Knowledge Management is usually associated with groups, teams or industries and not at a personal level. I can hear you ask – “What is Knowledge Management?” Unlike energy, Knowledge can be created and destroyed and needs to be “managed” with utmost care, hence the term Knowledge Management (KM).
1. How is knowledge created?
To put it simply – You get an idea when you use your senses or just by closing your eyes and thinking. Share these ideas with others, to create more ideas and knowledge as a whole. There are two schools of thinking: Aristotle’s ‘Observe and Ideate’ and Plato’s ‘Ideate and Apply’ and both these contribute to an extensive debate.
2. How is knowledge destroyed?
When one leaves the world or an organization or a place or a field i.e., due to death, resignation or geographical migration. Or when physical manifestations of knowledge are destroyed e.g., hard disk crash, library burning down or an ink blot.
Knowledge Management is about meeting point number 1 and avoiding point number 2. This is the crux of it. (Knowledge destruction may be good at times for example in case of unlearning!)
Now, how does one do KM at a personal level?
Knowledge creation – Aristotle, Plato and Altshuller come to our rescue
How to prevent knowledge from being destroyed
I found a couple of excellent applications to do all of these:
Document: At the bottom of this post, there is a screen clipping of this blog post, using Microsoft OneNote 2010, the latest note taking software. In the inset you can see all my previous blog posts as pages. OneNote also allows for subpages and sub-subpages and so on. You can create a neat knowledge hierarchy and still every piece of info is just a click away. This editor is very WYSIWYG unlike personal wikis like tiddlyspace.com. You can click pretty much anywhere on the page and start typing. If you have a tablet or an iPad, you can write anywhere you want.
You can categorize your knowledge under sections like blog posts, ideas, projects, tasks, podcasts or whatever. You can have multiple notebooks for every aspect of your life. This is well integrated to all Office applications – Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word. So, you can input Excel files or import from the application you are in. In OneNote, there is no need to save files or sync anymore. OneNote does it by itself. OneNote also stores various versions of your documents without the need to check-in or check-out files.
Backup: SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud offering to users like you and me, gives 25 GB of free storage. You need to sign up to get a Windows Live ID. If you are a heavy Google user like I am, you can use your Gmail address to login. Added to that, you can actually create Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote documents online using the WebApps. The user interface is nearly the same as you would see in your desktop App. You can even network map your SkyDrive account.
Share with other people: You can share links with anyone who has email access and they can edit the document without having the need to create a Live ID.
I think of OneNote + SkyDrive as a Google Docs + Dropbox solution. There it is – an excellent solution for personal Knowledge Management.