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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 2
I have so much to write about, and it is always difficult to focus on any one topic. In these editorials, I am somewhat constrained by the inputs that I receive. In this edition, one of my favorite themes emerged: “convergence”. I am in the process of writing a book about 21 principles for managing the enterprise in the twenty-first century. One of these principles deals with convergence. What exactly is the meaning of this word? It deals with the coming together of events, things, people, whether by accident or on purpose. When this happens, normally exciting things happen, which one normally terms: innovation, revolution, magic.
As openers, we have several portfolio articles: from converging opportunities for the enterprise of the future; risk management issues (a major item in today’s economic turndown); the ever continuum of technology that impacts our organizations; how business ethics ever influences our lives; and finally, the major issue of knowledge valuation and what’s in a name.
I am pleased to welcome the insights from Anne Reed, the CEO of Acquisition Solutions, Inc., recently recognized as one of “Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises” in North America. There is also an article in this issue, written by her colleagues, which explains why they are a first-rate company. I have known this organization through one of her key officers – Bill Kaplan. Bill continues to be a star performer on the KM scene, and constantly contributes new insights to both the practice and theory of KM. Bill also shares his insights in this interview.
I was recently reading in the Financial Times that Walgreens, in their economic downturn, is developing a new strategy, wherein they want to “connect the dots” in the pharmaceutical industry. They have a few parts of that industry, and they are in the process of acquiring others. In other words, they have a “convergence” strategy. In one of my presentations to the World Bank several years ago, the cover Powerpoint slide had as a motif, dots being connected. So where is this all leading? In the articles and book review for this edition, I can clearly see this theme emerging. In fact, the first article, by my colleague, Bill Halal, treats of the “virtuous cycle of knowledge”, which is a convergence of IT, knowledge, and innovation. His new book on this topic, forthcoming this summer, treats of the technology revolution, where knowledge is harnessed systematically on a massive scale. Watch for this book; it is ground breaking. The article on Acquisition Solutions, Inc. talks about the convergence of quality and knowledge management, which produces, for their clients, leading practices and innovative techniques to improve acquisition outcomes. And talk about the power of convergence, just read the article from the convergence and collaboration of the six talented minds from Malaysia, solving the problem of visualizing the relationships between concepts across the varied domains of knowledge. If this is not powerful, let me know. No one person is as smart as all of us. Alex and Dave Bennet continue their prolific writing, which seems as endless and energetic as their article’s title: e-learning as energetic learning, which explores the role of emotion in learning. Is it a stretch to call this a kind of convergence? I think not. I have always been fascinated by the outcomes when disciplines and people converge. DNA and other great discoveries were the convergence of two or more disciplines and people.
I welcome the article by our Chinese scholars on a framework for studying the impact of national cultures on sharing knowledge. Boeing is in the process of designing and building a new generation of aircraft: the Dreamliner – 787. They have integrated virtual teams around the world to do this, and a new chapter in management art and science is being written. The lessons that will emerge from this event will have far reaching consequences on how we manage an enterprise in the twenty-first century. It will have an impact on all the business and management curriculum. The framework noted above will help us clarify the issues in this regard.
My dear friend and colleague, Vincent Ribiere, teams up with another colleague, and produces another case study on KM in a global company. Vincent is currently teaching in Thailand, but what global credentials he has: two doctorates, one from France; one from the USA. He taught in the USA, France, the Middle East, China, and now, Thailand. What a global perspective he brings to this journal.
The book reviewed is one of my favorites, and on my list of “must read.” In a real sense, Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a convergence of the message, the messenger, and the context. Vittal Anantatmula, in his review, mentions the “law of the few points.” Connection/convergence is the defining verb that changes the world.
Welcome to our world of “convergence”!