E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM Lotus Connections – We the Knowledge Managers

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Phew! What a couple of days, folks ! To say that I have been incredibly busy at work is just probably an understatement. I don’t think that I have ever had so many meetings, and conference calls, to attend in such a short time ! So much so that yesterday evening I was so shattered that instead of weblogging I decided to chill out a bit and watch The Island. Today though I have been spending some time catching up with my RSS feeds in between conference calls and whatever other meetings and I just thought I would point you into an interesting article that I have bumped into.

It is actually an article published by Neil Ward-Dutton titled We the librarian and you can find it over here. As I just mentioned above, it is actually an interesting and worth while read, because it describes some of the buzz that went around over at IBM’s Lotusphere 2007 with the release of IBM’s Lotus Connections and its potential impact on Knowledge Management as a new and refreshing knowledge sharing and collaborative tool in the area of social computing. Pity that Neil just restricts the article to librarians, because it would hav e been very much applicable as well to Knowledge Managers.

Still, it is a very good read because it just basically introduces, perhaps, some relevant commentary as to what the next generation of Knowledge Management (KM 2.0) and Collaboration (Collaboration 2.0) tools is like. Here is a quote from the article itself on where we are coming from thus far:

"What no-one is saying is that what’s really going on here is a reinvention of knowledge management that turns traditional thinking on its head. Traditional knowledge management relied on the skill of a privileged team of "knowledge architects" a priori defining information taxonomies, which organisations had to try and conform to in their day-to-day information creation and searching activities. The problem is that information is very rarely the kind of beast that’s happy to be tamed and confined within static structures: its structure and importance morph over time. Most "traditional" knowledge management efforts failed to deliver business value. They created environments that were too brittle, and people quickly became disenchanted. The cost of knowledge contribution and categorisation was just too high."

WOW! I am not sure what you would think about that quote from the article, but I find it a very good description of what traditional KM has been all along. And how perhaps it is time for a change, for a shift towards giving a bit more responsibility and ownership to knowledge workers by empowering them to better manage their knowledge with tools that would fit their needs and not those from the system itself. Yes, that Knowledge Management 2.0 that is very well described over here as well in this quote:

"Social bookmarking [/computing] technologies like Dogear provide a tantalising way to rediscover the potential of knowledge management. With a system based on social bookmarking there is no central librarian, locked away in an office, creating taxonomies that are dead before they’re even used; there is only a group of individuals, collaborating on creating a common understanding of important business information that can be shared by all, at low cost (no tedious or complex information categorisation or search tools are involved). We just tag as we go, and the tags light our way. We are the librarian."

Yes, indeed, pity that he has just restricted that article to librarians alone, because, like I said, I feel it is also very much relevant to knowledge managers alike and it is certainly a good start to prepare the point of entry for the next gen. of what KM 2.0 tools should look like and that we are currently getting exposed to by making use of social software. What do you think? Are we ready for KM 2.0 yet?

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  1. Hi Jon ! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback ! Yes, I think so, too. At least, I have been advocating for it for a couple of years and I am really glad to see / read how more and more people seem to be agreeing that it is perhaps now a good time to move on. I just hope we would be able to learn from the past on what worked and what didn’t and use it to our best execution of KM 2.0, because the way I see it I bet it is going to be way too much fun and exciting ! So, bring it on! 🙂

  2. There’s another side to this as well. Traditional KM was not really about knowledge but the management of secrets. By that I mean that management had become so frightened by compliance – especially SOX – that they needed and wanted an iron grip control over the environment. They got that OK but completely stifled creativity in the process so rather than freeing up creativity, they locked it down. What we’re now seeing is KM as it should be – no constraints.

  3. Next generation KM (KM 2.0 if you like) has already arrived, its just the enterprise technology is finally catching up…”This next generation of knowledge management is more interested in social networks and the flow of knowledge between the people in them, than content management as we saw in the past. This latest evolution is reflected in the new Australian Standard for Knowledge Management (AS 5037-2005) published in October 2005.” Source: Knowledge Management: How to separate the wheat from the chaff http://users.bigpond.com/chieftech/downloads/kmwheatchaff.pdf (PDF, 108KB)

  4. Hi folks ! Thanks ever so much for sharing those thoughtful comments and for adding some really good input to the overall conversation. I thought it would be quite handy actually to share them both as a new weblog entry so that other folks who may have missed them may get a chance to go through them and add further up into the conversation. You can find the follow up weblog entry over here.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and for dropping by !

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