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The Future of KM

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The Future of KM: Video Blog by David Griffiths is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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23 comments on “The Future of KM

  1. Md Santo
    July 16, 2011


    The evidence that K and/or KM behaving some weird attributes making interesting issues to be discussed among KMers in recent years regarding the future of KM. It includes,

    1. No acceptable and workable KM definition so far. Never before in human history of science, we could hardly define a learning object as in defining K as well as KM. There area over 60 KM definitions we could find in the literatures!

    2. The reality that “Knowledge is the edge of Science” – , making us considering that Knowledge within Science continuum located in grey area and there should be shifting paradigm of Knowledge that will open towards new era in which “Scientific Knowledge”, a term where Knowledge treated as object, could becoming “Knowledgeable Science”, a term where Knowledge treated as subject.

    3. From our deduction study, “KNOWLEDGE IS NEITHER “FLOW” NOR “THING” BUT “CONSCIOUSNESS” : KNOWLEDGE IS EMERGENT PROPERTY OF HUMAN BEING AS COMPLEX SYSTEM – The reality that assumming K is consciousness, it means interaction with the environment is not the matter of electromagnetism phenomenon such in sending information through telco devices or people speaking face-to-face. K as consciousness requires that we should treat K as in quantum state able to behaving “entanglement” action and “superposition traits” (eg Scientific Knowledge vs Knowledgeable Science). The “entanglement” ability making the phenomenon is not “spooky action at a distance” any more as Einstein mentioned, but for us it is “endowment action at a distance”. It is very possible if we assumming that K is independent to SpaceTime

    4. To conclude, Data and Information, in term of their quantitative aspect that currently under intense evolution within DIKW continuum where Knowledge get narrow meaning. From my other point of view, based on what I coined the term Human System Biology-based Knowledge Management (HSBKM) model framework, Knowledge get a broad meaning considering that Knowledge is the output of human knowing tools (output of somatic aspects of human body) achieved as inborn as well as acquired (visit our K-base on DI – KW Model

    5. To summarize, the near future of KM dominantly symbolizing the cross road of evolution of Science. KM will be the spearhead of evolution Science and Technology! Care should be taken to addressing such cross road, eg eclectic KM definition, giving narrow and broad meaning of Knowledge as well as others paradigm shift of K and/or KM. Because K with their consciousness in reality K bridging the quantum world with classical macroworld, we should go hand in hand multi disciplinaries to get comprehended understanding toward the postulate ……..“WE ARE KM-REGULATED BY NATURE and BY NATURE WE ARE KM MODEL” –

    Md Santo – http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com

    • David Griffiths
      July 16, 2011

      MD Santo: You post this quite a bit and I understand that you are attempting to generate momentum behind your concept. The problem I have is that it is an interesting theoretical concept, but what about its operational capabilities? How will you operationalise it? What are the strategic and operational benefits for an organisation engaging with this framework and, more importantly, HOW will you operationalise this concept?

      I’m hearing a lot about the WHAT and, I have to be honest, I think this is a difficult ‘sell’ to organisations as the concept is difficult to understand – in our findings under 40% of KMers have received some form of education in the field – how do you expect them to absorb and apply this concept? The key for me is in the application – models are great, but we have to move beyond the WHAT of model creation into the realms of HOW. Are we hear to solve real world problems (Applied view of knowledge creation) or are we creating knowledge for the sake of knowledge (Aristotelian view of knowledge creation)? If the response is the former, then we have to start answering the challenge of HOW to improve satisfaction in the field and I am sorry, but I think that concepts such as HSBKM only serve to confuse organisational knowledge and learning processes further.

      Thanks again for your interesting insights…


  2. Md Santo
    July 16, 2011

    Hi David,

    Thank for your feedback regarding the problem or the constraints to making operationalisation of my version toward (next gen) KM
    To some degree I’m aware of what you intended. To addressing the issue you mentioned, among others I have developed some metrics and other tools kit as you could see through the following Links, “SUMMARIZING MOBEEKNOWLEDGE KM METRICS” – , “KM Metrics-Maps-Diagrams” and to more broader metrics aspects, visit “Mobee Knowledge KM Measurement – Evaluation – Metrics” Also within HSBKM operational scope, “Brief Guide to Human System Biology-based KnowledgeManagement (HSBKM) model framework” , “INTRODUCING MOBEE KNOWLEDGE COMPETENCY AND CAPABILITY MATURITY (MKCCM™) MODEL” – and you could go to “Instant ad box” below Footer of this Main page to get “Free interactive material of Basic Primer Training of KM 2.0”

    Our mind map showing our (Mobee Knowledge) services generated from our portal for the people we serve, especially in Jakarta, Indonesia – . You could also learn links (folders) of our site map at the Header of Main Page especially – “MobeeKnowledge Services” and – “MobeeKnowledge Site Map – Taxonomy Metadata Management – Human System Biology-based KM model framework – KM Components” to get insight of our operational system

