Are you trying to bottle knowledge? If you view knowledge as a “thing” to be captured, packaged and delivered, you’re trying to bottle knowledge. How’s that working for you?
Knowledge management gurus will tell you that bottling knowledge is a very KM 1.0 approach and ill-advised. Experts from the school of hard knocks will tell you that trying to bottle knowledge is an exercise in futility. You’ll never ever bottle enough to really make a difference; even if you bottle some good stuff, your customers will always want more; and when you’re in the bottling business you run the risk of creating bottlenecks.
Not convinced? Consider this:
Fish : Water ~ Humans : Information/Knowledge
In other words, fish swim in water and we swim in information. Trying to bottle information/knowledge is as difficult as trying to contain our environment.
So what should you do instead? Switch metaphors.
Instead of viewing knowledge/information as a “thing,” think of it as water. Rather than trying to bottle all that water, think about channeling it. Think about creating small reservoirs as necessary. Think about distilling it. Think about broadening access to it. If you’re not convinced, consider how very difficult it is to contain water over the long term. It goes where it will. Why fight its natural tendency to flow?
Viewing knowledge/information as water will lead you to some fresh new ways of handling law firm knowledge management. Less about command and control, more about channeling and collaboration. It will also inexorably lead you to social media tools. They are far better equipped to help broaden access to knowledge than the KM 1.0 tools we’ve been working with.
And, if you really want to broaden your perspective, switch metaphors again. How about this metaphor: try thinking about knowledge as “love.” If you’re curious about this, read Is Knowledge Stuff or Love?