Knowledge Fishing vs. Knowledge Farming

Dave Snowden, in a comment to my previous rather flippant remark about IT professionals, makes a more important point about KM people falling into the same trap of "building over designed systems based on ideal behaviour rather than allowing naturalistic evolution".

It is in this context that a conversation going on in the Act KM discussions list at the moment about managing communities of practice is raising my usual concerns about the fatal combination of the words "knowledge", "communities" and "manage".

IMHO applying normal management techniques to something as fragile and ephemeral as online forums is doomed from the start. I always remember, and quote, Dave's phrase that "you can't manage knowledge - all you can do is create a knowledge ecology."

It just occurred to me that if there is such a thing as knowledge management, and with apologies to those who rightly recoil at the idea of "capturing knowledge", it is more akin to fly fishing than to trout farming.

Sadly there are few people who have the patience, or the respect for their quarry, required to be good fly fishermen.