440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

November 9, 2000

04 00067 61 00110901

Mr. Henry van Eykan
Bootstrap Institute
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555

Subject:   SDS Demonstration
Toward a Culture of Knowledge

Dear Henry,

Thanks very much for visiting this past Sunday to see SDS, and to review KM issues. It was a delight to see you in good health, considering earlier medical advice to slow down. I join the team in aplauding your energy and determination to advance Doug's important work, by making the long journey from Montreal to confer first hand, here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Education is the only way to break through centuries of culture that block the design of useful knowledge tools. Education begins with gaining direct experience incorporating into project communications references to knowledge management theory and practice. Without this step, KM will take decades to evolve through market forces, because the design is counterintuitive. Common sense that leads to wordprocessing, spreadsheets and operating systems, cannot unravel the secret of knowledge management. Only experience converting information into knowledge can disclose the design.

From the beginning, Doug has called for bootstrapping to address this challenge, for example on March 26. More recently, on October 25 Doug requested that communications be linked to references, because that is a direct way to grow a body of knowledge, provided links are to specific locations showing alignment with specific ideas and representations.

Accordingly, these two steps of aligning daily work with relevant KM theory and practice, and linking daily details to relevant parts of original sources, will foster a culture of knowledge to guide development of tools.

Transitioning from information to a culture of knowledge will necessarily incorporate Doug's writings into the fabric of daily work, providing a continuing dynamic for preserving Doug's legacy, as a compliment to the many awards he receives.

As you observed, SDS supports these objectives, and is both fun and effective. Some creative thinking is needed to provide training and support, as Doug noted in his 1972 paper, reviewed on March 27, 2000.

I found a source for The Elements of Style, which you recommended during our visit. It would help a lot to get feedback on SDS records, on POIMS, and the NWO, showing how to correct the many egregious violations of good style, which you mentioned. Some of these occur because of limited time, and others because of a tin ear, so any help is greatly appreciated.

Of course the larger issue is for others to explain and apply these ideas. Education and experience are the keys to unlock the secret of KM. If people want the secret, they must begin the journey, however tentative and awkward in the beginning, by taking the path toward a culture of knowledge, which Doug charted on October 25, 2000.



Rod Welch