Slowly catching up with stuff that came through my aggregator over the holidays. This is some excellent thinking on the right frame of reference for thinking about knowledge management. Some key excerpts:
…while a batch of VC dollars have been spent on intranets and portal creation software, the whole concept of centralized knowledge management feels wrong to me…
What’s more the knowledge that workers create must be portable, for no matter how much companies wish to lock up employees’ ideas as intellectual property, the cross-pollination that occurs when people move from company to company is critical to innovation. We should be building tools to encourage innovation and collaboration, not constrain and control it….
The integration of personal and published web content, content and concept sharing, RSS aggregation and publishing, blogging, email filtering/storage/extraction and powerful collaborative searching is bringing a real revolution in knowledge working productivity into view.
There’s a marketing challenge here. While the answer is decentralized, solutions typically get sold to someone who’s been put in charge of the problem. Until you’ve thought long and hard about knowledge management from an operational point of view, the centralized solutions promoted by technology vendors are certainly going to sound like a faster and easier solution to your (i.e. newly appointed chief knowledge officer or equivalent) problem. That they aren’t won’t be immediately apparent and won’t easily be traced to adopting a centralized approach.
Making knowledge management work requires a delicate blend of technology tools, organizational sensitivity, patience, and persistence. A difficult message to get across in a technology marketing environment addicted to peddling instant miracle cures.