|Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 20:07:42 -0800|
04 00067 61 00120601
<! address> OHS DKR Project
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
|Subject:||Productivity v. Ease of Learning|
Selling equipment that is easy to learn, discussed by Paul and John, in their letters received on November 30, 2000, improves earnings of equipment manufacturers and vendors in the near-term. Buyers, who enjoy favorable market conditions, will initially favor tools that are easy to learn, until the rash of errors caused by the inability to keep up on the Information Highway, eventually leads to reduced earnings and stock prices. At that point, people will demand productivity, and will further demand the right to invest an extra hour or so to learn how to convert information into knowledge in order to improve earnings.
So far, the connection between income and the productivity of knowledge tools has not gained wide currency, because the transition from IT to KM has not yet begun in earnest. As we move forward toward a culture of knowledge, the force of public attention that drives markets will turn from viewing computers as a novelty, to an instrument of productivity. The DKR team can greatly aid this transition.
Generally, productivity of knowledge work is directly dependent on the ergonomics of the total work environment, including tools for rendering in objective form the constant stream of impressions that flow through the mind during a busy day. Knowledge, considered in that context, leads to the idea that, overtime, it can be crafted, shaped and improved; whereas, information exists in the moment based on what we see, hear and feel. Therefore, design and manufacture of tools for knowledge work must eventually pay attention to the speed and accuracy, i.e., efficiency, of converting information into knowledge. The basic truth that more efficient tools produce more knowledge, and knowledge is the foundation of civilization, is deeply ingrained in the culture under the homilie: time is money, knowledge is power.
From a manufacturing perspective, so long as customers view the keyboard as an incidental component, manufacturers are free to short-change quality in order to compete by reducing costs. Over the past 20 years attention has been diverted by the growth of processing power, memory, viewing screens and GUI, ignoring the fact that civilization took a giant step by moving from pictures on the walls of caves, to the connectionist theory of knowledge endemic to alphabet technology. Until and unless a stronger technology emerges for accommodating human architecture, the ergonomics of the keyboard will be critical to KM, because human biology cannot be changed. Some hope for voice data entry to save the day, so-to-speak, and there is progress in this area. While that will be helpful, it cannot replace the role of the keyboard for empowering people to increase their craftsmanship in constructing knowledge and ideas, just as a sculptor, carpenter or piano player draws on the powerful interplay between the hands and the mind to improve critical skills.
SDS, for example, is designed to support ergonomic balance between left and right brain by using both hands, based on research reported January 21, 1999. The the right hand uses the mouse to step through menus that execute tasks, while the left hand can use function keys to execute tasks immediately. Most everything can be done solely with the mouse, or solely with function keys. But, using both, rather than one or the other, provides balance that approximates the utility of using both hands to play a piano rather than just one, as related in a letter to the team on October 4, 2000. The music is easier to play and more pleasing, because using both hands applies a greater share of human mental power that makes working intelligently faster, easier and more fun. Enabling the mind to execute complementary tasks closely in time increases productivity by an order of magnitude.
Therefore, I vote for Doug's idea on favoring productivity over ease of learning.
<! close> Sincerely,
THE WELCH COMPANY