Knowledge when restructured brings new values

A good friend of mine called to have a chat on his recent problem.

He has been leading a team to investigate complaint cases concerning unwanted loud noise in the neighbourhood, usually from pubs, bars and so on. His job routine includes paying a visit to the premises where the person who complains lives, making attempts to listen what the complainant hears and writing his observation and what he hears in a report.

The interesting part came in when he acknowledged that while he may always be able to hear “something”, he was not sure what he put in the report corresponded to what he actually heard. He was wondering if he needed to train himself up with some music knowledge. He figured a music teacher would help and was asking me to refer him to one.

Having understood his situation, I was not that optimistic about his plan of hiring a music teacher and told him what I thought. I started with the fact that one can make good use of online resources when it comes to learning music theories. For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory would be of some good use. Undoubtedly to put what he heard into words intelligible to laymen required much more than knowing music theories. I suggested him to engage a professional to develop a music taxonomy or some forms of structured music knowledge that is suitable for Hong Kong and provide training to streamline their daily work. He was glad to take my advice and started to explore in this direction.

This story is a good lesson to be learnt: as a trusted advisor, you have to really understand the client’s real problem. Sometimes their thoughts and ideas may be a good starting point for you to delve in. Yet the other times the slight idea they are having may guide you off. That is why it is crucial to figure out what your client really needs. And worrying whether you are following the client’s ideas should not worry you. After all, your job is to devise real advice that can solve their problems instead of following their thoughts.


重組知識創造價值

朋友打來跟我傾訴他最近遇到的問題。

他和同事負責跟進社區的噪音投訴,噪音源主要來自酒吧等娛樂場所。收到投訴後他需要到投訴人居所了解情況,並聆聽相關噪音,於報告中記下他的觀察和聽到的聲音。

有趣的是,他清楚自己聽到一些聲音或噪音,但要記錄下來則無從下手。他認為有需要學習樂理,正考慮聘請音樂老師教授音樂知識,着我介紹。

明白他的處境後,我告訴他並不贊成聘請音樂老師。首先學習樂理有許多途徑,網上有許多資源,例如https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory 就是一個好例子。再者要把他聽到的聲音用易明的方式表達出來並不容易,不是認識樂理就能解決的。於是我建議他諮詢專人設計一個在香港適用的音樂分類工具,讓他用於日常工作中歸類聽到的聲音。他欣然接納我的意見,循此方向探索。

這件事讓我有所反思,作為值得信賴的顧問,認清客人遇到的真正問題至關緊要,有時他們的話和想法只為你提供解決問題的一個着眼點,盲目順從他們的想法無助解決問題,所以要明白客人的真正需要,才能給予有用的建議。

 

Red-eye Flight

I attended an international conference in Tokyo last week. Though it was not a planned trip, I decided to pay the visit to meet old friends and make new ones. I thought it might be a good opportunity to get an update on how different parts of the world had been developing their cities to make them smarter.

Traditionally, November is a busy month to me, for her approaching the year end. To be able to attend, I had to take the midnight flight so as to save time and costs. The flight was about 4 hours from Hong Kong to Tokyo, which was a bit embarrassing – it was not short, yet not long enough for a nice sleep. I ended up finishing the Ghostbusters 2016 movie while having a few incomplete naps. The reward was the very beautiful sunrise (see the above photo).

Upon arrival to the hotel, I was provided with access to the gym and pool. I was so tired though that I went to sleep right away. No wonder my mentors always remind me not to take a red-eye flight, where possibly, as that does not save much of the effective, productive time.

While feeling a bit exhausted, I managed to make the conference on time, and had made a lot of very interesting new friends from US, EU, Latin America, India, Middle East and Asia. Will I still take the red-eye flight? Maybe when situation comes.


搭夜機能省時?

上星期我到東京出席一個國際會議,這不是計劃好的行程,我決定順道去探望老朋友,並認識新朋友,亦是個好機會了解世界各地在智慧城市上的發展。

一般十一月對我而言是個忙碌的月份,因為將近年尾。為了出席這個會議,我特意搭夜機來節省時間和費用。從香港飛東京約四小時,時間不算短但又不夠好好睡一覺,十分尷尬。結果我在機上半夢半醒中看完了整套捉鬼敢死隊(Ghostbusters)(2016)。驚喜的是可以看見美麗的日出。(見上圖)

由於太疲累我一到酒店就睡了,也沒有使用酒店的健身房和泳池。難怪我的導師曾告誡我如果可以選擇的話,不要搭夜機,因為無助節省有效率和高生產力的工作時間。

雖然略帶疲憊,我還是準時出席會議。會議上認識了來自美國、歐盟、拉丁美洲、印度、中東和亞洲的朋友,留下美好的回憶。下次我還會搭夜機嗎?可能只有在必要的情況下吧。