Day 3 – C: Conversation

Our most effective knowledge management tool is conversation.
The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determine our success in creating new knowledge as well as sharing that knowledge with each other.
Nancy Dixon

I am yet to come across a better quote on a KM tool / technique than the one mentioned above.

However, in the context of India, one can go back a few thousand years to illustrate an example of conversation for knowledge transmission. The Bhagavad Gita is essentially a record of the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna at the outset of the battle at Kurukshetra. During the conversation, Krishna helps Arjuna to overcome his moral dilemma and confusion about his duties as a warrior and a prince.

It is interesting to note how the knowledge shared by Krishna with Arjuna has been interpreted over the years to create new knowledge. In his book, ‘Timeless Leadership: 18 Leadership Sutras from the Bhagavad Gita’, Debashis Chatterjee, a professor with IIM Kozhikode has linked the knowledge shared by Krishna to the needs of today’s business leaders. The book covers 18 components of leadership, ranging from motivation to decision making and planning.

Over the years, one of the reasons why KM has failed to live up to expectations pertains to the fact that not enough energy has been invested to promote conversations among colleagues within organisations. However, it is heartening to note that there is a growing trend to acknowledge conversation as a key differentiator of success for KM initiatives.

In fact, Madanmohan Rao in his article on KM World introduced the idea of a ‘conversation manifesto’ for 21st Century Organisations. Please click here to read more.

If the topic is of interest to you, would recommend going through Nancy Dixon’s blog.

The topic for tomorrow’s post is Documenting Learning.


4 thoughts on “Day 3 – C: Conversation

  1. This series is very interesting Anirban. As for conversation as a tool of spreading knowledge, apart form the Gita one is also reminded of Plato’s Dialogues. And the essential structure of the Platonic Dialogues is replicated every day on every form of social media platform conceivable, including this blog. Look forward to more insights.


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