Friday, February 08, 2013

The Dangers of Objectifying Collaboration

In a recent McKinsey Interview, Don Tapscott said: "Knowledge management has failed. We had this view that knowledge is a finite asset, it’s inside the boundaries of companies, and you manage it by containerizing it."

Well, not ALL knowledge management has failed - primarily those that focused on thinking of knowledge as an asset and over "engineered" efforts to manage it.

A recent Harvard Business School blog post titled Collaboration as an Intangible Asset written by Accenture's Robert J. Thomas references the very often spoken of challenge of measuring intangible assets, and positions collaboration as an intangible asset. Applying Tapscott's perspective, viewing collaboration as an asset will doom related initiatives to failure much like KM.

I think we have to stop thinking of social process as assets or objects that should be weighed and measured. Some of the outcomes can and should be be captured and managed as assets, as they are often re-useable results of good work, or evidence of business activity.

Let's spend more time trying to encourage, facilitate and remove cultural, structural, managerial barriers collaboration, knowledge sharing and learning, and less time trying to mange "assets," tangible or otherwise.

1 comment:

munyaradzi maketo said...

The issue of knowledge management has failed, i totally disagree with the fact. Yes its an intangible asset but if we look for example in ERP system, knowledge shared has drastically shifted the systems, bringing in automation and the like.