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

From the blog

Is KM Dead? Larry Prusak, Dave Snowden, Patrick Lambe

Continuing further with that growing trend of writing shorter blog posts than usual (Latest instance the article I wrote yesterday announcing my dive into the podcasting world, co-hosting, with Matt Simpson, The Sweettt Show, as we just launched our first episode), I thought I would venture into putting together another one, which I am sure you are all going to enjoy, specially if you have been doing Knowledge Management for a while. The reason why this blog post is going to be shorter than usual is no other than the meetings galore I have been going through for most of the day today, pretty intensive overall and therefore limiting my brain power to provide whatever other insights for a lengthy article.

Thus here I am, going into recovery mode for what’s left of the evening and sharing with you all something that has been flowing around in the Knowledge Management, a.k.a. KM, blogosphere for a little while now and which I am sure a good bunch of you may have been exposed to already, but, just in case you haven’t, here it goes. It is actually a video interview that Patrick Lambe, author of the super fine Green Chameleon, did with Larry Prusak & Dave Snowden, two of the most impressive, thought-provoking, enlightening and worth while following thought leaders in this space, on the topic of whether Knowledge Management is dead or not.

I have gone through the interview already a couple of days ago and, as you may be able to find out for yourselves, it is one of those interviews that will make you think for a while on the role of traditional Knowledge Management and what’s actually happening right now in that space as we speak. It will surely help you question what happened in the past, where we went wrong, what’s happening at this present moment in time and how we may have finally learned a bit from past mistakes. Yes, that thought-provoking, to say the least, I tell you.

So much so that, like I said earlier on, a whole bunch of the different KM bloggers I have been following for a while now have been sharing their views on the topic and adding further up into the conversation. Today I am only going to link to their various different blog posts, so that you have got an opportunity to weigh in a bit in what they are saying about the interview itself. In my own case, I will be chiming in accordingly sharing some further thoughts on the topics discussed a little bit later on as we move forward. Brain cells are eventually asking for an extended break at the moment, and there are tons of really good stuff I would want to touch base on, some of which I have already mentioned over here in the recent past.

Here is one initial thought though that has been in my mind ever since I watched the interview: it looks like my official job title of Knowledge Manager, Community Builder and Social Computing Evangelist has just been challenged and torn to pieces big time on that first bit. Has the role of the knowledge manager evaporated into thin air with the emergence of social computing?  Is there still a chance for those of us who have been doing that for a while to still claim we are knowledge managers in this 2.0 world? Are we a species at the border of extinction, if not extinct already altogether? That is right now what’s in my mind, after listening to one of the most wonderful interviews you could ever watch around the topic of Knowledge Management. Courtesy of Patrick Lambe, Larry Prusak & Dave Snowden.

We are in good hands! Enjoy it! (I surely did!)

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7 comments

  1. Go to Google Trends, type in knowledge management (comma) social networking. Been dead so long it’s starting to smell. The issue, as David and Larry clearly know, is that there is nothing that will take its place, because there is nothing we can offer that business executives (who get their knowledge from their subordinates, on demand) will appreciate to be valuable. The truth is that the principal means of obtaining and conveying knowledge continues to be, for all of us, what it has always been: context-rich, iterative, peer-to-peer conversations.

    Executives think everyone does this already and that it does not warrant investment, or a “chief conversation enablement officer”. Gen Millennium has learned to work around executive indifference to conversation enablement in the workplace and they use IM/VoIP, blogs/RSS, screen-sharing and other social tools to converse anytime, anywhere with anyone. What was once the “CKO” job is now, for those of us left, (a) enabling conversations, (b) adding meaning to information (“sensemaking”), and ( c) helping front-line people to use knowledge and technology tools and resources more effectively.

    This job is and always will be thankless and unappreciated. Over time we will teach each other to do it anyway, because we care about them and about doing a good job, and for no other reason.

    Pity the poor librarians, though, even less appreciated, who continue to believe there is value and future in just-in-case centralized collection, storage and transmission of raw content (what they were trained to do). And the poor IT folks, whose job has become how to put up and maintain useless websites, useless “groupware”, useless intranets with useless search tools and useless taxonomies, and to obstruct the use of social networking tools, to the point they and their stuff have become mere obstacles the rest of us have to work around to do our jobs. Better to be a peon than a pylon, I suppose.

  2. Hi Luis,

    I dont quite think KM is dead yet … at least, not in totality. Though, i havent gone through the interview (let me pour myself a Beer before i do that!), but i feel that KM is morphing … something which a lot of folks are talking about … the KM 2.0 story? Well well … maybe theres something here apart from just a new version!

    Cheers, Atul.

  3. Gen Millennium has learned to work around executive indifference to conversation enablement in the workplace and they use IM/VoIP, blogs/RSS, screen-sharing and other social tools to converse anytime, anywhere with anyone. What was once the “CKO” job is now, for those of us left, (a) enabling conversations, (b) adding meaning to information (”sense making”), and ( c) helping front-line people to use knowledge and technology tools and resources more effectively.

  4. But aren’t we ALL knowledge managers in the Web2.0/social software world? We manage our knowledge collaboratively with our peers. I now have reduced direct questions through my corporate blog, with people going there (and to my social bookmarks) rather than approaching me directly.

    How do I know this?

    Well, I check my blog hits, and also through social anecdotes of people saying things like, “I followed your blog entries on Notes8 widgets and got up and running without needing anything else”.

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