KM … Nothing New

A very encouraging post by Dave Snowden … titled We just forgot it for a while … encouraging because this affirms something i have been thinking about for some time now. I wrote about it, too … and i quite agree with Mr. Srinivasan that KM, with the new aspects of technology, and the entire gamut of tools which are at our disposal, has changed the scope of knowledge interactions.

Something that i have been thinking about … the basic nature of human interactions doesnt change. Sure, it changes in terms of its form, but not really in terms of substance. What really changes is the mechanics of these interactions, and this change is facilitated by the changes in technology which are coming in. And, to that extent, i agree with Dave, that social computing has simpy changed the scope for human interactions, by enabling people to interact with each other across barriers and boundaries. Before the advent of modern management as we know it today, there was conversation. And today, we are again emphasizing conversation as the mainstay of knowledge interactions. Somewhere in between, the focus shifted to documentation as a means of abstracting meaning from personal knowledge and making it more generically relevant.

Lets not get carried away, though. We need to understand that both documentation, as a form of content which can deliver generic content to an audience with widely varied contexts, as well as the conversation, which today accompanies this document, both make up an integral part of the “conversation” in the context of today’s technology-enabled business scenario. While it can be argued that blogs and wikis, for example, also represent documents, i dont quite like to look at it this way. This is because these are tools, and tools, as such, re dependant on their usage by someone. So, its dependant on the user to decide whether to use these as tools for creating documents, or conversation. The difference being the reference to the context, with the conversation being highly context-rich.

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