"Elon Musk is also good at a very specific type of learning that most others aren’t even aware of — learning transfer.
Learning transfer is taking what we learn in one context and applying it to another. It can be taking a kernel of what we learn in school or in a book and applying it to the “real world.” It can also be taking what we learn in one industry and applying it to another.
This is where Musk shines. Several of his interviews show that he has a unique two-step process for fostering learning transfer.
First, he deconstructs knowledge into fundamental principles. Musk’s answer on a Reddit AMA describes how he does that:
It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto.
Research suggests that turning your knowledge into deeper, abstract principles facilitates learning transfer. Research also suggests that one technique is particularly powerful for helping people intuit underlying principles. This technique is called, “contrasting cases.”
"Jessica McClard’s idea is simple: rather than leaving or taking a book, people leave and take non-perishable food and household goods, including toothpaste, garbage bags, deodorant and toilet paper. Those with surplus supplies leave them and those in need are welcome to take them."
"Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it."
"Twitter is a popular platform in terms of the media attention it receives and it therefore attracts more research due to its cultural status
Twitter makes it easier to find and follow conversations (i.e., by both its search feature and by tweets appearing in Google search results)
Twitter has hashtag norms which make it easier gathering, sorting, and expanding searches when collecting data
Twitter data is easy to retrieve as major incidents, news stories and events on Twitter are tend to be centred around a hashtag
The Twitter API is more open and accessible compared to other social media platforms, which makes Twitter more favourable to developers creating tools to access data. This consequently increases the availability of tools to researchers.
Many researchers themselves are using Twitter and because of their favourable personal experiences, they feel more comfortable with researching a familiar platform."
"The news curation team writes headlines for each of the topics, along with a three-sentence summary of the news story it’s pegged to, and choose an image or Facebook video to attach to the topic. The news curator also chooses the “most substantive post” to summarize the topic, usually from a news website. The former contractors Gizmodo interviewed said they were asked to write neutral headlines, and encouraged to promote a video only if it had been uploaded to Facebook. They were also told to select articles from a list of preferred media outlets that included sites like the New York Times, Time, Variety, and other traditional outlets. They would regularly avoid sites like World Star Hip Hop, The Blaze, and Breitbart, but were never explicitly told to suppress those outlets. They were also discouraged from mentioning Twitter by name in headlines and summaries, and instead asked to refer to social media in a broader context.
News curators also have the power to “deactivate” (or blacklist) a trending topic—a power that those we spoke to exercised on a daily basis. A topic was often blacklisted if it didn’t have at least three traditional news sources covering it, but otherwise the protocol was murky—meaning a curator could ostensibly blacklist a topic without a particularly good reason for doing so. (Those we interviewed said they didn’t see any signs that blacklisting was being abused or used inappropriately.)"
"The cumulative volume of research leaves little doubt about the link between fracking and earthquakes. One point of debate that did emerge is the significant difference between how the quakes are caused in Canada and the U.S.
In Oklahoma, the earthquakes are blamed on the industry practice of injecting waste water from oil production into wells dug deep into the ground. This causes changes in underground pressure and deep underground faults to slip, resulting in earthquakes.
In Canada, the direct action of fracking is blamed, as less water is used and injected back into the ground.
University of Calgary seismologist David Eaton says in the past six years, 90 per cent of earthquakes larger than magnitude three taking place in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin can be linked to fracking or waste water disposal. The vast majority — 62 per cent — are directly linked to fracking.
He believes that like those in Oklahoma, the earthquakes are being caused by changes in pressure underground.
Atkinson believes part of the difference between Canadian and U.S. quakes can be attributed to different geology.
"There's evidence that the types of formations that are being explored have differences that would explain why hydraulic fracturing is so much more likely to induce seismicity in Western Canada than it is in Oklahoma.""
"Like the now retired inMaps feature, our site allows you to view a diagram of your LinkedIn network. Please wait while the visualization and network metrics are produced. When finished, scroll down to view your network map and analysis.
At the bottom of the page, there will be a number of network measures drawn from sociological research on professional networks, as well as percentile bars comparing your aggregate network measures to past users.
Below each measure will be a brief interpretation. "
""While some smart people will profit from all the information now just a click away, many will be misled into a false sense of expertise. My worry is not that we are losing the ability to make up our own minds, but that it’s becoming too easy to do so. We should consult with others much more than we imagine. Other people may be imperfect as well, but often their opinions go a long way toward correcting our own imperfections, as our own imperfect expertise helps to correct their errors,” warns Dunning."
"Once the water is sucked back out of the well, it's toxic and can't be used for anything else. And there aren't any failsafe ways to store it. "We've seen that wastewater leak from retention ponds," says Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling program and co-author of the report. "Sometimes it's been dumped directly into streams. It's escaped from faulty wells. And that's a huge risk to our drinking water. There's really no safe or sustainable way of dealing with fracking toxic waste.""
"Traditionally, elements like productivity, jobs, hourly wages, and income all grew in unison. However, during the last 30 years GDP and productivity grew while the US median income stopped and employment flattened, Wallach writes in his new book. Technology innovation has played a significant role in this trend.
