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Between Empires, a reflection

August 4, 2008

I’ll get back to the part II of The Emperor’s Chessboard tomorrow. At the moment there is a flurry of postings on ActKM from defenders of orthodox approaches to KM in government and they are giving me lots of raw material!

I find it fascinating that some people just can’t get away from the top down paradigm. I’m not sure why people need it? It could be control, the conventional issue of authority. Equally there is a strong patronising theme to many of these approaches, a sort of mother(or rather father, this is patriarchal) knows best. Maybe its much simpler, people just don’t have the imagination to do things differently? Shifting from hierarchical management, the tyranny of experts and stodgidity (yes I made that word up but I rather like it) of committees is hard for people who have spent most of their adult lives in those environments.

They need a mindset change fast not only for their own sake, but more so for those they govern. The consequences of failing to realise that we are moving into a networked, distributed model of management in which control is an emergent property of interactions will be disastrous for society. Network models use distributed cognition (a much better phrase than the wisdom of crowds) and reward original contributions and thinking, plus the ability to make a difference now rather than at some imagined point in the future. Current models, and the proposal for centralisation that I referenced yesterday will instead reward those adept at manipulating the system.

Come to think of it, maybe that is the motivation?

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