This post is more aimed at the multitude of Knowledge Management professionals out there, but I hope it also has some value to those who just wish we would help them with their problems.
In the last few weeks the doctor behind the very informative Brain Science Podcast has been using Twitter to say when she is doing her shift in the ER, (an example of how Twitter is finding a role in professional circles) but what stood out most to me was that Ginger is pulling a 24hr shift and that I had some definite Knowledge Management opinions on that fact.
The evolutionary science and psychology end of KM suggests to me that humans don’t really function well knowledge-wise without sleep and we are deeply pulled by a circadian rhythm that probably goes back millions of years back in our development – so not something we can simply wish away or unlearn.
The point here is that KM must take into account who and what we are, and not build business processes that ignore our limitations and natural biases or preferences.
On the other hand, we could just assume that there are good practical reasons why Dr.Campbell is pulling 24hr shifts and pose a different KM question – how should knowledge be managed if we assume the agent is sleep-deprived, physically tired, and dealing with life-or-death situations?
Once we start down that road, a whole terrain of thoughts and follow-up questions present themselves.
– What kinds of things do we forget or remember wrong when we are tired?
– Should job aids be changed or presented differently?
– How will organisational memory be best served if the agent is unable to take time to make rich notes?
… but most of all
– How will we use situations like this to learn methods that can be deployed to other realms where the problems might not be quite so starkly illuminated.
This is where I see a double benefit of a Community of Practice of KM professionals – to jump in and help people like Dr. Ginger Campbell by using KM methods and principles, learn from situations where the risks and constraints are high, and then draw that learning back into the domains where we practice our craft for our wages.
A good way to drive beneficial innovation across the field?
So hat’s off to Dr. Campbell for yet another 24hr shift in ER – but now let’s put our heads together and see what we can do to help her.