October 25, 2013

Social media

I was reviewing some slides that one of my colleagues had produced on the use of wikis in knowledge sharing and re-use.  It contained the following list of things to do;

·         Link the wiki to communities

·         Assign ‘owners’ to the pages of the wiki

·         Link the existing processes within the organisation eg lessons learning, community questions etc

It wasn’t suggesting that this would result in a perfect outcome, just that it was unlikely that you would have a successful outcome if these were missing.

On the negative side, it listed these things are being dangerous assumptions to rely on;

·         Assuming that once the wiki is available, people will populate it

·         Allowing people to do what they want with it eg having no structure, content verification etc

Wikis can and do play a vital role in knowledge sharing and re-use but like everything else in life they need governance.

October 4, 2013

Learning Before Catches Monster Fish

I recently saw a headline about a 9 foot (2.75m) long Bluefin tuna weighing 550 pounds (250 kg) being caught by rod and line off the west coast of my native Scotland.  Couple of reasons that the headline caught my attention;

·        A 9 foot (2.75m) long fish is a big fish

·        A 550 pound (250kg) fish is a very big weight on the end of a fishing line

·        I thought tuna was a warm water fish

·        I like to fish but I have never caught anything even close to that size

As I started to read the details of the story, who knows I might even be able to join a fishing party for one of those monsters, I discovered a couple of interesting aspects to the story.

The fishermen had observed very big fish chasing and feeding off the more traditional fish to be found in those waters eg mackerel.

The fishermen decided that if they could catch one of these very big fish they could then start to market fishing tours to the likes of me and the many other fishermen around the world.  So they decided to learn before.  According to one article they imported specialist fishing gear from the USA.  They also appear to have brought in an expert tuna fisherman to provide the equivalent of a peer assist.  The net outcome was that with rod and line they caught not only the 550 pound (250kg) tuna but also a 400 pound (182kg) one which they released.

So far, so good; they knew where these fish were located and no knew how to catch them, they had all the potential ingredients to create a successful business.  Learning before had paid off, big time!

There is however one small dark cloud on the horizon of this story; Bluefin tuna is on the Greenpeace ‘Red List’ or is ‘a severely depleted population’ species.

The story concluded that they couldn’t sell the fish but had to cut it up and share it amongst their friends.  I hope they have lots of friends or the friends they do have like tuna.

So if you want to catch the big one, learn before.