KM on a budget

(Is KM an allowed topic here?)

Knowledge management has been knocked around in my organization for so long with so little understanding of what KM is. On the one hand, there is the belief that everything that transpires in your business is an archivable knowledge asset -- hard copy ephemera such as scribbles on paper napkins or meeting leave-behinds; verbal ephemera such as telephone conversations, chats with colleagues at conferences or at dinners; electronic documents such as email and binary files. In reality, I haven't seen the promise of a tool that allows you to capture all this transferable knowledge and then share it easily, but have heard the promises from vendors over the last 5 years. As the term recedes from everyday parlance in large right-sizing organizations such as my own, the need for knowledge management is still pressing. Which brings me to the The 99 cent KM solution, David Weinberger's short essay on KM World that proposes that low-budget tools such as email list applications and weblogs will get you far.

I'm tending to agree that these tools may be sufficient for a lot of small organizations. My understanding is that Knowledge Management is about being able to communicate store and retrieve knowledge. KM is tool and technology agnostic. In these tight-budget days, I still hear the term kicked around a lot, but I hear less and less about initiatives to research a technology to support KM. I don't know that the low budget tools are sufficient to support KM for large organizations, but they certainly seem like sufficient for creating some knowledge sharing until the killer KM app arrives, no?