Failed KM

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Colabria

The intransigent knowledge management (KM) Establishment is a failure. They summarily dismiss interactions that propel KM forward. They resent constructive dissension, authentic conversation and incisive observations. Today’s KM professionals are allergic to the future.

KM is hell-bent on pursuing KM Standards. The desperate goal is to introduce and achieve uniformity and predictability in knowledge-based activities. Standards and other KM doctrines of processes and technology are patently absurd and harmful.

That KM specifically pursues centralized standards and mandates to drive-out variation in institutional, organizational and informational activities and interactions is objectively wrong. Standards kill KM.

KM Talent Crisis

Remember, for all the lovable geezers, document administrators, receptionists, librarians, clerks and assistants that compose >90% of the so-called KM community, complexity is tantamount to failure. The enterprise milieu is terrifying. 

Today’s KM people are mostly ordinary record-keepers, administrators, supervisors and bureaucrats. They are ill-equipped for knowledge leadership. KM suffers a grave talent vacuum. 

In addition, KM has way too many people posing as experts. Avoid them and their self-serving online discussions. They’re just KM echo-chambers. They lead organizations to oblivion with confidence.

The dwindling ranks of KM are led by stubborn, self-absorbed blowhards. Even many CKOs focus on stale, obsolete concepts as if they invented them. These narcissists suck all the oxygen from the KM discourse. 

This behavior drives them further away from the authentic knowledge leaders. They conduct useless, desultory dialogue that add nothing to prosperous organizational outcomes or 21st Century KM. They ignore the courageous and essential KM iconoclasts. They are quick to shoot-the-messenger.  

Foundations of 21st Century KM like original thinking, network multiformity, conceptual blending, abduction, situated cognition, disequilibrium, serendipity, narrative, lateral thinking, exaptation and a wide-range of other crucial nondeterministic behaviors are simply rejected by the failed KM Establishment and its ill-equipped minions.

For example, situated cognitive behaviors are essential to groups and prosperous knowledge creation. Remember, the failed KM apparatchiks see people as problems, to be corrected, controlled and conformed with useless KM Standards. Their failed precepts of conformance, process and technology are disastrous!

Today’s evolutionary development, pivots, knowledge networks, clusters, ecologies, etc., make KM people panic. Today, the main principles for legions of KM positions is rigid bureaucratic command, control and continuity. Most KMers prefer stilted dialogue, coercive metrics and confining standards.

KM Establishment

The KM Establishment offers soapy platitudes and management caricatures. Expect lofty PowerPoint presentations about how great the content management system will be once it is delivered… 28 months from now. Oh, you may also count on some specious ‘Best Practice’ inventory to fix all problems.  

Contemporary KM harbors a foolish and widespread dogma composed of processes, standards and technology.

Quite to the contrary, 21st Century KM, creates fundamental advancements in productivity growth, knowledge creation and disruptive innovation. Future-focused KM depends entirely on stunning originality, network combination, conceptual blending, design thinking, cognitive diversity, knowledge variation, fluid structures and perpetual disequilibrium. 

We learned long-ago, Mid-Century in fact, that codification inhibits understanding. It attenuates prosperous knowledge creation and distributed phronesis. 

Yet, KM bullies continuously pursue the soaring farce of ‘Best Practices’ and ‘community of practice’ with a vengeance. They spew forth a perpetual fountain of KM hubris.  Favorite themes are Cartesianism, metrics, applications and analytic reductionism. It does great harm. These hopeless practices make organizations stupid. They prevent learning. They stunt productivity growth. They scale inertia. 

Quite frankly, most KM today is simply subconscious malfeasance, particularly standards, vendors and and so-called technology ‘solutions.’

What To Do?

What should we do about it? First, don’t ask why no one uses the enterprise-wide KM application. Just kill it. It’s failed KM.

Recall, there is no such thing as a KM system. Reassign or dismiss the people that put it in. They have harmed your organization. Move forward with alacrity and common sense. Dissolve the center. Visualize, cohere and lead your networks.  

For example, the practice of community is far more important than community of practice. Like Colabria, focus on Next Practices not malignant, coercive best practices.

Reveal, comprehend and cohere social pathways. Embrace complexity to advance knowledge diffusion and praxis mastery. Lead transorganizational collaboration.

Remember in 21st Century KM: vulnerability is power; empathy is innovation; imagination is leadership. 

Take Away: KM Standards for knowledge are as utterly preposterous as the moldering KM Establishment itself. Untold billions have been wasted on failed KM applications, portals and repositories. Decommit from KM processes, standards and technology and recommit to people

Still, in the face of decades of evidence of widespread failure, any challenge to the ossified, technology-led KM doctrine of a generation ago are considered apostasy.

Furthermore, today’s failed KM is not the constructive antecedent to authentic enterprise learning and joyful personal growth. Rather, failed KM is a bitter, wasteful and pernicious technology and process charade. It offers no learning or value whatsoever – only pain, expense and misery.


ankylosing spondylitis

The vast institutional  KM that inhabits the ‘Big Four,’ various ‘Councils’ and dubious online ‘KM’ groups all suffer ankylosing spondylitis or fused-spine syndrome.

Homophilous social network has predictably delivered vast anti-patterns. This delivers profound dysfunction in many institutional KM settings.   

Same goes for the failing,  pitiful, circa 1990 technology vendors trying once to again use KM as a hopeless marketing gimmick. Don’t buy it.

Fused-spine KM delivers rigid KM group-think and obsolete methods. Challenges to the status-quo  are met only with more rigidity. Today’s insular KM process catechism, information technology, metrics and standards regimes are a cruel farce and laughingstock. Beware.

Still, 21st Century KM holds enormous promise. New, spectacular techniques are revealed everyday. Advancements in complexity, networks, neuroscience, biology, sociology, anthropology and behavioral science are frontiers of knowledge leadership.  

To embrace and enjoy the enormous gains in KM it is critical to wall-off the past, to un-learn, reject self-appointed KM Establishment authorities, and truly strive to Create the Future!  

Colabria Action Research


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