Knowledge management (KM) has been problematic. It is marked with spectacular failures and billions lost. The most often cited problem is there is no alignment with business outcomes. Unfortunately, KM challenges have been exacerbated by vendors, establishment conferences, so-called Best Practices and, ironically, sharing.
There are promising signs for a knowledge management renaissance. Movements and revolutions like social media, information markets, business narratives, authentic conversation, enterprise social networks and complexity science are excellent harbingers for a robust KM resurgence.
For example, organizational networks analysis holds promise because it starts with the desired business outcomes. Unlike vendor-oriented, extravagant KM approaches, social networks and analysis often embody this famous quote by the great Antoine de Saint-Exupery —
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Contemporary KM is overweight. Today’s product-center technology-fueled KM offers no meaning, context or value for business, government or civil society. Those saying or sharing otherwise, particularly in vendor conference settings for KM, deliberately perpetuate and sustain the long, proven, confident history of KM challenges. ‘KM Standards’ buffoons divide the KM networks and create grief.
Knowledge management product/technology intervention, the demented KMS, is the reflexive response to everything. KM people do not acknowledge the utter collapse of most KM applications or their sacred community initiatives even when you show it right to their face. KM needs to go on a diet.
For more than a decade your Colabria Action Research Networks have performed the role of KM iconoclast. Colabria confronts the KM establishment when it fails to create clear business benefits. Praxis intervention allows Colabria to rightfully focus-on-the-future. Colabria creates the proper starting conditions to allow complex systems like KM to propel distributed phronesis and business prosperity.
That’s all. Colabria is Occam’s Razor for knowledge management. It’s leading by example and a very simple principle.
The critical principles of parsimony are often foreign to knowledge management. Too often an elaborate KM system is put in place when more conversation and engagement would be enough. For KM, less is more, a lot more.
Traditional KM conferences are often specious affairs. So is the farce of KM standards and certification. You see, as soon as most knowledge-based ideas reach the ‘conference’ or ‘standards’ stage of their lifecycle (the end), they are wholly obsolete, useless. The organizers and speakers sellout to what they presumptuously call Best Practices. Studying historical vignettes of knowledge management may be good for scholars but it’s not for business, government or KM leaders. Rather, Colabria propels KM by learning from the emerging future.
KM is 100% about the future. Beware of KM Best Practices. KM depends entirely on context. Some KM techniques are instrumental in creating the future. Colabria coined the term Next Practices to define precisely the suites of methods that achieve mastery of the emerging future. Next Practices allow context and connection to assure the success of knowledge management.
This is not an indictment of a whole community of hard-working, delightful KM professionals. Rather, it simply a critique of failed KM hierarchy and the failed, rigid KM establishment.
Too often KM responds by killing the messenger, perpetuating its failures, and leaving willing knowledge-based businesses in a leaderless mess. Fortunately, KM devotees and authentic practitioners are leading a renewal of KM. Colabria is revealing and serving this KM renaissance by helping all Create The Future.