The purpose of knowledge management (KM) is to get people collaborating – to share and reuse know how and experience. Note that this does not place any demand on technology. Indeed, I often stress the best form of KM is talking to everyone who might know something about your focus du jour. The problem with this approach is, of course, scale and recall, and that is where technology provides value.
The introduction of KM technologies, can provide unlimited knowledge capture and asynchronous discovery. But technology is a double edged sword, and this is where remembering to approach technology-empowered KM with a grain of salt is important.
Imagine the ability to execute searches on any topic, any issue, and on people’s backgrounds with near perfect total recall. Powerful – right? So where is the other edge of the sword?
A recent article published in Fast Company, highlights a study done by Princeton and Stanford University psychologists. According to their study, we can quickly become addicted to research to the point where it inhibits our ability to make a decision; to act. No really.
Not enough for you? Seven years ago, an article ran in NewScientist. It highlights a study done at King's College London, that showed in today’s business setting, marked by emails, smart phone connections,– the connected 24x7 reality of today, the average IQ of an individual drops by about 10 points. The study went on to conclude, (and this is my favorite part), “Even smoking dope has less effect on your ability to concentrate on the task in hand.”
So, what’s my point? KM is a balancing act. Unrestricted abilities to capture and retrieve are very powerful, and addicting. Know when enough is enough. Asynchronous communication is a time saver, its scalable and powerful – but not to the exclusion of mentoring, discussing, and face-to-face group collaboration, and it should never go so far as to keep you from reaching a decision and taking action.
Take KM with a grain of salt (else you might as well enjoy the salt on a margarita, or two.)