Personal Knowledge Management

Personal Knowledge Management

I know there are very few of you who follow my blogging, not least as I have not, to date, been a regular or consistent blogger. Even so, I want to set the context for starting to blog again, even if the real audience for this post is me!
For ages, I’ve been playing with different tools and platforms to capture and organize all the interesting stuff I’ve come across while looking for more sources of wisdom at work. Computer and paper filing systems, software, online services, software that has an online service, my own memory (yeah… nah!) and on and on. They all have their benefits which have me keep playing with them, and their drawbacks which have me start playing with something else.
The whole point of this exercise is not just to create my personal library of fascinating material, but to use it like a massive connect-the-dots picture. As I came to realize that idea A overlaps somewhat with idea B or shines a light on idea C that has it make new sense, I wanted to capture that. Somewhere I came across the notion that creativity is associating elements into new formation. Yeah – that.
Eventually I came across the basics of Knowledge Management as a discipline. Being an ornery and anti-social loner, of course I looked for Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tools and advice. And very quickly was disabused, as everything I read made it clear that the key is networking not just the ideas in my little world, but networking with others. They benefit and I benefit and our joint knowledge and wisdom grows.
Which I knew and didn’t know at the same time.
Which is the point. Knowledge Management is about recognizing that we don’t know what we do know – unless we manage our knowledge well. For individuals, that’s always about context. As a mentor of mine once succinctly put it, “Humans don’t know what they know until they need to know it”. For larger groups and organizations, it means that their knowledge is either buried in their documentation or is carried in people’s heads, and in either case unless it’s somehow widely known that this knowledge exists, then no-one knows it’s available for consultation. Worse, some of the best and most useful knowledge might simply leave as people change job or retire.
Now, I’m not gifted with a phenomenal memory. I might have mentioned that before, I don’t know. (See what I did there?) But what I have now realized, not least from having many of the proponents of PKM highly recommend this, is that blogging is wise. The act and process of writing is a context shifter and can mean that great stuff falls out of my fingers. It gets captured, it gets shared, it’s available to my network of folks for their benefit, reflection, comment and contributions, and moreover it becomes searchable. Turns out technology is kinda handy like that.
So I’m starting to blog again.

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