A recent spurt of posts on the Act-km list, has respondents trying to define knowledge management in a single sentence that can be grasped by a 13 year old - quite a task.
I've been intrigued by the number of respondents who have (improved, better, faster, more correct...) problem solution, decision making, competitive position... and storing stuff in knowledge bases in their replies.
The key to KM (to me) seems to be:
Helping you (or your group) become aware of new things, changed situations, emergent players that may influence the domain you have chosen to work in.
assisting with making novel and useful connections between concepts, improving understanding and enabling environments for making and testing new insights.
KM needs to be proactive, help surface consequences, avoid past errors, generate worthwhile & inventive alternatives.
Decisions, solutions, agility, competitive advantage and other benefits follow from sustaining a questioning environment, encouraging creative abrasion & experimentation, promoting deep dialog and allowing space for learning from mistakes.
The essence of KM then lies deeper than pragmatics, it gets close to sustaining an environment, building trust, promoting continual inquiry and testing beliefs.