Each new year brings a mass of predictions, and 2012 has been no exception.
That’s not so much the case in our field. When it comes to KM, knowledge services, and knowledge strategy development, we’re a little gun-shy about making predictions. I can’t say exactly why, but it’s probably because so many predictions of the past have been found to be, well, a little short of accurate.
Why is that? Why do we resist predictions? Is it that folks in the predicting “game” have it all wrong? Perhaps predicting is more about dealing with wishful thinking than with reality. Or with our fears about the economy. Or even with a little fantasizing about how we would like things to be (instead of how they really are)? Indeed, perhaps predicting is simply an empty exercise.
Or perhaps those of us in knowledge work just long ago picked up on the advice of our great mentor, Peter F. Drucker, famously reputed to have said: “I don’t predict. I just look out the window and see what’s visible but not yet seen.”
Isn’t that what we try to do, those of us working in KM and knowledge services? Isn’t it our job to look beyond the current state of things and think about what might be out there? And then to offer some opinion about how things might be, if certain principles (yes, including some of Mr. Drucker’s principles) are applied? I think so.
How about an example? We’re very aware that the formerly great gap between IT and knowledge development and knowledge sharing (KD/KS) is finally beginning to crumble. And now, at last, what were (but shouldn’t have been) separate disciplines are coming together. It’s only natural, and it’s a state of affairs many of us have been waiting for. So as we “look out the window” this is the time to “see what’s visible,” to focus on what some others in the organization might not be seeing.
For me – at this point – the most obvious thing we need to work on is expectations, the new expectations of senior management about KM, knowledge services, and knowledge strategy. We now have organizational leaders asking us to help them develop their organizational strategies for dealing with intellectual capital, and it’s a refreshing change (it wasn’t that long ago we were being called upon to define KM for them!).
So instead of predicting, let’s think about what’s visible: we’ve got a big target market out there. Let’s get the KM/knowledge services message to that market.