KM Brazil

November 29, 2007

It has been a busy year for KM conference keynotes. KM Australia, was followed up by KM Asia, KM World in the US, KM India (by phone) a few in the UK and now KM Brazil. I was given two hours today so could cover a lot of material, although I was tired at the end (keeping the right speed for translators) and the audience were in part exhausted. The slides are available here and while it was not podcast, some of the material was covered in KM World and in my podcast with Jon.

Several good conversations before and afterwards. One of the more distressing things however (and I have said this around the world) is the tendency to take on board US approaches more or less as they are described by the consultants who sell them. We have BPR and SAP implementations out here with knowledge management in its early days. I sometimes think that consultants and software companies start off in their own country, exhaust that market (and the patience of executives for yet another initiative) and then move on overseas, or into Government (the industrial best practice con trick).

You cannot take a method and approach developed in one context, and then apply it wholesale to a different one. I argued strongly that we need countries like Brazil (and Singapore, and South Africa and, and, and…) to learn from but not imitate the reported best practice of US companies. I say reported deliberately as I am dubious as to the reality of case studies used. Those countries have unique advantages, they can create new and culturally relevant ways of sharing and creating knowledge. The US is a unique culture that has driven much, for good an ill. However it is not anti-american to say that it would be a very bad thing if it became the template that the world attempted to follow.

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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