KM going the way of the dinosaurs - I agree with one of it's "innovators"

Dave Snowden is a recognised "celeb" on the KM circuit and as such I'm generally a wee bit wary of following every word but this time I think he has knocked the Knowledge Management nail right on the head:
One of the questions at KM World was the now familiar one question: Is KM dead? My view for about two years now is that it is on its last leg as a strategic movement (otherwise known as a fad) in management. We also have that infallible predictor that a fad cycle is coming to an end: government adopts it as industrial best practice.

Now don’t get me wrong, 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

All the methods and tools of KM from communities of practice to corporate taxonomies are subordinate to those two primary goals. In so far as the IT function supports those goals and continues to use the term KM then it will persist. However the strategic aspect of KM has now shifted, I think to the general topic of sense-making. I define sense-making as how do we make sense of the world so we can act in it. Many readers will recognize this as similar to a lot of the better KM definitions which were action orientated. The innovative use of collaborative technology, which was also a driver of KM (remember Notes?) is now firmly labeled as social computing and many of the leaders of that movement avoid the KM label.

There's loads more and I have to say I agree with a lot of what he says. I have always introduced KM as a "fad" and that I am slightly "embarrassed" that I have KM in any job title I apply for (not least because of the vast amount of scope it gives those advertising the jobs - it means everything and nothing to everyone).

And so, let's move on from "KM" and into "...?...", um, er, well, whatever it's called at your place I trust they are adding value and actually doing something ("action orientated") - I always talk about "decisions" and how they're made and then, of course, the subsequent actions - understanding what we do and why we do it (in a business sense, couldn't care less why you did that naughty thing this morning) so we can do it "better' (harder, faster, smoother, slinkier - whatever the business demands).


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