Today I take on the Google Challenge for Knowledge Management which aims at answering the most popular questions surrounding the field (based on google searches)

knowledge management

The second question I will answer is:

Is knowledge management dead?

It´s not the first time I see this particular question. Authors like Daniel O´Leary, James Robinson and  Nick Milton  have already disscused the topic along with my many other Knowledge Management practitioners that have led the discussion in Linkedin groups and forums.

I would like to complement what has been said with a couple of thoughts regarding this particular question.

For any discipline to be dead we would have to confirm that no organization prescribes it as a way forward. That’s certainly not the case for Knowledge Management (KM).

I strongly believe that KM is not dead, yet the question comes up at a time of constant change and transformation. In this sense, it’s important to ask ourselves if current KM methods are essential for growth and recovery.  Is KM scratching the organizational surface or is it really a valuable strategic source? and furthermore, is it worth financing KM at times of COVID-19?

-The KM process (identify-collect-organize-share-use) has been depicted as a stream of potential solutions for organizations that look to use their knowledge as a competitive advantage. Today we need more of that, not less. 

-The problem however is that the stream itself might not fit within the current prescription needed to overcome many of the problems organizations are facing. Essentially because we don’t always need to deploy every KM tool or method available, rather we need to be more selective and understand the problem that needs to be solved. 

-Growth in KM is not tied specifically to the amount of workers that become part of a community of practice or participate in discussions forums. Instead, it is strictly tied to organizational performance in terms of economic, productivity and quality metrics. This means that no amount of knowledge sharing can be considered productive unless it brings direct and measurable results. it might sound harsh but it is true, finally KM is an investment.

-Furthermore we need to think KM in terms of agility and customization; the first responds to reducing the “results curve” for KM; more than just short or quick wins it’s better to respond immediately to specific problems. The second, refers to offering KM in a way that it can blend quicker with other existing strategies such digital transformation, artificial intelligence and so on. 

-Instead of focusing on the entire organization, KM needs to deal specifically with the management of critical or strategic knowledge. This alignment requires more detailed and focalized efforts which in turn, guarantee better results.

So in order to sum up, KM is not dead at all…but it needs to evolve more and as Knowledge managers we need to constantly defy ourselves in order to bring new and more innovative practices to the field. 

Are you up for that challenge?

See my answer to the first question: Is knowledge management important?

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