Dave Pollard’s 12 Best Business Books of 2005; Software systems support for KM; Denham Grey on KM books, thinkers, issues, and principles

17-Aug-06 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Books

The 12 Best Business Books of 2005 by Dave Pollard

  1. James Kunstler: The Long Emergency
  2. W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne: Blue Ocean Strategy
  3. John Perkins: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
  4. John Ralston Saul: The Collapse of Globalism
  5. Kurt Eichenwald: Conspiracy of Fools
  6. Adam Kahane: Solving Tough Problems
  7. Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joe Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers: Presence
  8. Dick Richards: Is Your Genius at Work?
  9. Nick Wreden: Profit Brand
  10. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner: Freakonomics
  11. Ronald Wright: A Short History of Progress
  12. Neil Crofts: Authentic Business

KM Links

Software systems support for knowledge management by Mikael Lindvall, Ioana Rus, and Sachin Suman Sinha

A survey of the technological components of knowledge management. The authors describe software systems that support different knowledge management activities, categorizing these tools into classes based on their capabilities and functionality, and showing what tasks and knowledge processing operations they support.

KM Questions

Questions are posed to Denham Grey, who provides his replies.

Q: What is your list of recommended KM books?

A (from Denham Grey):

Here is my pick of KM books.

  1. Deep Smarts: A new book (2005) from Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap (remember Wellsprings of Knowledge?) that looks at the nature of practical wisdom. Experience-based competence takes time to acquire, is difficult to transfer and is related to intuition, beliefs, tacit models and awareness. This is very timely book as boomers leave the workforce in droves.
  2. Communities of Practice: Etienne Wenger’s classic that sets the ground for understanding social learning, reification, participation and domain. This book delivers new insights with every reading. Deep, basic and timeless.
  3. Working Knowledge: Davenport and Prusak’s 1998 primer for the KM practitioner. This covers the essential concepts of codification and personalization, the role of people vs. technology and the value of knowledge to business.
  4. Enabling Knowledge Creation (by Georg von Krogh, Kazuo Ichijo, and Ikujiro Nonaka): My favorite book on people-related KM. The power of community, communication, conversation, content and context. Many savvy answers to eternal problems of cultural change and making KM happen within business. Do not pass this one by.
  5. Learning to Fly: Collison & Parcell tell it like it is. A useful narrative of how to do KM within a large company. Learning before, while and after is a fundamental revisit of techniques for getting KM done.

More important than books are KM thinkers.

Q: If you were asked to name the 5 people who have most influenced your knowledge management beliefs and practices — who would they be?

A (from Denham Grey):

  1. Dave Snowden — has a good grasp of KM & complexity, appreciates the role of tacit knowledge, makes sense of the domain
  2. Etienne Wenger — master of CoP theory — his 1998 book is a classic, deep and insightful reading around social learning and knowledge stewardship
  3. Dorothy Leonard — understands and practices deep smarts. She knows how to work with tacit knowledge and encourage innovation
  4. Chris Collison — exemplifies practical organizational KM — just read “Learning to Fly” to find out why
  5. Georg von Krogh — has written the best books on KM — from Organizational Epistemology, 1995, to Enabling Knowledge Creation, 2000. He truly articulates the central roles of community, cognition, relationships and trust in knowledge work.

More important than thinkers are KM issues.

Q: What are the 5 most critical issues facing Knowledge Leaders today?

A (from Denham Grey, ranked by importance):

  1. Cultivating awareness of the knowledge imperative and advantage in our connected, global economy
  2. Connecting (local) knowledge actions with the (overall) business direction
  3. Building a culture that encourages the creation of new knowledge and making sharing happen
  4. Moving conversations into virtual space to surface assumptions, extend reach, improve brainstorming and leverage many to many communication
  5. Selecting a suitable, stable, scaleable technology to support a people-centric knowledge strategy

Q: What are the 5 most critical issues facing Knowledge Leaders over the next 3–5 years?

A (from Denham Grey, ranked by importance):

  1. Taking a successful KM strategy to all stakeholders (suppliers, customers and investors)
  2. Making knowledge work invisible — i.e., so well integrated it becomes a part of who we are and what we do!
  3. Building relationships so knowledge can flow, but keeping key inventions tacit to prevent leakage
  4. Crafting ontologies (taxonomies) so firms can use the emergent technology of meta-inference and apply advanced search & intelligent agents
  5. Keeping the focus on core KM issues (learning, collaboration, relationships, dialog, critical thinking) when the next management fad (complexity?) arrives

Finally, here are some thoughts on KM principles.

Q: What would you select as the top knowledge management principles?

A (from Denham Grey):

  1. Choose engagement over a repository
  2. Respect and appreciate the key role of trust & context
  3. Collect stories, use metaphor, ethnography and analogy to build inquiry
  4. Cultivate executive support

The essence of KM:

  1. increasing awareness
  2. fostering learning
  3. supporting sense-making

KM, I then suggest is: A practice concerned with increasing awareness, fostering learning, speeding collaboration & innovation and exchanging insights.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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