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When will we admit that we’re getting it wrong?


The latest figures from the 2011 Baines & Company 2011 management Tools Report provides disturbing reading for those of us calling for changes to KM practice.  KM usage is in steep decline.  The following diagram is KM’s usage within organisations as part of their review of the top 25 strategic management tools (responses from over 1500 executives informed these findings).


The facts deliver a simple message, we’re getting it wrong!  The executive summary for this report clearly states that innovation is the biggest concern for executive management teams.  KM is perfectly placed to respond to this and yet KM is in decline!

I’ve blogged a lot recently about the need for a response from KMers and I’ll leave those posts to do my talking for me here.  The clearest message is the grey line in the chart above.

Related posts:

KM is Dead!  Long Live Knowledge!

The truth?  Can we handle the truth?

For KM’s sake, get the people factor right!

8 comments on “When will we admit that we’re getting it wrong?

  1. Doug Brown
    August 11, 2011

    My two cents worth. Surely contemporary worldwide events, particularly in the political and financial arenas, cast a pall of doom and gloom on business. No doubt that the fearful and uncertain conditions that exist today are capable of distracting or redirecting the attention of business leaders. When they take their eyes off of the KM ball, a decline in interest in KM is the result. I suspect that too many business leaders still view KM as “the shine on the car” and not the “oil in the engine”. Keep in mind too that once honored and credible sources of knowledge – such as governments and financial institutions – have created an environment of tainted and uncertain knowledge down to and including outright distrust. KM is expected to yield black or white answers based on knowledge and experience, but when the best we can produce are shades of grays – the credibility of KM suffers. I would counter that “we” in KM are only the messengers, and “we’re” not the ones getting it wrong. The problem, as I see it, is the recipients of our service are getting it wrong because they either don’t fully understand and appreciate the value of KM in a crisis, or they simply don’t believe in KM helping them through the crisis. Many a drowning victim has abandoned their life preserver and opted to “swim for it” through troubled waters. I say to all practicioners of KM – stay the course as best as you can and be innovative yourselves in offering KM as a resource in troubled times.

    • David Griffiths
      August 14, 2011

      Hi Doug,

      I totally agree with what you are saying. I’ve just written an article for KM World on ‘The State of KM’ and there has to be shared accountability here. KM is framed by senior/executive management – they set out the need and demand for KM activity, hire staff according to their identified need and then complain when it isn’t working! We have to start at the top — and the requires re-education and awareness raising; if we live in a bubble of dissatisfaction then, in my opinion, KM will end up getting consigned to the scrapheap of past fads. The need for knowledge will endure, but KM as we know it will fade to become a distant memory.

      Just my opinion though….

  2. Md Santo
    August 12, 2011

    Hi David,

    From my point view, in KM “we are the K itself”, considering human being with their “knowing tools” evolve their K inside their (human) body with some differentiated human consciousness types (see the link – Description of Human System Bio-based KM (HSBKM) model framework ) The process of K evolvement inside human being during the last two decades undergoes significant paradigm shift of evolution to more higher complexity of KM caused by rapid advancement of technology factor as well as the nonlinearistic turbulence of knowledge ecosystem factor. Therefore K and/or KM experiencing radical changes in how people should addressing the phenomenon (see the link – KM model framework by Nature ). Unless we fail to addressing the phenomenon of paradigm shift in K and/or KM, most likely KM will certainly lost the direction of its popularity.

    Md Santo –

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  6. Basma Al-Baharna
    May 4, 2012

    Hi David, but the same report states that there is a projected increase of 31% for KNowledge Management , so it is not in decline?

    • David Griffiths
      May 4, 2012

      Hi Basma – Projected increase, and unsubstantiated increase, versus ‘real’ data of year-on-year decline

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