I came across a new-to-me KM blog from Chris Jones of SourcePOV and found this piece on KM and culture: Why KM Struggles: Fighting a Culture of Control. And it seems to connect to another discussion on KM and ROI elsewhere.
Here's a great comment from the midst of Chris Jones' commentary.
KM is at it’s best when knowledge workers receive the tools and training they need to generate insight and act on it. Gearing-up for KM is lots of work, but it's the foundation for success of a knowledge enabled company in a marketplace that is beginning to reward players that are savvy about how to leverage knowledge and collaboration to innovate.
I really like the "give them the tools and training they need" and let them get rolling. The key idea behind Chris Jones' post is that while these things are important, it cannot happen if the culture doesn't allow for it.
A very similar comment came up in the knowledge management group on LinkedIn, where someone asked about ROI (again) in the discussion (not sure if that link is valid). To that, I commented:
Maybe it is not time to implement software? Instead approach the executives with the problems they have articulated (such as "innovation"), and propose changes to the process that will help remove or reduce the severity of the problems. A lot of that will have to do with the way people work, regardless of whether there is specific software in place to make it happen. What can you do with the software you have today? What could you do in addition if you were to buy the software you are proposing to buy?
I get the same sense from both of these discussions. There is a KM initiative that requires the culture and interest in the business in knowledge management or innovation or <insert knowledge term>. Once that culture is embedded within the organization, the specific projects or implementations should be able to fit within the context of the organization and the appropriate justifications.
[Yes, I realized that I am posting this at 10 pm on a Friday night.]