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Is Knowledge Management dead?

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Dave Snowden wrote an excellent mini article : Whence goeth KM? A must read!

…the objectives of KM theory and practice persist and will continue to be of great importance. They are clear, simple and important and can be summarised as follows:

1. To support effective decision making
2. To create the conditions for innovation

What went wrong?

…KM as a subject is now inextricably bound up with IT. If you look at the US and UK conferences they have all been combined with technology events (content management, internets etc) in order to attract in the sponsors. Most of the academic literature I review deals with the technology aspects of KM. .

The SECI model was a great way of explaining a particular aspect of Japanese industry, but a very bad general model of KM. It focused on the container not the thing contained (tacit in people, explicit written down), it led people to believe that you could make tacit knowledge explicit, and then make it tacit again simply by reading material. Early attempts at KM focused on removing dependency on people, “extracting” their knowledge into databases and organising it into neat and tidy taxonomies

People tried to create standards and certify competence in a the subject. Most of the people who did this (and are doing it) have little pedigree in the subject, they are professional trainers.

Where are we going?

Well I think the future is bright. With the benefit of hindsight we will be able to say that KM was the discipline that first challenged the mechanical metaphor of BPR and the top down driven values of the LO movement. It made possible the wider integration of science with management and with learning from the humanities Sense-making and social computing are its natural inheritors and both are stronger for the last ten years journey. Hopefully the name will stay around for some years yet, but the strategic focus is now elsewhere.

Written by anol

November 24th, 2006 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Wanton Posts

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