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Some Principles of Knowledge Management

The following document was originally distributed by LaVern A. Pritchard to attendees at the panel presentation, Information Overload: Knowledge Management Systems to the Rescue!, at the Minnesota Law & Technology Show on September 19, 2000.

Panelists were:

Jeffrey Rovner, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP
LaVern Pritchard, Pritchard Law Webs
Rick Klau, iManage

Sheryn Bruehl, Bruehl & Chapman, P.C. acted as moderator.

Some Principles of Knowledge Management

By LaVern A. Pritchard
Pritchard Law Webs

1. Knowledge management is not a new idea. It?s a key element of long term strategy, not a ?fad? or quick fix.

2. The cost of not managing knowledge greatly exceeds the cost of managing important knowledge. Some organizations expect to externalize the cost of not managing knowledge to their customers. But customers do not pay for unnecessary inefficiencies when someone else can do it better.

3. If knowledge management were intuitive, organizations would have perfected it by now.

4. People should not have to choose between knowing a little about a lot or a lot about a little. They should be able to concentrate most on what they need to know most and, when needed, find out a lot about related things. This requires a browseable knowledge environment designed the way people think.

5. Debating what knowledge management "is" or "is not" is pointless. People intuitively know whether they are managing their own knowledge well and whether their organization helps them to work without stress and inefficiency.

6. People want to solve problems, think, and collaborate. They do not want to ?use technology.? Technology is a means, not an end. Technology must serve people, not the other way around.

7. Technology creates knowledge management problems faster than it creates knowledge management solutions.

8. Those who want to think and act in integrated, creative ways and solve complex problems need rich, integrated, up-to-date knowledge management environments to support them.

9. The Internet is accelerating the pace of change and exploding the amount of accessible knowledge. The gulf between traditional and knowledge-driven organizations is growing as knowledge-driven organizations concentrate not only on present success but their own evolution so they can better take advantage of the new knowledge-intense environment.

10. Call it the knowledge management paradox: Those who are so busy ?putting out fires? that they have no time to tackle knowledge management are those who most need to manage their knowledge better.

1998-2000 Pritchard Law Webs. All rights reserved.


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Pritchard Law Webs, 2100 Foshay Tower, 821 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402. Tel: (612) 332-0102, Fax: (612) 332-3225.

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