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Huda Khan

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I found the following very interesting:

a) Understanding that simply technology cannot solve a community's problems but the way the community of practice functions and communicates is essential to solving these problems.

b) The idea of a "knowledge champion", in essence someone who oversees the big picture of knowledge management, and keeps people aware of the organization's best practices.

c) The "In Touch" help desk system. In addition to answering queries like other online help systems, these engineers
also know who to contact and from where to get information. (They are not merely human technical manuals.)

1.2. not interesting about the article?

The fact that article concerned a particular oil company did not concern me too much. I didn't find particularly interesting any of the details regarding the oil industry which weren't directly relevant to the discussion of technology or knowledge management.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

Successful knowledge management within companies and organizations is critical for their success, especially as collaboration space becomes more virtual and intellectual capital is considered the most important competitive resource. Organizations must have the ability to leverage the collective knowledge of their employees, making knowledge and information accessible to all employees and allowing knowledge regarding innovative and best practices to be published and disseminated widely. AI techniques, methods, and tools that enable and facilitate knowledge management are needed.

Special attention must be paid to process, people, technology, and content. Communities of practice are supported by technology but technology should be regarded as a necessary and insufficient factor in the success of knowledge management enterprises. Technological solutions must be chosen and created for members of the communities of practice to collaboratively publish and update knowledge in their shared knowledge repository.

3. what are 3.1. the strengths / successes and 3.2. the weaknesses /failures of knowledge management?

I'm slightly confused by the question. Does the question refer to knowledge managemet systems to date or knowledge management in general?

3.1. Knowledge management systems allow information regarding best practices and community knowledge and innovative techniques developed by any of the members at any time to be disseminated across the entire organization.

3.2 These technological systems are essential tools but they cannot replace the need for the community members to participate in the culture of sharing knowledge freely and considering knowledge sharing a responsibility. The tools can facilitate the process but the people must be willing to engage in the process.

4. what are you personal experiences with

4.1. knowledge management and

4.2. knowledge management systems?

I have used the portal for ACM, and have found it to be rather useful for finding articles relevant to my area of research.
The portal has been my access point to this particular system, so I am not completely aware of the management practices underlying this portal. Information regarding new ideas, published practices, etc. are all available through the portal.

On a much simpler level, I have volunteered with a non-profit organization where we have dealt with the issues of using technology to support our communities of practice. Here, the group site content and group e-mail lists constitute the bulk of the knowledge management system, where the problem of initial content was similar to that of seeding the knowledge repository. The difference between the two systems was that, in the first, content updates were largely the responsibility of one person, but the similarity is that content (news updates, event listings, project descriptions) was used to generate feedback and interest from members both within and outside the community of practice. Basically, this group needs a knowledge management system, and technology must be created that can be used by the different members to fulfill the need to disseminate knowledge and information and publish best practice information. E-mail lists are used to put all members on the "same page" by sharing agenda items, upcoming event information, the need for volunteers or support, etc.

5. How would you differentiate between "pull" and "push" approaches in knowledge management?

What are the trade-offs between the two approaches?

In which situations would you use one or the other approach?

"Pull" approaches refer to techniques such as "search" or "browse" in portals, where community members are driving their own exploration of knowledge and information. They are formulating queries and choosing which concepts to explore and the technology retrieves information based on their choices and options. "Push" approaches refer to techniques such as agents or wizards where the technology suggests or recommends information to community members, "pushing" the information to them as opposed to letting them "pull" the information they need using the technology.

In general, pull approaches allows users more autonomy in searching the concepts they wish to explore, whereas push approaches save users time and search effort by discovering and recommending information users may have taken longer to find or may not have found at all on their own. Designing push approaches to make the information delivery timely and relevant to the user's context still requires more finely tuned tools than are currently available.

In building "pull" approach portals, designers must take into account how to categorize the information, display the categories, and create efficient search tools so users can find the information for which they are searching or browsing where they expect to find it.

I would use "pull" approaches where the categorization provided was relevant and where I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to find out and where to look for it. I would use "push" approaches where my area of interest or work requires information from a wide variety of sources, some of which may be unknown to me. Agents that can suggest or recommend information would be helpful in those situations.

6. please discuss why and how the two following quotes are (or are not) relevant for knowledge management:

6.1. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana)

Knowledge management systems can be used to document community best practices, eliminating the need for practitioners to reinvent the wheel when facing problems similar to those solved before, and enabling newcomers to discover and explore the organization's "common sense" and history on their own.

6.2. "Innovation is everywhere; the difficulty is learning from it" (John Seeley Brown)

It is helpful to know what new innovative techniques have been developed to tackle various problems.
If knowledge management systems can make sure the organization as a whole is aware of the different innovative practices that are developed anywhere within the organization, these practices can be known and used wherever relevant.
This way, different people will not have to reinvent the wheel to solve the problem over and over again or rely on techniques that are not as effective as ones already known by others in the same organization.

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