UPDATE — I’ve added some more thoughts. I couldn’t help myself.

There’s a really inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion on KM and 2.0 tools going on over at the FAST­For­ward blog. I’ve man­aged to get myself involved and am prob­a­bly preach­ing a lit­tle KM heresy. I per­son­ally think KM need not be an iden­ti­fied, explicit prac­tice in organ­i­sa­tions. It should just be.

Now, I’m a real­ist. I know that many organ­i­sa­tions don’t yet oper­ate this way. But they should.

Here’s my lat­est input to the thread.

“I absolutely agree with you that any­thing 2.0 is not about the tech­nol­ogy. Tech­nol­ogy is and always has been an enabler. Tools and approaches with 2.0 labels should be such that we can use them to do our jobs bet­ter — Gov­ern­ment 2.0 con­nects gov­ern­ment to the con­stituency, Library/​Enter­prise/​Web 2.0 con­nects the source and their ser­vices to the users. It’s all about enable­ment and people.

KM also should be about peo­ple. Often it’s not as it’s seen as a wid­get and not a prac­tice or cul­tural thing. KM should be about shar­ing, open­ness, expo­sure of as much tacit knowl­edge as pos­si­ble, men­tor­ing, suc­ces­sion plan­ning, engage­ment, know­ing where to turn for infor­ma­tion. Tools can enable and enhance those prac­tices, but if 3×5 index cards can do it for you, go crazy.

I think too often, organ­i­sa­tions feel they need a KM prac­tice because they don’t actu­ally do the things that embed KM prac­tices into cor­po­rate DNA. I know I’m preach­ing a lit­tle heresy to the KM purists, but it’s not dif­fer­ent to what peo­ple like Patrick Lambe and David Gur­teen have been say­ing for ages.

KM shouldn’t need to be “done” as a par­tic­u­lar thing belong­ing to a par­tic­u­lar part of the organ­i­sa­tion. It should just be. Be a part of what you do every day. Be a part of how your organ­i­sa­tion operates.”

John Hus­band, who wrote the orig­i­nal post, also said in comments:

HR and line man­age­ment and need­ing to bring “work design” up to date, into the mod­ern world, so to speak…

In terms of John’s HR think­ing, I agree. My wife, Alli, is an HR man­ager for a large Fed­eral depart­ment in Aus­tralia. She is also a good strate­gic thinker on HR (see her mis­sives at Shift­edHR). Some­thing she iden­ti­fies very often is that like KM, HR is treated as widget-​​based. Do an HR thing here and another there. But what hap­pens is that con­text van­ishes. One part of the orga­ni­za­tion or process is deeply divorced from another so the silos and iso­la­tion and non-​​strategic view perpetuate.

It’s this sort of think­ing and prac­tice, whether it’s around HR, KM or man­age­ment think­ing in gen­eral that causes the schisms and turf wars we see on 2.0, KM and every­thing else recy­cled almost ad nau­seam. Fur­ther, it means that on-​​the-​​ground prac­ti­tion­ers are iso­lated from man­age­ment think­ing, from each other and from an under­stand­ing of what they do generally.

With­out con­text, with­out the 40000′ view of what you do, with­out rich intra– and inter-​​organizational com­mu­ni­ca­tion about what you do, with­out con­tact with peers and col­leagues around the world, with­out a clear pic­ture about how you do what you do and why, I firmly believe there’s no way you can do what you do really well. You end up miss­ing crit­i­cal pieces of the puzzle.

So yes, KM man­agers and prac­ti­tion­ers, HR and busi­ness line man­age­ment (who should be lead­ers as well as man­agers) and the rest of us need to take a big­ger view of what we do so that we see where the blocks are, where the holes are and progress (as rapidly as pos­si­ble) toward an under­stand­ing of where we should be address­ing infor­ma­tion, knowl­edge and lead­er­ship needs in our organizations.

Your thoughts? I’d be inter­ested to hear.