Half-bake takeway from #PKMChat on Sense-making

We had this #PKMChat yesterday on Sense-Making, I went to bed and some ideas came back to my mind when I woke up during my wake up process.

I tend to dislike sharing half-baked ideas but the point of this one is precisely on the benefits of it.

Floating ideas

Harold Jarche insisted on the part of doing and gaining feedback as part of sense-making. Something a bit out of mind I admit.

He mentionned the example of Nike and benefits of gaining early feedback in the design process. Sharing not being enough if there is no doing in between.

My objection here is that some topics we learn are too abstract, vast, vague or insufficiently described to allow experimenting or doing quickly after.

– Implicit knowledge: general ideas on what could be done in some situations can hardly be tested without creating mock-up cases. This is very heavy.
– Very applicable knowledge but heavy setup. I learned about Centos7 but it requires running 64 bits images hence taking extra time I don’t have. So this knowledge will remain abstract for some more time even if I run all the steps in my mind.
– Opinions, ideas. many of the posts shared around Knowledge are of this type. people share experiments they do, opinions. You can’t do without doing for a month.
– Very abstract stuff that will not be applicable without a real good use case. New type of coding, new concepts for accelerated development are in here.

My view was that playing, rotating or floating new ideas in my mind was a sufficient step. I experienced several times doing virtual experiments of applying new stuff.

I’m very good at playing with ideas, especially very abstract. but ideas well are just ideas. That rings a first bell in my mind because transforming ideas into cash it where innovation stands.

Before having adopters ideas are just inventions and this is what I experience just now.

Conversation went on with the idea of Lego bricks (I loved Lego bricks as a kid, still have few on my table, hard to le[t-]go). Meanwhile I was thinking.

Feedback Loop

Yes that’s what is missing in my system. The feedback.

I have sometimes ideas stuck in limbo because many options are open and I can’t decide. Put it in the hands of users and all of a sudden it becomes clear there are no options. Either you can’t explain it well, or it’s too complicated (but so subtly powerful) or just not practical (lost 4 hours yesterday caught myself in a feature intricacies). This push designed to iterate and better solutions be found. This is precisely possible by instillating some of this fresh knowledge that waits to be applied. So my next tweet didn’t go far enough.

Note that Harold’s tweet is precisely a feedback to a though shared. I never expressed this idea in written form before. Twitter is really a place to share thoughts as opposed to blogs where you share more redacted forms. This is were conciseness is beneficial: it cuts to the ambition of trying to turn what is just an idea into a 5′ reading post.

Feedback brings us also to a team like level as a community. We can be individual knowledge workers, solo-entrepreneurs, free agents on our own but by sharing ideas as we do them we become like self formed collaborating teams. A bit the idea proposed by Violeta in her Facebook group.

In this light Harold’s tweet makes sense.

We are and we are not. Well we are if we want and make the effort to make it happen.

We chat about taking notes, and the chat ended before I realized. i was running it and didn’t realized. It was so smooth, flowing it went like a breeze. Kneaver chatrunner did it without requiring extra attention. Remember topic was prepared by @MichelleOckers. I just copied the questions without even reading them. I asked for help, received it and trust it, no need to read. So I was like everyone this evening.

As I wrote that the idea that came to my mind is : Observable! To make feedback possible we need to bring our thinking to a stage where it is observable.

Being observable

This is a skill, it doesn’t come obvious. I shared it as a goal already 3 weeks ago. Now my motivation is renewed and takes another ground.


Remember that making our work observable is one the key of Working Out Loud. So whatever you learn in practising #WOL will allow you to share earlier your thinking. When you produce stuff (that was my thinking until yesterday), but also as you learn, uncover, dissect what you read. This is new.

It’s not about sharing recomposed ideas which will come later. It’s not about having readers read all your half-baked ideas and it’s not about formalizing and clarifying stuff by writing.

People interested into reading your half elaborated thinking have a benefit for themselves very concrete. They don’t do it for pleasing you or as a duty.
– They can influence and give feedback. If you are precisely designing tools they may end up using they have a clear benefit of co-participating to the thinking. No feedback means also no interest and no urgency to pursue on a track. It’s like a very, very early market study. we are in a very lean approach.
– They can learn from the ideas and take them to their own work. Ideas in the forming stage can be as transferable as completely articulated ones. I experienced this during the last 12 months in PKM, nodeJS, using WordPress API, working on xAPI. Sometimes even mentions of ideas led to discoveries and inventions not even suspected by the person who shared it.
– They can learn from the process.


Pretotyping is a technique I learned during the #DTActionLab 2 years ago. Doing prototypes is what allows you to show your work and let others give their feedback. Good but it’s very costly and work intensive. Pretotyping is pretending you have a prototype and do as if it works. I did that in some videos and posts. I’m becoming rather good at practicing that and I could use it more often and even at sense-making stage.

Remember this one?

Learn by Doing

This term as been around a lot in my streams recently.

In UX design, the trend is to let users explore systems on their own instead of submerging them with information, hints, popups. I would love to design Kneaver’s UI for that. It would be a great solution for the onboarding/adoption cycle and lead to better self formed habits.

Millenials are said to have shorter attention spans, a more collective learning approach and more willing to learn by doing. Even if this is fully proved it’s an interesting direction.

I observe that early adopters of Kneaver are actually learning it by using it. They don’t explore all features first and apply after. They go for something they could use and ask for features as they encounter a use of them.

A first step I could take is to be more voluntary of applying learn by doing myself. How to apply it to abstract learning. Very meta in this post as well.

I keep this link here but not sure yet it’s really the best starting point. I’m sure tweeeps in L&D will have better starting points to suggest 🙂 Commenting is for you.

My takeaways for today

Practice more sharing work in progress and ideas in forming stage.
This means that I’ll have more posts in live baking process. Posts I will start on Kneaver and push continuously on WordPress as I progress.

Explore “How to Pretotype learning and sense-making in progress”.
I’ll try to gather ideas and formalize something here.

Explore how “doing part” of “Learn by Doing” could reuse the pretotype and WOL concepts.
I need to learn first.