With great interest I have read Roan Yong’s “Knowledge Management in 2012? Probably Dead”. And yes, I agree to what he has stated: KM got too academic - or always was? And the social web will be what will replace it. Roan’s article triggered more thoughts which are too long to just pack in the article’s comments: there are more problems of today’s KM than to be blown up; and why the social web is KM at it’s core.
Knowledge Management as it started was focused on activities and tools which are additional tasks outside people’s daily work. In the book ‘The New Edge in Knowledge’ this is referred to as “Above the Flow”. This book also mentions that we should focus more on “In the Flow” activities; things we know for long as personal KM or simply knowledge management embedded in people’s daily work. In my own field, I have been pushing for this integration and slowly our company starts to understand it’s value and we start to embark on this journey. What has enabled this move? First, we have realized that it’s very difficult to ask for additional efforts in times of a economic downturn; though, the value of knowledge sharing is still understood. The other driver for embedding KM in the flow is technology:
- consumerisation of business applications has led to a faster user adoption
- cloud-based solution drive people to store their information in a central location which makes sharing and collaboration easier
- mobile applications allow continuous, ubiquitous use of business tools
- social business applications have matured and are now available for large vendors
Roan argues that morphing KM into Social Business; and yes, I agree. But wait? Isn’t social business at it’s core and we just avoid to say The Word? Classic business applications did focus information transactions: send an e-mail, read a report, record a client visit, buy a new gadget, etc. The social web adds a new layer to these transactions: context! And isn’t information plus context equal to knowledge? At least I would argue that. Before we make the decision to buy the latest tablet we check our social context for feedback; when we summarise the client visit we add in the client’s twitter feed; when I receive an e-mail I see which documents, discussions, friends I share with the sender, etc.
For me, Social Web means that Knowledge Management has finally arrived.
Photo credit: Jordanhill School D&T Dept
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