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April 12, 2012


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John Maloney

Hi - Worth noting that upwards of 70-80% of KM and knowledge sharing efforts are either extremely challenged or outright failures. The problem is arrogant KM people, vendors, consultants, etc., believe they can create entirely new methods and force them on an organization. That leads to failure. Rather, they must recognize THEY serve the culture, the knowledge flow paths, the social network structures that exist and are very powerful. I urge KM people and consultants to 'Primum non nocere' "First, do no harm.' Sadly, arrogance and technology get in the way of this key principle taught to medical students and other worldwide. For some reason, many KM people deliberately ignore this axiom.

Most all organizations do NOT have knowledge sharing problems. Knowledge sharing is always fine, thank you very much.

Once, at the Hong Kong municipal transportation authority, a large bureaucracy, they claimed a knowledge sharing problem. They brought in a phalanx of KM 'experts.' At the same time the intervention started, a popular receptionist had her first baby. Literally, with in a matter of about 15 minutes, the KM consultants discovered, the entire organization, of about 500 people, on many floors, in a downtown location, with very limited technology, knew the gender and weight of the new baby and that the mother was doing fine. So much for the 'knowledge sharing' baloney.

Sophisticated information flow paths, nodes and hubs existed in this organization and every organization ever known. Identify and master these and the knowledge problems are solved. Meanwhile, they recognized they two problems were leadership and network comprehension. Long story short, they corrected these and the problem was solved.

It is key to use techniques like appreciative inquiry, narrative and social network analysis to divine the flow paths, influencers, structures, etc., that compose an existing organization. Focus on amplifying and mastering these sociological and anthropological properties to achieve sharp improvements in the organizational signal–to-noise ratios. Forget about technology. It’s an expensive red herring.


Tribeca Plumber

I heave no other choice but to agree with you! I must admit that I never thought of experience sharing as a valuable part of field work - because it somehow always happened on it's own - especially when I was a student. Thank you for putting your own experiences out there for everyone to enjoy! I will take this wisdom with me to the office tomorrow :)

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