Putting the Solution Cart Before the Innovation Horse – Innovation Excellence (blog)

Putting the Solution Cart Before the Innovation Horse
Innovation Excellence (blog)
Putting the Solution Cart Before the Innovation Horse So, here it comes again. Another blog post using an old standby as a way to make a point.

Dr. Dan Kirsch‘s insight:

Although this short but to the point article is addressing the problem of “putting solutions and technologies ahead of innovation” as I’ve said many (many) times, the exact same should apply to Knowledge Management.

As Jeffrey Phillips says, “ the selection of a tool, technology or solution before investigation of the underlying problem doesn’t guarantee you’ve got the right solution” and the end result of this is not only the potential for having a tool that doesn’t best meet your need but there is the very high potential that the tool itself may become an inhibitor of the very purpose for which it was supposed to support.

When the “decision to select and implement a tool or technology based on gut feeling, pressure from a manager, customer or vendor, or some other reason” the end result is more likely than not going to be closure of key organizational knowledge gaps.  

The tool tends to take on a life of its own, where the “feeding of the beast” becomes the focus.  Instead of understanding WHY a repository exists, and seeking through usage of actual outcome measures to determine whether or not the tool is effective, the goal becomes to put as many documents into the repository as quickly as possible.  No Knowledge Management strategy….and no taxonomy, no meta taging, no determining who should be putting documents in there to begin with (because we all know that some individuals really, truly aren’t the subject matter experts)…and so it becomes an exercise in tracking hit counts, hover time, documents uploaded, documents revised, documents downloaded.  With no regard to whether any of those activities (which shouldn’t be confused with results) produce any desireable outcomes.  

And then the next version of the IT “thingie” is introduced and even those outputs take back seat to the upgrade cycle.  No measure whatsoever regarding whether or not the IT “thingie” contributes to actual outcomes or produces improved organizational effectiveness.

As I’ve said many (many) times, Knowledge Management is NOT about Information Technology.  Technology is but a tool, that when used properly can improve effectiveness of certain Knowledge Management processes.  But if you put the cart (IT) before the horse (KM) the end result will not be the same.

See on www.innovationexcellence.com

About Dr. Dan Kirsch