    BTW, all I’ve mentioned above the most important are HSBKM-driven as well as MKCCM-based platform

    Thank You

    Md Santo –

  3. Barbara Fillip
    July 17, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your insights, David. I am in agreement with you regarding the need to avoid the KM label, yet there is a tension between the need to sustain a KM office/KM program and justifying its existence on the one hand, and avoiding the term altogether while implementing the work. If you’re running a KM program, you want your program to have some visibility, yet you have to somehow brand it in a way to avoid being associated with common perceptions of KM (i.e., KM = IT tools, as you pointed out) and get people to understand the value (i.e., the connection to their daily work and the organization’s ongoing challenges).

    So, in times of budget cuts, the KM program can either waste a lot of energy trying to justify its existence and use a variety of bean counting methods to show how much it has done in the past, but the real value would be in redirecting KM activities to address “knowledge” issues related to the challenge at hand. How has this organization handled significant budget cuts in the past? What could we learn from that past experience? How did we get here? How is today’s situation different? Can we get the right people in the room to talk about this and how to leverage our experience and that of similar organization? How do we want to position ourselves so that we’re better able to handle these types of “crises” over the long run? You’d have little need to call this KM, yet I think it wouldn’t be too difficult to get the leadership to pay attention and engage in whatever activities make sense to address these questions.

    • David Griffiths
      July 18, 2011

      Hi Barbara, you make some excellent points.

      In our opinion, one of the major challenges for organisations is their positioning/location of the KM function. Too often it is deployed as a reactionary function that, as you point out, in difficult times attempts to reflect upon its actions to justify its existence – big mistake!

      KM should be at the heart of adaptive capacity building and, if deployed/valued correctly should sit as a business partner (leadership role) in the organisation. From this position the function can become forward thinking. For example, given the issues of down/right sizing in the current economy, coupled with the existing challenges of an aging workforce, a good KM function should have been horizon scanning and developing plans for the future (scenario planning: – this could have translated to projects such as the knowledge mapping of specialist expertise, including footprint analysis; the development of processes to embed the knowledge and widen the footprint; identification of competencies that contributed to the rise of these ‘specialists’; perhaps the implementation of a competency based approach to HR to assist in identifying the succession pool; mechanisms to socialise the expertise with the ‘future’ of the organisation…what cost to relearn/reacquire this knowledge?

      I realise this is a sweeping example, but this, in our mind, is how KM should be functioning. If this was happening we would be talking about forward facing value projections instead of the worry of justification through rear facing ROI analysis.

      Anyway, rant over [stepping off soapbox]. Thank you for responding and bringing up some very important issues! 🙂


  4. Dr Yoosuf Cader
    July 18, 2011

    David, I found your video of value. You have distilled the challenges of KM succintly in the 16 mins. You are right about people being the most important variable in KM. The other two important variables are KM systems and processes. I also found your comment on the challenges facing UK organizations as baby boomers retire taking away with them a vast repository of knowledge and the importance of planning for the human resource future of a comapny.

    There are some practical applications of knowledge management in industry. Ultimately organizations are looking at productivity in organizations. I have written an academic paper mentioning this and other variables such as the importance of a “knowledge champion” in organizations; “succession planning” as you call it, when people retire or “fired”; the
    systems inecessary, etc. My research looked at two high tech industries, the biotechnology and the engineering industry. You can find my paper in this link:

    Click to access Issue05-2007_62.pdf

    • David Griffiths
      July 18, 2011

      Hi Yoosuf, thank you for your contribution and I agree with what you are saying. I’ll have a read of your paper and hopefully you will get some feedback/opinions from others reading this blog as well.

      Cheers, David

  5. Yang Lin
    July 18, 2011

    This is an excellent video! I find that using videos is much better than using texts. It is much convincing! Please continue.

    I think one central point you want to bring is KM implementation must be people-centric. People are the primary holders of the knowledge-based assets of an organization. Since we currently cannot directly manage the knowledge within their heads (particularly for tacit knowledge management which relies on a lack of control, self-awareness process), we could only deal with people instead. We provide external stimuli to help knowledge-holders identify, acquire, retain, transfer and create knowledge with the purpose of helping their organizations to sustain and innovate. However, I hold the view that KM (particularly KM theoretical development) is always knowledge-centric. KM implementation is people-centric because 1) they have the special knowledge that consists of a part of core competency of the organization, and 2) we don’t have the ability to directly manage the knowledge in the head, despite the fact that explicit knowledge is largely in an information form which can be managed directly. We know we call it KM for a reason, because it is not human resource management (HRM), it is not strategic management (SM), it is not effectiveness management (EM), and it is not project management (PM).

