Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The next new thing in Knowledge Management?

New Perspectives (01/52) A guy asked me a couple of weeks ago, what I thought was going to be the most promising new development in Knowledge Management.

I tend to get this question every year round about this time - I suppose people are looking for "the new trend for 2012" or something. He certainly was - he was looking for the new breakthrough solution; the magic bullet that would suddenly unlock knowledge flow - the Next New Thing.

I think I disappointed him.

I said that there was one Next New Thing I would love to see in 2012, and that was for people to START TAKING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SERIOUSLY!

As far as I am concerned, Knowledge Management is relatively simple, but very difficult. It involves organisational and cultural change, and that's not easy. It involves managing your organisation differently, with due attention to the value of knowledge, and that means getting your senior management fully on board, which takes a lot of homework and a fair amount of courage.  It involves new processes, new roles, new technologies, so you need to put in masses of hard work managing the various stakeholders. It means addressing business problems and adding value, which means you have to stick your neck out and promise to deliver, with all the risk that this entails. And by "taking it seriously", I mean beginning this journey of change, and starting to work it through. The obstacles are many, but the value is enormous, and many companies have made the transition to Knowledge Management, so the path is not impossible and people have trodden it before you.

My message to this guy was that there is no silver bullet, there is no magic solution, there is no Next New Thing that is going to make KM just "start happening". YOU can make it happen, if you take it seriously. It will require investment, a lot of hard work, courage, good homework, high level support, and an element of risk-taking, but it can be done if you start now.

Don't wait for the magic answer; start now, take KM seriously, and let that be your Next New Thing.

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