Knowledge management has gone through a metamorphosis but it seems not everyone got the memo. In our Gartner research, we’ve written about a shift in focus from knowledge capture to creating connections among knowledgeable people. The premise of the research is that the reason so many of the knowledge management initiatives started a decade a failed is that they missed this point. They concentrated on the collecting of the knowledge rather than the dispersal and use of knowledge. Recently, I heard an interesting talk from John Hagel in which he described the shift he perceives – the move from knowledge stocks to knowledge flows. This is another way to express the same point.
The issue of knowledge capture is picking up steam again, specifically as organizations realize the risk they face when retiring employees walk out the door (of course, I mean people that are leaving the employ of their organizations, not employees who are shy and . . .). However, the approaches for knowledge capture from these retiring employees seem to be stuck in the same paradigms that bogged down previous programs. The approach I heard most recently is to use Pinterest as the knowledge capture platform, as if that will solve all the problems. I mean no disrespect to Pinterest fans – but I am reminded of a 1-1 I had at the last Gartner Symposium. The client told me his company was on a search for the seventh (yes, the seventh) collaboration platform. The previous six implementations had not gone well and they were convinced it was because they had just not yet found the right tool.
Shiny new technology may be cool, but it doesn’t address the fundamental issue that successful knowledge management has to focus on ways to create connections and allow knowledge to flow among the people who need to consume it. The best designed programs will start at the end of the process where knowledge is consumed and work “backwards” into what knowledge is needed, how will these people get access to it, what format it will take and how it will actually be codified (when and if it can be).
There is an old proverb I remembering hearing when I was growing up: start with the end in mind. For those people tacking KM initiatives, it is one they need to pay attention to.
Category: Change management Collaboration community Knowledge management Social media Social networks social software Tags: Change management, Collaboration, Collaboration dynamics, communities of practice, Knowledge management, learning, Organizational liquidity, Social media, Social networking, social software, symposium