This year will be the 16th annual KM World in Washington DC, on October 17-19. I plan to be there. I attended the first three and will have been to last 6 or so, I lost count.
The term knowledge management has been around for much longer. There are various tales on how the term got started. Here is one. Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak, provide an interesting story about the birth of the term “knowledge management” in their new book, What’s the Big Idea? It seems they were having tea in the spring of 1992 at the Boston Athenaeum, near their Center for Business Innovation office. They frequently adjourned to the Athenaeum, an old Boston private library used by Emerson and Alcott, to discuss their projects. They were working on a research project to look at how organizations could use information as a strategic advantage. Not happy with the term “information,” they discussed the issue over tea.
“While munching a tasty lemon square, Tom argued, ‘We should really be focused on higher value forms of information.’ Finally, Larry looked up and asked. ‘Don’t we really mean knowledge?”
As they say, the rest is history. In the book, Tom and Larry point out that while in some ways the long term success of knowledge management is still to be determined, it has out lasted many other “big ideas” and there are signs that its take up is increasing. They state that knowledge management appears to be headed toward pervasive adoption by organizations. Knowledge management has certainly had it sups and downs in the market but my own experience with clients and talking with analysts supports their conclusion.