June 27, 2008

Knowledge Management Requires Interesting Conversations

Robert Scoble summed up his current approach to life in the following words:
The real thing I’ve been doing for more than eight years now is to try to arrange my life so that I have an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting.
Reading this led to an "Aha" moment for me. I shifted from the active practice of law to law firm knowledge management years ago because I was looking for new interesting conversations with interesting people. And, in the main, I've found them. Knowledge management thrives where there are interesting conversations.

Knowledge management done correctly forces us to confront a wide range of human behavior, organizational behavior, technology wonders and technology disasters. Knowledge management done correctly allows you to make meaningful improvements in the work lives of your colleagues and in the quality of service provided to your clients. Knowledge management done correctly is a limitless source of interesting issues spawning interesting conversations.

On the other hand, knowledge management done poorly is a daily grind -- like pushing a wet noodle across a dirty floor with your nose. There's no time for interesting conversation because there are too many pointless tedious tasks to complete. Worst of all, there's no appetite for interesting conversation because you haven't had an interesting thought about your work in ages.

Fostering interesting conversations at work keeps your knowledge management effort fresh. That's what is required for innovation and growth. If you can't find an interesting conversation at work, rethink your knowledge management effort. It's gone off the rails and will wither if you aren't careful.

Robert Scoble had the right idea. Do you?

3 comments:

Doug Cornelius said...

Mary -

Your description of the daily grind "pushing a wet noodle across a dirty floor with your nose" really grossed me out.

One of the reasons I blog is to also have those conversations with people outside the firm. I like spending a few minutes each day to see what other people are saying about my job interests and to write about what is going on with my job.

Mary Abraham said...

Sorry about grossing you out, Doug. I guess you can tell how much I like the daily grind!

You're absolutely right about the benefits of participating in a wider range of interesting conversations by blogging. That's certainly one of its great attractions for me. But for those who don't or won't blog, there's an even more desperate need for interesting conversations at work.

In any event, this seems like a good time to thank you for engaging in conversation with me through this blog and for providing the rest of us with lots of interesting things to think and talk about through your own blog (kmspace.blogspot.com).

- Mary

Paul Wagner said...

As a person relatively new to Knowledge Management and the organisation I'm working in. It's nice to know that some of the things I have been doing intuitively are seen as useful by other professionals.

I learn something every day about how people acquire and share knowledge (or in some cases, not). Almost every initiative I have rolled out has had it's start in a casual tea-room conversation!