Wednesday, October 07, 2009

KM & PKM - Missing Link

I'm a fan of PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) and I'm puzzled by the lack of interest within the community of Knowledge Management practitioners in integrating PKM in broader KM strategies. There's a feeling that PKM is too much about the individual and not enough about the team or the organization. That's plain wrong. PKM is about continuously improving one's performance by systematically and purposefully applying KM practices at the individual level in order to be a more effective team member and a more effective member of the broader organization.

It's about being a lifelong learner -- How do I keep learning new things, both by doing and by purposefully seeking out new knowledge? How do I know what I should be focusing on? How can I know what knowledge I'll need five years from today? Do I have a long-term learning plan or should I just pick up new knowledge here and there? This may get closer to existing career management activities. What's my individual learning Plan? Teams can have learning plans too. Organizations certainly have strategies and plans around core competencies and training.

It's about managing information flows -- How do I access and filter information that reaches me? Some of this may be about personal productivity but it's not just about personal productivity. It's also about ensuring that I have access to all the information I need. I seek out the information I need. I'm not just waiting for it to come to me. What's your communication plan? Are you a passive recipient of information or an active producer / author? How do you see your role as an individual within your team or project in terms of information flows? Do you ever find yoursef wondering what information to push forward to others in the team, not wanting to flood emails with less than germane information?

It's also about communication skills -- How do I communicate what I know? how do I share what I know? With whom do I share what I know? I have often felt that I knew much more than what I was able to convey to others. Is there something I could do to bridge that gap?

I'd venture that without PKM, there isn't any KM. If we agree that organization do some KM, have always done some kind of KM -- even if not systematically or effectively why can't we also agree that people have always done PKM, just not systematically or effectively. Without PKM, enlisting employees to be actively engaged in KM activities is like pulling teeths.

KM needs to happen at the individual level (PKM), at the team level, and at higher levels. The types of knowledge that are most relevant at each knowledge is going to be different and the types of processes needed at each level are going to be different. Most KM strategies focus on higher level needs of the organization, most of which are not immediately relevant to the individual or the team.

Start with PKM and you'll be much better able to handle the "what's-in-it-for-me?" questions when you try to talk about team / project KM and broader organizational KM. Connecting PKM to KM initiatives is the missing link in terms of motivation.

I'm wondering if the key to a successful PKM approach isn't to be embedded in existing Human Resources programs. I'd also work it through any ongoing social media intervention.

PKM Resources on Diigo.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Atle Iversen said...

I agree with you 100%:
"I'd venture that without PKM, there isn't any KM"

Start simple, start small, let people figure out "what's in it for me" and THEN consider larger KM initiatives !

I'll probably quote you on this:

"Without PKM, enlisting employees to be actively engaged in KM activities is like pulling teeths."
- Brilliant (but painful :-) )

Fred Jounters said...

Let me chime in:

- Getting PKM and OKM to co-operate/ co-evolve could be one of the main challenges in the upcoming years, the road is set but still quite rocky and we're not close to getting there if we over-rely on technology OR cognitive aspects alone. We need the classic "orchestration of elements" - cognitive, technological, social, political and economical, for PKM to blossom.

- Research is scarce, but it's starting to get there: Peter Senge has showed us the way and others are following. Talking research, there is the one or other odd paper (e.g. or ) that can serve as good starting points for PKM2OKM and OKM2PKM. And you've already mentioned Kirby Wright, he also speaks about it in one of his paper's conclusion, though briefly only, stating that bottom-up exploration "twds. the top" could be a fruitful approach, if I recall correctly.

It would be great, to get rid of the "We'll lose control of processes if we give employees back some power over knowledge/ information"-myth w/o giving in to fragmentation of artifacts & information, while helping the individual to grow: mentally, socially and in health. It's time for some ecology of mind and body...

It just might become a better world.
PKM leads the way. Not only in the workplace, that's why it's called 'personal' (-:

Thank You for the insightful web log.