The Long Pause of KM

Allan Crawford went around with a video camera at KM World recently asking people for their takeaways from the conference and on the state of KM. Here’s his compilation, which does show some interesting themes around the people/organisational dimension of KM. (Check out his new blog, “KM is Alive” and his recent post on the “KM Elephant”.

I’m on the video too, and I said I thought KM was “in a long pause”. That was being polite – to be frank, the picture I got of the state of KM at KM World was that it’s tired. I don’t subscribe to the “KM is dead” school, and I don’t think KM is going to go away, because the organisational dysfunctions that call it forth are not going away, but I do think it’s moribund.

Maybe it was just the conference, because there are pockets of high and applied energy out there (the actKM conference this year was absolutely stellar, the KM Asia conference was a lot of fun) and there can be a clear sense of learning from peers in the event’s main content, not just at its fringes.

KM World’s greatest benefit was the networking and some nice keynotes from Andrew MacAfee and Thomas Vander Wal, but the format of the conference (huge warehouse, dim lighting, serried rows, poor powerpoint visibility) would suck the energy out of the most dynamic content and audiences, and dynamism levels were certainly mixed. That conference format needs to be woken up big time (isn’t that what knowledge managers are supposed to be good at?), and we might then get a chance to do some more applied, conversational, cutting edge stuff at these conferences. The sort of thing actKM is starting to excel at.

Ok, conference rant over. Back to KM. When can we stop going round in circles and make some genuine, cutting edge progress? I’m not hungry for a fad, just some solid new insights that give us a sense of progress.

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