Storytelling 
Passport to the 21st Century
John Seely Brown, Steve Denning, 
Katalina Groh, Larry Prusak: 
Some of the world's leading thinkers
explore the role of storytelling in the world

 I Introduction to storytelling I John Seely Brown on science I Steve Denning on change I Katalina Groh on video
Larry Prusak on organization I Discussion I | Contact us | Bibliography on storytelling

Storytelling: Organizational Perspective: Larry Prusak
Enemies of knowledge sharing: 
Over-reliance on technology and systems

    When these things donít work, why donít they work. Iím not going to spend as much time on this, although someone said that John Milton in Paradise Lost gave the devil all the good lines. Maybe we should follow his example.

1. An over-reliance on technology

   Certainly one factor is an over-reliance on technology. An over-reliance. Itís a moderate balance thatís needed. ďWe put in Lotus Notes, therefore everybody shares,Ē says an executive. You think thatís jejune and sophomoric? Well, I still hear this all the time. My office is in Lotus. Lotus believes it themselves. So why shouldnít the clients believe it? Itís wrong. 

   Microsoft believes it. So why shouldnít the clients believe it? Itís not true. But they do. But you put in the infrastructure. 
   I mean, weíve had the ten commandments for how many years. Do you notice a great advocacy of following them? Putting in infrastructure does not entail compliance. Itís just a device. A way to do things. 

2. The default to documents and systems

   The default to documents and systems is another one. ďWe measure systems and documents, therefore we measure knowledge.,Ē an executive will say. 
   Documents are documents. You canít manage your business without them. Letís not be foolish. You have to manage documents. But it is not the same thing as knowledge. Think about a subject that you know, all of you. Think about a subject you know about. Living in Washington, working in a federal agency, or chemical engineering. Name one. Think of a subject you really know. Then think how much of what you know you could write down. And thereís the difference between a document and knowledge. Think about it.

Books and videos on storytelling 
*** In Good Company : How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work
by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak (February 2001) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
(February 2000) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Springboard : How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Stephen Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann 
*** The Art of Possibility, a video with Ben and Ros Zander : Groh Publications (February 2001)
Copyright © 2001 Larry Prusak 
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