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

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The Impact of Web 2.0 on Knowledge Work and Knowledge Management by Dave Snowden and Jon Husband – Part V

Continued from The Impact of Web 2.0 on Knowledge Work and Knowledge Management by Dave Snowden and Jon Husband – Part IV

Heading now into the second part of the podcast, where Jon asks the question of whether it is still valuable, from a traditional KM perspective, to do audits of knowledge assets within a business, now that Web 2.0 is becoming more and more Enterprise 2.0 savvy and the variety of platforms has increased tremendously. Would there be a change in the scope?

Dave’s quick answer: Forget using the word audit, as it still implies the concept of knowledge as static, i.e. it is a thing, probably going back to the model of both tacit and explicit knowledge. To him, the most effective knowledge exists in flows (Going back to his second KM rule I mentioned in a previous blog post). "The human knowledge is the real time assembly of multiple fragmented memories in a real time context to create a new unique application. A knowledge audit, you cannot audit fragments".

He concludes that Web 2.0 is too unstructured in its own to make the knowledge it contains a complete corporate asset. And as such it would be too difficult to categorise, yet to organise. According to Dave ,categories and keywords (as in tags) will be crucial. ("There are no deep structures in language") The combination of taxonomies and folksonomies into coming up with a defined tagging convention is probably where the next challenge is going to be.

Dave already provides some good tips that I am not going to spoil, so that you can listen to them, on where we should be heading. Here is a hint. The most sophisticated thing is human based tagging. "Human beings have evolved to handle context. Computes haven’t". Fascinating stuff for those folks who are into semantics and the semantic Web, context, reputation, trust, etc.

So, in the end, we should not be focusing on those knowledge audits per se, but on "a map of the dependency of your core business processes on knowledge objects". The only way you can agree to invest in any Knowledge Management program is "if you got the right relevance to things that matter to executives with money". Goodness! This is just so spot on! I am really glad that Dave did mention that in the podcast, because it surely puts things in perspective on what should be one of the main areas to focus on: those knowledge objects ("anything coherent that we can see how we can manage and tests to be unique to every organisation"). And it gets better … Bottom up = knowledge objects, Top down = metrics … Go and have a listen 😉

To be continued …

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