7 Key Knowledge Management Principles

What are the key principles for knowledge management? Dave Snowden has been thinking about this topic (a.o.) and kicking against the KM world for some time.Now, he updated his old 3 rules to to 7 principles based on his thinking about KM in the legal profession. They are:
1. Knowledge can only be volunteered, it cannot be conscripted.
2. We only know what we know when we need to know it.
3. In the context of real need few people will withhold their knowledge.
4. Everything is fragmented (also refer to this one).
5. Tolerated failure imprints learning better than success.
6. The way we know things is not the way we report we know things.
7. We always know more than we can say, and we always say more than we can write down.
Great principles to chew on (as Mary Abraham says). Not only for the legal profession, but for all companies!
With respect to 'number 4' I'd also like to point to another great post by Snowden on bottom-up, low-cost knowledge management, starting with setting up blogs.Wiki's could/should be the next step in Snowden's bottom-up, low-cost community-building approach! John Tropea of Library Clips tells us how, by answering the question how blogs relate to wiki's.


  1. Although hardly recognized in most organizations, the last principle is actually a real important one! The fact that we know more than we can say or write down has an important consequence for knowledge management in organizations. Currently, we are setting up a discussion about the impact of this form of knowledge on for example a Business Intelligence implementation. More on this subject can be found on www.intelligent-business.nl.

  2. Thanks for your comment Mariska! True that principle is hardly recognized. Most organization think very mechanistically about KM. Thanks again for the pointer to your blog.


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