There’s a paradox at the heart of knowledge management, isn’t there? On one hand, it’s the old dictum that “information wants to be free” and the new ditty that “knowledge shared is knowledge doubles.” But on the other, the whole premise of KM and the whole knowledge economy thingy is that organizational learning and knowledge are the most valuable resources that any company (or nation or individual) can posses for a competitive edge.
Which brings me to my extremely mixed feelings about the release of Ark Group’s Next Generation Knowledge Management, Volume 2. It’s an amazing collection of collective and collaborative wisdom, based on the Association of Knowledge Work’s Star Series online roundtables featuring Bob Buckman, David Gurteen, Patti Anklam, Carl Frappaolo, Megan Santosus, Verna Allee, Nancy Dixon, Rob Lebow, Nick Milton and others.
Dave Snowden and I anchored the first confab-turned-chapter. The June 2004 online event, “Comparing and Contrasting Corporate and Personal KM” was ostensibly a “debate” between the individual perspective of bottom-up personal knowledge management and the complex socially-oriented collectivist approach. There was little debate really, but a wonderful symphony on the symbiotic relationship between the organism and the organization. (You can get a flavor of the discussion from my closing remarks.)
Like its preceding volume, Next Generation KM II is edited by Jerry Ash, who has made a huge contribution to the KM community by maintaining what is one of the few successful membership organizations in the field. The AOK forum on Yahoo! is a lively and productive learning experience thanks largely to Jerry’s skills as a moderator who keeps the discussion civil but never nannies the creative abrasion.
Here’s the thing: Ark Group is selling the book version for US$645. It is indeed a value added product in some ways, compared to the original forum posts. It has been lightly edited and there is a useful appendix with profiles of the most frequent participants. But besides convenience, there is little here that you can’t get by reading the original posts. Before I make my next comments, let me specifically recommend that you pay the $50 membership fee and join AOK and join the conversation.
My discomfort comes from the assumption that knowledge productized is knowledge fairly shared. The PKM/CKM discussion went on for three solid weeks, during which time Dave and I were reading and posting daily. I wrote my own posts in a Word file which tallied 10,000 words before the session was over. Dozens of other members made the effort to contribute long and thoughtful posts themselves. All of us made a conscious choice to donate to the community our ideas and experience, even though virtually all of us sell our knowledge for a living.
I’d really like to know what people think: Is Ark taking advantage of those Star Series participants who gave freely of their time and knowledge? Or should I just stop complaining and send a copy to my mother?
Next Generation Knowledge Management, Vol 2
Edited by Jerry Ash
Ark Group 2007
From a reseller’s press release:
This 240 page report looks to answer the key questions surrounding the ownership of knowledge and knowledge management within the organisation.
The 2nd volume in this indispensable new series of reports continues to separates KM myth (and hype) from the reality, detailing the thoughts of these leading KM gurus, and presenting their theories in a highly practical context.
With positive and realistic perspectives, this unique report illustrates the theories and practices that enterprises must understand if they are to be successful in acquiring and exploiting knowledge management. Areas covered include:
- Comparing, contrasting, connecting corporate and personal KM;
- The road from command and control to knowledge sharing;
- Interpersonal knowledge management (IPKM);
- Social network analysis and social software;
- Seven steps to personal knowledge management;
- How do we know knowledge works;
- Relationship of CRM and other disciplines to KM;
- Knowledge networks and value creation;
- The creation and reuse of project knowledge;
- Achieving accountability through shared values;
- New roles for top and middle managers;
- Increasing performance through knowledge;
- Defining and organising communities of practice.
Next Generation Knowledge Management, volume two draws together feedback from thousands of interviews and meetings with those people currently facing, and engaging with, the challenge of KM. Presenting their combined experience in a highly practical reference source this report is essential reading for you and your organisation.
The first volume of this vital new series for organisations and professionals involved in knowledge management quickly sold out and we expect demand for volume two to reach similar levels.