You are currently browsing the archives for the Information Management category

Finds for 2011-07-07

Promoting Sustainable Community Resource Management

I get this feeling my future NOW is starting to shape up. Everything that’s been mattering to me seems to finally be coming together into a vision of how I can both work and play in the domains I enjoy. I found myself catching up with Josh from about the possiblity of building out the learning program on Intro to Computing and Information Resources that I conducted two years ago.

It made me dig deep about what it is I want to be doing day to day. The simple answer seems to be that I want to develop information tools for everyday people that are working on sustainable agriculture projects. But, getting the masses turned onto Sustainability seems like an open market ripe for giving back to the community by way of advising on how to develop programs. For me, I guess, it’s all melding from what I’ve been inclined to get into these past couple of years:

+ change management
+ usabiliity and productivity research
+ program continuity
+ collective intelligence
+ green power
+ systems engineering
+ industrial design practices
+ collection taxonomies
+ information assurance
+ community learning programs
+ sustainable systems, permaculture
+ property rehabilitation
+ self-reliance, wellness and happiness

All of it ultimately applies to my interest in building learning programs around the concept of community intelligent resource management. Been obsessing over that, if you will. People barely understand their collective capacity because they lack the tools to understand the fullness of resources around them. Moreso, they sometimes haven’t settled the means by which they could help each other out.

I’ve learned its only through Engagement that everyday people can Exchange, Experience, and create greater Value. So, how do we position the technologies so that they are best enabled towards productivity and happiness, for everyone?.. and I mean EVERYONE! Well, it turns out that THEY are best positioned to empower themselves, if handed the right tools. I truly believe in letting ideas grow through giving direct ownership so someone exercises their creative means proper. So, I’m curious about what the learning program components would be in this scenario.

From the last program we ran together on intro computing at, I learned alot! Some learners had scarce an education. Others had not really been in front of a computer at all. I had not anticipated for slowness in typing; in them not being used to memorizing passwords. Looking back on it, I realize how for some of them it must’ve really been intimidating… the rest were very brash and perhaps knew enough to get around the machine. In the end, I was flexible in how much I pushed these groups into the web tools; and I got to really enjoyed watching the process of discovery through them!

Now, I think the whole experience of learning about computers could still be structured towards building a community website, which we didn’t have time for–some of it I layed out but never stylized. The key is to spend a little less time allowing them to practice keyboard skills while chatting or emailing. Instead they should have homework, two 30 min sessions weekly, to sign in at the computer center and practice.

With the tools that exist today, they could learn more about creating a joint domain space in a place like Ning or WordPress. But, I’d never say it that way.. what I did learn about change (beliefs, wants and fears) and about community development, while I was considering the issue of Happiness and Wellness, was that there’s a gap in being able to implement the programs long term. And, from reading the Dalai Lama’s guidance on community building, the main issue does turn out to be the creation of Trusted relationships.

BK and I pondered this question of Trust, and how you can develop it.. how do you motivate people to Trust each other? and I posited that if you started by bringing them into group challenge exercises to come up with ideas to eliminate problems; or, to build simple structures (paper windmills, water courses, school interdisciplinary projects for kids to resolve), you could get a greater degree of Trust, as people spent more time together. If you added a structured participative organization, a cooperative for example, then you could even provide an ownership incentive that demanded not only Trust, but Dedication from each member.

So, in my view of the new learning program about computing, the students would be guided to think first about their community needs, and how those are laid out into requirement lists. Then we could talk about stepping into getting email accounts and doing research. Each person would be assigned their category of interest to build a list of community resources. We would talk about saved files, organizing documents, naming and tagging documents. Finally, they could build a small joint website, while guided to collect pictures for it and documents and links, independently–perhaps even some video.

While I’m describing it, I’m thinking already that I’m perhaps a bit ahead… but, these are the work skills of this knowledge economy. They need to learn how to dig, and share, together.

