KM (or Knowledge Management) is quite a hot topic nowadays. There seem to be two factions, 1 believes that KM in it’s existing form is a dying discipine, the other refuses to believe that. These discussions get quite emotional, which I guess is a good thing as it shows the passion for the subject on both sides of the spectrum.
Personally I believe that most decision makers have developed a level of cynicism toward traditional KM, mostly I believe because of the seemingly pervasive (though unfortunate) association of KM with IT and the limited view that many practitioners have had of how KM should be implemented. Best practices like Communities of Practice were largely followed blindly, without adapting them to local contexts, often leading to failed initiatives and wasted money. …
Dave Snowden published this definition of KM recently. I really like it, mostly because it’s practical (most of the others I’ve seen are to theoretical you need to read it 4 times just to be sure you understand all the big words). I especially like the first guiding principle -my personal experience is that this is a key success factor for KM projects – KM for KM’s sake is never a good idea!
“The purpose of knowledge management is to provide support for improved decision making and innovation throughout the organization. This is achieved through the effective management of human intuition and experience augmented by the provision of information, processes and technology together with training and mentoring programmes.
The following guiding principles will be applied
- All projects will be clearly linked to operational and strategic goals
- As far as possible the approach adopted will be to stimulate local activity rather than impose central solutions
- Co-ordination and distribution of learning will focus on allowing adaptation of good practice to the local context
- Management of the KM function will be based on a small centralized core, with a wider distributed network “