Combine two slippery but important words and it’s little wonder that you can find such a proliferation of definitions. For some reason, this reminds me of Danny Kaye’s Choreography number from White Christmas.
Before I really get going on my day, here is an entertaining (or sobering) list of 43 knowledge management definitions – and counting from Ray Sims, who is heading back into the world of being an official KM’er as I head out to do product management. It might have been funnier had he stopped at 37.
For many years I’ve been saying that I didn’t like the term “knowledge management” as (a) it was fundamentally an oxymoron, (b) there was no consensus within the industry as to what the term meant, and (c) in many companies the term carries negative connotations due to a perceived lack of value from earlier so-called knowledge management efforts and/or belief that knowledge management was a fad that we have moved on past or has been absorbed into other disciplines.
I like a number of these and have used variations of them in the past. As someone on the Act-KM mailing list noted, there are easily as many definitions of knowledge. Ray or another enterprising individual might want to stack these definitions into buckets about how “knowledge” is perceived by the people using the definition. Process-centric definitions would look at knowledge-as-verb. Storage-centric definitions might think of knowledge as a thing to be controlled. People-connection definitions might think of knowledge as appearing via interaction. etc. Ray has already created a couple tag clouds of the definitions.