Knowledge Management Dichotomy #discussion-starter


Albert Simard
 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


Arthur Shelley
 

Hi Albert,

Good question. I believe this is possible and attempting to write about it now. Hope to have something worthwhile to share about that early next year under the name KNOWledge SUCCESSion.
More soon  - I did write a brief piece in the first edition of GLOBE magazine about this earlier this year.

Arthur
Tweeting as Metaphorage

On 4 Dec 2014, at 00:25, albert.simard@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


Gary Riccio
 

Hi Albert,

Important question. I think one answer is knowledge co-creation instead of merely knowledge sharing. 

In this regard, I believe there are lessons to be learned from scientific community. Scientific communication is a means to discover new people through known topics of interest as well as to discover new topics of relevance through known people. People, processes, and tools are tightly coupled in such communities. 

Formal methods of open communication (e.g., publications) are important in meeting and collaborating with new people in scientific communities but so is formal communication that is not open (e.g., peer review) as well as informal communication that occurs during events (scientific conferences). Perhaps KM systems can incentivize peer review through recognition of its importance and recognition of the people who participate in it (both receiving peer review or giving it). Perhaps KM systems can incentivize participation in events (and event planning) that, beyond live dissemination of information and associated Q&A, there are opportunities for individuals to meet-up remotely as they would in unplanned opportunities at physical gatherings.

Another suggestion from scientific communities is to organize knowledge around problem solving or testable hypotheses, and aggregate it with respect to competing theories that have survived some amount of empirical scrutiny (revealing the context dependence of knowledge). Dialectic is a powerful motivator that, as such, blurs the distinctions between people and knowledge systems (processes and tools). Knowledge sharing can be motivated as much by competition as by cooperation. Competition can even be fun (e.g., including circumstances in which one would not want to admit it). 

Science is not just for scientists. Science also can benefit from the participation of nonscientists in co-creation of knowledge than helps translate science to practice, that even contributes data to a scientific enterprise (citizen science), and perhaps that provides additional sources of motivation to participate in scientific inquiry or knowledge sharing.

cheers,
Gary

On Dec 3, 2014, at 8:25 AM, albert.simard@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:


There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 




Beatriz Benezra
 

Hi Albert!

 

My cents...I believe that both are among the success factors for KM activities.  Then, those approaches are not incompatible they are complementary. 

My best regards!

 

 

 

 

 

De: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2014 11:26
Para: sikmleaders@...
Assunto: [sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy

 

 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Albert,

I actually think both perspectives are overly narrow views of the problem. Organisations are always a construct of both the people who are involved and the technology they use to do their work. It's been that way ever since we worked with clay tablets!

Ignoring technology ignores the significant ways that technology shapes how we work. But technology is always used by people with all of their foibles and, well, humanity.

Simplistically, organisations are a synthesis of people, process, and technology. I've never had a conceptual problem with unifying both sides of the equation when process is considered.

But perhaps I'm missing your point. Why do you feel they are "seemingly incompatible"?

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@knowquestion.com.au
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 4/12/2014 12:25 AM, albert.simard@outlook.com [sikmleaders] wrote:
There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has
been a discipline. One school of thought believes that KM is mostly
about technology and systems. The other school focuses on KM from a
perspective of relations and interactions among people. I believe that
both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly
incompatible approaches?


Stuart French <sjfrenc@...>
 

Hi Albert,

These two are certainly painted as a dichotomy and often discussed in isolation.

I agree with Beatriz and Stephen when they say both are required and in fact entwined in successful KM. Without technology it lacks sufficient leverage and power. Without culture and relationships it lacks context and depth. Both are detrimental.

So I would say it is a false dichotomy. Success comes from the management of the entire solution by relating the parts together. That's why the discipline is called Knowledge "Management" and not "K Production", "K Capture" or "K Systems".  It also seems to be why so many knowledge projects fail when implemented by well meaning IT, L&D or HR professionals that tend to over-focus on their area.

A nice analogy might be the successful F1 team. It needs to be managed by an experienced team manager, not the driver, not the mechanic and definitely not the accountant, although understanding of all those areas is required by good leaders.

Kind Regards,

 

Stuart French

Knowledge Strategy Consultant

Ph : +61 (0) 411 797-781

stuart@...


On 4 Dec 2014, at 12:25 am, albert.simard@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


chuck georgo <chuck@...>
 

I believe KM is technology agnostic; those that believe it is about systems and technology are most likely technologists, and are confusing KM with IM. In my work with NATO, I came up with a very simple way to explain the difference (as the IM organization also had responsibility for KM)…

 

-          IM is about the ‘ones and zeros” at-rest on the hard drive and displayed on the screen.

