Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Interview on KM

Christian Young intends to create a section in his blog wherein he wants to put up the profiles and thoughts of other KMers who're interested in being featured there. I was one of the people he contacted and I quite enjoyed the opportunity to introspect on his KM questions. 

Area(s) of specialty/primary interest within KM?  
KM Strategies & Business Alignment, KM Implementation Methodology, KM Branding, KM & Culture, KM Technology 

What do you enjoy most and least about working in KM? 
Most – The versatility of the domain (Culture, Process, Technology, Marketing); Least – Dealing with people who simply don't want to see the big picture (read beyond themselves) or think long-term even if their life depended on it.

Seminal (must-read) article(s) or book(s) that inspire your work in KM? (does not have to be KM-related): 
I honestly attempt to find inspiration from everything I read, irrespective of whether it is a book on KM or not. In other words, I tend to draw links between KM and almost everything I read. For example, I took a stab at identifying KM lessons from Wodehouse's books, from nature, from sports teams etc. My blog has a few, ahem, amusing but imaginative articles on these lines. :-)

Best advice to KM peers and those considering a career in KM? 
For us to do well on any job, we obviously need to be in love with it. IMHO, in the case of KM, it is even more so, for most of the voices you hear are likely to be against (or ridicule) the KM vision, objectives and desires. They may perceive it to be Utopian, Abstract, Equivalent to that of Satisfying World Hunger and what not. You've got to have the conviction that what you're working on will benefit everyone and will produce the results it is expected to...sooner or later. If you are the kind of person who likes versatility, constant cultural and technological challenges, are comfortable with abstract discussions and can convert seemingly abstract concepts into no-nonsense (read effective) mechanisms/practices/tools then go for it. Needless to say, there's a lot of scope for creativity. Also, this is a field that honestly is constantly changing - new concepts, ideas, technologies, and domains - if that's any motivation!    

Specifically, what kind of KM work are you most actively engaged in and how do you accomplish this work? 
I've worked with many organizations, so my experience is somewhat diverse. I've been at the helm of handling internal KM initiatives as well as have had the opportunity to lead consulting assignments for customers. I've formulated KM strategies, conceived and supported KM branding exercises, designed and tested KM applications, built KM point solutions, evangelized and supported use of KM principles and systems, led an Intranet team and have worked on process improvements.  

As a practitioner, what have you observed as the biggest KM needs, challenges, obstacles, and/or opportunities either in your organization or within the field of KM? (Answer both, if you prefer). 
1) Needs/Challenges/Obstacles: Getting the organization or participants to understand that KM is not really a noble concept that sermonizes people to share whatever they know so the organization does not suffer when they leave. Getting the organization to understand that KM does not take away time from their work but actually contributes to it in the long run. Getting people to think big picture and long-term rather than adopt a self-centered and short-term approach. The limitations of technology, I believe, is an obstacle to KM in some ways. Most products don't go beyond file sharing and employee profiling. 2) Opportunities: The vast untapped 'KM ideas' waiting to be reaped provided the necessary resources and management support exists. Advertising and Marketing skills that can take KM to a Tipping Point. 

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