Knowledge Associates International KM Definition

by Ron Young
(Cambridge UK & Alaigne France)

"Knowledge Management is the discipline of enabling individuals, teams and entire organisations to collectively and systematically create, share and apply knowledge, to better achieve their objectives"


Ron Young, CEO/CKO Knowledge Associates International

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Mar 11, 2008
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I created this KM definition but........
by: Ron Young

First of all, let me totally declare my interest and bias.

I created this definition of KM for Knowledge Associates in 1996.

So, I guess, in normal circumstances, I should not rank this at all, let alone give it a rating of 5!!!

Well, here is my defense. I still believe that what is still new about knowldge management, even today, is to help individuals, teams, organisations and communities to make the transition from what we call 'episodic learning' and 'episodic innovation' to 'continuous learning' and 'continuous innovation'.

This is the promise and breakthrough for KM, and I still do not see very many people doing this at all.

The challenge is that there really are new km processes, supported by new tools and technologies, that can be embedded into the daily work practices, that will help people to 'systematically' and collectively' do that.

These systematic and collective km processes and tools will transform organisations into 'continuously' capturing new learnings and ideas, and transforming them into new knowledge and innovations, on a far more frequent, regular and systematic way!

The resulting increased organisational learning, receptiveness and performance can be quite staggering.

When I see that happening, as mainstream, in organisations, I will then say that this important aspect of km is being achieved. At the moment, I say respectfully, that it is being ignored because people do not know these new ways of knowledge working exist.

That's why I give the words in our KM definition 'collective, systematic' 5 stars.

But you may well have other views about this and, of course, you may rate this KM definition accordingly.

I would really welcome your comments and feedback on this


Sep 19, 2008
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Broaden one's mind
by: J. Wittkewitz

There is a certain historical aspect when it comes to KM, but the very point is not to turn episodic learning into continous learning. I think there is a big gap between the mechanical knowledge definition (as organized information and data) and the sociological definition (as procedural and declarative knowledge) which is not bridged by tacit/explicit knowledge. The terms 'create, share and apply' lead to the first definition of knowledge borrowed from information theory. Success is not often based on information, it is based on what one could call context of background and actual objectives.

So KM has to focus on the knowledge media which is individuals and their working environment; i.e. if HR would be responsible for the employees contribution to a departments success, they would tend to get interested in the departments needs. This would lead to more precise work of HR. So in the end KM is more HR than applied information theory bringing database content to people. But it is not a management theory to strengthen HR towards other department it is a theory to turn around HR people's mind in order to get close to the right people in the right place. And then get rid of fear and hierarchy in order to allow reason to prevail, not the board or CEOs ...

Sounds spooky? Think about it.

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