THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2004 15:46:43 -0700
03 00050 61 04062001
Mr. John Maloney
1329 Taylor Street #12
San Francisco, CA 94108
Knowledge Leadership Oxymoron - June 25, 2004
Glad to hear in
your notice today, shown below, that you will be
gathering top minds in New York city later this month to discuss
knowledge management. These events take a lot of work, and we
all applaud your stellar efforts. At the same time, I object to the
negative tone of the announcement that spends a lot of time
saying what will not be presented, and prescious little in the
way of saying what will be presented. I further object to the
opprobrium directed toward "mechanistic" solutions for
implementing hard won knowledge from experience over the past two
(2) millennia that guides the practice of management to empower people with
command and control of the work, as explained in POIMS.
It was disappointing when your group met on 991217 with professionals
from around the world saying they did not understand the
meaning of "knowledge," and hoped to find an
answer by attending your KM event.
It was again, sad to hear three (3) years later in your letter on 020608 that
Knowledge Management remains a mystery, i.e., a
failure, to prominent thought leaders, which is simply glossed
over by substituting "knowledge" for "information" in
professional papers, events and product specifications.
Now, two (2) years hence, rather than educate to enlighten,
professional events are still dimming the lights. The current
fashion seems to be following the path of SAT for college
entrance, by dumbing down the meaning of "knowledge," evident
from the complete loss of direction in the announcement, shown
below, for a professional event in New York city on knowlege
management. Peter Drucker notes, from decades of experience,
that people have given up on improving communication, because the
task is complex, reviewed on 931130...
.. http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/93/11/30/002549.HTM#3851 ..
For retreat to now be presented and advocated as a "new solution"
in the greatest city on earth, signals that the entire
culture has lost its way, sailing without rudder nor compass.
Perhaps this explains how a few guys with box cutters defeated
the entire "intelligence" apparatus of a great power to bring
down the World Trade Center and strike at the heart of western
defense in Washington DC on 010911.
Sprinkling in a few truths, e.g., that reengineering was largely
misapplied in the 90s, and that improvement requires temporarily
setting aside disbelief in order to test and possibly form new,
more useful beliefs, by experimenting to acquire new experience,
cannot, however, overcome the disconnect between the KM event
notice below, and any reasonable notion of "knowledge," as a
process that continually refines accuracy of understanding, i.e.,
mentally associating, and remembering, cause and effect, based on
experience and history of people taking action. This seems to be
the opposite of what is proposed for the event in New York, as
shown below (e.g., "mechanism" typically implies process,
efficiency and productivity by saving time, money and lives, but
is used throughout the event notice as an odious epithet), and so
underscores research on 020812 indicating that people, who claim
to advocate advance from information to a culture of knowledge,
in fact, cling to the old ways of relying on talk to avoid
accountability, as observed by Andy Grove, reviewed on 980307...
...and noted earlier by Plato in 400 BC, commenting on tensions,
still evident today in your announcement advocating reliance on
conversation to build the job, and avering the mechanics of
literacy, much less advancing to knowledge tools that strengthen
accuracy by an order of magnitude, reviewed on 991209...
Accordingly, there is no basis to eschew people, process and time
aided and applied through technology, since that is the mechanism
that drives civilization by making people superhuman, observed by
Doug Lenat, reviewed on 010622....
...and supported by luminaries like Engelbart, Conklin,
Gelernter, Landauer, and others.
Since there is no lack of good ideas, please focus on making good
use of them in future events. Don't tell us what you're not
doing -- tell us how KM can help people ask the right questions
to innovate and improve objectives, requirements and commitments
for getting things done correctly, on time and within budget to
save lives, time and money.
.. Tell us how KM can add intelligence to information that grows
knowledge for solving gridlock in transportation, technology,
leadership, health care, national security. This is a big,
important, urgent agenda. Let's get to work.
The silent killers of effective knowledge
leadership are the pervasive 20th-century
traditions of linear, mechanical and reductionist
thinking paired with their obsolete managerial
behaviours of control, dominance and technocracy.
.. Much of the orthodoxy of 19th-century Newtonian
thinking is unsuitable for 21st-century knowledge
leadership. A recent example of this organizational
pathology is the reengineering fiasco of the 90s.
This mechanistic, cost-reduction management fad
destroyed capabilities, competencies, trust and
value. Even today some managers still use machine
metaphors to describe their knowledge leadership
.. In the future, how we think about opportunities and
how we approach them will often be far more
important than the actions taken.
New leaders often try and speak of a knowledge
ecosystem. They then attempt narrow control of
ecosystem elements as separate, self-contained
applications, tools, processes or content. People
are often cogs in the machine. These prescribed
efforts and rigid, artificial boundaries account
for most all the failures of knowledge-based
.. Knowledge ecosystems are fundamentally
interrelated, interdependent and irreducible. The
knowledge leaders of the future embrace holism and
identify with the primacy of the total system. They
nurture the complementary dynamics of knowledge.
Knowledge leaders strive to expand relationships,
enhance conductivity and amplify the intrinsic
social orientation of all knowledge-based
organizations, ecosystems and economies.
.. Top knowledge leaders routinely 'suspend their
disbelief' to unlearn their harmful industrial-era
habits and models. They learn from the emerging
future through authentic conversation. 21st-century
knowledge leaders actively pursue external
interactions and continuously use genuine
action/research networks to their strategic and
.. "Tomorrow is our permanent address." - Marshall
.. New York City KM Cluster+® Summer 2004 :: Knowledge
This message is your personal invitation to join the
Knowledge Leadership conversation.
http://www.kmcluster.com/nyc/ .. The KM Cluster is a worldwide community action/research
network for the knowledge economy. This leadership event is
part of the Next Practicesâ„˘ Series.
Special note: This gathering
very popular. You are
encouraged to register by
Wednesday, June 23, 2004, due
to building security
.. Register with Mollyguard /
Building Knowledge-based Organizations and
the Knowledge Leaders of the Future
.. Fri, June 25, 2004, 9:00am - 5:00pm (this week!)
Bill Ives and Adriaan Jooste of Deloitte will lead
a conversation on four specific knowledge
.. . Organizational connectors and
. Preventing knowledge from walking out
. Supporting the idea practitioners
. Staying out of the innovation engine
.. They will draw on case examples to illustrate Next
Practices in these four areas. Complementary
relationships with work by Davenport & Prusak and
Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski & Flowers will be
.. The others sessions include:
Robin Athey, Deloitte Research, on Emergent Ideas in Leadership
Michael Burtha, Applied Collaborative Strategies,
on Enterprise Knowledge Leadership
.. Curt Linberg, Plexus Institute, on Knowledge
Stories and Complexity
David Hawthorne and Richard Azzarello, on Talent
.. Registration is open now, but will close Wednesday
due to building security requirments.
You are welcome and encouraged to circulate this invitation in your
professional orbit and to have your colleagues register and join. All are
welcome. This is an exciting event and will fundamentally advance a major
barrier to more effective knowledge-based practices. Secure on-line
registration in advance Before Wed, June 23, 2004, is obligatory.
.. Mollyguard (PayPal):