Biology makes a far better scientific, philosophical and practice foundation for knowledge management (KM) than physics and mechanics. Process management, information technology, engineering and measurement offer extraordinarily poor and destructive archetypes for knowledge creation and KM. Multidisciplinary naivety, an overbearing mechanical orientation and debilitating indifference to living systems, for example, is among the root causes of all the difficult KM challenges. The Biology of KM can no longer be ignored or dismissed.
Please remember the famous observation by Alan Kay, the noted computer scientist,
“UCLA has one department of computer science and 25 biology departments. Why? Biologists are smarter.”
The pioneer of object-oriented programming and the graphical user interface also made the famous remark below. It should be the official KM Mantra.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
The purpose of KM is to Create the Future. This achieved through evolutionary development (‘evo-devo’). KM is all about learning from prospective events and relationships to inform situated behavior. KM serves the emerging future.
Biological principles of emergence, adaptation, mutation, exaptation, stochastic systems, hybridization and so forth are the absolute foundations of effective knowledge creation. Fundamentals principles of living systems shape KM and prosperous outcomes.
Many prestigious and impactful management programs like Baldridge, Lean or Maturity offer robust methods, structured techniques, key measurements and standards. They offer Best Practices and pursue predictable outcomes.
However, they are the polar opposite of effective KM. Authentic KM and effective knowledge creation consists of Next Practices. They help in Creating the Future. Baldridge, Lean or Maturity all started life as knowledge creation and Next Practice efforts.
The enormous advantage enjoyed by KM is there are no standards. Knowledge creation and use will never be a rigid, standardized method like quality, project management or manufacturing.
KM inhabits a state of organizational disequilibrium by definition. Excellence in knowledge creation originates from living systems not classical mechanics, process engineering or applications. There is no place for ‘best practices’ in KM. The major benefits of biological KM propels productivity, innovation and performance.
The historically dysfunctional schema for KM originates from engineering abstractions. This drives ruinous KM activities like standards, centralize applications, measurement and control. Properties of complex living-systems are deliberately avoided. It’s one major reason sensible people avoid KM. Reasonable people know the malignant standards and process alignment is wrong. The failed engineering, process and measurement legacy of KM is simply obsolete.
Contrary to ‘Newtonian KM,’ the Biology of KM is the organization of relationships. Biological and living systems furnish and equip far better abstractions for knowledge creation and KM leadership.
The new-old biology paradigm is an enormous leaps for KM through network patterns, autopoiesis and dissipative systems, for example. These fundamental KM principles deliver higher performance, disruptive innovation and address wicked problems. Much to the chagrin of the decomposing 20th Century Establishment KM is not for organizational hygiene or housekeeping.
Authentic leaders strive to master and express KM by revealing and serving dynamic patterns of relationships of people in and across organizations. The key is always about nurturing long-term tacit knowledge creation. Standards are orthogonal to living systems KM. People proposing KM standards strive to divide KM and pursue the failed knowledge strategies of the past.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein