Develop the habit of learning unfamiliar subjects
Most people have a hobby or two outside of their jobs, and there is little overlap between the knowledge of work and the knowledge of hobbies.
Without a rational approach, knowledge transfer is a very accidental phenomenon.
This is different from knowledge transfer in the industry. You are a sales person, and after you have mastered the characteristics of several typical categories of customers, as long as you have the basic thinking ability, you can naturally transfer the characteristics of “effective customers” to most customers.
To improve the ability to transfer knowledge across industries, we also need to develop the ability to abstract the essence of development from phenomena.
Take the Edison effect.In an experiment to prolong the life of the filament, Edison’s team tried to install a small piece of copper wire near the carbon wire, hoping to prevent the carbon wire from evaporating.Although the experiment failed, the engineer reported an odd fact: there was no copper wire connected to the circuit, but a weak current was generated.
Edison was immediately acutely aware of its value — or we could use this phenomenon to invent a new ammeter.
But Edison soon filed his patent and put it on the shelf.Because he didn’t think people needed new ammeters.
Until more than ten years later, when British physicist Fleming invented the signal transmission amplification device, he thought of the “Edison effect” and invented the world’s first electronic diode, which created a new industrial system — the electronic industry.
Edison, the “father of invention”, unexpectedly missed this great invention, just because he was a standard “civilian science”, he did not understand the theory of physics, so he could not extract the essence from the phenomenon of “Edison effect”.
So the second condition of knowledge transfer is the cognition of the internal logic of knowledge.Not only to know this knowledge, but also to understand why this knowledge exists?Under what conditions is this true?What are the internal laws of it?What’s the extension?
Of course, the “coding” of “knowledge transfer” follows the knowledge down, which is relatively easy, and the more difficult is “decoding”, because you don’t know what the password is.
The ability to ask questions
Cross-industry knowledge transfer is not an efficient way to learn because you don’t know what knowledge should be “transferred” to the task at hand, and it would take too long to search for it one by one.
The friend who switched to being an interview consultant would have lost his ability to make stories if he had switched to being a chef, and if he had covered a wide range of topics before he became an interview consultant, he might not have thought about the idea of moving because he only knew a thing or two about screenwriting theory.
A great deal of knowledge is “useless knowledge” until you have found a good question. In other words, only by asking a good question about the task in front of you can the corresponding “useless knowledge” become a useful answer.
“Knowledge transfer” is often a learning process that comes first with answers and then with questions, and the ability to ask good questions is often more difficult than finding good answers.
Elon Musk isn’t the first to work on electric cars, and many have more experience building cars than he does, but Musk is a man who asks good questions, so he got the answers first.
The biggest difference between electric cars and conventional cars is their bulky batteries, so everyone working on electric cars is tackling the issue of battery weight and battery life.But that’s not a good question, because it leaves the problem of electric cars squarely in the hands of the battery industry, and the car giants can wait for an answer.
Musk doesn’t like to wait, and he’s thinking about another question: Is there anything different about an electric car other than a car’s internal combustion engine becoming a battery and an electric motor?
This is a good question, not because the question itself is of high value, but because it has a good answer, which leads to the “knowledge transfer”.
The internal-combustion engine has become a battery and an electric motor, and electric wires have replaced the old gear shafts and other mechanical parts. As a result, the atomic drive of traditional cars has become the electronic drive in circuit boards and wires, and the core of the automobile industry has been transformed into the electronics industry.
If the above description is too scientific, a more straightforward way to put it is: the electric car is not an electronic display on the electric car, but a mobile phone on wheels, a computer pretending to be a car.
If you can’t imagine the difference between a “computer pretending to be a car” and a conventional car, a more straightforward scenario is this: Conventional car repair requires you to take your car to a 4S store, and in the future, most of the problems with electric cars can be solved with a software update, or — try a reboot?
In modern society, almost all innovations have their origin in the form of “knowledge transfer”.
Tesla doesn’t quite solve the problem of battery life, but it solves another, more important problem — it redefines the car.
To summarize the three processes of “knowledge transfer” mentioned earlier:
- Reserve: rich cross-field knowledge;
- Coding: Used to summarize the essence of events;
- Decoding: Ask various possible questions about the current task from multiple perspectives.
“Knowledge transfer” is not a 100% successful method, but when it does, it creates far more value than conventional methods of work and learning.
So our understanding of knowledge will be very different from what it used to be:
Useless knowledge, which is learned out of interest, will play an increasingly important role.
- Learning is not about mastering knowledge, but about forming thinking methods and building knowledge structures.
Don’t be afraid to forget what you have learned. The important thing is to remember what you have learned and how to recall it.
- Develop the habit of learning unfamiliar subjects and improve the ability to quickly learn unfamiliar knowledge.
- In the age of search, not knowing is not scary. Not knowing what you don’t know is scary.And those who only know one or two majors are more likely to become the latter.