The Technology Trap
The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.
—Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773), published 1774
Based on the flawed use of the term knowledge management to depict the management of an entity external to humans, a number of organizations approached the original issue of making best use of the knowledge within their organization from an infor mation technology (IT) perspective. Many knowledge management projects have beenstarted within the IT organization, and not too surprisingly they began with the evaluation and buying of software and hardware. This was true 10 years ago, but in a lot of cases it is still true today. Again and again, one of the first questions I get when I talk to those who have been charged with creating or reviving a knowledge management program and who are just getting started is “What software did you use?” When I investigate further, it is very clear that people think that all they have to do is buy and install the right software to be successful. The software question should be one of the last ones I am asked, not the first one.
But if we look back, the situation looked like this (do not feel bad if this is how your company approached it; you are definitely not alone):
A middle manager (Joe) encounters the potential value of knowl edge management (via a conference, article, or book).
Joe goes back to his company, discusses it with others, and gets some excitement and buy-in from his boss. ...