Complexity and Knowledge Management Navigators…
Time for my regular Sunday blog and I find myself as frustrated as ever – so, forgive me, but this is a little bit of a rant this week — nothing to do with being nervous about Ireland Vs Wales in the 6 nations this afternoon (come on Wales!) [Edit…. we won 🙂 21-23]
Two articles landed on my desktop via the TwitterShpere last week that I found both telling and frustrating: KM in 2012 (Probably dead) – and – Forbes: The Evolution of Knowledge Management – a guest post written by Greg Merkle, VP of Product Strategy and Design at Dow Jones. The former seems to have been written to elicit a response, well, it has, and so I’ll accept that it met its purpose. The second, well, I think I’ve said all I want to in my last blog.
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how you attempt to re-brand KM, it doesn’t matter how many times we declare it dead (some would say that the concept was Dead On Arrival…I have said before, and will say again, we need a paradigm shift to something more appropriate), the bottom line is that discussion on the coordination of knowledge as a resource has been around since, at least, the First Industrial Revolution – it’s perhaps a good idea to know where you come from in order to know where you’re going – and, unless you understand the strategic and operational drivers for the concept… well, let’s just say that it doesn’t matter where you hide the rubbish, it’ll only stink up the place in the end.
Don’t get me wrong, it is clear that people are getting it – this is from Stefano Barale (responding to ‘KM in 2012’):
I agree that KM probably needs a stronger “scientific base” (in order -for instance- to define “objective” indicators of changes produced by KM in the organization), but I disagree that technological changes will -alone- morph KM into Social Business. Every freshly coined KM specialist will tell you that KM is much more about Learning that about Tech.
Informed, participatory technology design within the interested organization SHOULD be IMO, one of the outcomes of good KM
The bottom line is that we need to understand that technology, like KM, is a response, it is NOT a point of departure. If you understand the challenges then you can respond, that simple. But, here’s the rub, if you keep trying to manage knowledge in the same way you manage information, if you keep trying to drive technology as the solution, if you believe that ‘Social Business’ is the new and improved KM, then you just don’t get what KM is really about in the first place and it will fail.
In order to make decisions, it has to be about evidence; it is how we work and why we try to make everything we do as transparent as possible – this is as much about knowledge exchange as it is about responding to operational challenges. The M-Model sets the scene for KM; please take a look and you tell us, how does technology offer a knowledge solution when people sit at the heart of the process. The ‘best’ technology response will come from understanding the scope and scale of the problem, and is itself a response to the challenge.
I also believe there to be a duty of care on the part of people who put themselves forward as ‘thought leaders’, as with the author of ‘KM in 2012’, to ensure that they are driving evidence-based practice and not just getting people lost on a pleasant Sunday drive.
Check out our next KM Course (Resilient Knowledge Management Practice) in London, May 20th - 24th (Now full, email to join waiting list)
Just opened: Stage 3 (Advanced) Course, hosted by Mars Group in Slough. August 12th to 16th
Check out a special version of Operation Punctuated Equilibrium for Resilient Knowledge Management Practice - Edinburgh, October 24th and 25th