Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 197 - November 2016


The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.

Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 197 - November 2016


  1. Introduction to the November 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. Is "useless knowledge" useless?
  3. Knowledge is not the power. So what is power?
  4. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2016
  5. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  6. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  7. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the November 2016 Knowledge Letter

I am interested in what makes a powerful question. My current working definition is

"A powerful question is one that provokes us to think deeply and to engage intensely in conversation with others."

So I am always on the lookout for good questions, and I spotted this one: Will Machines help us to be better People?

I love the question, but unfortunately, the author of the above post answers the question: Will Machines make our lives easier?

They are not the same LOL

I'd love to hear what you think makes a compelling question and any suggestions you might have for ones that are worth asking other than "How come Trump won the American Presidential election?" which is already being discussed to death!

You will find some ideas to stimulate your thinking here.

I have posted this question on the Gurteen Knowledge Community group on Linkedin - so please reply there where we can have a better discussion.

Is "useless knowledge" useless?

Is "useless knowledge" useless?

A strange sort of question don't you think?

But this is what the British philosopher Bertrand Russell has to say in a little book of essays titled Let the People Think.

"Perhaps the most important advantage of 'useless' knowledge is that it promotes a contemplative habit of mind."

And he tells this short story
Curious learning not only makes unpleasant things less pleasant, but also makes pleasant things more pleasant. I have enjoyed peaches and apricots more since I have known that they were first cultivated in China in the early days of the Han dynasty; that Chinese hostages held by the great King Kanisaka introduced them into India, whence they spread to Persia, reaching the Roman Empire in the first century of our era; that the word "apricot" is derived from the same Latin source as the word "precocious" because the apricot ripens early; and that the A as the beginning was added by mistake, owing to a false etymology. All this makes the fruit taste much sweeter.

Yes, at one level it is useless knowledge, you can do little with it but as he says it makes the apricot taste that much sweeter. Does it do that for you? It does for me.

So is it so useless? Stopping, thinking, reflecting and contemplating about the world and enjoying or being disgusted with its flavours can rarely be a waste of time.

Knowledge is not the power. So what is power?

It is often said that knowledge is power , but this is a misperception.

Knowledge is knowledge. Power is power.

Michael Schrage puts it well here:
I think "knowledge management" is a bullshit issue.

Let me tell you why.

I can give you perfect information, I can give you perfect knowledge and it won't change your behavior one iota.

People choose not to change their behavior because the culture and the imperatives of the organization make it too difficult to act upon the knowledge.

Knowledge is not the power. Power is power. The ability to act on knowledge is power.

Most people in most organizations do not have the ability to act on the knowledge they possess.

End of story.

There is more than enough knowledge in this world but so many of those who have it - do not have the power to act.

So how is such power gained?

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2016

Here are some of my more popular recent tweets. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

Upcoming Knowledge Events

Here are some of the major KM events taking place around the world in the coming months and ones in which I am actively involved. You will find a full list on my website where you can also subscribe to both regional e-mail alerts and RSS feeds which will keep you informed of new and upcoming events.

KM Asia 2016
30 Nov - 01 Dec 2016, Hong Kong, China

OEB 2016
30 Nov - 02 Dec 2016, Berlin, Germany

KM Legal Europe 2017
18 - 19 Jan 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Advancing your OD practice
24 - 25 Jan 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

IntraTeam Event Copenhagen 2017
28 Feb - 02 Mar 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark

Henley Forum Annual Conference 2017
01 - 02 Mar 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

The Wheels of Knowledge Management
07 - 09 Mar 2017, Melbourne and Canberra, Australia

9th European Conference on Intellectual Capital
06 - 07 Apr 2017, Lisbon, Portugal

5th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
26 - 27 Apr 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KM UK 2017
14 - 15 Jun 2017, London, United Kingdom

4th European Conference on Social Media
03 - 04 Jul 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

You may subscribe to this newsletter on my website. Or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter or if you wish to modify your e-mail address or make other changes to your membership profile then please go to this page on my website.

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM newsletter for knowledge workers. Its purpose is to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management, Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet technology. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

It is sponsored by the Henley Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. And if you have any queries please contact me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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