The Connector Blog

Experienced-Based Wisdom Takes You Further: Deep Smarts

This book choice post first appeared on the Major Projects Knowledge Hub on September 18, 2019.  Liz will be posting book choices to the Facebook Group Major Projects Knowledge Hub throughout the month of September 2019.

Greetings, all! Jonathan Norman invited me to share some book choices with you this month. In hopes that they will spark some new ideas for your work, here’s this week’s share:

Leonard, D., and Walter Swap. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Business Wisdom. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2005.


In my last two book choices, I outlined the ways that protecting or losing experienced based expertise know-how directly impacts distinctive competitive advantages.  I also used the term “deep smarts” frequently.  This book choice gets right into the heart of what that term means.

“Deep smarts are the engine of your organization.”

For my own work, I depend on Leonard and Swap’s book because of their own experiences, wisdom and know-how in this field.  Their own research and practical approach experiences are primary sources in the knowledge transfer and continuity management field.

Leonard and Swap explicitly highlight components and knowledge flow activities to successfully transfer experienced-based business expertise.  They demonstrate

  • The fundamental need to understand where expertise lives;
  • essentials of how to build expertise exchange cultures;
  • approaches to create knowledge transfer and continuity to engage and ensure that implied and tacit know-how become explicitly understood and brokered.

Give it a skim or a deep dive and then let me know what you think here or on twitter. @knowsaicNo photo description available.

This Way to The New Edge in Knowledge

This book choice post first appeared on the Major Projects Knowledge Hub on September 11, 2019.  Liz will be posting book choices to the Major Projects Knowledge Hub throughout the month of September 2019.

Book Choice: The New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management is Changing the Way We Do Business Carla O’Dell, Cindy Hubert. APQC 2011

Hello again on a September Wednesday.  Liz McLean here, inviting you to read about more about the cost of knowledge loss vs. the gains of knowledge assets continuity. Or, to say it more plainly, have you thought about the clear and compelling business reasons for mitigating loss of deep smarts? (See Liz’s book choice #1 from September 4 here) Are you ready for some clear and direct actions that you can implement in projects to ensure continuity and re-use of the know-how that makes it all go? Well, then!  Read on.

This book is high on my choice list because the data sources, research and case studies have the authoritative weight and industry standards of APQC.   Content is fresh, straightforward, easy to follow and rooted in the pragmatic business needs of major projects teams and stakeholders.

I’ve been immersing myself over the last 18 months in knowledge transfer and continuity approaches, practices and thought leaders, so that’s why I’ve highlighted this section for you.  Chapter 4’s “Portfolio Example: Retaining critical knowledge” is a fantastic entry point on these topics.  It addresses one of today’s most pervasive knowledge and business issues – knowledge loss, costs of that loss and slowed competitive momentum from the constant movement of employees from project to project.

APQC’s research data has shown (2011) that less than half of survey respondents have plans and activities in place to retain and transfer redeployed or retiring employees’ deep smarts. The content in this portfolio example details the best ways to build strategic business approaches to reverse losses and instead embed knowledge retention efforts into business processes.  Whether isolating and pinpointing a priority process or expert, the authors give compelling and practical action plans for organizational capability building.  New Edge surfaces the essential fundamental efforts, and include case reviews of Aerospace Corp., Michelin and NASA’s knowledge transfer models.

New Edge in Knowledge has much more than that chapter/section that I just highlighted. It’s a useful how-to manual that takes best practice sharing and organizational capability building right to your enterprise.  It includes numerous case studies along with that essential chapter on measuring the impact of knowledge management (everyone always wants more of that!). What gives this choice my vote is the newer approaches that focus on enterprise social networking and collaboration practices, e.g. having open and curious conversations to facilitate deeper connections and flows to succeed in the now and in the next.

I hope you find some insightful ah-ha’s in this choice.  I do.

Infonomics: Buzzword or Business Strategy?

This book choice post first appeared on the Major Projects Knowledge Hub on September 4, 2019.  Liz will be posting book choices to the Major Projects Knowledge Hub throughout the month of September 2019.

Greetings, all! Jonathan Norman has invited me to share some book choices with you this month. In hopes that they will spark some new ideas for your work, my first choice is:

Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information as an Asset for Competitive Advantage. Douglas B. Laney for Gartner, Inc. 2018

In his book, Laney delivers a set of new ideas, frameworks, evidence and approaches adapted from other disciplines to administer, wield and understand the value of information.

“Infonomics is the theory, study and discipline of asserting economic significance to information. It strives to apply both economic and asset management principles and practices to the valuation, handling and deployment of information assets.”

Specifically, Laney’s work articulates ways that infonomics can help organizations to better develop, sell, and market these assets in order to transform the enterprise altogether. Laney directs this content to CEO’s, CIO’s, CFO’s, CDO’s and other information and analytics leaders who intend to help their organization to become more infosavvy. Infonomics provides the business rationale for applying infosavvy practices, methods, analysis and case studies of how information and project data can be monetized to increase competitive capabilities.

I often refer people to Infonomics (when the classic KM question arises on the value of KM practices) specifically because Laney demonstrates that quantifying and qualifying information assets can be done. He includes real-world examples, frameworks and practical advice. While his business case focuses on data and information assets, I view the book as readily applicable to knowledge, expertise and deep smarts. Infonomics also examines the negative consequences for enterprises who do not cultivate, curate and operationalize these assets. The book provides clarity on what’s at stake if project knowledge or information assets are not protected, understood or shared.

I’m a big fan of this book because it hails directly from the economic and business analysis viewpoint. No matter what your role or project, everyone can experience some ah-hah! realizations applicable to business processes and project knowledge assets for infosavvy gains. While this book concentrates on applying infosavvy practices to information and data, to my way of thinking, the ideas naturally extend those economic and strategic rationales for knowledge assets. As a knowledge and digital assets manager, I frequently come back to Laney’s book for reminders of the business reasons, rewards or risks associated with NOT being an infosavvy organization.