The Changing World of Knowledge, Let’s Talk About It

Knowledge Management never worked.

In the past 25+ years I must have tried a dozen or more different models of knowledge management and collaboration .  In spite of the relative success of most of them – I will claim to have not succeeded 100% of the time by my standards, even if the client got what they wanted – none of them really worked.  I’d be surprised if even 15% of them were still operating today; even if they were, they would be very, very different from what we implemented back then.

True, all enterprise systems evolve both in needs and technology used to accomplish those needs – but this is the not the case here.  Knowledge Management is not about technology; it is about what to do with the knowledge.  The technology simply makes it more available – faster and easier.

Ever since Peter Drucker told us about knowledge workers in 1959, we have been frantically trying to “productize” knowledge and its management.  I cannot say we succeeded, not sure if we ever will – the chief mistake we are making is thinking of knowledge as static product with unlimited shelf-life as opposed to what it really is: a constantly shifting element of all enterprise systems that must be used when and how it is best done, not stored and searched when we think we need it.  The answer to knowledge lies in its usage, not in its storage as we have done until now.

I have been exploring knowledge management for the last couple of years and looking for the new models that will make it work in the organization.  Notice i did not say CRM or Customer Service, rather the organization – this is one of the key elements i am finding — but don’t want to get ahead of myself.  The “results” of my research and thinking are going to be published every three weeks or so throughout this year at the blog of my good friends (and clients) at Stone Cobra (with whom I had many interesting conversations about this as well).

Here is the introduction post (which was posted before Christmas, and therefore ignored by most of you), and here is the first of my musings: Five Benefits of Using Collective Knowledge (notice it is not social knowledge, social intelligence, or even tribal knowledge — the reason why is part of the post).

Care to join me in this journey?