440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

December 7, 2000

04 00067 61 00120701
OHS DKR Project
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Subject:   Huge Needs for OHS/DKR
Too Many People Having Too Many Problems

Recently Eric Armstrong noted there is a huge need for Doug's project. He did not elaborate on this need; however, earlier on January 20, 2000 the same sentiment was cited in connection with the energy problem. More recently, others have commented on bio-diversity, and distribution of food, as huge needs for the DKR to solve.

On October 4, 2000 analysis showed that huge needs do not drive markets for arcane ideas like Knowledge Management, when everybody is busy in a robust economy using strong communication skills to handle problems by sending email, making calls on the cell phone, and attending a lot of meetings.

On the other hand, the huge need Doug seeks to solve is the growing gap between the complexity of the modern world, and the ability of people to address complex problems. This ability is generally summed up as "competence," and indeed Doug says just that. "Hey, we're out to improve competence."

Eric points out that improving competence is a hard sell. It requires enabling forces that turn fear of accountability into fear that motivates change to avoid loss. That's tricky; it doesn't happen very often.

Recent trends, however, may portend just such an opportunity for Knowledge Management. An article yesterday sounded the clarion call for competence, noting Too many people are having too many problems. That sounds like the traditional method of feel good management that relies on problem handling, instead of proactive "intelligence" to avoid problems, may be running out of gas on the Information Highway. The only question, is how severe things need to become this time around for people and enterprise to change from IT to KM.



Rod Welch