Brad Hinton let's the cat out of the bag in On knowledge management's crisis of confidence
I [read / listen / talk] a lot [about] knowledge management. ... What I find is that there is a seeming lack of confidence about “knowledge management” and why it is important. ... [W]e can’t define KM in a single sentence, and knowledge management is not “recognised” as a “discipline” unto itself.
And if you explore that Wikipedia entry on knowledge management, particularly in the discussion page, you will see the community doing a lot of work to craft something that covers all the KM bases.
I suspect this is the core of the problem: there are too many bases, too many starting points, in the discussion of KM. The social scientist and the technologist and the librarian and the MBA all bring different perspectives on what it should be. Everyone has a different context and understanding of the problem. With that, their solutions head in different directions, directions that the other disciplines do not agree upon or understand.
I'll leave my definition du jour out of it today.
It's a funny coincidence today that Stuart Henshall asked on Twitter, "I'd like someone to give me a definition of KM2.0 that I buy." I suspect this is in response to his sitting in on the KMWorld conference this week and hearing people fling the term around. My response was that KM2.0 is an acknowledgment that KM can happen with simple tools and good process?
But, really, with Brad's thoughts above (and Euan's tweet that KM has always fought with itself over definitions), there really is no point in going very far with defining these things.
In fact, Stuart Henshall has just blogged along these lines too: Use the Tools First: Then Talk to Me. He's primarily worried that people are forming opinions about tools without testing them. But he wraps his comments with a comment about KM2.0:
There is no KM2.0 model today. Perhaps that is the way it should be. Fragmented. Fragments certainly fit with Dave Snowden’s theories. Maybe we should just throw out the concept and go back to me, you, and us? When you use these tools everyday it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world isn’t quite there yet. Sharing and creating the stories of what could be.. I think that is exciting.
This sounds similar to Brad's ending:
In fact, knowledge management is likely to continue its amorphous definitional context for the very reason that more and more knowledge management practices are becoming embedded within ordinary day-to-day work.
And this is a good thing…….