KM IS EVOLVING, most everyone seems to agree on that. But the burning question remains: in what direction?
I believe “Collaborative Solutions” provides a better umbrella for the practice of Knowledge Management (“KM”), simply because it makes more sense. And if it makes more sense, it should resonate better with C-level executives who need fund it and personally endorse it.
KM emerged in the 1990’s as an amalgam of vendor marketing and good intentions, where work group tools and new collaboration processes seemed to create a synergistic blend of capabilities. Unfortunately, KM often struggled to get buy-in, and semantics was a factor: you really can’t “manage knowledge”. You encourage people to develop it, share it, enhance it, and reuse it. That’s both a leadership challenge and a culture challenge, since corporate culture tends to dramatically deemphasize sharing in favor of producing results.
Make no mistake, results are critical. But in a knowledge-driven economy, collaboration is increasingly the driver of how those results are achieved, especially where there is an imperative for innovation.
Collaboration demands more mind share.
So think about “Collaborative Solutions” as a better delivery vehicle, and “Collaborative Services” to describe the activities of practioners who are driving it.
What’s in a name? For KM, way too much.
Let’s fix it.