20 July 2008

Google your Passions!

Many of you will know that one of my great pleasures in life is to sit for a number of hours and ponder the meaning of life through the lens of a game called Go. The simple rules and massive 19 x 19 playing field combined with the feel and sound of the game pieces never fail to satisfy.

Shusaku Goban_0593white

So it was with some excitement today that I came across Helen Hasan's work on a project called Go*Team. Helen is one of the esteemed people involved in the Australian Standard for Knowledge Management and also HB 190-2006 Success through knowledge - a guide for small business.

Helen is an Australian researcher who is interested in emergent properties of complex systems such as organisational cultures. Her focus over the last few years has been to use a computer based team version of Go to look at how teams build knowledge cultures, react under pressure, make decisions based on limited information and respond in environments when lack of trust is an issue.

Some of the papers can be found here if you want to read more about the project, but to summarise, the game is played by two teams over an electronic network. Each player can only see their own moves and any moves of the other team near their own. Players can use email, IM, phone, even face-to-face meetings to communicate and strategise, but unlike standard Go, where each player takes a turn in succession, all players can move as soon as a "rest" period is up, so fast action is a distinct advantage.

The findings from the research are quite interesting and because the rules of the game have been subtely adjusted to more accurately simulate the pressures of a corporate environment, the following conclusion from her December 2006 conference paper indicates some strong lessons for how we should manage the knowledge sharing cultures within our businesses. (This paper also describes the rules of the game itself).

Many research studies have shown that effective knowledge sharing arises from effective leadership, a positive communication climate, appropriate reward and recognition, socialising, and commitment to a common goal. However, trust appears to be an over-riding requirement, one that provides the glue that binds these processes and strategies for effective social learning and knowledge management. Knowledge sharing cannot be mandated, it must occur willingly but it is essential first for a supportive knowledge sharing culture to exist. Trust underpins the team building behaviours and attitudes that result in the confidence and cohesion needed to openly share knowledge, construct new knowledge and build stronger organizations.

I have no idea why I never searched for an intersection of my two over-riding interests, Knowledge Management and Go, but I encourage you to right now. Get to it! Maybe their are other Monster Truck drivers out there interested in knitting! You never know.

Anyway, I have to go. I want to know if their are any Ice Hockey players that play Go and have a penchant for photography...

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