Wednesday, July 12, 2006

KM - You cannot fit an organism into an organization

A human being is an organism. People working together are organisms collectively communicating, collaborating, learning and sharing knowledge.

Many clients, when they are starting to learn about KM, try to fit what they are learning into their existing 'organizational' structure and paradigm. It's an old paradigm. It's wrong thinking. It will fail to reach its full potential. Organisations and organising are sub-sets of the fuller functioning of a living organism.

The problem is that the word 'organization' is not suited to knowledge management. Information based organisations are fine because we are talking about 'organised bodies which give orderly structure to components'.

But organisms are 'entities that take the organised body further by connecting parts that are interdependent and share a common life'. So using the term 'management', which is more effective for information but not knowledge, doesn't help either.

We need to create a new and easily understandable and acceptable term for 'knowledge based organisms' to bring this new knowledge creating/sharing/applying paradigm more easily to life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Writing a KM Strategy

Having written several KM strategies for organisations in different industry sectors, I am now even more convinced, after 12 years, that the best way to write a KM strategy is to enable the client to write it themselves, with our KM coaching and facilitation.

The client understands his/her business much better than we ever will. When we write strategies we often hear the client say, - thats good but its too generic, we want to express it in our business terms and context much more!

Of course, the KM consultant is very well positioned to know the principles, different knowledge strategies (transformative and operational), processes, methods and tools to apply, and gradually becomes better positioned to understand and advise in the particular industry sector concerned, but the client will always know best (even if he/she does not realise that).

So I rather like providing a first draft and then letting the client own it and develop it for their business. I then offer new possibilities, constructive challenges, understanding and support. The end result is a client who has better bought in to the KM strategy as there own, understand it and is prepared to implement it.

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