I had dinner with some friends last night who are just home from six months travelling around Japan. As they shared their stories, it became clear that they’d amassed a wealth of local knowledge whilst out there: synthesised from different travel guides (some in Japanese, which fortunately they can read), the web and advice from locals. This information is fairly unique: based around their one trip, but easily of use to others. We ended up talking about the value of this type of acquired knowledge and, in particular, the meaning it can have for others.
In the Social Age, knowledge in itself has little value: but in this case, the meaning is formed by how this knowledge forms a coherent experience, a complete trip. This is truly social wisdom: i could follow their blog and notes and recreate the trip. In the language of social leadership, they’ve curated their knowledge, built a coherent story and narrated it effectively. It’s precisely this type of activity that we need to design into contemporary learning solutions.
Our ability to curate knowledge effectively and wrap it in meaning is a skill that will differentiate us. Those people who have both the skills to find it, the skills to discover the meaning and the ability to communicate it effectively are wise. And who wouldn’t want someone wise on their team?
Wisdom is based upon experience: in this case, experience found in the field, experience built by jumping on buses, trains and boats, asking the locals, building rapport and sharing their own wisdom. This type of tribal knowledge can be hard to find: there’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty.
Forming and telling organisational stories is a valuable activity: it lets us curate our knowledge into meaningful stories, the sharing of which can benefit everyone.