Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: VINE: The journal of information and knowledge management systems, Volume 38, Issue 1.
In my many years at the business of KM, I never came across a university that undertook a program to implement KM. My insights, contacts, research, material, and cases come from the corporate world, some not-for-profits, such as The World Bank, and many government agencies. I was so pleased to see the work and progress of a university in this regard: Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI). In our Executive Interview, their efforts and goals are laid out. This is not the typical question-and-answer interview; rather, I decided to let their story flow uninterrupted, as in an article. However, not to lose the flavor of who is in charge, and who is responsible, I need to recognize the efforts of three people at MESI: Dr Vladimir Tikhomirova, the past Rector; Dr Natalya Tikhomirova, the current Rector, and Dr Alexander Pechenkin, Chief of the KM Department. Those of us in the business know it takes a champion if any KM efforts are not only undertaken, but also that they succeed. These visionaries and champions have my applause. Their efforts will be recognized throughout the entire academic world.
Since I am on the topic of KM and the University, I am still perplexed about the global lack of KM curricula and research at the University. KM is still not an accepted academic discipline, with its accompanying definition, framework, and first principles. Dr Martin Grossman has recently published a research piece on this, and it is worth the reading (Journal of Information Systems Education, Vol. 18 No. 1).
This leads me to my next theme: why KM? It is all about KM in the twenty-first century economy. Knowledge assets account for the greater part of a nation’s GDP, especially in the developed, and now, newly developed countries, such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. If you examine the source of their “real” national wealth, it is in their information and knowledge resources. Yet, we still do not know how to inventory, value, and manage these resources in a disciplined way. Perhaps one of the reasons why KM has not fully emerged as an academic discipline and profession can be found in Niall Sinclair’s article: “The changing face of KM”. He discusses KM’s evolution in three stages: personally-based, community-based, and organizationally-based. Since KM has so many faces, it takes a community to come to grips with it; not independent thinkers and practitioners. That is why I subscribe to systems thinking, systems approach, systems engineering and integration, and systems management. This is manifested in our global collaborative efforts in KM at the Institute for Knowledge and Innovation at George Washington University (www.gwu.edu/ ∼ iki). More about these in future editions of VINE.
This edition of VINE is unusually large. From the contents you can see the richness and diversity of the articles. If you read the bios of the authors, you should be impressed. Is KM dead? Talk to these authors about it, and you will hear the same refrain: why KM? It’s all about KM. KM does give one the competitive advantage, whether it is personal, community, or organizational. Knowledge is truly the source of individual, community, and organizational wealth. We should not squander it; but continue to leverage it.
Before I leave my thoughts in this New Year edition, I want to give a special recognition to Diane Heath, VINE publisher. What a class act! Always thoughtful, very professional, whose insights and assistance makes these issues what they are.
I leave you now for the ski slopes of Colorado. I am in search of new knowledge that will provide me continued wealth for the coming months; hopefully, years.