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KM 2.0 and Knowledge Management: Part Eleven, E 2.0, Oscar Berg and David Gurteen

September 15th, 2008 · No Comments


Oscar Berg, in a blog entry on February 24, 2008, writes about Andrew McAfee’s take on Enterprise 2.0 and its relationship to KM. He says:


“What strikes me about Andrew McAfee’s definition is that it is very technology-oriented. It does not say anything about the purpose and potential value of emergent social platforms for companies. However, Tom Davenport reports that Andrew McAfee said that “the ultimate value of E2.0 initiatives consists of greater responsiveness, better ‘knowledge capture and sharing,’ and more effective ‘collective intelligence’ at his talk at the FastForward conference in Orlando last week. Tom Davenport draws the conclusion that Andrew is in essence talking about knowledge management.


“I must admit to that KM and Enterprise 2.0 have their similarities when you look at what they ultimately aim to achieve. But does this mean Enterprise 2.0 simply is the next major version of KM? Should we in fact call it KM 2.0 instead? No, I don’t believe so. Sometimes you need to make a fresh start., to get rid of old definitions and conceptions and start over with a blank sheet to get things happening. . . . The term Enterprise 2.0 as defined by Andrew McAfee has provided us with that fresh start . . . . The term Enterprise 2.0 makes clear that we are leaving something and going someplace new and that it has to do with how enterprises are managed and operated. . . . Calling the place we are leaving Enterprise 1.0 instead gives us the opportunity and mandate to define what we are leaving from how we define the future. It is much more powerful and opens up for new perspectives and innovative thinking. . . .”


This makes clear the point of view that “Enterprise 2.0” is a broader notion than “KM 2.0,” but also that McAfee’s definition of E 2.0, doesn’t really define the idea in a way that goes beyond the IT area to the underlying more fundamental characteristics of the new form of enterprise suggested by the term “Enterprise 2.0.” Oscar goes on to indicate that he sees the introduction of E 2.0 tools as a way of changing attitudes and behaviors, but he doesn’t specify how these things would be changed in such a way that a characteristic “E 2.0” pattern going beyond IT changes would be defined and specified. That is, while calling for a broader E 2.0 than was specified by McAfee’s defintion, Oscar Berg doesn’t really define it in this post.


David Gurteen’s take on KM 2.0 appeared in Inside Knowledge Magazine on February 29. David approaches things from a historical perspective, viewing KM as initially technocentric, and frequently failing in the sense that people often didn’t see the value of KM systems designed to capture corporate information from them. Soon, some organizations began to emphasize what David calls soft tools in implementing KM. These included communities of practice, after action reviews, and peer assists, and amounts to people-centric KM focused on “informal learning, collaboration and inter-personal knowledge sharing.”


While the two forms of KM were being practiced, new web tools began to appear. These social tools, including blogs, wikis, social tagging, and others were low cost or shareware tools, focused on individual level applications. They became known as Web 2.0 tools, in contrast to Web 1.0 tools, because, together they seemed to enable the social web. As the tools moved into enterprise, people began to contrast Enterprise 1.0 and Enterprise 2.0 tools.


Enterprise 1.0 tools are associated with:


“traditional top down command and control, hierarchical organisation built around traditional centralised IT systems while Enterprise 2.0 is a flatter, more fluid networked organisation built around social tools.“


We see here an emphasis on the networked organization as a central idea of Enterprise 2.0. David Gurteen continues:


“ . . . KM managers and others are starting to see the power of social tools within organisations as personal KM tools. And a new view is emerging of KM 2.0 that maps many of the principals of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 onto KM.”


This last passage suggests that there are clearly enunciated principles of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, but David Gurteen doesn’t spell them out here.


“Clearly though ‘2.0’ stuff does not replace ‘1.0’ stuff as the suffix might imply: traditional ‘1.0’ thinking and tools run hand-in-hand with ‘2.0 stuff.’ Organisations need both and they are co-evolving.”


This is a clear statement that 2.0 stuff builds on 1.0 stuff, a view that is far from explicit in other writing on this subject and often seems in conflict with it. For example, Dave Pollard’s view, seems much less friendly to 1.0 stuff. I think there is a split among writers in this area with some thinking that we should pronounce a plague on 1.0, while others see things as cumulative.


“But the key word in all of this is the word ‘social’. Another label for KM 2.0 might be ‘Social KM’. It is an emerging social model of KM that clearly places responsibility for knowledge sharing and making knowledge productive in the hands of the individual.”


The implication here is that earlier periods of KM did not place responsibility for sharing and reuse in the hands of individuals. But this view is debatable since KM has always been about trying to get individuals to share and reuse knowledge, and people-centric KM certainly was also social in its emphasis on communities and collaboration. The new development of KM practitioners becoming interested in using Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 tools in KM seems different from the old in that now the newly available tools better enable social networking and collaboration than the old tools did. That is, and over-simplifying considerably, at first KM was technocentric, then people-centric KM appeared, then social software appeared that better enables people-centric and inherently social KM. As David says, near the end of his admirably brief statement:


“And so in the world of KM 2.0 we have two categories of social tool – soft-tools such as after action reviews and knowledge cafes and techno-tools such as wikis and blogs – an incredibly powerful combination.”


Many other commentators mention social computing “techno-tools” as the focus of KM 2.0. but few remember that the “soft-tools” like knowledge cafes, communities of practice, and after action reviews have to be part of the KM 2.0 picture. In this, and in his emphasis on the cumulative nature of KM 2.0, I think David, is more careful in his outlook on KM 2.0, at least in this piece, than other commentators have been.


To Be Continued

Tags: KM 2.0 · KM Software Tools · Knowledge Integration · Knowledge Making · Knowledge Management