“For most of our history 50% of GDP went to wages and 50% went to capital, and we are seeing a radical alteration in that largely because of the anomalies of money being made in high tech industries,” he said. “That’s not anybody doing anything wrong, that’s just technology industries are different from old manufacturers."
So, for example, in 1990 GM, Ford, and Chrysler brought in $36 billion in revenue and hired over a million workers, Wallach said. The big three today — Apple, Facebook, and Google — bring in over a trillion dollars in revenue and only have about 137,000 workers, he said.
This change has created a situation where more and more of the capital is going to a smaller percentage of the population. In fact, we are on course for 70% of stock ownership to be held by 5% of the population, Wallach said. "
"A survey of a major oil and natural gas-producing region in Western Canada suggests a link between hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" and induced earthquakes in the region, according to a new report published online March 29 in the journal Seismological Research Letters. "
"The study also confirmed that in the last few years nearly all the region's overall seismicity of magnitude 3 or larger has been induced by human activity. More than 60% of these quakes are linked to hydraulic fracture, about 30-35% come from disposal wells, and only 5 to 10% of the earthquakes have a natural tectonic origin, Atkinson said. "
(1) Provide significant funding for face-to-face events. CoPs are based on relationships and trust, and relationships and trust are cemented through meeting. The core team of the CoP, and as many extended CoP members as possible, should meet; once at Community Launch, and then on a regular basis (ideally annually)
(2) Ensure community activities address business issues. This is the Number 2 factor from Warwick, but for me would be the number one factor. I know you can set up CoPs for sharing recipes, for Bike groups, for Wine Appreciation, but people are professionals - they know that work-time is for work things, and they are much more likely to devote serious attention to business-centred CoPs. By all means start with a social focus for your CoPs, but transition over time to a business focus once the "community experience" has been introduced..
(3) Provide CoP leader training. CoP leader, or CoP facilitator, is a key role, and it requires skills and awareness.
(4) Ensure CoP leaders are given sufficient time for their role. "Sufficient time" depends on the size of the CoP. Over about 600 - 100 members, this becomes a full time role (see stats)
(5) Ensure high levels of sponsor expectation. Expectation, not management. CoPs must self manage, but the expectations can be set by the sponsor. This 5th success factor is contrary to some KM lore - that any Management influence will kill a CoP. However this is not what the Warwick/KIN survey found. They found that an engaged, supportive sponsor with high levels of expectation is a condition of CoP success.
(6) Engage members in developing good practice. That's primary purpose #1 of a CoP - for the members to exchange practice knowledge, and look for ideas and solutions that will improve their own practice. It doesn't initially have to be codified into Best Practice, but that CoP will probably move in that direction over time.
(7) Improve the usefulness of Community Tools provided. They need to be useful, sure, but they also need to be Usable and Used. Which is not the same as "high tec" or "functionality rich".
(8) Ensure there are clearly stated goals. These come from the Community Charter - they are set by the members. They are influenced by the Sponsor expectation, but the goals are set by the community itself. These can be concrete goals - I know of many CoPs who have said the equivalent of "You know, if we all worked together, I bet we could shave 20% off the cost of this activity".
(9) Promote CoPs ability to help employee's solve daily work challenges. That's also primary purpose #1 of a CoP - for the members to get solutions to their problems. That's the WIIFM for the members (the "What's in it for me"). Without number 9, your CoP will wither and die as the members move away. Without a WIIFM, a CoP becomes a drain on time; with a WIIFM, a CoP is a time-saver.
10). This one was not in the Warwick list, but for me is important. Create a sense of Identity - of belonging. CoPs work in the long term through loyalty and belonging; a sense of belonging to a professional group, and a loyalty to your fellow practitioners that will drive you to answer their questions, share your knowledge, and trust their answers.
Here's a list we made a while ago, in conjunction with Adel Al-Terkait, of the different mechanisms by which a community of practice can add value to an organisation. No doubt you can think of more!
Solve problems for each other
Learning after Benchmark performance with each other
Collaborating on purchasing (buying things that any one member could not justify)
Collaborating on contracts (using the purchasing power of the community)
Cooperating on trials and pilots
Sharing results of studies
Exchanging equipment (re-use old equipment, share spares)
Warning of risks
Mentoring and coaching each other
Building and maintaining documented Best Practices
Developing checklists and templates
Identifying knowledge retention issues
Identifying training gaps and collaborating on training provision
Innovation - new products, services or opportunities
"An organisation recently promoted 14 individual contributors to managers, meaning these employees now have people management responsibility for the first time. In the old way of doing it, the organisation would have likely brought together those 14 employees for several days of training on management concepts and approaches.
The new managers would ‘drink from the fire hose’ during the course, learning all types of new concepts.
However, when they returned to their desk or field upon completion of the training, while they might change the vocabulary they used a bit (and been able to show off the new concepts they learnt), many would often struggle with implementing these new desired work behaviours.
Now, let’s flip the approach. Imagine, if you will, that before physically coming together, the managers were assigned pre-work (e.g. watch a series of videos on core management principles, read the organisation’s Manager Handbook).
