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Put Down that iPad! Knowledge Comes from Conversation

In this 30 second video, Richard Grefé, Executive Director of AIGA, the professional association for designers in the US, talks about the fast pace of change and the exponential increase in knowledge, and then makes an interesting case for “thoughtful conversations” as the way for people to really develop knowledge.

I couldn’t agree more.

Recently I was presenting findings and recommendations to a client’s management team. We had conducted and transcribed a sizable number of qualitative interviews and were reporting back the results as well as our recommendation on what the client might do with them. But it was a very engaged management team, and clearly they were grappling with the findings.

As we continued our own thoughtful conversation around the table, it became more and more evident that what was valuable about the project wasn’t just the specifics of the words we’d heard, but the emotional content that had gone along with them. This industry is going through enormous change with a pace that shows no signs of slowing. The upshot is that a whole lot of smart people are having huge difficulty staying anywhere near on top of the content they need to master to get through the day, and people who feel inadequate and incompetent – even if they know everyone else feels the same way – are stressed out.

Part of our recommendations involved a way for our client to support their partners, to invest in making knowledge easily accessible and readily transferable within their own company as well as to their partners. This makes eminent sense, on paper, but it was really the fact that we’d been able to engage in “thoughtful conversations” with their clients and their clients’ clients – not just a mechanistic endeavor – that really allowed everyone to see why this recommendation made sense.