Friday, October 14, 2022

Perennial Questions in Knowledge Management

Anyone who has worked in or around Knowledge Management for a while has encountered the perennial questions.  Perennial questions are like perennial plants, they keep coming back.   These perennial questions around KM keep coming back because they are the wrong questions or they are questions for which there are no clear answers and the best answer is "it depends".

Here are two of these questions?

Is Knowledge Management dead, dying, being revived?  None of the above.  I would rather ask "What's happening in KM?"  It's constantly evolving to adapt to changes in the environment and in particular, to adapt to technology changes. The fundamentals of Knowledge Management are not changing and need to be brought back to the surface regularly. To some extent, technology is evolving to respond to new challenges brought about by technology advances.  We now have access to so much data and information that we need new technologies to process the data and information to use them.

Where does Knowledge Management belong in the organization?  The typical answer to this question is "it depends", as long as it's not in IT.  Based on my own experience, this is a question that cannot yield a complete answer unless it is asked slightly differently.  It also depends on what the top level of KM is?  If the top KM position is a relatively low level position, it won't matter where it is in the organization, it is buried.  Another aspect to this topic is the KM office/team's ability to work collaboratively with other key departments across the organization.  This may depend on the processes for strategic planning and annual work planning.  Organizational boundaries can become an obstacle to the development of a coherent comprehensive organizational framework for KM.   Therefore, to succeed, the KM team needs to be positioned such that a) its focus is strongly aligned with organizational strategies; b) its highest level staff is able to influence strategic decision making; c) organizational processes allow the KM team to work/collaborate across organizational boundaries. 

A related recent blog post from Enterprise Knowledge:  Where does KM leadership and governance belong (9/9/2022). 

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