Author Archive


Mooers’ law

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 30, 2007
Filed in Communication

I was reading Ambient Findability this morning at breakfast and found this law posited by Calvin Mooers in 1959. An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it. Technorati Tags: calvin mooers, usability

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Tacit Knowledge Retention with Communities of Practice

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 27, 2007
Filed in Collaboration

Last year I wrote this short paper arguing that communities of practice were an effective strategy to transfer tacit knowledge. This week we gave the old look and feel a makeover and updated the pdf. This paper therefore provides guidance on how to identify and foster such communities of practice in your organisation. It explains […]

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IBM software – social software for the enterprise

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 24, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

I used to work with Jimmy Kwang at IBM. He was a terrific supporter of the Cynefin Centre and I must say a terrific host. We always had a great time when we visited Malaysia or Singapore. Jimmy sent me an email yesterday to let me know that IBM is getting into the social software […]

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A short history of Anecdote

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 23, 2007
Filed in Strategy

On the weekend I created this presentation about how we got started and I describe some of the projects we’ve done. There are five parts. Here are the other links:

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Naturally incorporating stories in your conversations

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 21, 2007
Filed in Business storytelling

Annette Simmons, in her excellent book The Story Factor, warns us from adopting ‘the story voice.’ You know the one. The narrator starts by saying something like “I’ve got this great story” and then proceeds to adopt a kind of sing-song voice as they tell their story. You can tell it’s a performance. But it […]

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When quantitative analysis just wont cut it

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 18, 2007
Filed in Business storytelling

I read Bob Sutton and Jeff Pfeffer’s book, Hard Facts: Dangerous Half-thruths & Total Nonsense, and I was concerned managers would think that you could only make decisions based on data and analysis. So I was delighted to see this post from Bob Sutton setting out three times when data and analysis wont help. When […]

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What do we mean by tacit knowledge?

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 14, 2007
Filed in Insight

Most of our work here at Anecdote involves working with tacit knowledge. But it is clear that there is a broad understanding about what’s meant by the phrase. In the knowledge management world there are two camps: one that believes tacit knowledge can be captured, translated, converted; and the other that highlights its ineffable characteristics. […]

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How a transcript can enhance listening

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 10, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling

I’ve just returned from a couple of days in New Zealand working with my old colleagues from IBM. It was a fun to spend two days thinking and talking about knowledge strategy. I had lunch with Ross Pearce from IBM and he told me how he helped two parts of a company resolve their communications […]

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History matters

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 4, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

I just received this comment from AJ which I thought you would enjoy. I will let her comment speak for itself. I’m an anthropologist who’s just finished a study of a small government department. After reading your story above, I thought I’d share the value of understanding corporate histories, corporate kinship & traditions I learned […]

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Evolving storylines to create your first journey

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 2, 2007
Filed in Strategy

Rick Davies, the creator of the Most Significant Change techniques, has posted a description of a story-based technique he experimented with that’s designed to help a group of people imagine a set of future possibilities or, as Rick puts it, when embarking on a project we need “… a theory of change, and a theory […]

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