Wednesday 1 July 2009

KM and the first ascent of Everest

Everest and Lhotse
Originally uploaded by MacCookie
Here's an excellent blog post, explaining how the successful first ascent of Everest was only possible through a program of knowledge acquisition over many years, and knowledge transfer between international climbing teams.

He includes this quote from the team leader, John Hunt, which explains the attitude to knowledge sharing that made the ascent possible

The mission we undertook was not, in our eyes, in the nature of some competition on a giant scale in which we vied to outdo the efforts of previous expeditions, dramatic and popular as such a concept might be. Indeed, prolonged attempts to climb a difficult mountain are, or should be, essentially different from those of a competitive sport. A possible analogy, however, might be that of a relay race, in which each member of a team of runners hands the baton to the next at the end of his allotted span, until the race is finally run. The Swiss last year received that baton of knowledge from the latest in the long chain of British climbers and they in turn, after running a brilliant lap, passed it on to us. We chanced to be the last runners in this particular race, but we might well not have succeeded in finishing, in which case we would have handed on our knowledge to our French comrades who were preparing to take up the challenge.

The idea of a baton race of knowledge is something we can apply in our own organisations, to our own projects and programs.

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