-          KM is about moving those “ones and zeros” into and out of the human brain - knowledge consumption and production.

 

It might not fit perfectly, but it certainly helped to reduce the arguing J Thoughts?

 

r/Chuck

 

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 3:19 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy

Hi Albert,

I actually think both perspectives are overly narrow views of the
problem. Organisations are always a construct of both the people who are
involved and the technology they use to do their work. It's been that
way ever since we worked with clay tablets!

Ignoring technology ignores the significant ways that technology shapes
how we work. But technology is always used by people with all of their
foibles and, well, humanity.

Simplistically, organisations are a synthesis of people, process, and
technology. I've never had a conceptual problem with unifying both sides
of the equation when process is considered.

But perhaps I'm missing your point. Why do you feel they are "seemingly
incompatible"?

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 4/12/2014 12:25 AM, albert.simard@... [sikmleaders] wrote:
> There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has
> been a discipline. One school of thought believes that KM is mostly
> about technology and systems. The other school focuses on KM from a
> perspective of relations and interactions among people. I believe that
> both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly
> incompatible approaches?
>
>

 


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plessons@...
 

Interesting range of comments thus far Albert, 

For my part, I think there are really challenging theoretical dilemmas / or tensions that lie underneath your claim. (I prefer the word tension, because for me, I impute from the use of the word tension that we see the world from contextual and evolving perspectives, rather than from fixed perspectives). I think from previous conversations we probably agree about such matters. What I see as an imperative is to find a pathway through what might be different paradigmatic perspectives.

E.g. Polani's view of knowledge that all knowing is personal in contradistinction to varying views of reason (induction, deduction, abduction - the latter referring to Charles Pierce) and theories of falsification (Popperian perspectives of knowledge and truth)

In the complexity and evolutionary biology space(s), from my slightly simplified perspective (I am not an expert on such matters), I also think there are different views about the of an "epistemic cut" as discussed by Howard Pattee. This particular paragraph is an example of the challenges of reconciling different views. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10818569. 

A challenge is that these ideas open up deep cross disciplinary perspectives and it is very very difficult to publish stuff about such matters from any narrow domain perspective. KM struggles to leverage its own distinctive place in the literature - partially for these very reasons?

I have always taken the perspective that these views in the end can be reconcilable and Bill Hall and myself have "played around" these ideas for a few years now. This non peer reviewed piece is one example of playing around:

Exploring the Foundations of Organisational knowledge: http://kororoit.org/PDFs/WorkingPapers/VinesHall-Working0003.pdf 

Cheers for the moment,



Richard Vines


----- Original Message -----
From:
sikmleaders@...

To:
Cc:

Sent:
03 Dec 2014 05:25:54 -0800
Subject:
[sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy


 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


Minu Mittal
 

Great discussion, and great comments. 

I concur that knowledge management is technology agnostic, and technology is just an enabler. Also, singularly neither IT nor HR nor marketing can make KM win, it as to be KM that collaborates all, and hence win. 

Stuart, I really like your analogy to F1. This is what I have been saying while I am making a staffing business case for dedicated KM resource as against everyone (HR, IT, Marketing) doing a portion of work, as in that case noone is accountable. 

Does anyone have real case examples of failure due to not having a dedicated KM manager? 

Thanks,
Minu

Minu Mittal

Global Knowledge Services

 

A.T. Kearney, Inc.

227 West Monroe Street

Chicago, Illinois 60606

United States

+1 312 223 6096 Direct

+1 312 375 3665 Mobile

M.S. from Columbia University New York

Visit my Minu Mittal

 



Murray Jennex
 

I agree that we join the people and technology through KM success factors.  I've attached my paper on a KM Success model that is based on the DeLone and McLean IS Success factors.  Additionally I've attached my paper that looks at a variety of KM Success models and summarizes them into a list of success factors.
 