One experience from building the last learning program on info resources, was that it really helped me later when coordinating projects at the Information School last year. I was forced to adjust my classroom methods to the different styles of each individual at a terminal–6-12 in a room! Some could be pushed farther along into document editing, and uploading to their cloud space; but, others had to be given simple tasks like finding a flower or favorite dessert image on the web, and saving it locally. It forced me to use semi-structured plans, to be sure everyone got my equal time.

Anyway, this all builds into my need to prepare to hold seminars at the experimental community sustainable development station I have in mind. The location where I want to start is not isolated, but rather on the outskirts of a metro area. So, it serves as a bedroom country community, like North Bend would be around here. Which makes it ideal as a headquarters for the development of small seminars on maximizing productivity of oneself, the community, and in sustainable natural resources management.

The 1st congress on the Island on Sustainability Development Strategy is underway this year in PR. I’m going to register to help work on the objective towards a strategy for the Economic Development domain and the Education domain. How could I not? I see a big break to help resolve some important information problems!

Strange how these career transitions do start to play out, eh?!

Maybe I’m facilitating a lesson plan this Summer. Perhaps I might turn out to be advising through some firm that encapsulates these Loves of mine. Or, else, I could end up just Digging Holes.

Lots of work that I want to make time for  to structure how SPAKL could take a shot at the needs in the PR market for sustainability information resources. Someone needs to simplify the message, the process.. *SPAKL stands for “Simplifying Parents And Kids Lives”!

Funny how passions have a way to come full circle and open doors like that! Cheers!

M.E.  ;P

Quantifying the Contextuality of Information Resources

Much is said in web design and information architecture circles about the importance of minding Contextuality in the creative process.  Yet, very little is provided on means to achieve this when prioritizing change objectives (aka features).

One way that this is resolved is by adapting quantifiable factors in the information asset inventory scheme that reflect the value of the asset to the organization, the particular workflow that it supports, the complexity of managing the function and its replacement cost.

We can sort through these concerns using simple quantification schemes.

The value of the asset to the organization is tied to its importance within the workflow it is a component of.  So, lets start there.

A workflow component can be quantified by assigning a score of 1-100 depending on the importance of the information resource in achieving the workflow goals.

The workflow itself has a priority factor that is associated with how much it impacts the revenue model of the business, how much value it adds to the enterprise.  A critical workflow component could be categorized as a level A asset, whereas archival (maintenance) workflows or activities could be categorized as a less critical level B, C, D, or E asset.

To understand which resources should surface as the focus for change, two more factors must be accounted for: management and replacement costs.

The complexity or cost of carrying out a function to complete a workflow or activity relates to the capital and human resources invested in its upkeep.  If specific monetary quantities are unavailable or difficult to estimate, an analyst can use a score in the scheme that emulates the impact of cost.  For example, an asset that is complex to administer will have a score of 75, and one that is trivial in upkeep will have a cost score of 15.

The same approach can be applied to factoring the replacement cost (the complexity in improving the present state) of a workflow feature.  The harder it is to re-engineer the process, the greater its replacement cost score.   This score is also affected by the perception of additional value that would created by implementing a change strategy, the value-add potential.  The greater the marginal value potential in a proposed improvement to the workflow, the lower the replacement cost complexity score.

I have applied a 0-100 factoring scheme in the above examples because it allows for greater variability in how enterprise stakeholders will perceive the value and cost of an information asset.

Establishing a well accepted scheme to document critical information resources and evaluate their value to the organization, one that is revisited cyclically, can help to  inform decisions on which resources must be prioritized for change.  Using sound techniques such as these will ensure that your organization invests constrained resources to improve process performance and eliminate overhead where it matters most.

This post is intended as food for thought–i claim no expertise on this, just a whole bunch of wasted time to show for…  but, it’s well researched that you are going to need an agreeable evaluation scheme to build consensus, see

There are many other means by which one can establish the value of information resources.  I’ve learned over time, however, that using simple schemes such as those described above allow a change manager to more easily gain collaboration and acceptance from functional group managers within an enterprise.

Now, go CHANGE the World!