Re: Your KM vision requested #vision

Paul McDowall

It's an interesting question, Jim.  Beyond simply looking at hot issues of the day it makes one think about KM at its core.  One could look at it from at least two perspectives: the question as asked: "what ... do you anticipate having the greatest impact..."; or perhaps, "what ... do you hope will have the greatest impact".  

Back in 1998 I heard Kathy Harris from Gartner Group say "in the future we won't call it Knowledge Management, we'll call it Management".  In truth I've misquoted her.  She actually said "in 5 five years".  Yes, she said by 2003 we won't call it KM.  Here we are 12 years beyond that threshhold and we're still struggling with KM.  It's true that to some degree, minor in most cases, some KM principles and practices have been woven into the fabric of the greater management discipline.  I think most would reluctantly agree however, that her prognostication has gone largely unfulfilled.  When I came to KM back in 1994 I truly believed that it would revolutionize the management discipline within a few short years but like Kathy, I was overly optimistic and woefully incorrect.  This is what I still hope would/could have the greatest impact on KM, and this is what would allow KM to have the greatest impact on the general management discipline as talk my academia and as practiced in organizations.  I still firmly believe that KM principles and practices, when applied with a deft hand, can leverage the use and usefulness of knowledge effectively and efficiently toward the unique business needs, issues and challenges of virtually every type of organization.  This remains my vision. 

My answer to the actual question is more mundane and, frankly, disappointing from my perspective.  What have we seen have the greatest impact on KM since the early days?  Technology, unquestionably.  It's still the hot issue, the number one trend, innovation and development that has had the greatest impact on KM, albeit from my perspective, not a great impact.  What can we expect over the next three years?  Is there something afoot that would change that pattern over the next three years?  (I would dearly love to see it so)  Call me jaded but I think technology is still at the top of the list, but I'm still hopeful.  

Best to all

Paul McDowall
Know How Works Consulting Ltd
Ottawa, Canada
Cell: 613-796-7257
LinkedIn: Paul McDowall


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