10 Myths around Knowledge Management

You would probably agree with me that Knowledge Management as a discipline is constantly evolving. One of the ways to keep yourself updated on what’s happening around you is to subscribe to online Knowledge Management magazines and journals. While my subscription list is fairly long, the magazine that always features on top of my ‘reading’ list is ASK from NASA. The magazine is a must read for all Knowledge professionals. The stories shared are inspiring, the design is eye-catching and you always close the pdf version of the magazine with the feeling that you have learned something new.

I was revisiting Issue 51, Summer 13 recently and felt motivated reading the article by Edward W. Rogers, the Chief Knowledge Officer at Goddard Space Flight Center. In his article, entitled ‘The Knowledge Management Journey’ Rogers mentions the ten myths around Knowledge Management. Since these represent what I truly believe in, I thought of sharing the myths with you all:

“Here is my top-ten list of false assumptions about knowledge management. Think about them as recipes for failure that should be avoided.
10. Culture can be mandated from the top.
9. Collaboration can be “purchased” or sharing can be rewarded.
8. Knowledge management can be outsourced.
7. Anybody (who isn’t busy) can do knowledge management.
6. Knowledge management can be done by buying the right software.
5. Knowledge management can be independent of the business process.
4. Communities of practice can be established by the top.
3. Knowledge management is about centralizing knowledge content to use it more efficiently.
2. Knowledge management is really about databases.
1. Knowledge management is an IT function and should be given to the chief information officer.”

Here is another excerpt from the article which I loved and could relate to:

“At the outset, I described my ten years at Goddard as a journey of discovery. Some might say I haven’t accomplished much by their metrics. I am the first to admit I haven’t accomplished all I wanted to do. When people go on a journey they often notice different things. It depends what you’re looking for. What I’m looking for and what I see is NASA as a vibrant, dynamic, pulsating organization—almost a living organism that needs to stay healthy. Knowledge management is an ongoing effort. When you join a gym, it’s not buying a membership that gets you in shape—you actually have to go there to work out and keep doing it. I set out to create exercises that would help Goddard be a stronger and healthier knowledge organization over time. I feel confident that those exercises are paying off and improving Goddard’s knowledge fitness.”

The issue can be downloaded in full from this link. Look out for the phrase ‘ASK Magazine’ on the right hand panel of the page.

What is your take on the myths? Would love to hear your thoughts.


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