Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Share Fair opening plenary and keynote

Lots of food for thought in Geoff Parcell's keynote. I'm not a big fan of trying to define knowledge management but I do agree that is it somewhat of an oxymoron. You cannot really manage knowledge but rather, as Geoff quoted from Arian Ward, "managing knowledge is about keeping track of people who know the recipe".

Some points really apply to the experiences of one of the Fair's organizers, who have focused on knowledge capture in the past. For example, when he mentions his BP experience, he says there were no shortage of databases but no one was making use of them. You can't always capture knowledge, but if you do try to capture it, it is only of use if you have networks of people and knowledge sharing to move it around. Just wondering out loud if at times knowledge isn't captured just for the sake of it, for no apparent reason or actual application...

Another relevant point relating to culture change: to change an organization's culture, you need to reinforce the wheel of learning and do it systematically. He mentioned that at BP, over the course of 5 years, culture change did occur. Good leadership behaviours are needed as well, in order to affect change.

Geoff says an event like this Share Fair is really an opportunity to adjust your model of the world, to make sense of things and to come up with a common way of sensing. Here's hoping that in the next few days we can all come away with, if not a common way of sensing, at least increased sense making.

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