Geert Willems

Geert Willems

donderdag 7 november 2013

The power of zombie knowledge

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From time to time I get an assignment in a high-tech company, shaping the future in their field.
Sometimes quiet challenging assignments.
Needing to be a spunge the first days or weeks. Getting to know the products. Absorbing all kinds of knowledge. Learning the new language, products, features - all at the same time.

And after two weeks of being spunge. I've had it. My brain needs rest, putting a stop to the information stream for a number of days. And still, I really enjoy the spunge learning parts. And working on several projects on the same time helps to keep the equilibrum. Absorbing knowledge for one customer project, and coaching and training staff of others the next day.

Being spunge is one of my gifts - often not understood. How is it possible that somebody not from the sector can deliver quality in depth material.... but handling knowledge in satellite communication is the same as handling knowledge in food industry, as in the chemical sector, as in construction,....

So far my life as consultant. But now the interesting part.

But when you come back to the same customer, on the same products and services- even if a year  or more is in between assignments on the same products, something strange happens.


I still KNOW things.
Not that I can tell everything from my head - if I could do that, thàt would be special.
But I recognize things and understand things. Instead of stretching, it feels like working inside the comfort zone.
As if when I stopped the assignment a few years ago a 'pauze' button is pressed.
And when I come back, one simply presses the 'play' button again.

The same as when you meet good friends again, after not seeing them a number of years.
And the same as when you meet good friends, you want to get up-to-speed, but that is really so easy.

But this reminds me to a complaint of specialists not being involved in communities of practice on subjects they used to be specialists.
Because they are not up-to-date in the area of expertise. 
Because it's knowledge and experience from their previous functions.

And the cynical thing is that one of the things being (tried) to achieved by a community of practice is not reïnventing the hot water again, and not making the same mistakes again.

In a equated CoP: please involve 'old' stars. It's not difficult to motivate them. On the contrary, they typically are eager to contribute. The only pitfall is to keep the equalibrium and keep all the voices equal in loudness. Unfortunately the voices of the old glories, who sometimes were there at the cradle of the topic, and are promoted or chose other ways afterwards are not considered to participate. Leaving a lot of unleashed possibilities.




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