Continuing the Edison Scale© of Inter-generational Knowledge Transfer!

Yesterday I introduced the concept of the Edison Scale© for measuring inter-generational knowledge transfer. The scale is simple on purpose the intent being not to make a complex scale The other axisclip_image002 of this scale is the vertical where we talk about the validity of the source. This is an area that is often used against youth. They don’t have the years of experience to have the concept in their head. So it’s important that while the scale is simple relative to the feasibility of an idea it is critical that the idea isn’t dismissed because it comes from somebody without the overall credentials.

So today continuing the Edison Scale© we will talk about the vertical component not shown in the initial diagram. That of expertise. With this second diagram we will consider the reality of expertise and the rational being choosing the name Edison for the Edison Scale©. Edison was an inventor that created many, many inventions. But his credibility was as an inventor. He had little to no credibility as far as creating lightbulbs. Given time and money he found a way to create the light bulb. So the scale fits with the innovation scale I put in my book on innovation. 0-451 being the scale. The other side being when people step in and stop you. Remember, for success Edison has to get to the last iteration. Stopping innovation early actually could be risky.

clip_image004So first off I am not in any way belittling anyone anywhere on this scale. It is important to note that traditionally we apply this scale without thinking. It is a top down innovation scale. Or as it used to be called a stack rank. The value of the bottom was always less than the value of the top. To a degree this is the inherent flaw in society. Every generation has extensible experts. In having those experts, they dismiss ideas from the bottoms. This scale doesn’t have the clean 0-451 used in the first part of the Edison Scale©. Why? Because frankly the concept that we are chasing may actually end up requiring that established expert.

Building our inter-generational knowledge system we need to have information that flows from the top down and the bottom up. In the book transitional services, I actually laid out a system called DLM© that actually used the established experts has SME’s. Their role would be to harvest information within the system regardless of the level it comes from and surface new and interesting solutions quickly to the top level. If we create a system where established experts are encouraged to support ideas from the lower levels (lower only in a tiered fashion not in a value statement) we effectively integrate ideas from both new and existing experts. We take the stick-to-itiveness of the Edison Scale© and expand it with our inter-generational knowledge capture infrastructure.

Ultimately there are two Venn diagrams that apply. The first is the traditional view of ideas and knowledge. The second is the new Edison Scale© view of ideas and knowledge.

clip_image006The system as it is today focuses on where the idea comes from more than it focuses on the broader what are the problems and how can we take the ideas and build a better mousetrap. clip_image008 The Edison Scale© focuses on capturing the problem and the ideas. Regardless of source (which frankly is the limiting factor in the knowledge capture systems in the wild today). You are not an expert therefore your idea cannot be relevant. With this new model we gain a much broader view of problems and all ideas are welcomed. Not all of the 450 ideas generated will work, but in having them it becomes much easier to say the path to where we are going this way. Therefore, if later on something else doesn’t work, we know the options that we choose and can consider the many alternative paths.


Inter-Generational Knowledge Transfer advocate, inventor The Edison Scale©.