Nancy White is going to be on a panel discussing The Future of KM at the Global Knowledge conference in a session called "The Future of Knowledge Management and Web 2.0 - Visions and Challenges" next month (in Kuala Lumpur!). She's got some entertaining seed questions and is looking for some input.
This session will address the following key questions:
- What major trends and changes in knowledge management do we expect in the next ten years? What are the major visions about Knowledge Management (KM) of the future?
- There is increasing consensus on success factors and obstacles to effective KM. At the same time, newer technologies and innovations are increasing our ability to connect and interact across boundaries. What do you see remaining the same and what changing in KM ?state-of-the-art? in this context?
- How does the interplay between technology and markets impact the environment for KM-related practices?
- What are the future key opportunities and obstacles for knowledge management in fighting poverty and empowering people?
KM has gone a lot of different directions, and I suspect will still be influenced by the various disciplines and backgrounds from which people come to the idea. My general thought, particularly with the topic of this session is that there are a lot of interesting technologies that enable and support the culture of knowledge sharing that we want. But is that all there is? Is the "future of KM" simply a different set of technologies? Does that take us down the same path as previous KM instantiations that were techno-centric?
Yes, and no. I think some of the Web2.0 technologies make aspects of knowledge sharing so much different from the traditional view, that lots of the things we want to see in KM can happen. But the biggest hurdle is the same hurdle that has always been there: the people. If the environment is hostile and negative, then these tools aren't going to be helpful. This becomes a job of organizational psychologists and the like. It becomes the job of leadership to shift to a truly different culture that can flourish under the guise of knowledge sharing.
For those that don't know them, I would peruse what Dave Pollard and Dave Snowden have to say on the topic of knowledge management, as both of them are looking forward. I was particularly interested in Dave Snowden's recent thinking, where he suggests that KM would look a lot different if blogging, wikis and related tools were around in the mid-1990's.
In case you can't guess from the last question, this conference is tied to the bigger questions than the typical "how do we get more out of our people" in business. They are interested in fighting poverty the world over, as well as many related topics.