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Practical KM Strategy & Tactics

This is the presentation I gave at KM Australia 2009:

[notes follow below the fold]

KM Australia 2009: Initial thoughts

Just got back to Canberra tonight from KM Australia 2009, where I gave a presentation on KM strategy and tactics (slides will go up soon).

A concise, general framework for KM

Over the last few months, I have been thinking about ways to generalise the individual theories, practices and expertise of the KM community into a consistent, albeit relatively abstract theoretical framework.

By identifying points of commonality rather than difference, I am hoping that the KM community can begin working towards on a "base layer" of acceptance about what KM is trying to achieve. This would then be built upon and used as a tool to evaluate more concrete KM frameworks and the success of interventions.

50 scientifically proven ways to persuade others

One thing that most practitioners of Knowledge Management find out very quickly is that deciding on a KM initiative is, at best, only 10% of the battle.

The other 90% is change management: assembling coalitions, getting stakeholder buy-in, and above all communication, communication and more communication.

KM cluster analysis

The inimitable Matt Moore recently posted a link on actKM to an article by Mehrizi & Bontis undertaking a KM cluster analysis.

The article undertakes a classification of KM activities that is quite similar to my recent work analysing common definitions of KM collated by Ray Sims. M&B have instead chosen the more comprehensive route of analysing the text of KM research papers published since 1997.

Linking KM activities to objectives

One of my frequent issues with Knowledge Management is the way that it is often defined in terms of activities being practiced, but then avoids explaining what objectives will be achieved via these activities.

A while ago I did an analysis of 43 knowledge management definitions assembled by Ray Sims (now has 62 definitions listed). I thought I would revisit these definitions and focus solely on the objectives (if any) cited in association with KM activities:

Why is Knowledge Management important?

UPDATE Nov 2015: If you are interested in an ongoing conversation about Knowledge Management and how to apply it, please check out our newly launched online magazine RealKM!

Knowledge Management (KM) is a discipline that improves the ability of organisations to solve problems better, adapt, evolve to meet changing business requirements, and survive disruptive changes such as staff turnover.

Knowledge Management recognises that organisations are a complex system made up of both the people that work for the organisation, and the processes, procedures and information systems that drive our actions.

The revolution in communications over the past 50 years (email, internet, telephone and fax) now allows people to talk directly to each other without the use of intermediaries such as managers or team leaders. This allows organisations to be more efficient by bringing together needed expertise and knowledge on demand.

However, with this new approach, knowledge gained and lessons learned are not always shared across the organisation. In other words, some people may know the solution to a particular problem, but the organisation as a whole may not be aware. This can lead to loss of critical knowledge when staff leave, and for inefficient practices to remain despite better solutions being available.

14 KM Koans

Steve Barth has posed 14 KM koans on his website, which I found to be both interesting and thought-provoking. These ones particularly resonated:

3. If work is more collaborative than ever, why do I have to work so much harder and learn so many new things myself?
5. If we share knowledge because of its value, sometimes we need to steward that value by not sharing.
6. We think technology makes it possible, but it's all about tools.

Unhealthy attractions to hierarchy (or, DIKW returns!)

Despite the many problems with the flawed DIKW pyramid, it just won't go away. In fact, people seem to like the model so much they are extending it!