As editor in chief of the International Journal of Knowledge Management I see articles from both sides but to be honest I don't think it is two camps of KM, I believe everyone has a focus, either technology or people/process but that focus does not prevent them from utilizing the various tools of KM.  I believe this has been the case since the early 2000s when companies like Microsoft (not to pick on them) nearly killed KM by announcing they had off the self solutions to KM.  Of course at that time the KM community learned that you needed both technology and people/process.  That said (I'm trying to keep it brief as I have written on this dichotomy before based on national/cultural outlooks: UK, Australia and Scandinavia tend to be people/process focused while the US, Asia, and Germany tend to be technology focused) the critical success factors I've identified are a mix of technology and people/process and are:
 
 

          A Knowledge Strategy that identifies users, sources, processes, storage strategy, knowledge, and links to knowledge for the KMS;

          Motivation and Commitment of Users including incentives and training;

          Integrated Technical Infrastructure including networks, databases/repositories, computers, software, KMS experts;

          An Organizational Culture and Structure that supports learning and the sharing and use of knowledge;

          A common enterprise wide Knowledge Structure that is clearly articulated and easily understood;

          Senior Management Support including allocation of resources, leadership, and providing training;

          Learning Organization;

          There is a Clear Goal and Purpose for the KMS;

          Measures are established to assess the impacts of the KMS and the use of knowledge as well as verifying that the right knowledge is being captured;

          The Search, Retrieval, and Visualization Functions of the KMS support easy knowledge use;

          Work Processes are designed that incorporate knowledge capture and use;

          Security/Protection of knowledge.

 

Always willing to share what I know if you are interested...murray
 
Murray E. Jennex, Ph.D., P.E., CISSP, CSSLP, PMP
Professor of MIS, College of Business Administration
San Diego State University
Editor in Chief International Journal of Knowledge Management
Co-editor in Chief International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management
 
 

In a message dated 12/3/2014 10:21:50 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, sikmleaders@... writes:


Hi Albert!

 

My cents...I believe that both are among the success factors for KM activities.  Then, those approaches are not incompatible they are complementary. 

My best regards!

 

 

 

 

 

De: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2014 11:26
Para: sikmleaders@...
Assunto: [sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy

 

 

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these seemingly incompatible approaches? 


Stephen Bounds
 

Thanks Murray, an interesting read.

I do note that your success factors are premised on a "Knowledge Management System" -- that is, it assumes implementation of a technology specifically for the purposes of KM.

Perhaps I'm misreading your argument, but I don't agree that knowledge management (technology) systems are required for KM, nor that Organizational Memory requires technology.

There are a whole range of KM interventions that don't require additional technology to be successful.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@knowquestion.com.au
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 4/12/2014 11:11 AM, murphjen@aol.com [sikmleaders] wrote:
I agree that we join the people and technology through KM success
factors. I've attached my paper on a KM Success model that is based on
the DeLone and McLean IS Success factors. Additionally I've attached my
paper that looks at a variety of KM Success models and summarizes them
into a list of success factors.
As editor in chief of the International Journal of Knowledge Management
I see articles from both sides but to be honest I don't think it is two
camps of KM, I believe everyone has a focus, either technology or
people/process but that focus does not prevent them from utilizing the
various tools of KM. I believe this has been the case since the early
2000s when companies like Microsoft (not to pick on them) nearly killed
KM by announcing they had off the self solutions to KM. Of course at
that time the KM community learned that you needed both technology and
people/process. That said (I'm trying to keep it brief as I have
written on this dichotomy before based on national/cultural outlooks:
UK, Australia and Scandinavia tend to be people/process focused while
the US, Asia, and Germany tend to be technology focused) the critical
success factors I've identified are a mix of technology and
people/process and are:

•A Knowledge Strategy that identifies users, sources, processes, storage
strategy, knowledge, and links to knowledge for the KMS;

•Motivation and Commitment of Users including incentives and training;

•Integrated Technical Infrastructure including networks,
databases/repositories, computers, software, KMS experts;

•An Organizational Culture and Structure that supports learning and the
sharing and use of knowledge;

•A common enterprise wide Knowledge Structure that is clearly
articulated and easily understood;

•Senior Management Support including allocation of resources,
leadership, and providing training;

•Learning Organization;

•There is a Clear Goal and Purpose for the KMS;

•Measures are established to assess the impacts of the KMS and the use
of knowledge as well as verifying that the right knowledge is being
captured;

•The Search, Retrieval, and Visualization Functions of the KMS support
easy knowledge use;

•Work Processes are designed that incorporate knowledge capture and use;

•Security/Protection of knowledge.

Always willing to share what I know if you are interested...murray
Murray E. Jennex, Ph.D., P.E., CISSP, CSSLP, PMP
Professor of MIS, College of Business Administration
San Diego State University
Editor in Chief International Journal of Knowledge Management
Co-editor in Chief International Journal of Information Systems for
Crisis Response and Management
In a message dated 12/3/2014 10:21:50 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com writes:



Hi Albert!

My cents...I believe that both are among the success factors for KM
activities. Then, those approaches are not incompatible they are
complementary.

