On judgement

The KM Australia conference is over for another year.  There were some great presentations and I took plenty of notes.  Thanks to everyone involved.  In particular, I want to thank Aimee Rootes from Ark Group.  Aimee was always helpful and pleasant, and went out of her way to find people when I couldn’t find them.

I am not going to launch into my notes from the conference just yet.  I do, however, want to tease out something that Dave Snowden mentioned in his presentation on Wednesday morning.  Dave said that “judgement is what KM is about”.  He reconfirmed the importance of judgement by saying that people in organisations “need to be allowed to make good judgements”.  This was not the central thrust of his presentation but it was important to me.

Judgement should be about choice.  On the one hand, knowledge managers need to judge what elements from their knowledge management armoury is appropriate for what problem (or opportunity) and in what context.  Sometimes knowledge managers have a tool box approach wherein everything in the tool box must be used, irrespective of the need.  A KM tool box requires judgement as to what is appropriate for the task at hand.

But I think Dave was referring to allowing people in organisations to make judgements.  And judgements must be made when dealing with complex environments.  How can KM emerge or be successfully facilitated in an environment in which judgement (by the very people KM is supposed to help) is so completely hindered that standard drone-like thinking pervades everything one does?  An organisational culture needs to support and enhance good judgement.

In my current role I am looking at the way in which our information services go beyond just supplying information and research to people within the organisation.  This is indeed part of our function and we can say we have supplied x number of items and had hundreds of people read our material.  But this is not enough.

I am working on delving more deeply into how people use the information and research my team supply; for what purpose, and most importantly, for what outcome.  I will leave impact to later on – first things first!  I am basically seeking to discover the knowledge trail from where my team gets involved, as part of a much wider process, and where that fits in to give people the capability and confidence to make decisions, or in reality, make judgements about what to do.

If judgement is what KM is about, then I want my team and the services we provide now and into the future, to enhance the capacity and capabilities of people to make good judgements.

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