How do you know?
Do you believe that knowledge exists, on its own, waiting for us to discover it? Or do you believe that knowledge is created by people and exists only in our heads? Maybe you believe that knowledge is created socially, based on our experience of the world. And what about the knowledge of a profession? How does that work?
If you believe that knowledge exists on its own, then it’s easy to manage it – right? You just get people to write down what they know. Then we can all read it and become instantly knowledgeable. Try it for yourself. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen. Or your iPad. Whatever. Write down everything you know.
Why are you laughing?
You’re right, of course. It isn’t that simple. Welcome to the world of the Knowledge SIG...
Whatever your beliefs about knowledge, you probably think it’s important. And it is! There are some fairly obvious reasons for managing knowledge – to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated and to avoid reinventing the wheel, to name just two. A rather less obvious reason for caring about knowledge is that projects exist to combine the knowledge of individuals and organisations, and to create new knowledge. But how many projects really pay attention to knowledge? It’s more likely that your projects focus on goals and deliverables.
That’s why we’ve created the Knowledge SIG. Organisations that are good at managing knowledge have one thing in common – they recognise that it’s important and do something about it. The question, of course, is what?
There is, unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all recipe for managing knowledge. There are some basic principles and there are hundreds of tools and techniques. You’re probably using some of them already. Over the next few months the Knowledge SIG will be running events that cover the basic principles and explore some of the tools and techniques. We will cover knowledge management AND information management (and yes, they are different – but we’ll try not to get too hung up on definitions). We’ll delve into the world of collaboration and co-operation, and touch on social media and social networking. We also hope to get involved with the development of APM’s own knowledge strategy and contribute to discussions about managing the knowledge of the profession.
Beyond that, it’s up to you. In the words of Samuel Johnson:
“Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”
Unlike Dr Johnson, though, we will do our best to help you find an understanding. What do you want to know?
"With thanks to Victor Newman for the ‘write down everything you know’ idea".
Judy is a practitioner, consultant and reluctant academic specialising in knowledge management, collaborative working and learning. She chairs the Knowledge SIG.
Latest blog posts
See all posts