In an endless quest to discover our KM roots, articulate or bound a clear KM domain, and agree on basic postulates, we seem to be as scattered and divided as ever, in danger of falling off the corporate map and being absorbed by other fads.
Kaye Vivian has asked a number of interesting questions in her Dove Lane blog that explore this very area and asks if we:
- have been hijacked by vendors? - for a while but they have dropped us now
- are missing the bigger picture? - not sure, KM is a dynamic & emergent domain
- lack metrics? - do not believe this is a key issue
- confuse our audience? - agree, we cannot even gather a wikipedia entry that explains what or whom we are
Is this a bad thing?
Do not think so.
KM meta-talk helps to keep the conversation alive. True we have lost conference attendance, KM articles no longer get published in HBR, Business2.0, Information Week, Wired or MIT Sloan Management Review at the rate we saw in 1994-2002, Internet KM forums have dwindled, new Km books are far and few between, academic courses have changed title and Act-KM is the only worthwhile listserve.
Our conversations are now distributed, diverse and fragmented. KM Bloggers are helping to keep the flame alive, while KM practices appear in learning2.0, library 2.0 and related themes. Social software applications now replace large monolithic software as the way to go. Back-channel dialog (via Skype, IM and e-mail) substitutes for cozy on-line discussions, and key issues have shifted from yellowpages and corporate memory to social networks and RSS feeds.
KM may be fading from the corporate radar, but the key propositions, the value and paradigmatic advances remain strong, important and resurface as P2P networking, virtual teams, enterprise networks, innovation theory, informal learning ......