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Best Practice and the Excluded Middle

Martin picks up on a nice comment by Paul Burdick of AES:

"The minute you systematize something, you suck the life out of it... nobody asks questions any more - questions such as 'why is it done this way?' 'Has the world changed in the interim? 'Can it be done better now?'"
Martin goes on to suggest that
"KM lies in the human practice. It is about finding good ways of doing things. Quality lies in the organizational process. It is about deploying good ways of doing things."
...and that KM and Quality as a result don't get along too well.

It reminds me of something various of us talked about briefly at the Personal Knowledge Management Workshop in November, namely that if PKM is personal, then does it make sense to have best practices for it when they are innately impersonal?

There's a big either-or, law of the excluded middle fallacy floating around in all of this, I think. To use Martin's terms, I don't understand how either human or organisational approaches can be sufficient on their own. Deploying rubbish seems to be as half-cocked an approach as finding gold nuggets but not being able to do anything with them.

The excluded middle in all of this I guess is balance. How to foster the finding and the deployment, i.e. balancing the skills of the individual (creativity) with the skills of the organisation (efficiency).

Martin highlights the example of Toyota as a company that seem to have found a balance [from John Seely Brown's talk at this year's KM Europe]. Surprise surprise, their production line looks like a ballet: creative, efficient and balanced.

Graceful, even without the tights :)


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