KM Blog March 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Knowledge values and Wise principles

I am doing quite a bit of work around effective decision making and its link to knowledge management.

So I am back talking about wisdom again, as I had the following insight to share:

We act, and make choices and decisions, based on our underlying values and beliefs. If they are good and right values and/or beliefs, we should be making good decisions. If they are wrong values and/or beliefs, then we may be making bad decisions. So, we might also say that the decision is based on the quality of the knowledge that supports the values and beliefs.

No rocket science here!

If we are able to act, and make choices and decisions, based on underlying principles, that have stood the test of time, and are globally acceptable (Wisdom), then we should be making the most effective decisions - wise decisions. I think?

As the most relevant and contextual knowledge and wisdom, required to make a decision, is best found in communities and teams, as opposed to codified knowledgebases, (apart from very specific domain knowledge), we need to find better ways to embed the decision making process into the community and team work practices.

This may sound obvious, and easily understood intellectually, but, in my experience, it is not that well developed, if at all, in practice?

I am looking for anything that can improve the decision making process, to making 'wiser decisions', more often, within the organisation?

Ron Young

Monday, March 26, 2007

KM, as a discipline, has been disrupted by distruptive technologies

It was Professor Charles Handy who first introduced me to the idea of disruptive technologies, and the impact they have, in his best selling book 'The Age of Unreason' in 1989.

It was Intel that reinforced the disruptive power of rapidly emerging technologies in Business, in the mid 1990's, when they talked about significantly disruptive inflexion points.

Today, I put to you, the new technologies that we happily refer to as Web 2.0, have totally disrupted Knowledge Management, as a discipline for practitioners.

We started, in the 1990's, by developing methodologies and processes that would enable us to better capture, store, share, amplify, create and apply, new knowledge, for individuals, teams, organisations and communities. Very good work at the time.

But today wiki's enable a radically new way to collectively create new knowledge, and blogs enable a radically new way to capture, store and share new learnings and insights, and YouTube, Flickr, Myspace etc are all enabling richer and more collaborative communities, although somewhat disparate at the moment .

I realise, as written in an earlier blog of mine, that Web 2.0 technologies do not address the higher stages of the KM process, but I am confident that the promised Web 3.0 tools, the Semantic Web developments, automated meaning and metadata technologies will address this stage soon.

So, I put it to you that Knowledge Management, as a practitioner discipline, has been significantly disrupted by disruptive technologies.

Having said that, I believe, therefore, that the need for a good Knowledge management strategy, of which technology is a key part, is even more important.

Ron Young

Friday, March 23, 2007

KM and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today, whilst researching UN initiatives to highlight the importance of biodiversity for the well being of the planet, I came across several organisations who are striving to improve open acces to data, information and knowledge, relating to biodiversity conservation, globally.

That's simply great!

Conservation Commons seems to be leading in this area, and within their 'Principles of knowledge sharing' they remind us of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"that every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

Keep blogging!

Ron Young

Monday, March 19, 2007

Open Source Knowledge Management - beta membership

I am glad to say that we are now starting to get interest from around the world to registering for the free beta programme. We hope to be able to start soon.

If you are interested in the beta open source programme for KM education, methodologies, processes, tools and techniques, read the home page and register at

The rationale for 'Open Source Knowledge Management' is very simple: When KM practitioners around the world can read, edit and add, redistribute, and modify the source KM education and KM methodologies, processes, tools and techniques, based on their experiences, the education and methodology will rapidly evolve.

People around the world will improve it at an extraordinary speed compared to the speed of development of proprietary methodologies.

We fundamentally believe and endorse the open source community who have learned that this rapid and collaborative 'community created' evolutionary process produces better knowledge creation and knowledge transfer than the traditional closed model.

Open Source is the only way to create, transfer and apply the best knowledge.

Its an idea who's time has arrived!

We believe that Open Source KM requires both an open and free collaboration and sharing, and a core group of competent KM practitioners to challenge and review through discussion and dialogue.

But first of all, please register your interest by enrolling in our free 'beta' programme. There is no obligation but you are invited to participate as much as you wish.

Joining our free 'beta' programme will entitle you to download free documents from our password protected site.

Ron Young

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Knowledge Management and Wisdom

I seem to be going on quite a bit about the difference between knowledge and wisdom, in my recent blogs.

I think this is because I see, much better now, how important wisdom is, and always will be, to business and to life.

Whereas we now have robust processes and knowledge networks for capturing new learnings, ideas and insights, sharing them, amplifying them and creating new knowledge, we don't seem to have developed anything like the same attention to how wisdom is created and applied.

We talk about the wisdom of children, in their natural, creative and blissful ignorance.

We talk about the wisdom of elders, through learning and experiences and time.

We talk about the wisdom of teams.

So I see wisdom displayed as both naturally spontaneous and creative, and as a result of some processes.

I think we need to talk a lot more about business wisdom, how to identify it, how we might better develop and apply it.

A good friend and work colleague of mine is doing a PhD in Knowledge Management. Naturally, for any higher degree, he has to do a critical review of the literature first, before identifying new knowledge areas with his Professor.

Imagine, within our education systems, students having to do a critical review of the timeless wisdom that has been handed down over thousands of years before embarking on new knowledge creation. Imagine 'sharing timeless wisdom'as a more common procedure than it is in organizations today.

But maybe I am again too naive and totally wrong here? Still its a nice thought on a sunny saturday morning :-)

Ron Young

Friday, March 02, 2007

What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Increasingly today, students in my KM seminars are very interested in wanting to understand and discuss the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

There are lots of views on this, but here is mine:

Knowledge changes over time. Wisdom is unchangeable and is timeless.

Knowledge may be a partial truth, at a particular point in time. Wisdom is complete truth.

We can develop complex knowledge. We can know simple wisdom.

What's your take on this?

Ron Young

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Knowledge at the centre of decision making

Recently, I discussed the importance of applying knowledge, and not just creating and sharing knowledge. Taking this further:

Nothing can be more important than deploying the best knowledge available, to support decision making.

Whether it's a simple medical diagnosis, or a major decision on world ecosystem conservation, or a critical policy to help eradicate global poverty or a strategy to reduce global terrorism.

Knowledge is at the centre of decision making!

Therefore, surely effective knowledge management is more important to the world today than it has ever been.

Ron Young

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