Photographer, do you know what you know?
First off let me give a hearty thanks to David Bohlen, Gavin Gough and David DuChemin for filling in while I was gone. My numbers where never so high! Always nice to benefit off of others reputations. All three guys did great and I am in debt to each.
All last week I was kept cloistered in a 300 year old farm house called Woodend Farm in the middle of England, just outside a little town called Tewkesbury. Rough life, to be sure. The week was filled with meetings with folks that are experts in Knowledge Management. The point of these meetings was to help NGOs to understand and apply Knowledge Management principles to their work. How I got involved in this I’m not quite sure, I guess they see I have something to add from a media/communications standpoint. But I sure learned a lot.
I am learning that we have to, not just need to, but have to share what we know with others. We all have knowledge that can help and increase each others effectiveness in what we do. But, if we do not share it we create barriers to growth and effectiveness and this translates to a loss in product and revenue. This was a meeting of NGO types, but there is a lot of information here that photographers can benefit from. For instance; one of the things we all love about guys like David DuChemin, Chase Jarvis, Scott Kelby and others is that they share their knowledge and wisdom with others. Sometimes it is simple, a short photoshop technique, other times it might be more cerebral and deep like David’s great article last week on The Illusion of Free. We need more of these guys in our field. But it goes deeper. If we are going to be effective and continue to grow in our fields we need to develop a life style, an ethos of Reflective Practice.
Reflective Practice is kind of complicated. In it’s most basic form it is the habit of stopping and looking at where you are and then asking yourself, “Is this where I want to be?” “How did we get here?” and “Did we get here the most effective way?” By making a point to learn before, during and after an event or project we can capture knowledge that might normally escape or elude us. We also need to start asking “What do I know, and how can I share what I know with others?” At some point in this Web 2.0 world our knowledge not just our images became a commodity. If we come to grips with this and learn that what we know is as important as what we do we are positioning ourselves in a much securer place in the market.
There are times we share our knowledge freely and offer it without any strings attached. This is what this blog is all about.
It is what most of the web is about. A library of knowledge, a vault of captured knowledge. I share, you share and we all benefit. Your knowledge is just as much a commodity as your images. We have to come to grips with this. Once we understand it we then need to work on the best and the most strategic way to share this knowledge.
There are times when this knowledge and the sharing of it becomes a “paid for” commodity. This is when it takes time and energy away from your “day job”. If I spend a day a week mentoring someone on their photography, more than likely I am going to charge, if I run a workshop like Lumen Dei, I will charge for that as well. I won’t go back into this, David covered it all too well last week. In the days to come I hope to share with you ways you can discover what you know and how to share it with others, how to steward your knowledge. There are some traps that we all fall into, some voices we listen to that say, you have nothing to offer anyone. I want to help you learn to recognize them and avoid these pitfalls to knowledge. I also want to show you a very cool tool that some might find elementary, but that if used can be a huge help to advance your business and your craft.