    My opinion is KM should always be a series of knowledge-focus activities, while on an operational level, it should be people-centric. Technology can be an enabler but not a determinant. KM should be a perfect name before it evolves to something else.

    • David Griffiths
      July 18, 2011

      Hello Yang,

      Thank you for the feedback!

      I would add to your list that KM is not Data Management and it is not Information Management (not in the technology-driven sense of the term). We have worked with and talked to so many organisations who lean towards a knowledge definition that is explicit in its location (knowledge exists outside of the person – it is portable and can easily move across internal and external boundaries). It’s amazing how many of those organisations have wasted money relearning or reacquiring what they already knew – the technology was acting as a data or information dump, a void where years of learning was lost and their training and development function was blowing their budget on relearning what they already knew!

      The other thing I just don’t understand is that if we agree that knowledge is located within the person, then why don’t HR policies/procedures align organisational KM strategies/operational plans (

      Thank you for your contribution…much appreciated!



      • Yang Lin
        July 18, 2011

        Hi David,

        I read the other link you provided. I studied how Chinese business managers became aware of the existence of KM and found that they mostly heard about the concept of KM in their own firms, when their superiors required them to learn how to implement KM by themselves. Thus, you may see that their learning intent, abilities, and resources might be limited and less professional. This could be partially explain why business managers are holding mis-perceptions of KM.

        I attribute the problem to lack of understandings about KM and knowledge about KM methods and techniques.

  6. Yvonne Wong
    July 19, 2011

    Hi David, thanks for your video. It’s a good sharing platform about what KM is and is not and the future of KM. In practice, I see the strong linkage between HR/OD practice and KM. For example, the organisational issue of knowledge gap created by retiring (baby boomers) key technical expertise positions (referring to non-management leadership positions) and management leadership positions. This is a succession planning issue. Developing functional and leadership competencies are also both HR and KM issues.

    It’s possible that an organisation can implement techniques to address these issues without mentioning KM as you have rightly pointed out but in reality, it’s also true that management especially the Director leading the KM unit will want to brand the initiatives under KM to show visibility. They feel they need to account to the Senior Mgt and show visibility and one good way is to call what they do as “This is KM”. I always thought that if an organisation has implemented “KM” techniques successfully (weaved into daily operations to improve organisation success/excellence) and staff are living and breathing by it, this is true success for KM and there may not be a need for separate KM unit.

    After all, HR is about people and KM is also about people. If whatever we do, we aim to meet staff’s needs (aligned to the organisation’s needs), regardless of whether it’s called KM, we would not deviate far from improving the organisation’s capability and performance. An organisation is an empty shell without staff.

    As to where KM should reside in an organisation, from my experience, there’s a big difference whether KM resides under a particular line of business or as a central corporate unit similar to IT, HR or OD corporate function level. The focus for the KM unit will be quite different depending on where it resides in an organisation structure. If it resides under IT, it is very likely to be IT driven which I strongly believe it should not as KM is about people and IT is only an enabler. HR and OD are people-centric corporate function and complements KM very well. Of course, if KM is given direct attention by CEO, it’s the best!

    As for the future of KM, yes it’s really hard to tell as only change is permanent and nothing else is permanent, everything is evolving. If we keep focus on the gaps/needs of an organisation and proposed/implement activities to bridge those gaps, we should be in the right direction even if what we do not name those activities as KM.

    • David Griffiths
      July 19, 2011


      Thank you for such a thoughtful and illuminating response! I agree with you on the alignment between KM outputs and HR – my question, why is there such a disconnect between KM frameworks/policies/strategies and those of HR? If we can agree that people are critical to KM outputs, then how can we ignore the involvement of HR partners — I’ve yet to speak to/work with one knowledge-intensive organisation where knowledge needs are reflected in recruitment & selection, appraisal and/or reward processes; surely, this has to be a problem!

      I really appreciated your response and thank you again for sharing your views….very engaging!



  7. Frank Leistner
    July 24, 2011

    David, excellent blog entry. And I am very much in line with your assessment and especially your statements on KM and technology. Like you quote “too many people see KM as a technology based solution”. This is the reason, why I have moved away from using KM to using Knowledge Flow Management to indicate that it is the flow between those holding “knowledge”, the humans that needs management. Again, great to see more and more people adapting that broader vision and pushing those that are stuck in the KM=Technology paradigm into a wider view. If you would get a chance to look at my book “Mastering Organizational Knowledge Flow” (Wiley, 2010, endorsed by Davenport and Prusak), I would be very interested what you think of the pragmatic way I went about this same core message. The book is purely based on over a decade of experiences at SAS Institute (2nd time in the row, No. 1 Fortune best company to work for in the US).
    Thanks, I am looking forward to more videos like the one I just watched.

