Creation Spaces


There is an interesting post by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, over at HBR … about a better way to manage knowledge. The interesting part about the blog is that it brings out a rather different way of looking at KM. What they are talking about, basically, is that instead of looking at knowledge Management, or Facilitation, to Creation.

They are talking about something called the creation space. They define creation space as:

places where individuals and teams interact and collaborate within a broader learning ecology so that performance accelerates.

Sounds like communities? Somewhat. But if we look at them as being spaces in the processes of the organization where there is high potential for new knowledge to be created, then the community or technology aspect becomes the enabler for the process of creation of new knowledge, and the creation space becomes the space of opportunity for creation and deployment of new knowledge. But this could be anywhere in the organization, something which organizations are coming to understand, facilitated with the growth of social computing.

What am i talking about? Basically what i am saying is that one thing KM could look at doing is to create the perspective of the organization as a vast space for creation of new knowledge, and use the vast web 2.0 toolkit for managing the dissemination or flow of this knowledge across the organization to points of use. Could another aspect of this be to identify pockets of opportunity and build upon the potential of these pockets to engage KM in the process of knowledge creation, and then of facilitating the knowledge flows.

In other words, according to this perspective, KM needs to have two imperatives: knowledge creation, and knowledge flows. Or, that knowledge managers could look to increasing the scope of work, for example, to include training, or innovation. This actually sounds familiar because a few months back, i had heard my friend and colleague Sunil Jose mention that in the long run KM may blend into the innovation function in the organization. What i am saying here is that there is another way … KM blending into innovation and training, essentially creating a capability building space. Did i hear anyone say backward integration?

What this doesnt look at is that in an organization knowledge flow is also a way of knowledge creation. Maybe not for the organization but for people, teams it may be a source of knowledge which creates value. Though the point i am trying to make is more of getting KM to look at the space of creation of new knowledge. Did i hear someone say innovation? Maybe if we look at it that innovation is directly or indirectly knowledge-based, then this could be a logical step? If this sounds confusing thats ok, because this is something i am just beginning to think about, so maybe some of the thoughts need to be refined.

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