Where is KM and its spirit?


Is it dead?

Is it dying? (link pending on KM4Dev Dgroup membership)

Is it in comms?

Is it in my work?

Is it in my head? 

KM, connecting people, conversations and traces (Credits: CENews)

KM, connecting people, conversations and traces (Credits: CENews)

The danger of terms like knowledge management is their undue mystifying power. It means many things to many people. And it tends to confuse everyone – much like the term ‘knowledge’ itself anyway.

But the point is simple – and rather than define KM, let’s rather look at some key situations when ‘KM is inside‘.

  • When you want to stop talking at people, when you want to disrupt one-sided communication and you want all people to engage in meaningful conversations with each other, to share knowledge, whether offline or online, you’re doing KM (well, KS, but that’s party of KM). When you want them to collaborate, online or offine, as an additional measure of engagement, you’re doing KM;
  • When you make sure everything that is talked about or produced can be found again, easily, accessibly, at all times, by all kinds of people and not just those that were involved in the first place, you’re doing KM (well, technically information management but it’s part of it);
  • When you want everyone involved in the work to learn, individually and collectively, when you want to connect all the thinking dots together to discover the next useful questions, through communities of practice, engaging events and processes, multi-stakeholder platforms, learning forums, capacity development initiatives, you are doing KM.

Either of these areas on its own is not worth much. But the combination is terrific.

There is no need to separate KM from communication. There is no need to put KM on a pedestal, what matters is the areas and principles it stands for, roughly around conversations, documentation and learning. KM = CDL, on the journey to universal sense-making.

But the danger is that by not paying attention to what KM stands for, we forget to ensure these principles and areas of work are part and parcel of our approach, and we come back to the realm of egoism, ignorance, bickering, nepotism, chaos…

I feel smarter already, I think (Credits: Van Corry/FlickR)

I feel smarter already, I think (Credits: Van Corry/FlickR)

It’s as simple as that.

So keep smart work up, and make sure that in whatever form or shape, the spirit of KM is inside, like the genie in the bottle.

Related blog posts:

Blog holiday and top posts in the past 5 months


Al final! Vacaciones! En España! Andalucia! Andalucia, Spain (Credits: Benjamin Bay) Andalucia, Spain (Credits: Benjamin Bay)

Before I set off for two weeks most likely well disconnected from the marvellous online world of knowledge and learning for change, hereby an overview of the most popular posts on this blog since 1 January.

It has been a really hectic period around this blog, culminating with the recent launch of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal issue on ‘Facilitation for development‘, the launch of my ‘agile facilitation’ blog and the AgKnowledge Innovation Process Share Fair which fed a couple of posts: Agile KM / development / facilitation and the fair of the year? and Participatory decision-making vs. Liberating Structures, a facilitation showdown (on AgileFacil)

Hereby the top posts, from most popular to least popular (and in bold the posts that were written these past five months):

  1. Managing or facilitating change, not just a question of words
  2. Knowledge management strategy development: Taking stock
  3. Of ‘healthy human systems’ beyond ‘the field’ and facilitating conversations that change the world: an interview with Sam Kaner and Nelli Noakes
  4. Tinkering with tools: Asessing Asana
  5. Enabling change: a manager’s choice (and a leader’s decision)
  6. Use quality face-to-face time for synergy, not for logorrhea
  7. Agile KM from ‘SMART goals’ to ‘practice SMARTS’
  8. Who is in for triple loop learning?
  9. Share Fair Addis: Fishbowl and fishbowl battle
  10. Portrait of the modern knowledge worker

See, read and engage with you in over two weeks!

Andalucia, here I come! (Credits: BikeSpain) Andalucia, here I come! (Credits: BikeSpain)