Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Setting Goals (for Knowledge Economy)


Gamestorming suggests that goals must be fuzzy, not precise, for knowledge work. Fuzzy goals have 3 characteristics, abbreviated conveniently as ESP: emotional, sensory and progressive.

It makes sense that the goal has to be emotionally aligned or have an emotional component. Sensory refers to tangible nature of the goal to be able to more easily share with others: are there visual artifacts you can use? Because in many cases within knowledge work, the actual goal may not be clear at first and it may shift as you gather more information, it is imperative that the goal be progressive as opposed to static.

When setting and trying to achieve these goals (or policies), it is also important to understand that there are various constraints that affect our decisions. By considering both physical and abstract elements, individual and shared elements, you can vet if you framed your goals in a manner that is appropriate for your situation. These elements can be graphically displayed into four quadrants: infrastructure, near materiality, the individual, and societal structure, as seen above. For example, if the goal is to reduce carbon footprint for students in dormitories, it is important to consider their environment (doing laundry in the middle of the night might be “greener” but the dorm’s laundry room gets locked after 9 pm), what kind of technologies they have access to (thermostat with a readout on energy use), the individual’s knowledge of energy generation or impact of their actions that might affect their commitment to the goal, and societal norms, meaning what behaviors are acceptable within that community (not showering for a week can be “greener” but students would not consider it because it would be socially unacceptable).

Artwork: used by permission, from Beyond the Individual: The Contextual Wheel of Practice as a Research Framework for Sustainable HCI, in Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1125-1134, by Johanne Mose Entwistle, Mia Kruse Rasmussen, Nervo Verdezoto, Robert S. Brewer, and Mads Schaarup Andersen. 2015. DOI=10.1145/2702123.2702232

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This entry was posted on October 10, 2015 by in Management and tagged , , , , , , .
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