Introduction to Knowledge Management

A consequence addressing complicated issues in social media like blogs or discussion groups is the themes may appear polarizing, polemic or absolute. Nothing is farther from the truth. This problem was recently manifest in an Introduction to Knowledge Management (KM) discussion thread. 

Remember, KM has a deep history of painful and expensive train wrecks. (Isn’t a tenant of KM to “learn-from-failure?”)  It’s because of an arrogant focus on data, content and information. This does NOT mean to reject all electronic artifacts! Good grief.

Rather, it means to embrace networks, patterns, structures and social systems to achieve results. Data and content are important, but they are not the end game in KM. 

Try to reflect. Obviously innovation and change is not a comfort zone for KM people. Again, it is why upwards of 80% of content-focused KM efforts fail. Remember, personal growth is not a popularity contest.

It is important to suspend disbelief. Puerile efforts to ‘shoot the messenger’ are not constructive. Overbearing, rigid and near religious support of the manifold KM failures and content past is highly counterproductive. Please, give yourself (and KM) a break.   

Face it, the KM conferences, discussions, methods, zeitgeist, etc. are data and information-centric. For some odd reason, the foundational KM principles and leaders are ignored. (?) It is probably because data and content are easy and KM people often struggle to work outside information boundaries.

All that is proposed is to push the KM reset button. Try to enter the new KM era. We, the KM pioneers, are just trying to restore the founding principles!

Recall in 1956 the USA Labor department reported the number of white-collar jobs exceed blue-collar jobs for the first time in US labor history. It was the dawn of the Information Age.


According to Buck Fuller and Marsh McLuhan modern ‘Ages’ runs for 2.5 generations or about 50 years.

Please KM folks and everyone else, the Information Age is over. It has run its course.

KM focusing on content is like the transportation industry focusing on the horse and buggy or the energy industry focusing on whale oil. Remember, for KM, the content game is played, people won!

KM must move focus and investment away from the overweening, vendor-led message of technology, content and information. It is not effective. This shift is difficult, painful and probably impossible for some people, but it is essential. The shrill, vacant and malignant preoccupation with content, portals and Intranets, for example, puts KM on the fast-track to oblivion.

Rather, like business leaders, KM must focus on robust knowledge leadership, impact and outcomes.

It is important to diffuse the obvious emotion that seems to cloud the progress and vision of 21st Century KM. Embrace the social reorientation of work, embrace complexity, master networks, and, above all, Create The Future!



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