Friday, January 4, 2008

KM will Happen ... KM or no KM

I have been thinking about this for some time ... and then, I came across this post by Luis Suarez. What got me thinking about this is the back-to-basics kind of thought process that Luis seems to be coming up with. Luis also refers to a post by Dave Pollard which I think I will take some time to read, and digest. Something to nibble on, and digest in a leisurely manner, I would say.

To bring in my perspective ... Over a period of time, I have been meeting folks practising KM in some form or the other ... and, coming up with an interesting conclusion. Something that I have summed up in the title of the post ... KM will happen ... KM or not KM. Even if there is no formalized KM mechanism, KM does happen. Take an example ... I was talking with some folks from the metals industry ... They have been fostering KM in a largely offline mode. Social computing somehow becomes more of the social rather than the computing part. Which got me thinking ... Back in the 90s, with the emphasis on TQM, the whole idea of Quality Circles was much the rage ... And, I am now trying to figure out ... How were these different from communities? There have been a number of replies I have got, but bottomline ... These are a group of people interested in a particular topic, coming together, with an aim in mind, to share their thoughts.

Which is something that happens even without formal KM ... And, has been happening for quite some time now ... a few centuries, maybe? People come together, communities are created without giving them the name ... And, there is quite a healthy exchange of thoughts. More and more, communities are becoming transient ... People come together, perform some things, and the community disappears ... But, this is to be expected, considering the changing nature of human interactions.

So, where am I headed? Simple ... I am talking about bringing the human aspect of KM more into the focus ... Somewhere along the way, KM became more and more about technology ... Actually, it started that way, and just that the nature of the technology changed over a period of time, from databases to web 2.0 ... But, the focus has to be on the people ... A lot of people have said it, but not many who have followed. Which is where the entire conundrum of adoption comes in. Any KM initiative is as effective as its adoption by people. Something I have written about earlier ... And, something which needs to be pushed ... As you would find in the writings of a lot of thinkers of KM, its about how many folks are actually going to use it.


Sameer said...

I couldn't have agreed more. And even though I've no real value to add with this comment but I still felt like dittoing it. Also, thought will put an 'allied' rant! Btw.. what's this about carrying ID cards in Delhi? I think that should be interesting dope to correlate with social networking somehow?!

Ok now the rant...

I met a 'senior' chap a couple of days back who wanted to capture ALL knowledge that EVERYBODY has (of course tacit as well!) because he is sick of attrition and he wants a Google search to run over that knowledge, and hence care a damn about who leaves! Now do I need to promise him the world!

Atul said...

That, Sameer, would depend on how senior he is ... There is, somewhere, an assumption that technology can do everything ... reminds me of the early days of ERP in India (ya, ya, this tells me I am getting old ...), when people believed they just had to install an ERP, and play golf from there on, and the ERP would do the rest!