Nancy Dixon has been writing an in-depth series of articles that describe her take on the past, present and future of knowledge management. Her last installment is the "where it's going" discussion (I've added links back to the other pieces below). Where Knowledge Management Has Been and Where It Is Going- Part Three
In this three part series I‘ve classified the evolving landscape of knowledge management into three categories. The first category is Leveraging Explicit Knowledge and is about capturing documented knowledge and building it into a collection - connecting people to content. The second category is about Leveraging Experiential Knowledge and it gave rise to communities of practice and reflection processes. It is primarily focused on connecting people to people. The third category is Leveraging Collective Knowledge and it is about integrating ideas from multiple perspectives. Its medium is conversation in both its virtual and face-to-face forms.
In all three pieces, Nancy Dixon talks about the assumptions and resulting strategies that relate to that stage of knowledge management development. And of course, many of those assumptions turned out to be incorrect - or at least not wholly true. She also covers the fallacies of those assumptions and their impact on KM implementations. If you read the pieces chronologically, they naturally build on one another. The shortcomings of the Explicit phase highlight new assumptions that lead to the Experiential phase. And, while the Experiential phase is still running strong, there are clear pointers from there to the Collective phase, which is the focus of her most recent article. Given that the Collective phase is so new, I wonder what this reflection will look like in a year, or in five years.
As a side note, I find it interesting that she uses the term leverage to describe the phases of KM. This invokes thoughts of the work I do with my clients. What can we do that will cause the biggest change: where is the biggest lever for change? Usually, that means that we understand where we want to go and where we are today: what are the gaps? The biggest gaps are usually where you can find the most leverage.