Thursday, December 21, 2006

Planetary Knowledge

The knowledge entity has changed. It has moved from individual knowledge to planetary knowledge.

Along the way, we have learned more about team knowledge, organisational knowledge, and community knowledge entities. These are great developments, but it is now possible, and certainly more effective, to make the quantum leap directly from individual to planetary knowledge.

What is planetary knowledge? It is a term that I propose to you to mean the ‘globalization of individual knowledge’. Planetary knowledge is a reality today.

New personal knowledge management strategies, processes, methods, tools and technologies enable the individual to create, capture, store, share, amplify and apply knowledge globally.

Since 1993, I have been working with individuals, teams, organisations and communities around the world, helping them to better manage knowledge.

Today I am ready to move to the next evolutionary stage

– to planetary knowledge

- to the globalization of individual knowledge.

If you would like to read my book ‘Planetary Knowledge,’ as it is being written during early 2007, and, hopefully, comment, feedback and contribute, please send me an email with brief details to:

More at:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

KM, videotechnologies and YouTube

As a KM consultant, I remember Gartner Research Group in the mid 90's
predicting that video technology will have one of the greatest impacts on
KM in the future.

This was because they understood the 'richness' of information the technology
would provide for faster potential knowledge transfer.

When I look at and its staggering popularity for communicating, collaborating and sharing knowledge through video, I can see that Gartner may have got this ver right!

Even recently designed KM processes can be turned upside down by such effective and disruptive technologies as web video, wiki's, blogs, pods, RSS and lots more to come .... or

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

KM and KAM!

The more I practice as a KM consultant, the more I realise that organisations relate much more easily to the notion of 'knowledge asset management' than knowledge management.

They are not that interested in theories about what knowledge is and how it is created and shared, but they are very interested indeed in how to create profit, or value, or better service from tangible knowledge assets.

You can't manage and measure knowledge, but you can certainly manage and measure knowledge assets. or

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

KM and accreditation

Tomorrow, I start to teach and facilitate another 5 day KM accreditation
programme for a new team of consultants. This time it is in Edinburgh.

I always enjoy these intensive programmes because we all learn so much
from each other. It's new knowledge creation at its best for me!

Although I have done this afar in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Paris, Cambridge and
Birmingham, Budapest, people ask, 'Can this be done through the internet?'. Absolutely, yes.

Let me know if you are interested in the topic of KM certification and accreditation - or

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology
KM Consulting at:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

KM - The Open Source KM Consulting Methodology debate?

The concept of 'Open Source' was originally conceived for 'knowledge' 'OSK'
but quickly found its exponential value in open source software 'OSS'.

I would like to help create a global community of KM Practitioners and Consultants who wish to share and develop an Open Source KM Consulting Methodology. The first version is available now and I look forward to exponential growth in its future development. It has to be the way for 21stC Consulting.

If you are interested in such a community please email me: and/or take a look at our Open Source KM website at:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

KM and co-creation

Whilst sharing some frustration about a client's apparent lack of knowing what they realy wanted, with a fellow KM consultant and team member, he said,

"Many organizations simply don't know what they want. But once you give them something, then they can start to agree and disagree, and then the process of co-creation starts!


Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

KM - You cannot fit an organism into an organization

A human being is an organism. People working together are organisms
collectively communicating, collaborating, learning and sharing knowledge.

Many clients, when they are starting to learn about KM, try to fit what they are learning into their existing 'organizational' structure and paradigm. It's an old paradigm. It's wrong thinking. It will fail to reach its full potential. Organisations and organising are sub-sets of the fuller functioning of a living organism.

The problem is that the word 'organization' is not suited to knowledge management. Information based organisations are fine because we are talking about 'organised bodies which give orderly structure to components'.

But organisms are 'entities that take the organised body further by connecting parts that are interdependent and share a common life'. So using the term 'management', which is more effective for information but not knowledge, doesn't help either.

We need to create a new and easily understandable and acceptable term for 'knowledge based organisms' to bring this new knowledge creating/sharing/applying paradigm more easily to life.

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Writing a KM Strategy

Having written several KM strategies for organisations in different industry sectors, I am now even more convinced, after 12 years, that the best way to write a KM strategy is to enable the client to write it themselves, with our KM coaching and facilitation.

The client understands his/her business much better than we ever will. When we write strategies we often hear the client say, - thats good but its too generic, we want to express it in our business terms and context much more!

Of course, the KM consultant is very well positioned to know the principles, different knowledge strategies (transformative and operational), processes, methods and tools to apply, and gradually becomes better positioned to understand and advise in the particular industry sector concerned, but the client will always know best (even if he/she does not realise that).

