Thanks to Helen Nicol for surfacing a good video interview about the transition of KM from management fad to an integral part of Social Computing (aka Social Media).
Posted with the original title “Is KM Dead?” the interview examines aspects where ‘KM as fad’ has expired but that many of its practices and core practitioners live on. The video interview is a year old (July 2008, interviewer: Patrick Lambe) but still timely -
Snowden is particularly insightful re: forces at work moving from highly structured, pre-codified taxonomies to the more ‘organic aspects of knowledge that model human interaction.’ KM has long struggled as a practice area, for many reasons outlined in the interview, but also for a key reason outlined in my earlier wiki post: fundamentally, the culture for collaboration has been lacking. Where that culture has been updated or transformed, KM will have the opportunity to add value.
I agree with Prusak & Snowden, the core KM concepts remain important, and are showing up frequently (even moreso, one year later) in interactions where collaboration and business problems require it.
Yes, the fad days are over. KM promises were sometimes oversold by vendors and consultants alike.
But KM practices are NOT dead, as the space is transforming to something broader and more dynamic. It will serve processes that are more integral to collaborative practices in a knowledge economy, what Snowden calls ‘a flex period of social and natural science’ or ‘renaissance’.
I call it ‘collaborative innovation’ – a new social media practice that we brainstorm often at #smchat.
In a fundamental way, KM advances processes and concepts that are intended to facilitate communities of practice. In our knowledge economy, demands for innovation and collaboration are pushing these requirements to the top. As long as KM practioners are flexible, that is, able to operate in a dynamic mode and willing to new learn technologies, there will be a place for KM at the table. Social media is a powerful force, and KM may not get center stage. But there are important engagement synergies in SM and KM that we can’t afford to neglect.
As always, would love to get your thoughts.