Then, in the class itself, the managers focus on role playing and other guided activities to begin practising what they learnt over the course of their self-directed pre-work. Finally, upon completion of the event, they stay together for 3–4 months, as one cohort, supported by an online technology that allows them to continue to collaborate and learn from both the instructor and one another.
Now imagine that six weeks into the process, one of the new managers is having some issues with one of their reports and they need to develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). It wouldn be great if they could draft a PIP and talk through how they are going to deliver it with the members of that cohort?
Then, in the wake of having the conversation with their employee, they can return to debrief with their learning group, discussing ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ of how it went. This would lead to them receiving feedback around what they can do to improve next time, as well as helping the others in the group learn from the real-world experience of their colleague. "
"Dr. Erdelez agrees with that definition. She sees serendipity as something people do. In the mid-1990s, she began a study of about 100 people to find out how they created their own serendipity, or failed to do so.
Her qualitative data — from surveys and interviews — showed that the subjects fell into three distinct groups. Some she called “non-encounterers”; they saw through a tight focus, a kind of chink hole, and they tended to stick to their to-do lists when searching for information rather than wandering off into the margins. Other people were “occasional encounterers,” who stumbled into moments of serendipity now and then. Most interesting were the “super-encounterers,” who reported that happy surprises popped up wherever they looked. The super-encounterers loved to spend an afternoon hunting through, say, a Victorian journal on cattle breeding, in part, because they counted on finding treasures in the oddest places. In fact, they were so addicted to prospecting that they would find information for friends and colleagues.
You become a super-encounterer, according to Dr. Erdelez, in part because you believe that you are one — it helps to assume that you possess special powers of perception, like an invisible set of antennas, that will lead you to clues."
"History is full of historic figures and literary luminaries that tapped the power of the commonplace book to capture and record vital details about everything around them.
Here are a few notable examples of commonplace in practice:
Carl Linnaeus used commonplace as a way to organize and catalog the taxonomy of the “Systema Naturae,” the precursor to binomial nomenclature and the order of the species.
Julius Caesar tracked his lifelong pursuit of reading in over 1,200 pages of commonplace writing.
John Milton amassed one of the most distinct manuscripts of reading and political theory of any Renaissance poet.
Thomas Jefferson deployed two versions of commonplace—one to help his academic and legal endeavors, and another to keep track of his reading.
During the seventeenth century, students at Harvard and Oxford were expected to keep their own commonplace notebooks.
Bill Gates publishes notes from personal reading on his blog.
President Ronald Reagan compiled stacks of notecards full of concepts, quotes, and ideas that were part of his presidency and speeches.
Lewis Carroll incorporated articulate drawings related to anagrams, ciphers, and labyrinths."
"1. When accuracy is critical and errors are risky.
There are many careers in which employees are working in dangerous situations. People who deal with hazardous chemicals, on surgical teams, first responders to disasters – there may be something in your company that has a critical component to it. How can you integrate important information to these key performers? Perhaps it needs to be hands-free, such as on a smartwatch or glasses. Steps on a checklist could appear in response to verbal cues. Use technology to equip your positions that include risk.
2. When a work task is performed infrequently, making it difficult to remember.
Do you have compliance training that needs to be delivered on an annual basis? Think creatively on how that information can be delivered via mobile devices to the end user in an approach that emphasizes reinforcement. Perhaps it is some safety training required by OSHA that could be delivered by guiding employees around a facility via a “mobile trainer.”
3. When a work task is error prone, so that mistakes are made too often.
Ms. Malamed provides a good example of this type of performance support need by mentioning routine medical procedures in a hospital. Thinks of the steps needed to apply an IV needle to a patient. Why not have these steps easily accessible on mobile devices including pictures and even video on how to do it correctly?
4. When there are multiple decision points or many steps.
Have you ever built training for overcoming customer resistance? For a salesperson, this is commonly needed information. Or if there is a customer-facing encounter that has a myriad of outcomes. Why not step through a decision tree with the customer that leads to accurate offerings? The customer will appreciate it and the potential for a sale is increased. Think of an investment advisor who has a wide range of possible advice using this approach.
5. When procedures or tasks are changing.
Float has had the opportunity to work with clients who have many “big box” retail outlets around the company. The product lineup for these stores change on a daily basis and the support information related to the products changes as well. It can be a daunting task for a salesperson to keep up with it all. Present product information that is easily searchable on a mobile device and even use the device’s micro-location capabilities to guide the employee to the right spot on the sales floor.
6. When the workers have a low level of literacy.
Do you have employees that struggle with English as a second language? Utilize the device’s technology to solve some of these language barrier problems. Applications such as Google Translate allows you to point the phone’s camera at printed text and then see the same text in another language on the device display. There is also voice recognition software such as Speechlogger that can translate your spoken word as you dictate it. Are there ways you can integrate these technologies into your performance support tools?
7. When training is not available for performing complex tasks.
We hear from many companies that a wealth of knowledge for their workers is locked up in the heads of veteran subject matter experts. There have been some creative solutions to this dilemma by SME’s sharing knowledge via video streaming through smart glasses. Take a look at this video where an SME solves a problem with the onsite technician by utilizing smart glasses. "