The real risks of knowledge sharing

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas!. I just love this quote from Howard Aiken:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.

So true! [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

I have a new hypothesis about why it’s difficult to get people to contribute to knowledge management systems in organizations.

Conventional wisdow says it’s because people are worried that someone will steal their ideas. I think that’s a rationalization. I think the real fear is the fear of being ignored. The fear that the knowledge I share is so obvious or trivial that no one will care. What’s the old maxim from Mark Twain? “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” (some input from my readers about the correct attribution of this quote. See my comments here for some more)

The issue may still be fear, but it’s a fear that we need to address in a very different way.