Re: Is learning the missing emphasis of knowledge management? #learning <martin@...>

Hi all,

Might be relevant: I posted to earlier this week making the point that wikis work in a KM system when they represent the information base side of the learning cycle.

Here's an extract:

Each contribution on a wiki is a presentation of evidence. The wiki's contributors accept their belief of evidence by allowing that contribution to survive as justified by the arguments around it. Expressing and watching each wiki contribution survive (or die) makes the information content progress as a complex-adaptive ecosystem. Successive swathes of contributions provide the grounds for further content, interweaving cross-cutting themes as ever-richer contexts. Each topic might be considered a life-form contending for a niche in the shared-belief ecosystem. The best wikis emerge as a collective search for higher forms of profound concepts. Wikipedia is now a content repository authoritative on so many subjects it's become a key enabler for 300 hundred million people per month to learn.

Organizations must adapt to thrive: it must identify and mobilize its valuable internal resources in ways against which competitors hopefully won't defend. This demands that the organization continually engage in collective, self-reflective behaviour, i.e. look at its business context, and evolve strategies to make best of its assets, partnership agreements and distinctive competences. And while leadership sets direction and tone, it depends on its knowledge workers to make decisions using those strategies and to be the agents that drive forward the evolution of the firm's value proposition. A firm's knowledge workers must learn, reflect on and buy into strategies so the company can eliminate waste, progress capabilities and thus enhance its offering to customers.

I believe that a wiki makes for a great knowledge management system when seeded with content that entices knowledge workers to learn, integrated with other information feeds, and framed and proven as a place for collective action. It's an effective medium for modelling the truth, and as they say, The Truth Is Out There (in the real world). If no one learns from a wiki it becomes an outdated information repository, and might as well be printed on dead trees! Knowledge management occurs precisely because (and when) the wiki helps people to learn.

I hope that's of interest.

Martin Cleaver M.Sc. MBA
+1 416-786-6752 (GMT-5)

On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:17 AM, Steven Wieneke <swieneke@...> wrote:


I appreciate your comments and examples.

Thanks for mentioning David Garvin. I found a relevant quotation
attributed to Garvin. Organizations that learn are “skilled at creating,
acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and retaining knowledge and at
purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and

The "skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and
retaining knowledge" sounds like conventional knowledge management.

The "purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and
insights" is the missing "Learning" emphasis we have been talking about.

Thanks again,


> Steve - interesting point - I think you're onto something, especially
> given the way the wind is blowing regarding companies and their use of the
> term "knowledge management" (see my latest post).
> Your comments remind of two KM-related concepts/truths. One is the notion
> of the Learn -> Do -> Know loop (don't know the source), which says (at
> least in part) that knowledge emerges from doing something; and doing
> something is made possible or enhanced by learning something. So to your
> point, from an organizational perspective perhaps this is a way of saying
> that knowledge is an outcome, not a point of control or direct influence.
> The second thing I'm reminded of is David Garvin's wonderful learning
> organization framework which lays out three modes of learning: learning
> before doing (aka training), learning while doing (mentoring, OJT), and
> learning after doing (AAR). I used this on a large consulting engagement
> to organize eight individual "KM" initiatives into a conceptual framework
> that made it easier for us to explain to stakeholders how all the
> initiatives hung together. Again, knowledge was the targetted outcome, but
> the locus of control was clearly on learning.
> Good point, Steve. Thanks for sharing.
> -Tom
> Tom Short Consulting
> Knowledge Transfer
> Knowledge Strategy
> Metrics
> Change
> 415-912-0927
> --- In sikmleaders@..., "StevenWieneke" wrote:
>> SIKM Leaders,
>> Is learning the missing emphasis of knowledge management?
>> I recently presented at the 2010 KM Symposium in Chicago, addressing two
>> questions…
>> Q: Which comes first, learning or knowledge?
>> A: "…Unlike the chicken-egg circular cause and effect, learning
>> ensures knowledge, but knowledge does not necessarily ensure learning.
>> There must be a learning aptitude and mechanism for existing knowledge
>> to be adopted or internalized by any of us. If the knowledge does not
>> exist, the same learning aptitude can discover new knowledge through
>> experimentation and even accidental incidents…"
>> Q: Which comes first in an enterprise, managing learning or managing
>> knowledge?
>> A: "…If learning is beneficial for us, then learning should be
>> beneficial for an enterprise. Like people, an enterprise needs a
>> learning aptitude (culture) and learning mechanism (visible learning
>> process). Even if employees are individually learning, the enterprise
>> may not, resulting in rework, remediation, rediscovery, reinvention and
>> customer dissatisfaction…"
>> Find the presentation
>> <\
>> ing.pdf> and paper
>> <\
>> .pdf> at <> .
>> Your thoughts?
>> Thanks,
>> Steven Wieneke
>> enterprise learning & knowledge awareness coach

Steven Wieneke
Enterprise Learning & Knowledge Awareness Coach
Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc.
cell: 248.535.0427

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