Geert Willems

Geert Willems

maandag 13 januari 2014

The lifespan of knowledge

Last weeks I had some more time for discussions on LinkedIn. I want to commit to constant contribution, but in the end workload always takes over - until a period such as holidays to be involved in discussions again. And I'm doing that for a number of years know.

I'm always curiuous to the direction discussions are grown, detecting trends in the discussions. And one of them is clearly handling complexity and knowledge and leadership in complex environments.

And sometimes old school KM things are mentioned. I still see questions as 'what is the definition of knowledge', and 'what is the difference between data, information and knowledge'. 
And I try to keep an open mind, since I believe every point of view, and every knowledge model - even though I find some of them completely wrong - has at least learning value.

So also the discussions of quotes, that knowledge is not depleted when it is shared. And sometimes, such an old discussion still have value - I'm always looking to go one step beyond - even beyond my own initial view and comments. I would be an idiot not to be able to go beyond my own opinion - I still have the choise to do with wathever comes up.

So there is the discussion: is knowledge indeed not depleted when shared?

Well, the factor time is often neglected.
Time to handle existing knowledge.
Time to analyse the reaction patterns from the past.
Time to build a community.
Time to introduce for change.

Remembering a slogan: 'I've got a lifetime of knowledge'.

Now, I've to Masters - at a young age.
And they mean squat.

I'm 20 years further, and in rare occassion I need knowledge that I built. At least technical knowledge.

Today I was remembered that one of my hobbies is SEO of websites.
It's war. And I rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreaaaallly want to win - in a fair fashion.
So from time to time I, when I'm asked, I do the SEO for a website. And in one occassion it gave me a bad feeling. Since the competitor of one of my customer had to close the doors: our SEO had over taken theirs with long term catastrophical results - that's life in the world of webshops.

But even in knowledge management, due to new insights, due to the change of market, due to the fact that a lot of companies do their basic knowledge management well, due to technological improvements and new standards - it's clear that knowledge has a lifespan. And that this lifespan becomes shorter and shorter.

So instead of stating that shared knowledge does not deplete, I would state that shared and evolved knowledge does not deplete. Because if you don't evolve your knowledge, it gets outdated - you can share it as much as you want.

And then the questions pops-up:
Why should we spend a lot of time on knowledge built up in the past?
Because it 'may' be used in the future?
Should we classify knowledge on their estimated lifespan?

...I guess you know the answers to these ones ! - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk

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