Friday, 5 July 2013


Knowledge Management - simple concept, why use long words?


llanfair pg So much of Knowledge Management is about communication; the communication of knowledge, solutions, work-around, tips and hints, the communication of concepts and ideas. Communication to stakeholders is the main thing we do as part of change management. Knowledge Management can be an alien concept to many people, and we need to translate it into simple words.

When this communication takes place through conversation, we tend to use ordinary words, laced with technical terms when needed. But when we write, somehow things don't seem to be so simple. We set aside the short and simple words,  reach for the fancy phrases and the longest words we know, and we perpetrate polysyllabic obfuscation.

Here's one I was reading earlier.
"the exploitation of complementary knowledge resources across businesses leads to a significant market- and accounting-based corporate performance effect".
which means "you can increase profit and market share by re-using knowledge"

And another
"To maintain connectivity and freshness of content within your knowledge ecosystem consider implementing a technology enabled knowledge transfer system".
I think that what this means is  "You can keep your knowledge up to date if you can communicate online"

And as much as I admire Carl Frappaolo's work, his definition of KM lacks simplicity.
"Knowledge Management (KM) is the leveraging of collective wisdom and experience to expedite responsiveness and innovation".
I think this means "Knowledge Management is using what we all know, to respond faster and to come up with new ideas". I am not sure any of us would say "expedite responsiveness" in a sentence, but somehow it seems OK to write it.

I don't know why this happens. It probably happens to me as well - when you write - you reach for the Long Words bottle, and sprinkle it liberally over the text.

As a final example of polysyllabic obfuscation, see the extract from the 23rd Psalm below (the rest can be found here).
1. The Lord and I are in a shepherd-sheep relationship, and I am in a position of negative need.
 2. He prostrates me in a green-belt grazing area, and conducts me into lateral proximity with non-torrential aqueous material.
 3. He restores to original satisfaction my psychological makeup.
 4. Albeit I make ambulatory progress through the non-illuminated geologic interstice of mortality, terror sensations shall not be manifest within me due to the proximity of omnipotence; Your pastoral walking aid and quaduped-restraint module induce in me a pleasured mood state.

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