  8. Pingback: The Future of KM (via Theknowledgecore’s Blog) « Community of Knowledge-Blog

    • David Griffiths
      August 5, 2011

      Thank you for entering the discussion and I look forward to hearing your opinions…

  9. Ingo Frost
    August 8, 2011

    Dear David,

    let me ask a question about sustainability, because you argue that organisation are interested in this topic. At least in the business environment in Germany I would say that sustainability is used by companys manily as a buzz word meaning “long term”. Sometimes it also means “ok we are also doing somithing for our employees and yes even we have recognised that we have quite tricky ecological and social problems out there and we do now a big step and start using recycled paper”…
    It does not seem to be a topic that is really interesting for them and it is also very fuzzy..
    What are your experiences towards this topic in countries outside Germany?

    • David Griffiths
      August 8, 2011

      Hi Ingo,

      I think that ‘sustainability’ is as much of an organisational buzz word here as it is in Germany. The problem we find is that when companies are speaking of ‘sustainability’ they are usually speaking about risk; for example, challenges in areas of resource capacity or maintaining market position – though we do also see organisations talking about sustainability in environmental terms (green energy – reducing CO2 emissions). Outside of the issues of resourcing capacity, we find that what they are actually talking about are common strategic issues for most, if not all, knowledge-intensive organisations transacting in the Knowledge Economy; challenges of adaptive capacity and innovation.

      The vast majority of our conversations end up back at this point as the main driver behind enaging in conversation with us – perhaps it is brought about by our questioning technique and therefore we are bias – getting the answer our questions are designed to generate (?). However, the problem is that there are too many buzz words out there, which makes it difficult when you are attempting to share context with organisations – is that any different to issues with KM itself? The one thing we know is that ,regardless of the terminology, the development of knowledge resources (innovation) is a critical strategic objective – we can then talk about the need to acquire & store, share and use knowledge as interrelated activities, but the message from organisations is that we need to innovate, to continue moving forward.

      This isn’t anything new – just look at the model for ‘diffusion of innovations‘ theory and it becomes clear why, whether we talk about resilience or sustainability (from the Knowledge Economy (Knowledge-Intensive organisation) standpoint), it is the ability to adapt that lies at their core. Now we can start talking about people and decision-making capability…but that’s for a whole other conversation.

      Hope this helped in some way…



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  11. Ros Smart
    November 4, 2011

    I happened on this blog by happy chance this morning – Why – because I am a knowledge-seeker, and herein lies my tale. In today’s world, we are drowning in knowledge – viz Google, Youtube, Facebook and all those other repositories of knowledge that we take so for granted today. Yes, I know – IT again, but lets take one and review its success. Google was founded on the knowledge that Larry and Brin had acquired (YES! I hear you say) through their studies at Stanford. What was significant, however is how they USED that knowledge and what RISKS they were prepared to take. To me this is what defines the difference between successful vs unsuccessful organisations or individuals. Often knowledge is not shared because it gives power over others – a typical example is the fact that people are often discouraged from sharing information about their salary or wages with others. In my humble experience this is also why staff find their managers so challenging – management create a knowledge barrier- whether it is on purpose or simply because they haven’t any idea what knowledge will be required and often are not prepared to allow time for their staff to gather the knowledge. Great managers share/distribute knowledge well.
    Organisations that take the RISK of allowing their staff time to gather (new) knowledge will advance only if they allow them to use this knowledge – ie innovate – and we are back at Google again! They know that they must RISK that time, but also encourage the USE of the knowledge and this is often a risky business in itself – eg Google Labs etc.
    Successful knowledge management begins and ends with understanding RISK . This is an innate human factor – some people are risk averse and others aren’t at all. How do we manage/select for that?

    • David Griffiths
      November 5, 2011

      Hi Ros,

      Thank you for a thought provoking post. What I would say is that most organisations are risk averse and, as such, build their processes on efficiency models; something that, according to the various foresight reports, needs to change. The problem is that we can often be accused of being too short termist in our approach to business; too much about the here and now and not building capacity for the future. We know that to build adaptive capacity we need to design more open systems, and encourage/optimise problem-solving, network, relationship, leadership, teamwork and communication skills – these are the building blocks for future competitive advantage, but, going back to risk-averse organisations, effficiency processes provide a more tangible ROI – even though efficiency driven processes can often ignore the knowledge, the person, that underpins the process and, subsequently, the risk of knowledge loss and the cost of relearning what the organisation already knows.

      I don’t think there is a simple answer…for us, it has been about developing mentoring and education solutions that signpost the challenges/risk for Executive/Senior Management Teams…I’m about to address some of this through the keynotes and workshops that I’m delivering over the next three weeks…happy to share the slides once they have been delivered.

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    January 31, 2012

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  13. Pingback: David Griffiths – Club der KM-Visionäre – Folge #1 « Community of Knowledge-Blog

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