Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Culture Aspect, And Shape Of Things ...

There is a nice post by Ana Neves about the interaction between culture and KM. This post explores the requirement of the right kind of culture as a pre-requisite for a successful KM program, and it rightly goes on to the idea that while the right kind of culture is a nice to have thing, its not necessarily a must-have thing. This is an important conclusion, because given this, an organization can still look at KM at a tool to not just enable free flow of ideas, but also, look at KM as enabling the free flow of knowled in the organization, and as a result of this, create a more sharing culture. Though this, to my mind, is much more difficult to achieve that building a successful KM initiative on top of culture that is conducive. As Luis rghtly points out, it can be done, but it would probably take much more time.

Having said that, as you know, E 2.0 is here. No, i am not going there, but with blogs, twitter, and other tools, its almost like being there (minus the beer, of course!). Lets take a look at the agenda, though, and its quite interesting. Theres cloud, of course (one would expect it to be, which makes me think maybe i should sit up, and at least try to understand what clouds mean), but apart from clouds, the words i am seeing more of are Open Enterprise, Enterprise 2.0, Social ... This is interesting. And a clear indicator of the way KM is going. There is more and more emphasis on the conversation ... the social, the people aspect of KM. Which is something which should have been there in the first place, over the last decade, when people werent just part of the discussion. This is a nice sign, because this implies that KM is evolving, and the move towards the 2.0 world is something which everyone is taking note of. Having said that, organizations would need to ensure that the KM 1.0 parts of documentation, best practices, content-based KM is not pushed to the sidelines, because that too has a role to play.

But thats not the point i am trying to make here. The point is more than in the 2.0 world, culture plays an even more important role. Because the 2.0 concepts have people at the centre of the entire paradigm, the question of culture, and the relationship between KM and Culture becomes even more important to discuss. Plenty has been written about E 2.0, but even if we dont go to that (something i feel will take much more than we seem to think ... simply because E 2.0 is about disaggregation of control), the very paradigm of the social enterprise, or web 2.0, or social computing, or whichever way you look at it, requires a change in the way things are done, a cultural shift. And here, again, i think that the right kind of culture is a very important pre-requisite, but not a necessary one.

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