Friday, 4 January 2013

Knowledge from an app?

The Britannica and Merriam-Webster Apps for Windows 8. Knowledge at your fingertips?

Is it really?

Does the fact that it provides a multi-format, contextual experience make it a knowledge product or service or is it still just information that the reader is getting? Can you consume knowledge? I don't know - interested in others thoughts........

"With features like the Britannica Link Map, our goal was to provide an environment for users not just to consume knowledge, but to experience it, enjoy it, and make connections between related topics by gliding freely and easily from one to the next. For example, if you’re reading the article on Albert Einstein, you can click on Link Map and bring up a web of connections to phenomena such as relativity, space-time, the photoelectric effect, and the field of physics itself."

All sounds very cool but it reminds me of the question I ask myself every day - am I talking about information or knowledge? Through my uni study and in reading blogs, articles and books on knowledge management I have gained a greater understanding of the differences between data, information and knowledge (DIKW - data, information, knowledge, wisdom). However I also know that it is still debated and argued among the KM and IM professions among others, especially the information to knowledge part.

As I fulfil the role of an information manager (my predecessor's title) but my title is knowledge manager (first one in this org) this subject is dear to my heart. Is it just a fancy title they have given me to tick a box? Is the agency and (more importantly) it's leadership, really ready for Knowledge Management? How do I explain and demonstrate the difference and the benefits of good knowledge practise?

Do I actually do any knowledge management here or is it all really information management? My duty statement listed Gov2.0, web accessibility, FOI and records management compliance. These are all effectively IM duties and certainly it is sound information practises that are needed to get the systems and processes set up in order to move to the next level - KM. I can definitely see that KM is needed here. There is a distinct lack of responsibility in the overseeing of people, process, content and systems. Different teams or individuals introduce new systems or processes without consulting or informing others, bandaid solutions, lack of communication internally, lack of direction and clear procedures. We have silos, we have an upstairs and downstairs divide and we have people who are too busy! Many of these problems arise out of the size of the agency, it has worked this way for a long time, fairly successfully (or at least they have gotten away with it so far). Now it is growing, technology is changing, transparency and reporting requirements are increasing and we are becoming more accountable. Things need to change. There it is - change (is that what KM is going to be all about for me?)

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