Saturday 16 June 2007

Thanks for the laughs, Paula

I think I've covered the relationship between Knowledge Management and Enterprise 2.0 already and also Next Generation KM, but Paula Thornton is trying to stir things up again...

"My last post about 2.0 being the antithesis of 'managing knowledge' struck a tender nerve or two based on the comments received. This raises an interesting perspective to barriers for 2.0 thinking: people have a tendency to view new things with old mindsets."

Thornton continues on to discuss why the issue of Enterprise 2.0 is a design thinking problem.

Going back to her original post, I find this sort of thing is always good for a laugh:

"Am I the only one who understands the basic logic here? What reasonable business goal would suggest a need to manage knowledge? The goal is not to manage knowledge but to facilitate action or enhance thinking. Even more fundamental to the deeper philosophy here is that knowledge is relevant…it can only reasonably be applied to specific conditions. Few knowledge management technologies embrace this reality and ensure that the relevant conditions are captured and likewise communicated."

I can tell exactly where this is going because in the end the argument really comes out as one about philosophy (really more like Epistemology) versus Management (the actKM forum has been arguing about this for years, so don't expect an answer soon). But while this is long standing debate, fundamentally I think the issue here is that Thornton has a limited concept of Knowledge Management that is stuck in the first generation, which is an old mindset (or maybe she just hasn't been around Knowledge Management long enough to get bored of talking philosophy).

BTW I'm not sure if 4 comments can be defined as touching a raw nerve - she should have said something nasty about Lotus Notes in her argument to see what touching a raw nerve is like ;-) Sorry, just trying to stir things up a little...


  1. I was looking for something else and randomly stumbled onto all of your great posts. I don't have the time I'd want to invest in this conversation now, but now I'm laughing because I'm seeing the same thing about you (which in itself is funny) regarding your comments of Enterprise 2.0 and no one understanding the meaning (ditto KM).

    My 'understanding' of KM is not 1.0. I'm talking about the 'reality' of KM that I've experienced. That it doesn't get any better than 1.0 is the problem, because those in charge are 'stuck' in their understanding. Well, I take that back -- there IS no understanding in technology. Technology just IS. Every time I've spoken at a technical conference and tried to talk about issues of understanding I've been thrown under the bus in the reviews. They want cookbook, not thinking. Technologists are 'doers'.

    All of these elements contribute to our disconnect. But yours is the healthiest disconnect among them all. It would be through you I believe we could uncover the key elements of contention.

  2. On your point, "They want cookbook, not thinking." we are very much in agreement :-)


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