What would you select as the top knowledge management principles?
Here are some thoughts?
Choose engagement over a repository:
Knowledge emerges via interaction and dialog, connect people to people rather than people to objects / documents or things. If you need to record and gather things ensure there are affordances for facile annotation and back-channel connections. Pay attention to knowledge flows rather than stores.
Respect and appreciate the key role of trust & context:
Shared context, connections and trust allow knowledge to flow. Knowledge, far more than information, is part of our identity. There needs to be empathy and purpose to make headway. You cannot toss knowledge over the wall and expect it to take root - knowledge requires an ecology to grow.
Collect stories, use metaphor, ethnography and analogy to build inquiry:
Knowledge is local, mostly tacit, emergent, distributed and tied to shared understandings. Measurement and collection via questionnaires is inadequate, questions are key. Take care to specify context, share distinctions, craft and verify patterns - best practices do not transfer easily.
Cultivate executive support:
No KM initiative can be sustained without some measure of (tacit) top level support. It does not help to have a signature, you need active engagement and behavior change to filter down the organization. KM requires a core group to start & sustain the conversation, a legitimate forum or space to meet and purpose to guide attention.
The essence of KM
- increasing awareness
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.
- fostering learning
assisting with making novel and useful connections between concepts, improving understanding and enabling environments for making and testing new insights.
- supporting sense-making
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 key for KM then lies deeper than pragmatics, it gets close to sustaining an environment, building trust, promoting continual inquiry and testing beliefs.
KM, I then suggest is:
A practice concerned with increasing awareness, fostering learning, speeding collaboration & innovation and exchanging insights.
There is a delicate balance to be maintained between explicit and tacit, between personal and community, between collecting assets and enabling flows, between looking inward and externally, between mining and capturing insights and building on shared experiences.
Please share your KM principles.