Are you looking for cost-effective ways to improve the effectiveness of your organization? If so, you should read The Wisdom Network by Steve Benton and Melissa Giovagnoli.
The book discusses the Continuum of Knowledge, which begins with (raw) data on the left and progresses through information, ideas, knowledge, and ending with wisdom on the right. Wisdom networks are groups of people interested in turning data into wisdom. Benton and Giovagnoli define wisdom as "smart ways of seeing and doing things, learning through experience and applying that learning to gain greater insight and foresight. From an organizational perspective, wisdom can be used to do something faster, cheaper, and better. It is actionable and innovative."
The book outlines "an 8-step process for identifying, sharing and leveraging individual expertise." Every organization has people who, regardless of where they appear on the org chart, are experts in various topics. It lays out a plan for bringing those people together with the intent of making it easier for the organization to reach its goals.
The Wisdom Network was relevant for me because I´m in the process of creating a "council" of people across my division to help in identifying and implementing ideas. More importantly this book is not just theory, it´s almost like an instruction manual.
Benton and Melissa Giovagnoli break down each of the 8 steps and provide strategies and examples. They do not ignore the obstacles; they also write about the difficulties involved in creating wisdom networks and suggest ways to overcome them.
One suggestion I´ll try is that when selecting people to serve on teams, networks, or task forces, not only will I look for experts and diversity, I´ll also look for a balance between left-brain and right-brain people.
I first heard about the book from Mike Sansome´s post over at Converstations. Mike suggested that wisdom networks would supersede WIIFM (What´s In It For Me) and that people who subscribed to WIIFM, but not wisdom networks, "wouldn´t be invited back to the party." I see his point now (see my comment on his post) but after reading the book, my take is that wisdom networks will be able to better spread innovative and actionable ideas through the organization. When it comes to selling those ideas to people outside the network, they´ll address both WIIFM and WIIFTO (What´s In It For The Organization). (Thanks, Mike for turning me on to this book.)
Who should read this book? If your organization is
Growing rapidly with an evolving culture
Going through a reorganization or merger
Has little or no collaboration between departments or divisions
this book will be of interest to you.
Note: This review will also be cross-posted at FI Space; a journal about innovation.