Flow Systems and KM #KMWorld

Gordon Vala-Webb is the former
National Director, Knowledge Management, PwC Management Services LP Canada. This talk is based on ideas from mechanical engineering professor Adrian Brejan’s book Design in Nature: How the Contructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization. The presentation focuses on KM lessons from flow systems and how they design and redesign themselves.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2012 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • The Constructal Law. “All of nature is composed of flow systems that change and evolve their configuration over time so that they flow more easily to create greater access to the currents they move.” Look at a river delta moving to tributaries, to rivers, to streams, etc. In basketball, the ball is passed from one player to another until it “flows” to the person most capable of making the basket. Even if the initial design is flawed, it will adapt of time to make it work more effectively.

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