There are still regular posts in the Linkedin groups asking for a definition, and the range of definitions they receive is huge. Some people answer with a technology viewpoint, some think it's about provision of information, some think its about changing the culture of the organisation.
For me, the shortest definition is the best.
Knowledge management is "Managing, as if knowledge matters"
The analogy is with other management disciplines, such as safety management, risk management, customer relationship management.
- Safety management came to the fore when companies realised, or maybe acknowledged, that safety is a big deal, and that they needed to change the way they management the company as a result.
- Risk management came to the fore when companies realised that risk was important, and that they needed to change they way they managed as a result.
- Customer relationship management became a discipline when companies realised that their relationship with customers mattered, and that they needed to change they way they managed as a result.
- Knowledge management happens when an organisation, or a team, or a person, realises that Knowledge matters, it is important, and it has value.
In each case, the companies change the way they operate. They start to use new technologies, they start to introduce new processes, they start to assign new roles and accountabilities, and they introduce new forms of governance.
When they realise that Knowledge is important [ that Knowledge Matters - they start to do "Knowledge Management"