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

July 8, 2002

04 00070 61 02070801

Mr. John Maloney
Knowledge Management Consortium, Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Subject:   KMCI Event on July 29, 2002

Dear John,

Congratulations to you and the KMCI team for presenting a workshop on the economics of knowledge, scheduled for July 29 in San Francisco, as shown in your letter on June 24 received this past week on July 3. Economic analysis helps advance from information technology (IT) to a culture of knowledge by overcoming fear that resists working intelligently. With stocks nearing new lows, this should garner strong interest in your theme that working smarter pays big dividends.
Since Mark Clare is listed as a speaker in a link from your letter, this sounds like the event Mark mentioned on June 7 proposing a meeting to discuss calculating benefits from paying the price of good management that saves the cost of bad management. Hopefully, the conference will resolve concerns you raised on June 10 that KM doesn't save time and money.
Would like to see examples of work product showing the level of effort entailed doing KM using tools and methods presented during the conference. For example, to improve....

Health Care
Legal practice
Digging a Ditch
Attending a Meeting
Writing a Report
Military intelligence
Going to the Dentist
Attending Seminar
Writing Regulations (FAR)
Moving from One Town to Another
Helping a stroke victim
Managing Cancer Recovery

....will we see work product that strengthens these varied disciplines and tasks by lifting the capacity to think, remember and communicate, discussed in your letter on June 10?
This will make the presentation on costs and benefits easier for people to grasp. For example, people get discouraged that it takes too much time creating intelligence using the tools they like, e.g. email, Powerpoint, Word, and others listed in your chart submitted on June 10. Mark's calculations showing that time and expense invested for working intelligently improves earnings will overcome fear that KM takes too much time, and so excuses bad management. Since the purpose of the time people spend on the job is to generate earnings, if the ROI for KM is positive, as shown by USACE and explained in NWO on solving meaning drift, then more time devoted to KM can only save time and money. As a result, the only issue is what tools and methods make it fast and easy to produce useful work product for adding intelligence to information that enables good management?
Will there be a report issued on results of the conference so that attendees can experiment to implement the proven tools and methods for converting information into intelligence, as requested for Jeff Conklin's conference last month, shown in the record on July 3?
On another matter, I reviewed your concerns on June 10 about SDS, along with Dave Snowden's worry that his vision of KM as a process, or flow, to write contemporary history (i.e., stories connected into a web of chronology showing cause and effect based on context) is beyond the reach of present technology for guiding daily work. Most people feel this way until they gain experience with SDS work product, as reported on January 7, 1997. More recently, Eric Armstrong recognized from experience that SDS is effective for improving memory. Yet, most people still feel KM is a miracle beyond reach only suitable for attending conferences and using IT to carry on dialog in email.
Feeling discouraged about KM comes from lack of opportunity to gain experience using technology for creating an audit trail showing traceability to original sources. It is a common and persistent problem evident from our discussion on June 8, and again is missing in our communication on June 10. Subsequently, Gary Johnson reported on June 18 that SDS provides a simple solution that makes it fast and easy to work intelligently. Hopefully, there will be time during the upcoming workshop to remind people about the value of making connections that aid the human mind's natural process of connecting new things it learns to things it already knows, as related by Jeremy Campbell, reviewed on March 3, 1990. Mark Clare's presentation on the economics of good management should help bring home the cost benefits of investing time and expense to avoid paying the escalating price of bad management.
That's why I am pleased to commend KMCI's conference scheduled for July 29, and look forward to getting the report on progress you make.



Rod Welch

Post Script

Thanks for feedback in your letter on June 10 about sending copies to people in a manner that provides context. I am sending a copy to Mark and Dave because they have been involved in this discussion. Ed Traille sent me a separate notice of the KMCI event, so this letter lets Ed know I got the notice and provides context showing follow up action. A copy to Jeff Conklin shows similar follow up to a conference he sponsored last month. Another copy to the OHS/DKR group keeps them up on your conference and related issues discussed the past few years. For example, Gil Regev made a similar point in a letter on October 19, 2000 about the importance of context, and this has been a continuing concern, as noted in your letter on June 10. ..
Copy to:

  1. Mark Clare, Kanisa
  2. Dave Snowden, IBM
  3. Ed Traille, SJG
  4. Jeff Conklin