A few days ago I mentioned how I was really glad that Dave Snowden had finally ventured into the blogosphere and created a weblog in Cognitive-Edge. I bet I was not the only one who was very much looking forward to that. I am not sure about you folks, but I haven’t been disappointed one single bit ever since he got to write different enlightening and thought provoking weblog posts that would certainly make you think about things twice before you could just move into the next thing. Yes, I am glad he actually got started with Cognitive-Edge’s weblog. Most people out there wouldn’t probably know that Dave was actually one of the main reasons why I entered the Knowledge Management world few years ago. Back then, when he was still working for IBM, I had the privilege of attending a number of different conference events where he was one of the speakers and his knowledge and in-depth views of what Knowledge Management is all about inspired me in such a way that by the end of the event I knew I wanted to follow a career path within KM, whether it would be inside IBM or elsewhere.
So why am I saying all that ? Well, mainly because one of his latest weblog posts that he has just published contains some of the rules that I have been trying to apply to any KM strategy I have been involved with from the very first beginning and which, still today, makes perfect sense to me, even though it was a couple of years back when he came up with those KM rules in the first place. Take a look into the following quoted text, directly off Volunteer not conscript:
"1. Knowledge will only ever be volunteered it can not be conscripted.
2. We only know what we know when we need to know it.
3. We always know more than we can tell and we will always tell more than we can write down."
I doubt there would be a better way of defining what Knowledge Management is all about. Most KM advocates would probably tell you how there are hundreds of KM definitions, perhaps every single KM advocate would have their own, like I tried to point out elsewhere, but I must say that those three rules that Dave has been advocating for all along would be good enough for me to help people understand some of the different principles and challenges that KM has been facing all along, up until today. And to help clarify further more some of those principles here is another quote from the same weblog post which I can certainly identify myself with it 100%:
"[…] if you ask someone, or a body for specific knowledge in the context of a real need it will never be refused. If you ask them to give you your knowledge on the basis that you may need it in the future, then you will never receive it."
Enough said ! Don’t you think ? Just in case, over at Complex Acts of Knowing – Paradox and Descriptive Self Awareness you would be able to read some more about this very same subject.