This Q Series had been a successful one; 16,267 hits came in since it started. We end this blog series with this summarizing post. To better appreciate an item that strikes you, I suggest reading the blog which explains that point. The blogs are accessible from this post through embedded links (which appear as colored text). While pressing “Ctrl”, you can click on the colored text to create a new tab to read the previous blog post referred to.
Virtues of KM and OL (organizational learning):
- In the global knowledge economy, value is being created more by intangible assets, which include knowledge assets, than by tangible assets. KM can help managers address value creation more effectively and comprehensively.
- A value added from KM is an integrative framework that cuts across HRD, IT, QM, etc. — management tools that look at “slices” of organizational reality.
- Examining the validity of our often unstated or unconscious assumptions and beliefs that affect our decisions and actions is a valuable process in OL. This is true whether applied at the individual, corporate or international level.
- Innovative OL tools developed by Senge and his colleagues are in the area of innovation itself: sensing the emergent, and actively participating in bringing the emergent future into present reality.
Gaps in KM and OL practice:
- The use of the common word “knowledge” predisposes to much confusion and misunderstanding because among KM practitioners “knowledge” has a specific meaning different from the common meanings of the word.
- KM focuses on cognitive factors, and tends to ignore affective, including motivational factors that also determine performance.
- KM does not address the more important and prior question of “for whom?” and “what for?” KM to support creation of market value could lead to different management decisions from KM to support creation of social value. KM for the development sector is complicated by the different interests and goals of the many actors involved.
- Some KM practitioners fail to align KM to organizational goals. They use supply-driven KM instead of demand-driven KM, or knowledge-push instead of knowledge-pull approaches. Good KM that starts with what internal and/or external customers want is not always practiced.
- Corporate KM can unwittingly support sub-optimization, or corporate value creation that entails social costs outside the corporation.
- Double-loop learning is well-known as a concept but its practice seems rare. Double-loop learning looking at internal root-causes of a problem is an even rarer practice. OL has tools to bring out people’s unconscious/semiconscious limiting assumptions, yet it seems the practice of those tools is also rare.
- The plethora of KM frameworks is confusing. Examples are the knowledge cycle and maturity models where explicit alignment with organizational objectives is missing. We need a KM framework generic enough that it can be applied at the organizational, community, national and planetary levels.
- The intellectual capital framework is excellent for pointing managers’ attention to intangible assets. However, there are many other forms of assets or factors that contribute to value creation than the three categories of intellectual capital.
- Some qualities of human capital (e.g. corruption) and of social capital (e.g. factionalism, conflict, ill reputation) result to value destruction.
- Knowledge is not the only ingredient for effective action and value creation. Intent is the second ingredient that KM practitioners must also recognize and manage. This is the reason why KM practitioners discover that (a) motivating knowledge workers often should accompany KM, and (b) power relations affect KM outcomes.
- Managing knowledge that is already there is not as important as creating new knowledge; personal and organization tools for accelerating innovation are important.
What we need next, a new KM or the next discipline after KM:
- KM is about improving how team members work together. We need smarter ways of sensing and understanding each other’s meanings and values in order to better work together or at least to avoid wasteful conflicts.
- If KM is about seeking “what works better”, then we need a kind of KM that looks into how we structure our institutionalized goals. For example, a “triple bottom line” works better for the greater majority of the population than a purely financial bottom line.
- Mankind’s unlearning cycles take years, decades and even centuries. We need new and better tools for voluntary and conscious paradigm shifting.
- Learning in a group context is potentially superior to individual isolated learning. We need more and better tools for group learning particularly in groups that consist of people with diverse interests or conflicting values.
- For the sake of individual and world peace, we need new and better tools to enhance bridging social capital: generative dialogue, dialogue of civilizations, bridging leadership, etc.
- Since KM is for effective action, we need a deeper KM that can extend the limits of human performance, such as by extending the ability of a person to control his own inner states.
- We need a new and better OL which can extend our individual capacities to learn from daily life. We need a “finer-toothed comb” for maximizing our individual processes of learning, for understanding the broad scope of learning and for improving our operational knowledge of group memory and intra-organizational knowledge flows.
- We need to understand the deeper nature of human creativity and innovation, and apply that in solving many serious problems in our planet.
- Because power affects KM outcomes, we need a new analytics of power in relation to value creation and value destruction. Social innovations can be better understood in terms of a scale of value creation/destruction.
- Innovations most crucial for solving serious world problems lie along tacit-group processes, which I labelled “indigo practices.” We need a new science and technology for innovating indigo practices. New paradigm shifts are required for this to happen, including at the very foundations of current scientific practice and current left-brain dominant educational systems.
- The term “knowledge management” may not last long but I believe the underlying need to create and manage intangible assets in the new global economy would stay much longer (74% of Gross World Product is created by intangible assets).
We will start the new L Series on “Indigo Learning Practices” in the next blog. Stay tuned in!
(Note that there are embedded links in this blog post. They show up as colored text. While pressing “Ctrl” click on any link to create a new tab to reach the websites pointed to.)