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July 17, 2004


Neil Olonoff

"Arranging Ideas" is Key to Understanding

This 'arranging ideas' notion is similar to the way some philosophers and psychologists believe we comprehend the world.

In a paper entitled "Epistemology And Knowledge Management Concepts And Practices," Nicholas M. Allix wrote:

"Rather, our knowledge of the world is made up of a richly interconnected whole, or seamless web, of theoretical statements. This ‘web of beliefs’ (Quine and Ullian, 1970) also does not neatly divide up into scientific beliefs and non-scientific beliefs, observation statements and theoretical statements, or facts and values."

In other words, knowledge in practice is a web of 'arranged ideas.'

Another important related notion is the 'relatedness' of these arranged ideas, for example in 'ontology' or 'narrative' format.

The reason why narratives -- stories -- are so important to 'sensemaking' in the world is because the ideas in them relate to one another in deeply functional and embodied ways.

You could say that part of the definition of a good story, in a sense, is that the ideas are very well arranged, although English majors and drama critics use different language.

This begs the question of what do we mean by 'arranged?'

David Locke

Arranging ideas, so that the ideas facilitate specific task performance is information design.

Any effort to exclude treating knowledge almost exclusively as an object, branding and trading knowledge assets, accounting and building intellectual capital leads to the management of nothing. Sorry, but if knowledge doesn't add to the valuation of the company at the point the company is purchased, then there is no knowledge in the enterprise. All of the above must be dealt with in any KM strategy.

Otherwise, KM is being pushed into the HR domain exclusively. When it become the exclusive perveiw of the soft skill HR trainers KM has gone off its tracks.

Knowledge management affects the accounting system of the for profit enterprise, otherwise it is pointless.


I guess the differences come from different perceptions of mearnings of same words. For me "arrangin ideas" includes conversations with others (actually people who know me well know how much I need good partners for developing new ideaas)...

But I'd agree that "arranging ideas" misses whole relation/trust/understanding building part that preceeds ability to engage into conversations.

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