So I rather like providing a first draft and then letting the client own it and develop it for their business. I then offer new possibilities, constructive challenges, understanding and support. The end result is a client who has better bought in to the KM strategy as there own, understand it and is prepared to implement it.

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology

KM Consulting

Sunday, March 26, 2006

KM and Open Source Methods?

We are all very familiar with open source software, and there are several offerings available for KM, but I do not see much open source consulting methodology for KM available.

As the original idea for open source was conceived around 'open knowledge', for which we are starting to see significant develops, eg wikipedia, I was wondering if anybody knew of any open source methodologies for KM. At we are starting to do this and, naturally, we are interested in working together with other groups.

Would you be interested in a wiki on knowledge management consulting?

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

For KM Consulting services

Thursday, March 23, 2006

KM, resurgence and new technologies

I hear an increasing number of people saying 'KM is having a resurgence due to the new web 2.0 technologies, especially, wiki's, blogs, rss feeds and syndication, podcasts etc.

I agree, strategically designed and/or volunteer powered, there are, 'potentially', even better new ways of working, based on these new technologies, that will provide an extraordinary ability to produce extraordinary knowledge working (by today's standards) .

Like most good innovation, it is fueled by disruptive technologies which then leads on to improved strategies, processes, methods tools and techniques.

Lets hope, as KM practitioners, that this resurgence is properly perceived and it does not just become a dominant technology issue again.

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

For KM Consulting

Monday, March 20, 2006

Knowledge and Wisdom

As a KM practitioner, consultant and lecturer, I am always asked by new students

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

As at today's date, Wikipedia defines knowledge and wisdom as:

'Knowledge' is information of which someone is aware. Knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.

'Wisdom' is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through experience some think. Yet others think it is a quality that even a child, otherwise immature, may possess independent of experience or complete knowledge.


Let me also throw in a few personal definitions :

1. we communicate information to one another (one person's knowledge is another person's information)

2. learning is the process of turning information into knowledge

3. we build and apply knowledge (wisely or unwisely, specialised and generalised)

4. knowledge can be relative to other knowledge, within a specific and specialised domain, with a time limit on the value of the content (which can change)

4. wisdom is valuable knowledge that is timeless and changeless and can be applied across different domains

This is an interesting debate that KM practitioners continually face. Do you have any further comments, challenges or opinions about these definitions in the specific context of Knowledge Management in Organisations?

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

For KM Consulting

Monday, March 06, 2006

KM and the real value of disruptive and enabling technologies

In the late 1980's early 1990's we experienced a radically new way of working in groups as a result of some new emerging technologies that we called 'groupware'. Lotus Notes was, and still is to my mind, a leader in this area.

As a result, collaborative technologies such as these were better able to support more effective virtual team working. Leading KM technology infrastructures were based on these new emerging technologies.

Then, for a period of 10 years, the debate ran, something like 'KM is not a technology, its about people processes and supporting technologies, its an holistic discipline. True enough! Even the technologists themselves put technology down.

But, in my opinion, it was the emerging technologies that gave us new and better knowledge working potential, and where there has been failure, its been in our inability to develop effective strategies, processes and competencies that fully exploit these technologies.

Today, I see the same phenomena again!

The radically new emerging technologies that some like to call Web 2.0, the wiki's the blogs, the RSS feeds etc are once again providing enormous potential to create and harness global knowledge. Our challenge is to develop appropriate strategies, processes and new competencies to fully exploit this.

On the other hand, I feel that the emerging technologies need to be so simple and so powerful to use, with such obvious benefit that people will simply not want to go back to the old way of working. Maybe WEb 2.0 is getting there? Maybe the examples of Wikipedia, and the like, are showing that the toools are both radically new and radically simple to use.

I just hope that the emerging conferences in 2006 will move us all forward faster, and not get us stuck in the old debate about people and technology again. To my mind, technology is an extension and enabler for humanity and should be positively embraced.

Collective knowledge creation through wiki's, at least, seriously challenge the academic institutional processes of knowledge creation, at least for the time being, I think?

I look forward to even more disruptive technologies and innovations over the next few years.

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies

For KM Consulting

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Corporate KM system in action based on wiki technologies and blogs

It was refereshing to read in the UK Financial Times Special Report on a 'Focus on the Use of Knowledge Management', 0f 25th January 2006, that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), one of the biggest UK organisations, has been using wiki technologies and have recently added blogging to their knowledge management suite.

Reading the article, by Kate Mackenzie, it seems to me that Euan Semple, head of knowledge management solutions, for the BBC has got one thing very right. He has provided technologies that encourage more 'natural and spontaneous' communication and information sharing.

This can only lead to increased trust and more natural knowledge creation and sharing.

I was interested to read that blogging made an executive "real in a way that most other executives aren't". That sounds more promising for the future!

