Rendering Knowledge

Dave Snowden:

I may have finally broken a writing block. Aside from two book chapters in the last couple of months I more or less completed a paper length opinion piece for a report ARK are producing on KM in the Legal Profession. The title includes one of those words which has multiple and different meanings namely render which is allowing me to play games between the poetic meaning and that of rendering something down to fat. As a part of that paper I updated my original three rules of knowledge management to seven principles which I share below.
Knowledge can only be volunteered it cannot be conscripted. You can’t make someone share their knowledge, because you can never measure if they have. You can measure information transfer or process compliance, but you can’t determine if a senior partner has truly passed on all their experience or knowledge of a case.
We only know what we know when we need to know it. Human knowledge is deeply contextual and requires stimulus for recall. Unlike computers we do not have a list-all function. Small verbal or nonverbal clues can provide those ah-ha moments when a memory or series of memories are suddenly recalled, in context to enable us to act. When we sleep on things we are engaged in a complex organic form of knowledge recall and creation; in contrast a computer would need to be rebooted.