Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Why is it difficult to explain KM?

I spent some time answering an old but good KM question (on Linked In, after a long time)

(Why it is tough for a Knowledge Manager to make others understand what exactly he/she does?)

IMHO, it is difficult to explain because of the following reasons (in no particular order)

> There are multiple (sometimes radically different) interpretations of what Knowledge Management is, both at the organizational level as well as at the individual level. No wonder KM departments fit into different streams in different organizations (HR, IT, Quality, Sales etc)

> It is a constantly and fast evolving field (most fields are, but - for example - just when we thought people were clear about what the KM function typically does, E2.0 happened and the KM R&R changed radically to reflect something highly social rather than asset-based)

> Knowledge, by itself, is an abstract subject. Pursuit of knowledge is for a few. Pursuit of the more tangible profits is for many

> People are more interested in "What's in it for them" and would hardly be fascinated by topics like sharing, collaboration (if you were to approach KM purely from that angle) etc - simply because people don't scratch the surface to see what's beneath is actually something that is good for everyone

> A slightly different flavor arising out of the combination of the first and second point - It is a multidimensional field involving a) culture, processes, technology, content quality etc b) reuse, sharing, communities, collaboration, search, filtering, semantics, etc c) psychology, organizational behavior, group-thinking, brainstorming, mentoring etc                   


Aragorn said...

Interesting... Liked these lines 'Knowledge, by itself, is an abstract subject. Pursuit of knowledge is for a few. Pursuit of the more tangible profits is for many '

IMHO, i believe its the responsibility of the top level management to communicate to the entire company (middle and lower levels) the importance of KM and its benefits to the company. And to achieve it, instead of assigning KM to any one dept, it has to be a synergistic effort by all depts, to ensure that the message is communicated to every employee and that KM is tapped where it is required so..


Vaskar said...

Incredible! I am doing my bit as well. Pls have a look: http://aseekersdiary.blogspot.com/

A Seeker

Nimmy said...

Prashant: Yes, KM is everyone's job....not very different from the situation in a democracy! :-)