Re: In what Industries or Segments does KM Thrive? #KMers #discussion-starter #future-of-work #state-of-KM


Arthur Shelley
 
Edited

Useful dialogue.

I remember having this argument in 2006 with the then head of KM at Fluor (who I considered at that time to among the most advanced KM programs in the world – see attached article I wrote about them in 2009). I was suggesting that it should be possible to achieve a “utopian KM” in which KM was fully embedded. In situations where the leaders of KM initiatives enabled achievement “Successful KM” could be effectively redundant because everyone in the organisation just “did KM” (applied the principles of KM in everything they do), thereby making KM self-governing.

 

My colleague from Fluor said that it needed to be facilitated to ensure continuity. Since that time, I have observed MANY amazing KM programs effectively whither when the advocate moved on - often because of redundancy. So in my experiences, there will always be a need for a KM team to remain to lead and facilitate the programs and ensure that knowledge is not just “captured”, but is a key asset informing strategy creation and a foundation for ongoing organisational learning (as still happens in some organisations like Arup, Singapore National Library, Afcons…  and some others…).

 

I remain of the opinion that “fully embedded KM” is a nice theory and a desirable vision to seek, but not something that is attained often in practice and even less likely to be sustained beyond the passionate KMer that lead the organisation to that state. Even in great organisations, succession planning of KM leaders has not been very effective.

 

Regards

Dr Arthur Shelley

Producer: Creative Melbourne

Author: KNOWledge SUCCESSion  Sustained performance and capability growth through knowledge projects

Earlier Books: The Organizational Zoo (2007) & Being a Successful Knowledge Leader (2009)

Principal: www.IntelligentAnswers.com.au 

Founder: Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network

Mb. +61 413 047 408  Skype: Arthur.Shelley  Twitter: @Metaphorage

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthurshelley/

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Blog: www.organizationalzoo.com/blog

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From: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io> On Behalf Of Stephen Bounds
Sent: Tuesday, 12 May 2020 3:11 PM
To: SIKM@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] In what Industries or Segments does KM Thrive? #discussion-starter #futureofwork #kmers #proven-pra ctice #jobs

 

Hi Murray,

I think it matters quite a lot in the context that this conversation arose, which was around KM jobs.

Similarly to engineering, Patrick made comments about the pervasiveness of "small f small m" financial management -- yet I see no signs of a world in which the CFO and accountants are all made redundant. Chartered professionals have reached a level of specialised expertise where there is a broad recognition that their skills cannot be easily replicated by a lay person.

To be blunt, if "frankly KM isn't that hard" then we need to make it harder. Otherwise, we will continue to see dedicated KM roles being shed from companies en masse when there are economic downturns.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 11/05/2020 4:53 pm, Murray Jennex wrote:

I have worked with people who didn't know they were engineers (but its not real common).  I'm not sure why you are sensitive about this, that people can do KM without knowing they are doing KM.  The name KM came about in the late 90s with it being OM, organizational memory or perhaps OL, organizational learning before that.  Those practitioners didn't know they were doing KM until they embraced the term KM.  Managing knowledge is not something that KM invented, people have been managing knowledge for centuries without knowing they were doing KM.  Now I didn't say that people adopting a knowledge practice are knowledge managers, but they can be and are managers and frankly, smart people in any discipline can figure out how to adopt and implement good knowledge practices.  I won't say they are as good at as a KM professional but they get by.  This is not unique to the world as the world is full of amateur engineers, astronomers, photographers, farmers, financiers, etc.  Heck, even on this list I've seen many posters complain about doctoral level KM professionals who teach KM.  It sounds elitist to suggest that only KM professionals can do KM, frankly KM isn't that hard if you study the different disciplines that we combine and have the vision to see what needs to be done.  This is why we are seeing some KM positions eliminated even though we know we provide value.  Heck, we are seeing MBA enrollments decline because gifted amateurs such as Mark Cuban say you don't need to be a MBA professional to be a good business person; and to some degree he is correct.  Same applies to KM....murray jennex

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Bounds <km@...>
To: SIKM@groups.io
Sent: Sun, May 10, 2020 10:53 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] In what Industries or Segments does KM Thrive? #discussion-starter #futureofwork #kmers #proven-pra ctice #jobs

Is there such a thing as an "embedded engineer"? If not, why not?

I have some issues with the idea that people "don't even know they are doing KM" unless people also "don't even know they are doing engineering".

I don't think workers who know how to assemble Ikea furniture "are" engineers, and I don't think people who informally adopt a sound KM practice within their teams "are" knowledge managers either.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 10/05/2020 6:24 am, Murray Jennex via groups.io wrote:

I understand your point Nick, but I look at embedded KM much like I would look at a embedded system, something that works but is buried in the innards of the system and is something nobody notices until it doesn't work.  I see embedded KM as KM built into the work practices: knowledge capture a part of the analysis of problems, knowledge sharing a part of the setup of how knowledge is saved and searched, collaboration with colleagues a part of the work culture and evaluation system, and etc.  You don't need a KM function to monitor this as monitoring is also embedded.  In these organizations they don't always even know they are doing KM, it is just good practice or common sense (I think this is something we have said as KMers for many years).  Where you do need some KM function is in governance of processes and data: mainly for ensuring knowledge alignment with strategic goals, incorporate process changes, and to anticipate future needs and process modifications.  How large this function is I'm not sure and it probably varies widely in practice.  How did embedded KM get there in the first place? That is where KM may have had a role (and I would agree it is done better if KM did have a role in initial design) but with knowledge workers it will happen even if there is no formal KM guidance as it is just good sense.....murray jennex

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Milton <nick.milton@...>
To: SIKM@groups.io
Sent: Sat, May 9, 2020 7:40 am
Subject: Re: [SIKM] In what Industries or Segments does KM Thrive? #discussion-starter #futureofwork #kmers #proven-pra ctice #jobs

I don’t think embedded KM means no KM department, its just that they have a different function – support, monitoring, coaching, training, measuring, rather than doing. .

 

After all, most organisations have embedded financial management, but still have financial professionals and a CFO.

 

 

 

Nick Milton

 

 

From: SIKM@groups.io <SIKM@groups.io> On Behalf Of Chris Jones
Sent: 09 May 2020 15:09
To: SIKM@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] In what Industries or Segments does KM Thrive? #discussion-starter #futureofwork #kmers #proven-pra ctice #jobs

 

Rahul - sure, my ask is to understand the industries or sectors of the economy (or perhaps more broadly, the global organizational landscape, to include NGO/NFP's & Government agencies) where KM is successful. For me, with on-going threads about KM job losses, demise of KM, and the like, I'm wanting to learn whether success is tied to unique industry needs.

Bill - thanks again for these inputs.

Murray - the examples are helpful; in my work in utilities, I've learned that fault intolerance tends to show up as increased, very detailed processes and controls, where knowledge is clearly integral - so I see your point.

Nick - execellent chart !! and I was hoping this sort of analysis had been done.  Interesting that you show embedded KM as the ideal end state in an applied maturity model rather than an alternative approach to a functional "KM department".  Curious if there's another thread on KM maturity models - guessing yes? I'll check - 

Appreciate all the responses, you're definitely advancing my thinking - thanks much for taking time to weigh-in.

Chris

 

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