Re: List of Knowledge Management Topics #roles #KM101 #definition

Tim Powell

Hi Stephen and all,


Thank you all for these insightful and thought-provoking comments.  I’ll second and amplify Stephen’s comments.


Making a list (and checking it twice) can be a first step toward…what, exactly?  What’s the desired endstate?  Though I may have missed this earlier in the thread, I always want to know, even before the WHAT, what is the SO WHAT?  What is the PURPOSE-mission-goal of capturing such a list?  Who is it for?  How is it to be used?  What authority will it convey (if only by implication)?


What begins as a list can increase in value and usefulness by being then grouped into categories (i.e., a taxonomy), then including definitions (i.e., a dictionary) and synonyms (i.e., a thesaurus.)


To me, a list could be most helpful if it’s dynamic, inclusive, and client-centered.  Does it focus on solving client problems, does it change as those problems change, does it continually expand to meet new needs?  When knowledge becomes static and/or hide-bound — as happens too often — its relevance to client benefits plummets.


Given that some of us define “knowledge” as a part of IT, others as part of HR, others as part of strategy, and still others as its own thing entirely — it’s not surprising that any such list could expand rapidly to include those closely-related fields.


For example, in my book on the value of knowledge — a thin wedge of the knowledge universe, albeit, to me, one of paramount importance — I describe 267 key concepts for that niche alone.  My point is not to throw my picks onto the pile — but, rather, that for each specialized set of client needs, there could be (and should be) a pretty deep and unique lexicon.


Words matter — and our language to describe knowledge should be just as Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive as our workforce hiring policies.


My formal training is in management, and the other thing I notice is the list is growing to include much of the language of management.  That’s fine, to me — given that I see “knowledge management” as a sub-discipline of “management,” which also governs the other enterprise resources of land, labor, and capital.  But it seems to me that if that is the case, the list could expand almost infinitely – with its meaningfulness and impact diluted as a consequence.


If Knowledge and Management are overlapping circles in a Venn diagram, is Knowledge Management their sum (either-or) or their intersection (both-and)?


Please forgive my digressions.  Saturday (when I drafted this) is my day of rest, reflection, and renewal -- and this fascinating group always gets my wheels turning!


Have a great week,




TIM WOOD POWELL | President, The Knowledge Agency® | Author, The Value of Knowledge |

New York City, USA  |  TEL + | 




From: <> on behalf of Stephen Bounds <km@...>
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 12:39 AM
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [SIKM] List of Knowledge Management Topics #definition #KM101


Hi Robert,

My conclusion is that the "core" of knowledge management is (or at least should be) the analysis of organisations, diagnosis of dynfunction, and prescription of suitable treatments. Whenever a KM person picks some KM method to apply, it is implied that they are intuitively performing each of these steps. The problem is that this typical KM approach is unsystematic, unreliable, and often unreplicable (even if it is successful).

I try to be a cheerleader for all initiatives that improve standards in KM language, analysis and diagnostic methods. I strongly believe this is the only path to a "true" and sustainable KM discipline. While Stan's list would likely benefit from summary pages as well as links to longer articles, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a really valuable jumping-off point.


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

On 12/06/2021 10:36 am, Robert M. Taylor via wrote:

I like the list - Stan you are nothing if not the encyclopedist of KM. I thought a while about what bothered me and it's this. I have a conviction that KM is an open kind of thing. It's not a fixed kind of thing like a proprietary method. Its boundaries are always going to be negotiable. So we're pretty much able to adopt, adapt, and co-operate with just about any kind of method or tool available. But what, if anything, is really ours?  I think there's a smaller list of key areas, and probably quite a small number of key strategies. Myriad bits and pieces, maybe, but they don't affect the core. We need all of the basics of business strategy, planning and management; project, process, service, product and change management for starters. We need information management and IT - especially content and collaboration IT. We need organisational, team and community leadership, organisational learning, innovation, communities (might be truly 'ours'), operating model. We're not, of course, trying to cover the totality of all of that, but we will use all of it at some time. The list is nice to have.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.