A well known software vendor makes this claim: “Employees do not need to do one single thing for 10 years to have it be second nature. They don’t need process flows. Knowledge is acquired from the combination of information and data that is at our fingertips, and relevant to our context. This is the future of knowledge management and access.” And in response, well I think that I’m going to go ahead and have to disagree. Yeah, going to have to disagree. Here’s why….
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Ants when scouting for new nesting sites or food sources have no leader giving orders. Instead as they travel they leave a trail of scent for other ants, called “scouts”, to follow. Scouts that find a good nesting site or food source in turn leave more scent along the same trail. Eventually, one site is selected from many potential sites in a sort of “chemical democracy” based on the strongest combined chemical strength left by more and more scouts. This organizing process is both simple and powerful. And so without any need for bosses they efficiently find new places to live and new food sources.
So what do ants have to do with Knowledge Management? Glad you asked!