The abuse of language

April 14, 2008

Once upon a time people in Information Management decided that they wanted a cool new name or two. Taxonomy was becoming Taxidermy so they absconded with Ontology and twisted its meaning. They they decided that they were into Knowledge Management, but in practice all they did was to create Information Management Systems. Now they are moving on and talking about WIsdom Management. Even one respectable University is doing this, but guess how? They are setting up a web site for people to exchange ideas and engage in richer conversations through online discussion forums. So once again the solution is Information Management. OK I may be doing them an injustice, studying wisdom is obviously a good thing, as is using information technology to help. But it’s not wise to use a structured environment; the fragmented and connected world of social computing is not only more effective, it is more adaptable and more open. As to consultants who want to peddle wisdom management; may the Lord have mercy on their souls, as I certainly won’t. I may loose a few friends over it. Steve Denning is defending the idea on the ActKM forum and I praying that he is just being provocative, seeking to raise a reaction.

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About the Cynefin Company

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.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


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