« The KM spectrum | Main | KM standards wars »

January 31, 2004



Join Beyond Northern Iraq discussion.


I find it continously both amusing and tragic that corporations actually believe they are on track with their KM initiatives. Nothing that I have seen or read (in the umpteen number of KM books, articles, etc. I've poured over) shouts out what the KM solution is. KM initiatives, for the most part, are merely IM initiatives with someone in power getting kudos for convincing their boss that the I is really a K.
Knowledge is uniquely mine. It has NO existence beyond the world that my five senses create for ME. It cannot be transfered to another, in any form or by any function. This is because all knowledge exists at the railroad crossing of new information guardrails and an eternal railtrain speeding by with endless railcars of own personal history. Each of those railcars represents MY context. Not anyone elses. We may share the guardrail. But no one shares ANY of my railcars.


I guess the problem is that KM has to do something with information next to knowledge.

I believe that knowledge doesn't exist "out there", it is always bounded to people. I also believe that knowledge is not shared (=I give it to you and you have it), but (re)constructed. One, who shares, helps (often unintentionally) another person to learn.

From this perspective, no tech tool contains knowledge: there is no knowledge in weblogs, wikis, on-line community tools, e-mails and even in the air when we talk. I tend to think about "sharing knowledge" in technology-mediated settings as about sharing information with an intention of being understood. So, my weblog post is "information", but in a way it is information that it easier to "convert" into knowledge at your end. The funny thing for me is that many people call this "easy to convert into knowledge information" knowledge. I do as well and it adds to the confusion :)

For me, on the learning side, knowledge starts with information, with ability to find, organise and process information bits while constructing knowledge. Sometimes a bit of information serves as a clue that we need to recall what we know or as a missing connection to "wave" our "half-insights" into knowledge. Of course, personal IM is not the only one of the components that we need for learning (think of relations and trust, shared language to start with, abilities to learn and to "share" in a way that helps others to learn...)

In my own definition to a certain degree KM includes rethinking and reusing IM for the "higher level goal", in the context of understanding what role information flows play in knowledge flows.

The comments to this entry are closed.