Monday 5 November 2007

I think KM, therefore I am KM

Through my involvement in the New South Wales KM Forum, I've noticed a real turn around of interest in knowledge management this year. All our meetings have been well attended and along with the regulars, new faces continue to appear. There is a similar story over at the NSW KM Forum's sister group ACT-KM, who held what is said to have been their best annual conference to date (so much interest in fact, the large number of people downloading copies of conference presentations crashed the server!)

However, we are probably no closer to agreeing on a definition for knowledge management - but that argument, which usually descends into a debate about "knowledge" and occasionally "management" (yes, the irony that the Wikipedia entry for management currently says "This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject."), isn't going to solved anytime soon. My position has always been that knowledge management is two words.

Moving on from that quagmire, I suspect some of the renewed (or perhaps refreshed) interest is in part technology driven and we have social software to thank. But as I've also written before, we shouldn't confuse Enterprise 2.0 with knowledge management, and knowledge management isn't "fluffy" information management either (for more see Knowledge Management: How to separate the wheat from the chaff). In fact I think its fairer to say that most of the real activity in KM today is at the edges of technology or technology is at the edge - e.g. using narrative analysis tools that can reveal weak signals or using wikis to help facilitate an unconference.

But fundamentally I see knowledge management evolving into an attitude or a style of management, rather than discipline as such. KM is as much defined by the community of people in KM, as it is by the different tools, points of view and techniques we use. And by the way that's how I know I'm in KM, because my community of KM friends tell me so.

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