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KM2010 - Washington DC

November 15, 2010

The opening day of KM World 2010 and for the first time on the East Coast. I’ve keynoted at nearly everyone of these events for over a decade and that has given an opportunity to witness the changing fortunes of KM over time. The move to Washington makes sense (and I gather has doubled numbers) as the main area of KM activity these days is in Government rather than industry. While its good to see a lot of new people here, some of the content is worrying. The emphasis on Sharepoint for example; this competent file/data sharing product seems to have got a stranglehold on collaboration and corporate use of social computing. Now I fully accept that social computing is too unconstrained to use within a corporate environment and that there are significant issues on scaling down to smaller numbers (compared with the population of internet users). However that does not mean that you should impose lockdown constraints. Sharepoint looks to be knowledge management’s Sick Stigma, the albatross of the ancient mariner, over constrained and over structured for what should be a fluid dynamic system. Software which has a 1:5 ration between direct costs and consultancy services is also worrying. It gives the same issue or problem that a lot of SAP users now have. Considerable consultancy costs to determine a solution generally make for inflexibility when the context changes.

All good grist for the mill when I keynote on Thursday morning however. For those interested I have a half day workshop on decision making today. The slides (and podcast links) are here. In practice it ended up as a mixture of decision support thinking (using Cynefin) and a naturalistic approach to knowledge management as I adjusted content to the interests of the audience.

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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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