Chris Macrae asks:
I suspect there are many who have arrived at KM via this path.
My interest started in 1985 when I first heard of expert systems, embarked on a journey of discovery that I clearly recognize is still very much underway.
A fascination with the power and promise of capturing expert decision principles and heuristics. Helping others take a major leap forward in their competencies. Thinking all you needed was to apply the 'best' rational thinking and you were for ever made.
Built fragile, brittle, well-bounded decision support systems. Thought I had the kernels of 'true' knowledge captured in the rules, a proven process for (measurement) & continual refinement, a representation that delivered inference and promoted learning. Boy was I ever wrong!
A gradual awareness that knowledge was not in the rules (or the frames, cases, predicate logic or mined document repositories), something far more intractible was at work. Engaging in the web, first e-mail then bulletinboards, newsgroups and listservs, then MOOs and MUDs and morphing to web based conferencing. Discovering networking, learning about creative abrasion and the wonder of asynchronous dialog, moving from sharing the good stuff to collaboration and co-creating it.
Slowly understanding knowledge is emergent, ephemeral, constructed and largely tacit. Looking for deep dialog that signals new connections, searching for knowledge spaces, community and collaborative writing genre. Falling into and out of exciting conversations across the internet, trying to sample the spaces where advanced knowledge practices are explored, verified, lived and improved upon. More and more aware that learning is a social activity.
Thinking of knowledge as a complex, fractal ecology of ideas, memes, thoughts and assumptions.
* interested in design of living glossaries and making language distinctions
* crafting patterns that capture quality solutions and specify the application context
* excited by the diversity of blogging and distributed, syndicated, persistent conversations
* searching for social affordances that foster knowledge creation
* aware and wary of individual epistemologies that gloss over the role of relationships, downgrade the importance of social capital and downplay empathy and ethnography
* reflecting on just how slippery knowledge is and
* wondering why so few are drawn to this basic quest, see or appreciate the value of working with knowledge vs. information and why KM has lost it's allure.
So may I too ask, what exactly brings you to KM?