Saturday, October 15, 2016

Knowledge not shared is knowledge wasted

All of us- through our life experiences, observations, interactions, studying and reading are in the constant process of gaining knowledge throughout our lives. While we consciously or sub- consciously gain a lot of knowledge, the process of sharing of knowledge is, interestingly, always a conscious one. Knowledge sharing is always a voluntary act. A lot of us, in quest for attaining personal expertise in subject of our choice, often don’t give sharing of knowledge an equal priority. As my life experiences have taught me, sharing of knowledge not only helps the receiver but also the teacher in more ways than one. The more of the knowledge we let out, the more it metaphorically creates space in our mind to gain further. I do hold this belief quite in high esteem that- Knowledge not shared is Knowledge wasted.

Knowledge sharing for the sake of Knowledge sharing
As I figured out in my life, one can be as creative in finding avenues to share knowledge as one could be in gaining one. Led by this belief, for most of my professional life I have found ways to codify my knowledge either by means of presenting in conference, writing (this, and few other blogs being example), short interactions, micro-blogging (twitter), visually (infographics) and made the output of my intellect available for wider consumption. All this while, the key motivation has just been Knowledge sharing for the sake of Knowledge sharing. As simple as that! Not for money! Not for any other tangible or tangible benefits!

Imbibe Progressive mindset, not an Excuse mindset to democratize your knowledge
I recently had a fulfilling experience finding such avenue in teaching MBA students at Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Bengaluru.
One of my friends and mentor, Tathagat Varma (TV) had come in to impart the knowledge of Agile mindset to my team. During the course of the day, we had several conversations- one of which was around the opportunity to Guest speak at SIBM. Tathagat has made amazing contributions in many areas related to Information Technology professional, as one can make out from his bio. Beyond these, one of the things that I greatly admire in him is the way he has democratized his knowledge. By making his presentations available almost religiously post his sessions, he has ensured that the impact of his work goes beyond the four walls of the classroom. You could catch a glimpse of some of his work here. So when he checked on my interest at speaking at SIBM, I knew I had to say Yes- without any doubt. The fact that I was going through a relatively busy job transition and preparing for a full marathon- among other things in life didn’t deter even once in saying Yes to this opportunity of sharing. Over the various experiences I have had in life, I have learnt that finding time for things you want to do is an art that's not impossible to master. It's always very easy to imbibe an excuse mindset and blame time for everything one cannot do but I think it’s not so hard to imbibe an progressive mindset and find time to say Yes to things you really want do.

Repetition solidifies knowledge
The topic that TV was teaching at SIBM was a course on Creativity for the students. Having gone through the slides that he shared over Slideshare, it was nothing short of a world-class content for the raw minds. The class that i was expected to Guest lecture was "Creativity in Industries" and I was supposed to kick start this session by sharing my thoughts on Creativity in Sports, followed by TV's narrative on the other industries. One of the many ways this session was different that I have done on public speaking platforms is that each of the lecture had to be given 4 times a day to the students of different sections. On surface, this would sound like a boring thing to do, but as i experienced later- it was actually a good experience. I could experience that- not only students but teachers also tend to get better by repeating stuff- if one keeps an open mind to it. Our joint session was set for 3rd-Sept-2016.

Books are among learner’s best friends
Being given some time before the session actually happened meant that I could try and prepare as much as I could. I do rely a lot on books and secondly the articles over the internet to form a solid perspective before imparting the talk. I did no different this time, and read quite a few books (listed below) and even more articles and eventually worked to form a deck which i share-
Books Read in quest of preparing for the talk:

For those of you who have been regular at sharing via public speaking would realize that it does take a considerable amount of time preparing and more so if the topic is offbeat. This was an offbeat topic for me as sports is not my primary profession, though I have been a passive follower of most of the sports India plays and active at marathon running.

The act of sharing is where the rubber actually meets the road
All the preparation is not quite worthwhile unless the sharing actually happens, much like a car tyre is useless unless it’s on the motion in the road. I delivered my session to students on 3rd-Sept-2016
The presentation that i delivered during the day is here-

It was indeed a humbling experience teaching students. I didn’t dislike the act of delivering the session 4 times in the span of 5-6 hours. Apart from me perfecting my delivery, it did help me empathize a good lot with a teacher's life. Moreover, I got to learn a good deal from students and listening to slides that TV presented. The act of repetition does help to reinforce the learnings more solidly.
Some key points from my session:
- Exhibiting Creativity in Sports is difficult because letting your body and mind together follow the creative thoughts are a tad tougher than letting your mind alone follow creative input.
- Your best chance to innovate is where different fields meet. Break down barriers between fields. Don't just go deep in your field alone, develop interest and leverage from the other fields too.
- Leverage self-learning as much as coaching. Some of best sportspeople have been self-taught, atleast initially.

Towards the end
If you have read till here, I am sure you would appreciate a quick summary of my experience here. Here it goes-
1    1.  Make knowledge sharing as much a priority as is learning. That’s an important characteristic of a growth mindset.
2    2. Strive to get in a state of sharing knowledge just for the sake of sharing knowledge. Don’t expect rewards for sharing what you know (though as I experienced I long run, embracing such state has immense professional benefits). Not everything in life is give and take.
3    3.  Lastly, find ways to democratize your knowledge. After all, the knowledge not shared is knowledge wasted.

If you would like to share your knowledge sharing experiences, I would like to hear and learn from you. Please do add your thoughts in comments.