Thursday, July 5, 2007

The neats and the scruffies

I just loved this blog post from Jim McGee at the FASTForward Blog: Knowledge management: the newest battle between the neats and the scruffies. A taste:

In most large organizations, knowledge management has been characterized as a technology problem or as a analog to financial management; placing it squarely within the purview of the organization’s neatest neats. This is a recipe for disappointment, if not outright failure.

It might possibly be an open question whether knowledge management can be eventually reduced to something as structured as accounting or library science. But it is a lousy place to start. Most organizations aren’t yet mature or sophisticated enough about knowledge work issues and questions to be obsessing about taxonomies or measurement and reward systems for knowledge work. But those are activities that are neat and specifiable and only superficially relevant. They lead to complex efforts to get to the right answer when we would be better served by simpler efforts to make things better.

Pretty much sums up the dilemma of Web 2.0 adoption in the enterprise. Somewhere along the way our IT shops were taken over by the neats. If enterprise 2.0 is going to make it we're going to have to restore some balance. Fortunately, the 2.0 technologies are organic and bottom-up and can't be easily contained.

No comments: