The world of sport can provide knowledge managers and their organisations with some great stories and case study material which can be used to support KM activities and internal communications. For example, many readers to this blog will be familiar with the story about how doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children learnt from F1 expertise http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1014984.stm.
Another such story appeared in The Daily Telegraph last weekend. The story was of an interview with Sir Chris Hoy, and recounted the “thousands of miles on the bike” and the “hundreds of hours in the gym” Hoy puts himself through in order to perfect his art. However, the main focus of the story was to highlight the ways in which British Cycling will select the rider for the one GB place available for the men’s individual sprint at this summer’s Olympics – with both Hoy and Jason Kenny being capable of challenging for a gold medal. As the story reminds us “two into one does not go”.
The interesting knowledge management angle to the story is that the decision will be informed by the reams of data, graphs and computer readouts, numbers and figures available from the two riders’ performance data. This includes data and information on power, torque, cadence and speed – factored against atmospheric pressure and temperature; “so that you can work out a good peformance”. But should a computer ‘make the decision’ who represents BG and who does not?
You could argue that there is a danger that the decision could be made largely on ‘explicit knowledge’, and that not enough consideration and weight will be applied to each rider’s ‘tacit and implicit knowledge’; for example – judging when to make the final push for the line; dealing with the pressure of the situation; not getting overawed by the occasion; and the ability to bring years of experience and training to bear in an extremely fast-moving environment where split second decisions can result in the difference between success and ‘failure’. As Sir Chris Hoy points out “it’s not something you can quantify, but they (the performance director and head coach) will take that into consideration, I’m sure”.
As knowledge managers will know, connecting people together to share knowledge about things that are difficult to quantify and write down is vital if well-informed decisions are to be made. So, the next time you are about to make an important decision, re-tell yourself this story. As the interview reminds us, “before conquering the world, Hoy must first conquer the machines” – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/cycling/9260858/London-2012-Olympics-Sir-Chris-Hoys-fate-in-individual-sprint-will-be-decided-by-a-machine-not-humans.html