The place to explore and learn KM

Why Knowledge Management? Why Now?

Organizational success depends less on products and more on the appropriate use and deployment of distinctive capabilities. The true core competence of any firm is the ability to create new knowledge, learn continuously, identify and solve changing problems. Interest in knowledge is being driven by:

  • Greater and faster connectivity and information flow due to the internet - ideas at the speed of light!
  • Increasing knowledge content 'intelligence?' in products and services
  • Decreasing life-cycles and time to market for industrial products
  • Hyper competition and innovation pressures on a global scale
  • Strong business focus on innovation driven growth after cyles of down-sizing and lean production.
  • Critical need to be flexible, nimble and 'in-tune' with your market.

What is KM?

There is no easy and accepted answer here. The problems around defining KM are also part of its strength and allure. KM is emergent, it takes on different forms, shapes and strategies in different firms and may not even look the same across groups within the same firm. It pays to take time and to have conversations to surface assumptions & beliefs, build alignment and share understandings around what knowledge means to your firm. There are a number of positions you can take to mix and match these for yourself. Most have ties to how you think about knowledge and what you believe knowledge really is! Consider your choices with care:

  • Approach: Personalization vs. codification
  • View: knowledge as an object vs. knowledge as flow or dynamic
  • Emphasis: tacit vs. explicit
  • Strategy: internal vs. all stakeholders
  • Nature: existing vs. emergent / constructed
  • Focus: reuse vs. creation / innovation
  • Culture: eastern vs.western
  • Attenion: external (business intelligence) vs. internal (learning)

Why Knowledge Management Systems Fail?


* Context machines:

KM introduction

* Useful web site:
KM event calendar from Gurteen:
Darwin's KM guide:
Univ TX KM readings:
KM primer:
Data Digest's KM overview, Jan 2000:
KM and learning:
Matt Arnold's paper:
    • CIO June 2000:
KM intro:
Brint's compilation of KM definitions:
KM Overview Mahadik, 1999:
**Japanese vs. Western KM:

Hi Denham!
What do you think of this article about the future of KM?
The reason for (the failure of KM) was the unrealistic expectation that human organizational behaviour could be changed, in all kinds of positive ways, by persuading people of the wisdom of capturing, sharing and archiving knowledge. Unfortunately, people only change their behaviour when there is an overwhelmingly compelling argument to do so (not the ‘leap of faith’ on which much of KM was predicated), or where there is simply no alternative. Before KM, the way in which people shared knowledge was person-to-person, just-in-time, and in the context of solving a specific business problem. A decade later, that is still the way most people share knowledge, even in the ‘Most Admired Knowledge Organizations’.