Pretentious KM?

Navel gazing is a distressingly popular activity among knowledge managers. (To be honest, even I have indulged in it from time to time.) I’m not sure exactly what drives this tendency, although I expect it may have something to do with the fact that we aren’t always able to explain succinctly what it is we do for a living and why we do it.

In the meantime, we expend a great deal of energy discussing the lofty goals of knowledge management and worrying about the difficulties of proving the ROI of KM activities.

In light of this, I found it refreshing to read Infovark’s post, The Promise of Information Management.  The post begins by asking what information management tools and technology are really designed for and answers the question with the Maslow-like diagram below that shows the hierarchy of IM needs:

Risk mitigation, compliance and security; cost savings and efficiency; improved knowledge and innovation.  Those sound like worthy — and rather familiar — goals.  But isn’t that what Knowledge Management (or at least KM 1.0) claims for itself as well?

So, would someone please tell me:  If the information managers have all of this well in hand, what exactly does knowledge management accomplish?  Does KM add anything?  Is it a distinct discipline or just information management with a fancy title?

[Photo Credit:  Vasta]

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