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Knowledge Management 2014: present and future

1 November 2014
Dr. Moria Levy

There are those who refer to the stage we are in as 'the third generation of Knowledge Management'.

The first generation dealt with managing documents and archives.

The second generation continued its predecessors work while refined it to the form of portal and signified the transition to "new" document managing as well as the management of Communities of Practice, Best Practices, etc.


The second generation added another element: instead of trans-organizational activities, an emphasis on focused activities supporting the designated Business Lines. No more Knowledge Management only on a shared infrastructural level, rather focusing on a defined target group while defining specific business/organizational objectives that will be improved due to the Knowledge Management. This change made the KM world regard procedural aspects and Change Management.


As mentioned above, we are today in the third generation. It has been talked about for several years already (as were the previous generations), yet it is approaching in a slower pace than we would hope. We are now in the Social generation. This means more sharing, less managing. We're beginning to internalize that there is some truth behind the term “Wisdom of the Crowds”.

Of course, there is a follow-up to this trend: a greater emphasis on knowledge; the world is comprised from more than documents.


What are the main tools used?

First are the tools of Social Media. This field has its trends and fashions; at first we established more Wiki environments and attempted to adopt blogs; now we are already contemplating the use of Social Networks in organizations (again for organizational and/or business purposes). The software tools that will be used in the organizations will also be social, and increasingly open. Not necessarily personal tools (which, in my opinion, will be less successful), but certainly open-code tools will be used beside the traditional tools already known to us (and maybe even exceed them).

Also here, the cellular phone plays an important role. Surprisingly, sharing implementation begins with the relationship with clients and from there is channeled slowly towards internal organizational sharing. From another aspect, the new generation introduces two additional terms: Gamification and User Experience.


What is my prediction?

The user experience will catch on. It is an upgraded version of the graphics which were disproportionally emphasized in the early stages of the age of portals. It is important, and when done right it takes into consideration the cognitive aspects of our brain, and therefore assists us.


 Regarding Gamification- it still needs some changing; its essence is great, its name is deceiving. Again, like in the User Experience, there is an appeal to other sides that drive us, besides the fact that we want to succeed in our role and ultimately lead to the organization succeeding as a whole. The competition and reward will catch on more than the fun and games. Organizations will, in my opinion, find this hard to swallow in large amounts and will find creating applications suitable for the central knowledge core difficult.

We may still have fun games, but I estimate that these will be a negligible phenomenon.


What about the further future?

We discussed the first, second and third generation. I don't know if this will occur in the fourth generation or that we will have to wait a generation or two, but I predict that technology will increase in power (WhatsApp, Social Networks, and other tools we don't know or fathom yet)- and then, a revolt will occur. People will again place people, without technology, in central positions. People will give the meaning of their position in the organization special value and search for other people as company and partners for knowledge development.


Will this be a regression? Not necessarily. We face the future optimistically, regarding both technological and un-technological aspects. All we need to do is waiting patiently. As to me, I'm waiting expectantly.

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