Monday, April 04, 2005

Idea Thieves

Recently, I was lamenting about idea thieves in the context of knowledge sharing in the act-KM forum. Lots of people including Dave Snowden came back with some inspiring responses. David Gurteen has come back to me telling me that this was an issue that used to bother him until he came across Tom Peters' post on politics. Whew! I think these responses from people like Dave, Patrick and Gurteen and many others has given me one thing to digest. I ought to either digest it or vomit it out. If I vomit it out, I have no one to blame for I not being 'strong' enough! I can't recount the entire discussion out here, because Gurteen himself has weaved an article out of this and will be publishing it in GKR. (Incidentally, I've written one article for GKR and will be writing another soon)

But here's how I started off on the act-KM forum -

"I've been thinking about something - a scenario - that perhaps shows KM in 'bad' light. Let's take knowledge sharing. What if, you come across a person who has been innovative, has worked hard and created his/her own things and then has shared his/her knowledge with others in the same domain. He/she has then been taken for a ride by one of those who has benefited. The person that benefited has tweaked some of the concepts, admittedly added, perhaps, some sort of value to them and then projected himself/herself as having been innovative. This idea-stealer, unfortunately, has the people-skills to project himself/herself as having done a great job and doesn't give credit to our dear old knowledge-sharer. The knowledge-sharer has basically got a raw deal and is left high and dry wringing his/her hands. To add insult to the injury, the idea-stealer has been sweet-talking our knowledge-sharer into sharing information on a one-to-one basis and not many people know about the 'mentoring'...

Maybe this situation helps the organization as a whole, but there is one person who has got an unfair deal and there is another who is walking away with some one else's work without so much as a struggle and what's more, is taking the credit for it too.

What would you do in such a situation? What would your advice to others in such a situation be? "

And here's how it has all ended - the bottom-line (as if you didn't know it)

"Life is political – there is no getting away from it!"

Well, at least, this is what it all boils down to, for me. This is what I need to remember. The lesson, if you like.

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