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June 19, 2005


the website sucks!

Judi Sandrock

Hi All,
Why don't we blog? Personally, I leave the technology use to the end, and spend my time facilitating the trust building process, so that people will share value not small talk. Being paid as a full time employee by a large international mining company, my focus is delivering value to the business. I also facilitate the South African Knowledge Management Practitioners Group and we have face to face get togethers all over South Africa, to share techniques and approaches. Alex called me on the phone for my contributions and I believe that a conversation is far more valuable than text. Quite frankly, I must receive five unsolicited mails a week asking me to complete questionnaires for people's studies and I simply don't have the time. I recon it all boils down to interpersonal style, trust, relationship and context. If anyone wants KM help, I will help them with pleasure. I ask for help often, but it is one-on-one and not a public exchange.
All the very best and see you at BrainTrust (let's get to know each other...)

David Locke

So much of KM isn't about knowledge at all. Lacking a firm definition of knowledge, it's impossible to put KM into a separate layer oganizationally, since it is difuse across the organization like risk management. When you can't get it into a layer, it remains implicit/tacit, which is what KM should be managing.

So it boils down to KM being implicit/tacit such that it provides no means to manage knowledge. Just great.

Hype on. Hopefully, the hype leaders can keep on selling until the hype clears.

Stefan Lafloer

Carol stated a fact that I completely agree with:
"the thought leaders seem to be more involved with creating their own unique brand rather than exploring new insights. "

Be it the 'big shots' or the regular KM consultant, KM has turned out to be a business discipline that did not revolutionize the world, but established itself as part of other business structures (content management, learning, data warehouse, call centers, etc.).

Since there is no momentum in the KM field to create common approaches and processes (like it happened with project management), and the profession of KM is as of yet mostly undefined, it drives experienced professionals to establish their own 'ground'.

Unless we practice what we preach (share, collaborate, communicate to achieve higher goals), unless we start thinking and acting in coordinated ways, KM as a profession will not really advance. Does the problem of cultural change sound familiar ?

Excuse my dramatization, but I hope to provoke some critical thinking.

My humble opinion,

Alex Bennet

My daughter pulled this up in response to an email from Israel ... a few comments: first, the term "big guns" ... take a look at the research. One discovery is that "thought leader" in terms of KM is much broader than the "big guns" concept, i.e., unlike other management initiatives like BPR and TQM, KM DOESN'T HAVE A SINGLE THOUGHT LEADER, nor is it limited to two or three, but there are many, and every day additional ones come to mind ... like yourself Denham Gray ... and probably everyone else who is exchanging thoughts on your blog! KM thought leaders are at all levels of the organization (and throughout academia). This is the beauty of KM! The focus on knowledge brings us right to the core of PEOPLE, can't be DONE TO, but must be DONE WITH! So you guys are all the "big guns" in this movement! We all are.

So, Carol, yipes there are I hope thousands and thousands of omissions from that list! These are the individuals I was able to interview to participate in my study, but they are only representative of so many more!

Bill, so many times I thought (and said) those words ... context is all ... in some organizations it is alive and well and in others it is floundering in our bureaucratic, industrial-age organizations ... but guaranteed that everywhere it has been, and everyone that began to look at the world through knowledge-focused glass, is different than they were before.

And let's not be afraid of the very competitive economic system we've set up (though I'm convinced we have a change coming up in our not-too-distant future) ... of course there is a cottage industry developing around the use of narrative in organizations. This is the way things prosper and grow. Money is still our representative mode of exchange (for now)! The good news is that it IS happening, that people are interested enough and understand the value of narrative enough to want to learn more about it and apply it.

So back to Denham and his comment about blogs ... I know many people who are really working this field who don't use computers as their mode of exchange (take Nonaka and Prusak) for example. Doesn't mean they don't have a LOT to contribute to us all. And I know another set of people who blog all the time but don't really say something, or at least I can't understand what the intent of their posting is! So, again, this context thing.

So two points here ... one, thought leaders come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and speak from all levels of organizations and academia, so the "big guns" concept extends far beyond any prior definition of same, and two, we all talk and share and collaborate in different ways (publishing itself is one way of doing this) so whether or not I "blog" or whether or not I know Denham Gray isn't a determinate of my value to the field and to others.

Still, LOVE feeling the passion. (Do hope you all will take a look at this research ... I give it to you ... you will not see a book, it is posted on the Internet for you to download and share and hopefully develop some new ways of thinking and doing as a result!



Bill Bruck

Denham - how many of these folks do you know and know you? How about a little research project and interview them and ask them directly?

Carol H Tucker

just two comments:

1] the thought leaders seem to be more involved with creating their own unique brand rather than exploring new insights. E.G. turning the power of narrative into a consulting cottage industry

2] KM is alive and well -- but it has been incorporated in organizational development. It is not a seperate discipline so much as "the way we do things"


Casting my eye over Alex's list I see some notable omissions:

Georg von Krogh - Author
Douglas Hofstader - Scholar
Chris Kimble - CoPs
Richard McDermott - CoPs
Yogesh Malhotra - Brint Institute
Joe Firestone - Author
Mark McElroy - Author
Chris Collison - Author
Geoff Parcell - Author
Gary Klein - Intuition
Bonnie Nardi - Information ecologist
Susan Leigh Star - Ethnologist
Karl Weick - Sense-making

Terrence Wood

The biggest issue facing KM is a lack of a single clear definition of what is it, close foloowed by it's misappropriation as a buzz word in order to sell codfying solutions.

If we can't decide what it is, then it follows we really can't really tlak about it.

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