Monday, July 22, 2002

The Downside of KM?

Some cold water on the blogs as KM solution:

Given a choice people tend not to communicate. Some don’t want to share, some feel threatened or diminished by sharing, some fail to understand that most things lose meaning unless they have adequate context, some enjoy a feeling of superiority by talking about their work in a way that others will have difficulty understanding, some get a kick out of doing things but not out of explaining things, some simply lack communication skills. Remember, most offices are political environments. That doesn’t help.

The author, a former .com employee in charge of KM, rightly identifies a number of cultural challenges to getting people to share information. But these aren’t really downsides, per se – more like hurdles. In any event, I like the recognition that there’s more to KM than just software – that unless someone is committed, responsible and incented to make the thing work, it will be hard to succeed. (Not unlike the post I made a few weeks ago about Tom Jones’ cross-selling efforts at Citigroup…)

The question is: does a simple software platform (weblogs) reduce the barrier to entry? It’s not the answer, by a long shot – but if the software can make the sharing easier, then the efforts expended by the KM “owner” are far more likely to be rewarded.

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