KM Cluster & Next Practices

In mid-September, I took part in an all-day symposium of the KM Cluster on Next Practices. This was a companion to the eLearning Forum meeting a week earlier.

When my turn to introduce myself came, I decided to do something radical, to tell the truth. Instead of the usual self-serving claptrap, I said I was there to reinforce the beliefs and suspicions I had coming in, that maybe Iíd hear something that would change my orientation, but I rather doubted it.

Fast forward to 4:30 pm when I join Ross Dawson, Wayne Hodgins, and Tom Housel for a concluding panel discussion. Wayne said that he lived in the future, where objects had become so granular that they poured into the contours of need like a liquid. I said it was ironic to have my friend Wayne living in the future at the same time that Iím trying so hard to live in the now.

For me, the day confirmed that thereís no reason to treat KM and learning as separate disciplines. They are points on a continuum of things that make organizations effective. Was the simulation weíd gone through earlier in the day knowledge or learning? It simply doesnít matter.

KM and learning havenít converged because they have different DNA. Training is almost blue-collar; KM is nearly aristocratic. Learning is borne of training; itís a staff function. Trainers rarely graduate to management (except of training). KM comes from strategy consultants, Harvard Business Review, and CEO conversations on the golf course. KM managers are on the fast track. Blue-bloods and blue-collars have a tough time understanding one another.

John Maloney, leader of KM Cluster, asked what participants should keep in mind when selling these ideas back at the office. My advice:

    Keep it simple. Eilif Trondsen described how Altus was making tens of thousands of presentations available in seconds within Cisco. No ontologies, no specialized vocabularies, no big buzzwords. ďJDI.Ē Just do it.

    Respect the individual. Knowledge is co-created, so keep the individual an equal partner, not a "recipient."

    Support the positive learning movement. The job of KM and learning is to augment how people function, not to fill in the gaps for a bunch of dummies.

    Find a better yardstick. Intangibles have become more important than tangibles, yet our ancient accounting principles value such things as knowledge, skills, and emotional intelligence at zero. Itís obvious whatís wrong with this picture.

Posted by Jay Cross at September 27, 2003 06:16 PM | TrackBack

Here's another flippant phrase - training deals with symptoms, KM deals with cause.

I'm watching learning fail in projects all around me, because there's simply no investment/interest in helping staff to actually think - it's a "shut up and fix our problems with courseware" attitude. I think it's incumbent on us (as e-learning developers) to go and fix the learning culture - what the client regards as a seperated 'KM space' (whatever). It's a huge, difficult, messy task - far easier (and faster bucks?) to cover your eyes and build content instead, which is what I see most people doing. But it's a shitty short-term attitude and it's coming unstuck rather quickly.

I agree, Jay, about your different DNA observation - but only inasmuch as that's been artificially created by consultants - and it always seems to be technology led - again because it's easier to spend a tonne of cash on somethign than take a hard look into your own organisation

Posted by: Guy Dickinson at September 28, 2003 01:29 PM

cool stuff

Posted by: paris hilton hotel at June 28, 2004 11:53 PM

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