Monthly Archives: August 2013

The knowledge-doing gap

People are smart. Not all of us all the time, certainly not me. But by and large, people are smart. This seems odd when considering that we frequently encounter less-than-desirable situations that often have endured for a long time.

But people often know what could be done to improve even such long-lasting situations — this knowledge just isn’t put into action. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton discuss this phenomenon in their book The knowing-doing gap: how smart companies turn knowledge into action and in a related article.

From this perspective, it becomes obvious that addressing such less-than-desirable situations as a knowing problem is unlikely to be effective — the people affected likely have all the knowledge required to improve the situation. Addressing such situations as a doing problem, i.e. working with people to put their knowledge into action, seems likely to be much more effective…but only if the people affected think a problem exist, want to do something about it, and want (my) help in doing so.

Now putting the knowledge in this post into my actions would be a big step toward closing one of my major knowing-doing gaps.

Content strategy, service design and physical objects

I had the opportunity to begin learning about content strategy in the last two months or so.

I’ll probably have more to say on how this changed my perspective in thinking about a lot of things in another post. Sarah Wachter-Boettcher’s book  Content everywhere: strategy and structure for future-ready content got me started and Jonathon Colman’s Epic List of Content Strategy Resources pointed me to more great resources on the topic.

I might have stumbled across the term content strategy in Milan Guenther’s book Intersection: how enterprise design bridges the gap between business, technology and people. The enterprise design framework uses 20 aspects (organised in 5 layers) of design work in an enterprise context. The second layer, anatomy, includes these aspects: actors, touchpoints, services, content.

I was happy to find a strong element of service design in the framework, but thought emphasising the content aspect odd. Well, maybe for mostly digital services that made sense… But what about (physical) evidence? But then I’ve had issues with overemphasising service evidence, too.

By now I see the point in discussing content (strategy) at this layer in the framework, but I still feel uneasy about the (state of the discussion) of physical objects in service design. (Or am I just not reading the right stuff or talking to the right people?) Thinking of physical objects (including goods, physical products) as vehicles for provisioning services (as discussed by Dave Gray, among others) seems promising. Physical objects can certainly also be vehicles for delivering content. (We could also view content delivery as a type of services.) And then there’s a role for physical objects in a service evidence context (in a narrow sense, please).

Is it time to bring these thoughts together and elevate the discussion of physical objects in service design?

2014-09-21: Tom Graves has written a brilliant post titled From Product To Service.