Looking for feedback here.
As most of our colleagues and clients know, my role at SMR International is pretty broad-based. I mostly work as a consultant and teacher in KM, knowledge services, and knowledge strategy development.
And, yes, for many of the folks who know me, I am thought of as something of an evangelist for knowledge services (which we describe as “the convergence of information management, knowledge management, and strategic learning, all in support of organizational effectiveness”).
It all relates to the many professionals engaged in knowledge-based activities and to how they’re struggling to find a way to describe themselves and their work. And what we’re coming up with seems to focus on their work as “knowledge strategists.”
Nice idea, Guy, but where do we find the job listings for “knowledge strategists”?
We don’t. This is an emerging field, and we’re still learning. Learning about KM, knowledge services, and knowledge strategy and how we put it all together to provide us and the people who work with knowledge with the expertise they need for succeeding with knowledge development and knowledge sharing, what we like to call “KD/KS.”
And that comes down to a lot of jobs, in a lot of different industries, in different organizational functions, and even to jobs described from many different perspectives or points of view.
It gets kind of confusing, doesn’t it? What’s the budding knowledge strategist to do?
I’ve been thinking about this topic (and speaking about it with many of my friends, clients, and colleagues) quite a bit recently. So I’ll share here a few thoughts, some ideas from two other people and – bear with me (I can’t resist!) – my own thoughts about the work of the knowledge strategist.
First off, I’ll call on Kate Pugh, the Academic Director at Columbia University’s M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy/IKNS program (full disclosure: I’m on the IKNS faculty and I work closely with Kate).
Last week, the current IKNS cohort met on the Columbia campus for its second residency, and one of the topics discussed (no surprise here) had to do with the workplace where IKNS graduates find themselves employed.
Kate provided a useful exercise which she has graciously allowed me to publish at SMRShare: What IKNS Job Suits You?. Readers of this post can access Kate’s notes there.
Kate reports that the students enjoyed the exercise. She structured the content as a table, with the job-types as columns and the relational and disciplinary content as rows. Students were asked to underline, circle, annotate, expand, and discuss the content among their peers. Many of the students reported that this was a helpful exercise, as it made them think purposefully about what type of setting suits them, and what type of leadership activity suits them.
And how did Kate begin the discussion?
By listing the “types” of jobs:
- KM Job Type #1: “Embedded KM Leader,” which Kate defines as knowledge specialist, strategist, manager, catalyst, evangelist, analyst, and/or technologist for an organization’s knowledge processes, with employees likely involved in social, intranet or web properties.
- KM Job Type #2: “Consultant,” the knowledge domain employee who is an adviser, producer, coach, analyst working for a variety of organizations on a project basis, with a consulting firm or as an independent.
- KM Job Type #3: “Product Entrepreneur,” the knowledge employee who is part of a team developing a knowledge-based product, such as a new social media application, a metadata-based feature set for an application, or a repeatable knowledge-based process, such as in insurance, CRM, eBusiness, personal finance – this employee may also be doing this as an entrepreneur, or on the inside of the organization as a “product” owner.