The Knowledge Management Culture Shift

Great blog post from Nick Milton , all about the Knowledge Management culture shift. I’d seen this before, but worth repeating since I think it encapsulates the key elements of collaboration in successful communities of practice, a key area of work I’ve been involved in for the past 4 years.  It’s a useful exercise to consider these points as both an individual and as part of a group/community exercise to gain a perspective of where you , your organisation or your community are on your KM journey:

  • From “I know” to “We know”
  • From “Knowledge is mine” to “Knowledge is ours”
  • From “Knowledge is owned” to “Knowledge is shared”
  • From “Knowledge is personal property” to “Knowledge is collective/community property”
  • From “Knowledge is personal advantage” to “Knowledge is company advantage”
  • From “Knowledge is personal” to “Knowledge is inter-personal”
  • From “I defend what I know” to “I am open to better knowledge”
  • From “not invented here (i.e. by me)” to “invented in my community”
  • From “New knowledge competes with my personal knowledge” to “new knowledge improves my personal knowledge”
  • From “other people’s knowledge is a threat to me” to “our shared knowledge helps me”
  • From “Admitting I don’t know is weakness” to “Admitting I don’t know is the first step to learning”

Nick goes on to comment:

That shift from “I know” to “we know” – from “Knowledge is mine” to “Knowledge is ours” is a huge one, and counter-cultural to many of us. People can find it scary, but once it has been achieved, it is like living in a different, and far better, world.

Agree with that, and have never underestimated how difficult it is to achieve this cultural shift.

Within the context of communities of practice it reflects a view of knowledge as the property of human communities and places the emphasis on connections between people and cultivating, recognising and supporting a shared learning experience.


  1. Anika said:

    This is one good looking, sexy theme, love it! What theme are you using?

    May 29, 2009
  2. This is great stuff, Steve. Bookmarking it for future ref.

    Put this clearly, it’s easy to see why it’s such a difficult to bring about in large organisations.

    May 30, 2009
  3. Steve Dale said:

    Thanks for the comment Neil. I think it reinforces the concept that it’s all about the people and very little about the technology.

    May 31, 2009

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