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July 22, 2009


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Mike Gotta

I cringe a little when we paint an entire field, and all of its practitioners, with a broad brush. For instance, the data-information-knowledge-wisdom is just one viewpoint on KM and there are many in the field that feel that this model in particular is highly flawed. Ditto for the name "knowledge management" - many feel that the "management" term is not appropriate.

The field of KM is highly fragmented, with few broadly accepted definitions - even the terms KM and "knowledge" are often debated on the Actkm mailing list. This fragmentation and lack of accepted definitions makes it easy for people to create straw man arguments and apply other rhetorical techniques to point out the failings (and there are many) of KM initiatives.

It's fair to criticize the shortcomings of KM projects and KM implementations (again, many) that have failed and also very accurate to point out that KM is not a technology issue per se. But it's important to balance that criticism with some mention that the field is not homogeneous and that practitioners are still learning and evolving methods/practices.

Does Enterprise 2.0 = KM ... no, I don't come down on that side.

Does Enterprise 2.0 enable KM methods and practices to be better applied ... yes, definately.

bill  Ives

Mike _ Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with everything you said and have made similar comments in the past. Paula and I have had some discussions on this. Some of our disagreements turn out to be semantic and we have agreed more than disagreed. However, I started practicing KM in 92 and I have seen many KM successes over the past 15 plus years when KM was aligned with business processes. While it is not a perfect term, it has survived longer than most approaches and is still going. I do agree with her concluding statement which I interpreted in a manner that this is consistent with your last comment. I first become excited about the possibilities of what we now call enterprise 2.0 in 2004 when I saw how it could help realize the vision of KM.

Atul Rai

Maybe since we dont have an accepted definition of knowledge, the rest of the disagreements could follow from there? But, given the impact web 2.0 technologies are having, and the direction of e2.0, knowledge must be looked at in a way much larger than before, and this might lead to the management part being a misnomer, at least in the classical sense? Unless we can look at it in terms of management when it comes to the e2.0 paradigm?

Eric Kotonya

When data or information is aggregated and collective intelligence extracted or augmented reality, do we always move into the realms of knowledge and wisdom?

The application of knowledge depends of the circumstance -
1 - what is the richness or maturity or completeness of the source data? thinner or incomplete data cannot be applied to create knowledge

2 - what is the critical level of accuracy or consistency desired so as the pass the results generated as knowledge? mission-critical knowledge and wisdom can be build only from equally mission critical source data

3 - what happens when future research findings prove the base assumptions of a universally accepted "wisdom" incorrect? does that invalidate all knowledge based on the same hypothesis?

bill  Ives

Eric. Thanks. I think that is the end knowledge is practical. If it served a purpose for good (not evil) but later there is something better then it does not invalidate what went before it just changes things going forward. We can them appreciate what people did with incomplete knowledge. Bill

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