When I worked in broadcasting I’d often find myself surprised by colleagues that had a high regard for opinion. Even the most hard-nosed Harrys would look grave, nod sagely and start “it’s a fact that……” then go on to state an opinion: either theirs or some borrowed wisdom.
Running training courses, I was constantly asking hapless journalists or producers to “tell me what you know, not what you think”. And sometimes they didn’t seem to realise there was a difference.
As we moved into a new century, I moved into the online world. I found that people who spent their days in the orderly universe of the algorithm could be equally entranced by opinion. Sometimes, familiarity with an inadequate software product would influence opinion, and make someone argue in its favour despite its evident shortcomings.
A few months ago, at LIKE 65, Stephen Dale guided us through workshop sessions on evidence-based decision making. Steve put us into groups of four or five and set scenarios for us to work through.
The room was full of analytical brains – knowledge professionals, information scientists, business researchers, education specialists, even an ombudsman. Yet each group jumped to conclusions, misread details, surrendered to cognitive biases. As we retraced our steps through the maze of our misconceptions we were feeling pretty sheepish. But, and this is what I love about LIKE, instead of arguing the toss or trying to justify our conclusions we got engrossed in a fascinating discussion about cognitive bias and the weighting of evidence.
A knowledge network LIKE no other
A small group of us started LIKE (the London Information and Knowledge Exchange) in 2009. We wanted regular, informal, get-togethers for knowledge professionals. Seven years and nearly seventy events on, we’ve covered an astonishing range of topics including:
Storytelling and knowledge sharing, the ROI of KM, Information behaviour and cultural change,Taxonomies and Folksonomies, Reimagining records, Transliteracy, Civil rights in the digital world, Making the leap to open source, Organising terrabytes of information, The evolution of mobile information access, Information literacy, Future of history: digital preservation, Copyright, Hargreaves and the Digital Economy Act, The business of social media, The UK web archive, Coaching, Open data and Open economics, Big data and little apps, Gamification, Data Protection in Europe and The business case for collaboration.
To lead most of the events we’ve been able to draw on the knowledge of our members because many are experts in their fields. Who needs opinion when you can access real experience and first-hand knowledge?
I was discussing the role and value of LIKE recently with members of the Association for Project Managers Knowledge group. To prepare for the discussion I reviewed the professions and roles of more than 1,350 LIKE members. The top ten (i.e. job titles held by the largest number of members) are:
- Knowledge Manager
- Learning Resources Manager
- Digital Manager
- Business/Research/Insight Analyst
- Data Analyst
- Sales Director
- Project Manager
- Marketing Manager
That’s just the top ten. There are so many more. I’m not certain that some of the job titles existed when we started the network (and I’m still not sure what a Creativitor does!) It was fascinating to visualise the brilliant range of brains that make the LIKE network:
In my opinion it’s a privilege to be part of LIKE.