Re-branding KM

KM per se is not a sexy term - when speaking to others, particularly those I’m keen on building relationships with, flaunting the term ‘KM’ does not often jump-start inspiring and enthralling conversations - more the opposite! I believe that in repositioning what KM brings to an organisation under a new mantra or title can kick-start much more exciting and relevant conversations. My term for rebranding KM concepts? Intellectual effectiveness at work…

Having worked with KM in different forms and facets for over 10 years, I have also seen its previous rise(s) and fall(s) across industries and geographies. I believe that today KM is undergoing a renaissance (its third or fourth, depending how far back you want to track it) as a recognised value-adding approach in any given workplace or setting – albeit more often labelled as something else. Indeed, beyond most international organisations and a handful of MNCs, the actual term of ‘KM’ is increasingly failing to trigger the right conversations – or instant recognition – regarding its intrinsic value as it should or has in the past. Case in point, I know of organisations either undertaking or launching KM initiatives today which have pointedly avoided adopting the ‘KM’ term or title, simply to achieve a more appealing and stimulating image as well as to ensure buy-in from key internal functional stakeholders. This is a shame for the term – yet understandable.

For me, I think KM as a concept has as much, if not more, a valuable role to play today in how we, as individuals and in teams, work. How so? When framed amidst the growing disconcerting chatter of how new and emerging innovations will displace how we work (e.g. robotisation, AI, machine learning) on top of the mounting stress in actually achieving our daily grind, we can borrow from many of the classical frameworks and fundamental approaches, methods and tools embodied by KM to allow us to make immediate sense of how we currently work and figure out how we can improve. The key criteria when adopting KM approaches in how we can improve, I believe, is to refocus on what got us into our jobs in the first place – the human quotient of ‘intellectual engagement’ insofar as the motivations, ambitions, and desire to work. If we want to ensure that we – and those around us – are as productive and effective as possible in the context of our current working situations, whilst under the cloud of all these potential changes, we need to enable as much intellectual stimulation as possible. This is, for me, one of the few key drivers which will not only allow us to be successful in our outputs but achieve these in both an engaging and emotionally rewarding way.

What exactly do I mean by this? I will elaborate on this concept in a series of blogs over the coming weeks and months. But for now, my appeal to those working in KM (under whatever name or guise) is to have faith in what we do because our chosen profession / passion unwaveringly focuses on the one true key component which will always ride the waves of innovation and technological r/evolutions – individual human beings and our intellectual capabilities.

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