Jeff Oxenford brings up an interesting topic, Invisible KM
Hugh Keller, editor of KM World just did an interesting article titled, "Invisible KM." The conclusion of the article was that "KM programs should be invisible." I totally agree and this follows on a conversation I had with a co-worker yesterday. She was reading a KM article and pointed out some of the things we should be doing. I politely pointed out that we had been doing those things, however, we purposely didn't call them KM activities.
This comes up in a number of ways. My friend and AOK colleague, Carol Butler, uses the term "stealth km" to suggest the concept of doing knowledge management without naming it. The Keller editorial is motivated by the problem that no one knows what KM really is. (Or that everyone has their own definition that suits their purposes.) I can see the value in this thinking. Even the global KM group at Baker & McKenzie have stopped defining knowledge management in their discussions. But they still talk about it.
The danger behind burying KM is that it could vanish completely. Or that the effort could end up in a situation where it is in need of growth and larger support but cannot get it due to the hurdles of getting to the next level of approvals.
It's a balancing act. In organizations that enjoy top level support for KM, making it explicit will work. In organizations that do not have this support or that have active resistance to the term, working under the radar makes more sense. And in these different types of organizations, I would expect to see a range of areas where KM makes sense.