Project Management

The [KM] World According to CIRP?

George Ball

Knowledge management (KM) is clearly one of the hottest topics in business today. Most businesses and organizations of any size--from my current 100 person employer to my previous 65,000 person employer--are interested in unlocking the full value of their hard-earned knowledge assets, what many refer to collectively as an organization’s "intellectual capital." Many management gurus (Peter Drucker, Tom Peters and others) are even going so far as to say that for most businesses the value of their intellectual capital actually exceeds that of all other forms of capital. 

Unfortunately most KM initiatives to date, both large and small, have failed to realize the full value of their intellectual capital. They do a good job of finding, organizing and presenting key knowledge assets in a generic way to a large audience, but they fall far short of actually unlocking the value contained within those assets for the many smaller groups of "end-users" that are part of the larger audience. Why? Because the truly hard part of KM is figuring out what context you need to provide each of your potential audiences in order to enable them to take a particular piece of knowledge and put it to a new use.

Context, by the way, is defined by Webster’s as: 1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning; or 2:

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'Human existence must be a kind of error. It may be said of it: "It is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens."'

- Arthur Schopenhauer