Don’t define knowledge, improve knowledge work instead

KMPro with Mark Clare. Mark Clare argues that KM needs to step back and define knowledge before plunging forward with the “next wave” of knowledge management approaches or applications. [Knowledge Jolt with Jack]

I disagree.

I think that most efforts to define knowledge get hopelessly bogged down. The reason this happens is that the discussion is locked in an assumption that there needs to be a centrally managed agreement (at a minimum) about the definition.

I take a different approach. Focus instead on knowledge workers and knowledge work. Work on eliminating friction and hassles in their ability to do whatever it is they think matters. Attack the problems that are preventing knowledge workers from being as effective as they would like to be.

There’s an old story that I’ve heard described as a Russion proverb. It says that if each one of us takes care of sweeping the sidewalk in front of our own home, we won’t need streetsweepers. It’s worth thinking about how that might apply to the world of knowledge work, both on the level of being an individual knowledge worker yourself and on the level of helping make the other knowledge workers that surround you more effective.