For Open Source KM Consulting Methodologies
For KM Consulting

Monday, February 20, 2006

Knowledge creation - both systemic and systematic

Last week I worked on two KM strategies - one which was leading with a systemic approach to knowledge creation, and the other was leading with a systematic approach.

I realised that wherever possible we should incorporate both approaches if we wish to optimise knowledge creation, but one approach should 'lead' according to the nature and type of the knowledge being created.

In an organisation that is concerned with compliance, security, safety (especially human safety), unique positioning and reputation, a continuous and systematic approach and robust processes, with critical peer and professional expert review at key stages, may well be required. They will also probably seek proprietary software development and support. Knowledge creation is internalised.

In an organisation that does not have these considerations or constraints, it can also take full advantage of the radically new ways of creating and organising human knowledge through open, democratic, global, self directing and self regulating knowledge leveraging, using internet enabled wikis etc, probably using open source software technologies. Knowledge creation is externalised.

There will be situations where both approaches can be applied together.

So I am reminded that KM is far more dependant on the nature, type and application of desired knowledge in an organisation, than the methods and tools to support it?

That's back to strategy!

KM Open Source Methodology at
KM Consulting at

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Knowledge Management and spontaneous flow

When conducting KM consulting engagements, I have to constantly remind myself of the enormous power of spontaneous knowledge flow!

I certainly enjoy helping organizations better understand and implement, with great benefit, more collective and systematic processes to capture, create, share and apply best knowledge. It really can make a great difference to business improvement and performance.

But we must never forget the spontaneity and creativity, and to my mind the reality, of working in environments where 'what we don't know' is, and always will be, far far greater that 'what we know'.

Communities of practice, passion and interest; thematic knowledge networks, and even small ad hoc incidental and/or accidental encounters and meetings are constant daily witnesses to more natural and spontaneous knowledge flows.

You might say that to optimise knowledge in an organisation that we need to constantly blend a more systematic approach to knowledge abstraction with a more unsystematic approach to knowledge flow?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Knowledge - what, where, when, why, how, who

Often in my KM consulting activities, especially in interviewing and workshop sessions, I am reminded of the wisdom of Rudyard Kipling, the British author and poet (1865-1936), in his poem 'The Elephants Child':

"I have six honest serving men
They taught me all I knew
Their names were what and where and when
And why and how and who"

Perhaps, this is knowledge gapping at its best?

Ron Young

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Applying the best knowledge - the weakest link!

Many organisations are now much better at capturing, in a more consistent, collective and systematic way, new learnings and ideas 'as they occur'.

Many organisations are starting to get better at amplifying these new learnings, ideas and insights by enabling people to contribute their new 'learnings about these learnings', 'ideas about these ideas' and even 'insights about these insights' - very powerful amplification.

Many organisations are getting better at surfacing valuable knowledge and sharing it through various forms of knowledge networks, teams and communities - formal and informal, spontaneous and systematic.

This is great but it is only one side of the coin. The creation of new knowledge.

What I find to be the weakest link is the other side of the coin - the application of the best knowledge, once it has been created and shared!

You might say the wise application of knowledge!

Do you agree?

Ron Young

Open Source KM Consulting Methodology at:

KM Consulting at:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Time, Process, Quality and Knowledge!

I was taught that there are some timeless management perennials, way beyond the fads, and that every leader and manager should ask :

For how long are we interested in

- improving our creation and application of knowledge?
- better managing our time?
- improving our quality?
- developing better relationships?
- increasing our productivity?

The answer of course is for ever.

Yet people have often said to me 'I went on a time management course twenty years ago' and
'we did process reengineering ten years ago' and 'quality management five years ago' and we did 'knowledge management two years ago'.

Yet, respectfully, I have concluded that in this age of a global twenty four hour day we are finding it even more challenging to manage our time , tasks, projects, processes, people, information and knowledge than ever before! Respectfully, I suggest that we have only just started to understand how to become effective virtual teams and knowledge workers .

The continually emerging knowledge technologies will always provide us with a tremendous new potential to better communicate, collaborate, learn, share and apply our knowledge, but we need to know how to redesign our work and how to use these tools.

But, more importantly, we need to understand and wisely apply the timeless principles behind the processes, methods and tools.

Knowledge is a timeless perennial for management and, for me, Knowledge Management is the warm up act for the main act yet to come. What will we call this one?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Future of Knowledge Management

In 1999 I published an article for the European American Business Journal entitled the 'Future of Knowledge Management'.

What was poignant for me, at the time, was "will the good and extraordinary work that is going on in knowledge management show results quickly enough to convince the critical mass of organisations that they must urgently pursue this, or will the massive and mediocre bandwagon ultimately convince organisations that knowledge management is nothing too special, and relegate it to 'yet another initiative?. Are we likely to throw the baby out with the bathwater?"

