Archive for February, 2012

How to monetize knowledge

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I discussed my visit to CALM Alpha and the new Kanban certification scheme with a client yesterday. We came up with a few ways to monetize knowledge.

Ways to monetize knowledge:

  1. use the knowledge in your work, get paid for the work,
  2. encapsulate the knowledge in a product, get paid for the product,
  3. put it in a book, which is one kind of product. Except books don’t make a lot of money. Books can be an accelerator of other ways,
  4. create a training around it, sell the training,
  5. do consulting on it,
  6. certify others to give the training, take a cut of the training revenue, or sell the certification,
  7. spread the knowledge under an unclear license, and later harass people into paying (also known as the planning poker model),
  8. certify others to practice the knowledge. Sell the certification (repeatedly by requiring periodic re-certification),
  9. use the knowledge to build a product that is not about the knowledge.

Or a variation on the last, find a problem, use all your knowledge (which is a superset of “the knowledge” by a fairly large margin) and build a product that solves that problem. Get paid for solving the problem by selling the product (or licenses, subscriptions or heaven forbid ads on the product).

A wise person said yesterday at the eXtreme Tuesday club: “You need to decide whether you want to share or not.

Some ways encourage sharing. Others do not.

We’ve done a small safe-to fail experiment with one of the certification pyramids. I’m not sure whether it has had any impact, positive or negative. If you want me to write more about it, contact me, or better, leave a comment :) .

You may also want to read what Liz Keogh wrote about Cynefin licensing and what Chris Matts thought of his visit to CALM Alpha. The comment threads to both posts are well worth a read.

Which would you choose? What do you see as downsides or upsides of each of the ways? Are there better ways?

In which the cynic pontificates caringly about calm alpha

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Semi liveblogged on the train home to Bath. Dissent, ritual or not, welcome.

Beforehand I thought the CALM conference was an interesting attractor, but I was not sure what the boundaries were. I was hoping to meet new interesting people, get to know others better and maybe see the space of agile and lean move forward (or die, also good).

Chatting with Jim Benson and Steve Freeman on the way out, I said I left, because I didn’t feel I was learning or contributing. Jim came with a nice bastardization of ghandi: “be the learning you want to see in the world”. I should have made it more specific – I felt I was about to stop learning or contributing because I was tired.

Outcomes were reached: I met interesting people, learned, and went home with things to explore and exploit.

In the goldfish bowl discussion after lunch, I spoke up – meta – as I was about to nod off, and requested we’d spend some time mashing up stuff. I felt we were not using the experience in the room well. Yes, you can participate in a goldfishbowl, and most of the time most people are listening. Steve suggested I could have done that earlier. I hesitated to do that. There was a fair amount of presentation going on. I know I have less patience with presentations than other people. So I decided to sift for nuggets and do some writing in the meantime. There were already enough organisers, and other people butting in on conference structure does not always a better conference make.

After the goldfishbowl Jon Kendall was kind enough to show how he uses the cognitive edge sensemaking tool on an actual job. Which helped me put the pieces Marc Evers gave me together.

Steve wondered why there was not more debate during the goldfish bowl after lunch. At SPA there used to be heavy debate during goldfish bowls. I guess the timing after lunch wasn’t great, and before lunch we had had a couple of presentations / case studies which for me was tiresome after an interesting evening in the bar. I loved the ritual dissent exercise though.

Another explanation for the lack of debate might be that this is one of the few places I’ve been to in recent years where everyone present can hold strong opinions loosely. People and authors checked there egos at the door, and everyone freely shared how they worked and, more importantly, what had not worked out as they wanted.

I didnt’ feel like debating, because I did not hear much (except during some of the presentations yesterday) that struck me as shortsighed or bad use of metaphor. Which may of course be due to limited understanding on my part. Unlike say at conferences where a certain agile methodology prevails, and people believe long term planning is filling a backlog or if something doesn’t work well ‘the product owner or fill-in-cookie-cutter-rolename-here should do this.

Instead there were seasoned practitioners of various things, and most discussions were more like ‘what do you do’ ‘I’ve done this, and the effects of it are like this’. ‘Oh, interesting I’ve done a variation of it and the effects where like this’.

Personally, I am glad the organisers did not try to cram discussing the whole of complexity science in two days. Instead we had people who had applied practices from cynefin, agile and lean and were willing to be frank about what had worked for them and what not, as well as bring in things they didn’t quite understand.

In order to show that I care, As a Cynic, I’ll say that this Cynefin Lean Agile Mashup is never going to amount to a hill of beans. Please move along. Nothing to see here ;) (while some skunks go off into the sunset and do interesting works).