Re: Is this KM? Really? #name

Neil Olonoff <olonoff@...>


You are correct, although I suppose once a word or phrase is out "in the wild" its meaning becomes whatever the crowd wants it to be.

I recently attended an Organization Development conference in which the key theme was deciding what the "new OD" was all about. KM is in a similar stage of identity crisis. Who are we? What are we? I recently attempted to create a kind of Venn Diagram showing the KM sector in relation to a number of other disciplines: OD, HR, Change Management, etc. Weeks later, I belatedly realized I had completely forgotten to include IT at all. So that's my perspective -- but certainly not that of many others.

The bottom line, if there is one, is: KMers need to coalesce around a coherent, common identity and forge a comprehensible statement of who we are and what we do. I know that's been done many times, but the fact that we are still seeing software services masquerading as "KM" is evidence that we have been ineffective in telling our story. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from the marketing gurus Ries and Trout, who tell us in "Positioning: the Battle for your Mind" that in order to be effective, a brand must "own a word" in the mind of the consumer.

What word would KM need to own to become an effective brand?



Neil Olonoff   olonoff@...
Lead, Federal Knowledge Management Initiative,
Federal KM Working Group hosted at
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On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Tom <tman9999@...> wrote:

Surfing KM job postings today I came across one for a Knowledge Management Consultant.

The description opens by saying that "The individuals will help integrate InQuira with leading CRM packages."  And then goes on to list off the following as required experience:

    * 1-2 years of Enterprise Software consulting and implementation experience
    * High level of proficiency with Java, J2EE, and JSP programming
    * Proficient with HTML, CSS, XML, XSL, SQL, JavaScript
    * Proficient with Linux, Solaris, and Windows environments
    * Ability to work on multiple projects at any given time
    * Must be willing to travel

High level of proficiency with Java, J2EE, and JSP programming. Really? Isn't that actually what software jockeys do? Maybe system integration? Sure isn't KM the way I have practiced it for the last 15 years. You?

So what the heck has happened to "knowledge management"? It's already old hat - the whole terminology debate we have had off and on amongst ourselves. But maybe now is the time for us to join forces and either reclaim the concept of "KM", or agree on a new turn of phrase that describes well what it is we focus on and do.


Tom Short Consulting
Knowledge Transfer
Knowledge Strategy

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