Managing knowledge or answering questions?

A recent conversation with Hadley Beeman @hadleybeeman made me ask again ‘what is knowledge management’?

We probably all agree that KM is a ‘good thing’ and a lot of organisations these days are setting up complicated (and expensive) infrastructure to ‘manage knowledge. However is this the best way of going about things by forcing people to write down what they know on the off chance that someone else wants to find exactly that piece of information?

Or are we really just trying to find answers to questions? If that is the case do we really need more pointers to the people with the answers and then try to capture some of these answers if it looks as though others are after the same answers?

Neil Franklin @neilfranklin made the interesting point recently that he often uses Twitter DM features as his personal intranet as opposed to his corporate system. Which made me realise that I do the same thing externally. I know a range a people with lots of different interests. When I have a question I try to fire it at the right person or group and usually get a great answer. I don’t expect these contacts to write down everything they know – though it is nice if some core information is captured on their blogs.

So what is the best thing to do? Can organisations mimic this ‘create your own personal flexible intranet approach’ and link them together (flextranet)? Or at least try something else before starting yet another Sharepoint implementation?

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