Sunday, March 26, 2006

KM and Open Source Methods?

We are all very familiar with open source software, and there are several offerings available for KM, but I do not see much open source consulting methodology for KM available.

As the original idea for open source was conceived around 'open knowledge', for which we are starting to see significant develops, eg wikipedia, I was wondering if anybody knew of any open source methodologies for KM. At we are starting to do this and, naturally, we are interested in working together with other groups.

Would you be interested in a wiki on knowledge management consulting?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

KM, resurgence and new technologies

I hear an increasing number of people saying 'KM is having a resurgence due to the new web 2.0 technologies, especially, wiki's, blogs, rss feeds and syndication, podcasts etc.

I agree, strategically designed and/or volunteer powered, there are, 'potentially', even better new ways of working, based on these new technologies, that will provide an extraordinary ability to produce extraordinary knowledge working (by today's standards) .

Like most good innovation, it is fueled by disruptive technologies which then leads on to improved strategies, processes, methods tools and techniques.

Lets hope, as KM practitioners, that this resurgence is properly perceived and it does not just become a dominant technology issue again.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Knowledge and Wisdom

As a KM practitioner, consultant and lecturer, I am always asked by new students

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

As at today's date, Wikipedia defines knowledge and wisdom as:

'Knowledge' is information of which someone is aware. Knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.

'Wisdom' is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through experience some think. Yet others think it is a quality that even a child, otherwise immature, may possess independent of experience or complete knowledge.


Let me also throw in a few personal definitions :

1. we communicate information to one another (one person's knowledge is another person's information)

2. learning is the process of turning information into knowledge

3. we build and apply knowledge (wisely or unwisely, specialised and generalised)

4. knowledge can be relative to other knowledge, within a specific and specialised domain, with a time limit on the value of the content (which can change)

4. wisdom is valuable knowledge that is timeless and changeless and can be applied across different domains

This is an interesting debate that KM practitioners continually face. Do you have any further comments, challenges or opinions about these definitions in the specific context of Knowledge Management in Organisations?

Monday, March 06, 2006

KM and the real value of disruptive and enabling technologies

In the late 1980's early 1990's we experienced a radically new way of working in groups as a result of some new emerging technologies that we called 'groupware'. Lotus Notes was, and still is to my mind, a leader in this area.

As a result, collaborative technologies such as these were better able to support more effective virtual team working. Leading KM technology infrastructures were based on these new emerging technologies.

Then, for a period of 10 years, the debate ran, something like 'KM is not a technology, its about people processes and supporting technologies, its an holistic discipline. True enough! Even the technologists themselves put technology down.

But, in my opinion, it was the emerging technologies that gave us new and better knowledge working potential, and where there has been failure, its been in our inability to develop effective strategies, processes and competencies that fully exploit these technologies.

Today, I see the same phenomena again!

The radically new emerging technologies that some like to call Web 2.0, the wiki's the blogs, the RSS feeds etc are once again providing enormous potential to create and harness global knowledge. Our challenge is to develop appropriate strategies, processes and new competencies to fully exploit this.

On the other hand, I feel that the emerging technologies need to be so simple and so powerful to use, with such obvious benefit that people will simply not want to go back to the old way of working. Maybe WEb 2.0 is getting there? Maybe the examples of Wikipedia, and the like, are showing that the toools are both radically new and radically simple to use.

I just hope that the emerging conferences in 2006 will move us all forward faster, and not get us stuck in the old debate about people and technology again. To my mind, technology is an extension and enabler for humanity and should be positively embraced.

Collective knowledge creation through wiki's, at least, seriously challenge the academic institutional processes of knowledge creation, at least for the time being, I think?

I look forward to even more disruptive technologies and innovations over the next few years.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Corporate KM system in action based on wiki technologies and blogs

It was refereshing to read in the UK Financial Times Special Report on a 'Focus on the Use of Knowledge Management', 0f 25th January 2006, that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), one of the biggest UK organisations, has been using wiki technologies and have recently added blogging to their knowledge management suite.

Reading the article, by Kate Mackenzie, it seems to me that Euan Semple, head of knowledge management solutions, for the BBC has got one thing very right. He has provided technologies that encourage more 'natural and spontaneous' communication and information sharing.

This can only lead to increased trust and more natural knowledge creation and sharing.

I was interested to read that blogging made an executive "real in a way that most other executives aren't". That sounds more promising for the future!

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