My best regards!

ASSINATURA SITE

*De:*sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com]
*Enviada em:* quarta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2014 11:26
*Para:* sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
*Assunto:* [sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy

There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it
has been a discipline. One school of thought believes that KM is
mostly about technology and systems. The other school focuses on KM
from a perspective of relations and interactions among people. I
believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these
seemingly incompatible approaches?


Murray Jennex
 

Good question and one I'd like to answer, I am a follower of Churchman and in his system's philosophy the system includes users as well as technology.  When I say KM system I really mean any system being used to facilitate KM.  I have an article where we created a successful KM system in a rural village in Thailand that was almost entirely based on paper and culture, although there was a technology aid of a phone and a laptop that had one hour of satellite Internet access a week.  Also, I do agree that you don't have to have technology but I have found that technology, even if only used as a communication medium, enhances KM.  At any rate, the list of KM CSFs only has a few technology components and of course that technology can be whatever technology you have....murray
 

In a message dated 12/3/2014 9:56:58 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, sikmleaders@... writes:
Thanks Murray, an interesting read.

I do note that your success factors are premised on a "Knowledge
Management System" -- that is, it assumes implementation of a technology
specifically for the purposes of KM.

Perhaps I'm misreading your argument, but I don't agree that knowledge
management (technology) systems are required for KM, nor that
Organizational Memory requires technology.

There are a whole range of KM interventions that don't require
additional technology to be successful.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 4/12/2014 11:11 AM, murphjen@... [sikmleaders] wrote:
> I agree that we join the people and technology through KM success
> factors.  I've attached my paper on a KM Success model that is based on
> the DeLone and McLean IS Success factors.  Additionally I've attached my
> paper that looks at a variety of KM Success models and summarizes them
> into a list of success factors.
> As editor in chief of the International Journal of Knowledge Management
> I see articles from both sides but to be honest I don't think it is two
> camps of KM, I believe everyone has a focus, either technology or
> people/process but that focus does not prevent them from utilizing the
> various tools of KM.  I believe this has been the case since the early
> 2000s when companies like Microsoft (not to pick on them) nearly killed
> KM by announcing they had off the self solutions to KM.  Of course at
> that time the KM community learned that you needed both technology and
> people/process.  That said (I'm trying to keep it brief as I have
> written on this dichotomy before based on national/cultural outlooks:
> UK, Australia and Scandinavia tend to be people/process focused while
> the US, Asia, and Germany tend to be technology focused) the critical
> success factors I've identified are a mix of technology and
> people/process and are:
>
> •A Knowledge Strategy that identifies users, sources, processes, storage
> strategy, knowledge, and links to knowledge for the KMS;
>
> •Motivation and Commitment of Users including incentives and training;
>
> •Integrated Technical Infrastructure including networks,
> databases/repositories, computers, software, KMS experts;
>
> •An Organizational Culture and Structure that supports learning and the
> sharing and use of knowledge;
>
> •A common enterprise wide Knowledge Structure that is clearly
> articulated and easily understood;
>
> •Senior Management Support including allocation of resources,
> leadership, and providing training;
>
> •Learning Organization;
>
> •There is a Clear Goal and Purpose for the KMS;
>
> •Measures are established to assess the impacts of the KMS and the use
> of knowledge as well as verifying that the right knowledge is being
> captured;
>
> •The Search, Retrieval, and Visualization Functions of the KMS support
> easy knowledge use;
>
> •Work Processes are designed that incorporate knowledge capture and use;
>
> •Security/Protection of knowledge.
>
> Always willing to share what I know if you are interested...murray
> Murray E. Jennex, Ph.D., P.E., CISSP, CSSLP, PMP
> Professor of MIS, College of Business Administration
> San Diego State University
> Editor in Chief International Journal of Knowledge Management
> Co-editor in Chief International Journal of Information Systems for
> Crisis Response and Management
> In a message dated 12/3/2014 10:21:50 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
> sikmleaders@... writes:
>
>
>
>     Hi Albert!
>
>     My cents...I believe that both are among the success factors for KM
>     activities.  Then, those approaches are not incompatible they are
>     complementary.
>
>     My best regards!
>
>     ASSINATURA SITE
>
>     *De:*sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
>     *Enviada em:* quarta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2014 11:26
>     *Para:* sikmleaders@...
>     *Assunto:* [sikmleaders] Knowledge Management Dichotomy
>
>     There has been a dichotomy in knowledge management for as long as it
>     has been a discipline.  One school of thought believes that KM is
>     mostly about technology and systems.  The other school focuses on KM
>     from a perspective of relations and interactions among people.  I
>     believe that both are essential, but how do we integrated these
>     seemingly incompatible approaches?
>
>


