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The Knowledge Activist's Handbook : Adventures from the Knowledge Trenches

The Knowledge Activist's Handbook : Adventures from the Knowledge Trenches

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A consultant friend worked for an international corporation. For the first three years he worked very hard, introducing lean production techniques into the business. This meant introducing measurement systems, benchmarking methodologies and eliminating waste in many forms through involvement and empowerment. He also made recommendations that led to new information systems whose implementation he led. The arrival of the interest in the learning organization allowed him to integrate everything he had laboured over into a coherent whole. When the knowledge revolution began to grow, he was convinced that what he had been doing had been part of that revolution. But one day, after three years of hard work across the corporation's plants around the world, he was allowed a glimpse of the real business knowledge that drove the organization. And to his initial sense of disbelief, this 'real' knowledge had nothing to do with efficiency, utilization or the involvement of large numbers of people. This 'real' knowledge turned out to be about knowing when to get into a market, when to get out; how to create value in that market and manage its decline. This knowledge was shared between three key individuals and by being allowed to see it, my friend was being invited to participate in a very privileged game. The question he kept asking himself, was: how could he have missed the real knowledge for so long? How could he have confused what turned out to be minor tactics with a strategy?

Victor Newman
(Excerpt from The Knowledge Activist's Handbook )