"While the author makes several valid points about the need for Knowledge Management and I concur with his observations of KM leadership in the Tulsa library system, he has taken a very narrow view of Knowledge Management that is more appropriate for document management or records retention. When KM was first introduced in the early 2000 timeframe, many people attempted to explore it as simple knowledge capture and storage. As a result, it was viewed as a subset of library scienced and library functions.
That perspective resulted in a great deal of money spent on technology and repositories to capture and manage documents and records of different types. This is an important contribution and has led to many positive results. However, this approach did little to capture actual knowledge and then make the knowledge useful it in a meaningful way.
KM has now matured into formal processes and practices that cover a much wider, and more significant, range. If an organization hopes to see the value of Knowledge Management, they must implement formal strategies for Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Capture, Knowledge Organization, Knowledge Retention, Knowledge Use and Knowledge Transfer.
KM further relies on formal practices within an organization that encourages 1) the creation of communities of practice that support the above mentioned processes, 2) an organizational culture that encourages organizational learning through individual learning, 3) the recognition and constant refinement of best practices and 4) strategies that encourage knowledge sharing.
While the early vision for KM supported some of these elements, it has also lead us to overwhelming collections of content that is actually clutter. As Dr. Suliman Hawamdeh, a KM professor at OU and the chair of the International Conference on Knowledge Management, is known to observe, "Organizations have transformed their intranets, wikis and databases into dumping grounds for unreliable, untrustworth and unsearchable information."
Today's Knowledge Management must first start with an inventory of what actually constitutes valuable organizational knowledge and then create a knowledge asset process that is similar to how most organizations manage physical assets. They must then adoopt an organizational strategy on how to implement the above mentioned knowledge processes and practices in a coordinated and integrated manner. Then, and ONLY then, will they see their knowledge become a true asset that provides ongoing value and reduces waste. Then, and ONLY then will organizations realize the benefit of their repository and technology investments.
Anyone wishing to learn more about this larger view of Knowledge Management should attend the annual Knowledge and Project Management Symposium that will be hosted this year on August 4th and 5th by the University of Tulsa. This conference explores emerging trends in KM and is jointly supported by the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa University along with several professional societies. Speakers span many indrusties but are connected through this common understanding of KM. Information on this conference is available at www.kipanet.org.
Chuck Tryon is a business consultant who, since the late 1980s, has helped major organizations transition to the realities of the Knowledge Age. He has collaborated with Dr. Hawamdeh on numerous papers and research projects. He is also the co-chair of the annual Knowledge and Project Management Symposium held in Tulsa each year. Some of the research results and papers are available without cost at www.TryonAssoc.com."