------------------------------------
Posted by: Stephen Bounds
------------------------------------


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Paul McDowall
 

Hi Al, and thanks for starting a stimulating discussion, my friend.  I find that there are in fact multiple cases of sometimes competing viewpoints (dichotomies?) at play.  Certainly tech vs people is one.  Others include learning vs repository, process vs behaviour, empowerment/innovation vs strategy, staff departure vs engagement, policy vs program, and several others.  These have played out at different times in different organizations.  It strikes me that we could think of this situation much like the story of the five blind men describing the elephant.  The danger is to choose one blind man's description of KM vs understanding the mosaic that is, IMHO, KM at its core.  Of course, we live in a 'hammer' world, i.e. when one has a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and this reflects who we are as humans, but too often we still see one dimensional approaches that may have some success, more often resulting in very little to no significant long-term success-growth.  I came to KM, by name, in 1994 and this has been going on since the earliest days of KM.  

So what are we to do with all of this?  How do we move from this misguided if not somewhat chaotic cacaphony of approaches toward a more established mosaic of consistently useful practice?  I'll state clearly that I'm not in favour of rigid standardization as I believe it can too easily lead to being interpreted as a 'de jure' approach. (Perhaps this is another competing viewpoint: standardization vs free range thinking)   In any event, it seems to me that as a body of practitioners, we lack some of the foundational elements of other professional practices.  As such we are too often carried along by waves of new approaches or technologies, e.g. social media, and not often enough challenged to take different/competing viewpoints into account as we practice our craft.

Returning to your fundamental question, Al ("how do we integrate these seemingly incompatible approaches?") it seems to me that a focus more on our practice as a profession may be a good way to address it. 
Best
Paul


Albert Simard
 

Paul - Thanks for your comprehensive, well-thought-out reply, rich with metaphors.  Since you're at the top of the comment list at the moment, you get the benefit of my "full disclosure."


I started this discussion to see if I could generate some interest for my SIKM presentation on Dec. 16.  Boy, did I ever succeed beyond my wildest expectations.


This effort began with the comprehensive knowledge services framework that I recently published.  The question then became OK, so how does one build the "complete elephant?"  And how does one design a knowledge services architecture it in a way that both communities can relate to? 


I took a 3-day introductory course on enterprise architecture from DND and participated in an on-line discussion group for a while only to find exactly the same dichotomy between the EA community and business managers.  Neither understands the other. 


More to follow as I respond to other comments.


Albert Simard
 

Arthur -


I also believe that it is possible, have attempted to do so, and will be sharing that attempt with SIKM.  Regrettably, although I can see a complete list of comments, I can only see one comment at a time, so I'll have to respond individually.


Albert Simard
 

Garry -


I agree that the world of science has a number of useful metaphors for KM.  Yet even the scientific community has a similar dichotomy between scientists who conduct science (experimentation, publication, autonomy) and managers who manage science (budgets, reports, authority).  It is not uncommon that the two sides don't understand or relate to each other very well.   It is also not uncommon that good scientists don't necessarily make good managers.  I've seen it from both sides.


Albert Simard
 

Beratriz -


The problem is to find a language that both sides can understand and relate to as they view the situation through very different cultural and experiential lenses. 


Albert Simard
 

Stephen -


I think I may have been sending the whole list with each reply.  I tried going out and re-entering the discussion.


I completely agree that each side is necessary but insufficient in and of itself.  I see this as a dichotomy because the vast majority of the presentations and papers that I've seen focus on just one approach or the other.  Structured types portray people as the "box" in their diagram that provides input to the system.  Unstructured types emphasize attitudinal and behavioral concepts such as trust and relationships.  These are very different views (to use an enterprise architecture term).   


Albert Simard
 

Stuart -


I like your racing analogy!  As Tom Peters said in chapter 6 of his first book: "Perception is all there is."  So although there shouldn't be a dichotomy, it predominates and must be overcome if KM is going to succeed.



Albert Simard
 

Chuck -


I agree that KM is technology agnostic.  Some is necessary, but which one isn't all that important.


Nice analogy, but I'd tweak it a bit -


-  IT is about the ones and zeros

-  IM is about organizing those ones and zeros so people can find them

-  1st generation KM is about moving them into people's brains

-  2nd generation is about moving them between people's brains

-  3rd generation KM is about moving them among people's brains


However, in dealing with executives, your two-part metaphor might be understood better!