Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Comment encapsulates my message

I received the comment below from Frans Schulting, executive director of the GWRC. He hits the nail on right on the head and in one paragraph encapsulates the message of all my posts (I guess I don't need to add anything more to this blog).

"One comment as response to several items you mentioned: Getting KM off the ground is about cultural changes, to make clear that knowledge isn't power any more (I don't share my knowledge, it is my competitive advantage) but collecting and sharing (give and take) is the real added value of a professional in this area. But also KM is just about communication and common sense and sharing goals/ambitions and technical tools etc are supporting issues."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Smorgasbord of ideas

This past weekend it was snowing again as I'm loading my canoes. My neighbor gives me one of those, your nuts looks as I head off to the Canoe Smorgasbord luckily indoors at a pool. We put together a true smorgasbord of canoeing giving folks a taste different styles and approaches to canoeing. In putting together the program, I included a large diversity of instructors and different styles of paddling which ranged from the family on the lake to whitewater slalom racing. So what does this have to do with KM?

The answer is expanding your horizons and thought processes through diversity. We brought together people from different schools of thought who usually don't exchange ideas (i.e. the cross functional team). While they all paddle canoes, their techniques and styles are so different. While there are a lot of commonalities, the valuable part is the differences and being able to use these differences to solve challenges or broadening your understanding.

In a work situation, approaches have included benchmarking with other industries and cross-functional teams. For me in knowledge management, I've been blending ideas from KM science, learning, innovation science, technology, business management, education, facilitation, canoeing, religion, teaching my 6 year old ... (you get the idea). I've been reading articles on KM, content management, change management and most recently business process management. I routinely scan sources like Information Today, Harvard Business Review, water industry publications, and going to a range of conferences.

The point here is that learning from only one discipline is not enough. For example, I would be limited in my learning if I only study the literature on KM to implement KM. Another limiting idea would be that there is only one way to address a problem. Solutions are often related to individual styles and different styles may work better in different situations.

Bottom-line - to excel, you need to expand your horizons and gather knowledge from diverse sources. You can also benefit from blending solutions from different disciplines.