Today I came across an article in The Globe and Mail (for my non-Canadian readers, the Globe and Mail is daily national newspaper in Canada) entitled ‘Mobilizing minds‘.
While the beginning of the article had the usual warnings about the importance of knowledge workers in the knowledge economy, and that catering to knowledge workers was often more important than other corporate strategies, there was a passage later in the article that struck me as insightful:
“Market mechanisms can also improve the flow of ideas. For the better part of two decades, companies have invested heavily in ‘knowledge management’ – but with limited results, because real value comes less from managing knowledge than from creating and exchanging it. A ‘knowledge marketplace’ is one device to promote the exchange of ideas.”
Knowledge management often does have an inordinate focus on the management of knowlege (I guess it wouldn’t be called knowledge management if it didn’t), rather than focusing on the knowledge creation and sharing aspects of work life.
What is implicit to this statement is that ‘management’ usually ends up being an information warehouse (and yes, I deliberately used the word information instead of knowledge). Opinions, reports and methods get written and then get digitally bundled and tossed into a warehouse (which is often called a ‘knowledge base’).