Everyone needs a Second Brain.

I won’t talk about pandemic this week. But I will introduce you to Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). I have been in absolute ‘pandemic-denial’ the entire week and directed all my energy on the PKM course I will talk about bellow.

As some of you might know, for my PhD thesis I looked into Knowledge Management practices in Non-Profit Networks. So I focused on Top Down approach, which is the mainstream in the field. Fast forward to today. I am much more interested in Bottom Up approach to Knowledge Management, which is the PKM.

Harold Jarche defines PKM as:

a set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world, work more effectively, and contribute to society.

Or another one by Steve Dale:

PKM is also about taking responsibility for your own personal and professional development. This means being an accomplished networker, comfortable with technology and – perhaps most important of all – curious. Curiosity encourages serendipitous connections and a desire to understand the complex world we live in. 

Personal Knowledge Management is something that everyone of us is already doing. But the question is how well.



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Personal Growth through PKM

This month I am mentoring a live student cohort in Building A Second Brain (BASB) course. BASB is about building a Personal Knowledge Management System (PKMS). But not just that! What special about this methodology is that you create an actionable system that supports creative output (not just information hoarding). Here is a nice representation from the course web page:

As a result of the course you build your Second (Digital) Brain, which combines 1) a system of tools, 2) workflow (exact process steps) for gathering information from different types of digital and physical sources and 3) a methodology for pushing this information through your system, while creating valuable content and knowledge

Ok, I am talking a bit like a knowledge manager, but it is pretty much about transforming information into actionable knowledge. Maybe you will appreciate this graph:

When we read books and journals, watch videos, listen to podcasts and presentations, visit web pages and social media - we are absorbing information. In order to create knowledge we need to act on this information. The more experience we have with something - the deeper is our understanding.

That is why it is so important to develop a system, which helps gathering, organizing and engaging with relevant information, while building a personal knowledge base.

I help building PKMS

Community Management: Inclusive Virtual Spaces

In BASB virtual community we are trying to facilitate female voices, which are generally underrepresented in the productivity field. Current cohort has the largest number of women, which is definitely some great news! However, the female share is still as low as 20%. 

Additionally, there is evidence from other professional and tech online communities that women engage less than men. Even when membership between both genders is similarly distributed. Women post less, ask more questions, and prefer to build first relationships. 

Both factors combined, we felt an urge of addressing the topic and creating more spaces for informal communication among women. Hopefully, these activities will contribute to creating great learning experience for everyone.

We are just starting and that is what we are doing:

  • Organized a weekly Virtual Event for BASB Ladies, which is a confidential space for sharing and networking among female participants of the cohort.

  • Created an open group “Ladies Empowerment” on internal communication platform, which is a designated space to get an instant attention of all other women in the cohort.

  • Encourage female participants to speak up during the live calls (workshops, classes, discussion groups).

  • Online community management is shared by men and women, who answer both general concerns and very specific content related questions. 

  • Since recently half of course team is women.

  • There are both male and female Student Mentors, who have high level of expertise and help to promote both genders in Productivity and Personal Knowledge Management fields.


Our initiatives have been received very well by women in the course. Female participants expressed appreciation for thinking about them and creating spaces where they could be heard. We are trying out different ideas and learning a lot on the go. 

Fundamental questions that we are addressing: 

  1. What effect on objectivity of knowledge does imbalance of posts by gender has?

  2. Can anything be done to increase the engagement of women?