Knowledge management (KM) is defined in Wikipedia as ‘the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organisation’. It originated in the early 90’s as a scientific discipline and its practice was adopted in enterprise to manage and leverage an intangible asset which was increasingly seen as being strategic.
In its early days, the practice of KM and its enabling software solutions focused on digitisation, storage and retrieval of documents. KM was then mainly preoccupied with stocks of knowledge. However, with the emergence of Wikis (1995), RSS (early 1999) and Weblogs (also in the late 1990s and now more commonly known as Blogs), individuals and enterprises saw the emergence of new possibilities around knowledge and information management. Although I first became aware of the increasing importance of knowledge flows in KM for the enterprise in John Hagel et al.’s series of articles in the Harvard Business Review in 2009 where the authors advocated quite provocatively to ‘Abandon Stocks, Embrace flows’, Lee Lefever had written an earlier series of 3 articles more nuanced headlined ‘Introduction to Stocks and Flows in online communications’ back in 2004 (thanks to Harold Jarche for the info). He defined the two as follows: