My new venture with  Dialogue Mapping) is to see how it works in a meeting that we are trying to solve a problem and reach a conclusion or an implementation of the countermeasure to the problem. Most of us believe that there is some sort of ideal sequence of events that we go through which results in a decision with the implementation to follow. The preceding discussion to this is quick, direct, and implementation is straight forward. And, that is how it goes most of the time. The issues are familiar, solutions are obvious, and the implementations are straightforward. What I just explained is a routine decision making for a routine problem.

The decision-making process in most organizations are never routine, and more problems seem to exist that we could call messy or as Horst Rittel used to call them Wicked Problems. The bottom line is Tough Problems do not solve easily. This is why the IBIS Method was developed, later followed by Conklin’s Dialogue Mapping. Dialogue Mapping takes these tough problems and structures a way to capture the information. I like the fact that we remove a barrier by doing this, the loss of ideas and questions. The other area, that I see benefit in, is that it allows to control the dialogue to keep all participants in the discussion.

I am not sure for routine discussion, meetings and decisions that I would go through the effort of Dialogue Mapping. I could change my mind as I get more proficient at it.  However, I do like the structure of the entire process and can see the benefits of the process for those more difficult decisions.

Dialogue Mapping is based on the Issue-Based Information System (IBIS) method developed by Horst Rittel. The IBIS method breaks a conversation down so that it can be structured into only 3 basic elements: Question, Idea, Pro or Con.

Diagram was created using Rationale Software

Develop Shared Understanding thru Dialogue Mapping 0

Dialogue MappingTM with KC Burgess Yakemovic of Cognexus Group.  KC has over 25 years of experience capturing and using decision making KC Yakemovicrationale within both the corporate and small business environments. She worked with Jeff Conklin a (author of Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems) during his early research on the technology needed to support the IBIS methodology in the “real world.”   Since January 2011, KC has been the Director of Training at CogNexus.

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