Monday, March 22, 2010

PKM as Seek-Sense-Share?

Another attempt by Harold Jarche to describe Personal Knowledge Management (PKM); This time as a Seek-Sense-Share process. Harold previously used other sequences to explain PKM as Sort-Categorize-Make Explicit-Retrieve; Connect-Contribute-Exchange; or Aggregate-Filter-Connect.

For Harold "PKM consists of practical methods for making sense of the increasing digital information flows around us". In my eyes, this definition of PKM is simply (personal) information management under a new label. Information, however, represents only one side of the knowledge equation, namely explicit knowledge. In the KM literature, there is wide recognition that explicit knowledge represents only a small fraction of valuable knowledge and that there is a huge mass of high-quality knowledge embedded in people. This type of knowledge is what Michael Polanyi called tacit knowledge. Thus, I believe that PKM should involve a combination of explicit and tacit knowledge and that the major challenge is to properly address the tacit dimension of knowledge (i.e. people).

I cannot understand why Harold still insists on describing PKM as a predetermined process such as seek-sense-share. The focus on PKM as a predetermined process conflicts with the complex nature of knowledge. Seek-sense-share represents only 3 processes that PKM can be in, and misses other crucial processes. This explains why Harold always comes up with a different sequence to explain PKM. Moreover, seek-sense-share is a clear view of PKM as a linear process. This linearity is not well adjusted to describing what is actually going on in PKM. In each new context, PKM is a unique process and is the result of personal and emergent processes that do not follow any particular order.

I totally agree with Harold that PKM is the future of KM, but I don't agree with his strong emphasis on how to "standardize" the PKM process. Harold commented on an earlier post in the same context saying that a definition of PKM, based on a 3 components would make his clients remember them. That might be true but in my opinion it would be better to just help them define their PKM processes themselves. In the end it should be "personal"…

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