I also felt compelled to write that "there will be several fragmented schools of knowledge management, each with their own approach, philosophy, methods and tools. The 'human factor' school is still fighting it out for supremacy over the 'technology factor' school. The philosophers and academics will continue to have their say about what knowledge management is.

Reason suggests that they should fuse and integrate their different and equally important perspectives into one holistic framework. Reality suggests that different schools will wish to become dominant."

Where do you think we are today in 2006?
Will the good work that is still being done ultimately create the critical mass that is still needed?

I have, since writing the article, developed my thinking further. I now believe the time is absolutely right for an 'Open Source KM Methodology' to capitalise on the good thinking that has been done in the past as a basis, and more importantly, to see exponential improvements gained from an 'open' km community as opposed to gradual linear improvements gained from a small 'closed' proprietary system.

Hence our decision for Knowledge Associates to donate our KM consulting methodology to the Open Source community at

No doubt there will be more challenges of a different nature, but I sincerely believe this type of initiative is needed for the 'Future of Knowledge Management'.

(the full article is available at

or from

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

KM and the next step forward

I am so glad to be working with Hull University Business School on the development of their MSc in KM to be launched at Easter 2006.

What excites me is that this higher degree has two modules on KM, a module on Organisational Development and Learning, a module on Systems Thinking and a module on Corporate Strategy.

Such a powerful combination. Combining the systemic and the systematic, combining the strategy, people, processes and technologies - a well balanced and holistic approach.

But, surely, this needs a new term beyond the Knowledge Management?

Monday, January 30, 2006

KM and Web 2.0

One of my favourite thinkers of today is Peter Russell (

His work on 'The Global Brain', as a living and self regulating organism made me think hard about the evolution of increasingly complex global information and communication technology structures.

Since the early 1990's we have seen an evolution from the 'broadcasting' of information (the push/send model) to the 'shared workspace' with collaborative working, learning and sharing models (the share/pull model). Increasingly, we refer to these more highly interactive and collaborative models as major characteristics that define web 2.0 capability and functionality.

In my work with organisations that seek enterprise wide knowledge management I have tried to bring about more learning and knowledge sharing across and between collaborative teams that share a common interest or 'key knowledge area(s)'. In turn, these key knowledge areas are derived from the organisations objectives i.e. what key areas of knowledge do we need to create, transfer and apply to help us better achieve our objectives?

Maybe this will be a characteristic of web 2.1?

I think that knowledge management, as a discipline, is moving faster in the world of increasingly complex systems of communication, learning and knowledge sharing than the evolution of the web - in terms of theory and process - but, of course, without the support of the appropriate web technologies and tools to support and enable the process - it will not go to far beyond theory only?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Wiki and Global KM

I am simply fascinated, and somewhat in awe of the tremendous developments of wiki's and blogs in the context of knowledge management.

Recently, after years of KM consulting to help organisations better capture, store, share, create and apply new knowledge, I came to the conclusion that self-organising global wiki' s will simply transform the creation and distribution, at least, of knowledge bases.

The argument today centres around the more traditional KM practice of harvesting new learnings and ideas and 'critically' reviewing them with a view to improving the knowledgebase under the supervision of a knowledge base owner, versus, community added and edited, democratically created open source information content.

My initial conclusion is that the wiki world, and all that it represents, will grow exponentially as a key component to creating and sharing our global knowledge. However, I don't think its an 'either/or' situation at all, but inevitably it will become a 'both/and' situation - knowing when to use wiki tools to collaborate and when to use critical expert reviews to create new knowledge.

I am more excited by these so called web 2.0 tools than I have ever been in the KM development arena.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ron Young Posted by Picasa

KM technologies - videomail

Today, I temporarily got away from thinking about KM strategies and processes and indulged in subscribing to

A consulting colleague in france recommended this technology for sending short videomails.

Its very simple, very cost effective, and I was sending my first videomail in a few minutes.

Now my head is buzzing with how to effectively use this tool. Short presentations, distance learning and lectures in small chunks and even the simultaneous videoconference sessions (yet to try this)?

I will certainly add this to our KM/Kworker technology toolkit. I also have an intuition that it will be a good capture tool for learnings, ideas and even inspirational moments.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

An experiment with k-logs for KM consultants

A space to capture my new learnings, insights and ideas whilst conducting Knowledge Management consulting engagements. Of course, the information is sanitized and therefore, anonymous, so as to fully protect client confidentiality.

This is an experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of blogging or k-logs in KM consulting for a team of consultants.

Step 1 is to evaluate the tool for personal knowledge management, then team knowledge management.