Stealing versus using knowledge

In the October 2006 edition of Knowledge Management Review, there is an interesting article from Chris Collison. 
Currently working as a KM consultant at Knowledgeable Ltd
, he used to work on the KM program of BP (British Petroleum) and Centrica.
In the article (about barriers to effective KM), Chris describes how an informal recognition program was introduced to encourage people to look beyond the boundaries of their own unit for good practices they can adapt and adopt.
The program was called ‘Steal with Pride’.  If anyone could demonstrate that they had stolen an idea from another business unit, applied it and created value, they got a colourfull cuddly parrot on their desk for one month and a 250 $ gift.
The strong message this program gives, is that the value of knowledge is in the use (reuse) of it.  It encourages people not to invent the wheel again, but to use a wheel which was not invented here.
This reminds me of a story by Steven Warmoes : we are conditioned by traditional eduction with it’s personal examinations to use only our own knowledge.  Copying an answer from another student can be severely punished.  In real live however, copying is allowed.
We have a tendency to reward the innovative character of a new idea, but we should reward the value when the idea is realized.
The value of knowledge is in the use of it.

3 responses to “Stealing versus using knowledge

  1. Hoi Marnix, nice and simple indeed. It makes me think of some of the methods of Nancy Dixon on reusing knowledge. Do you know her work?

  2. Thanks for the tip, I have her book ‘Common Knowledge’ in my library.  If you look at knowledge as being ‘Common’, ie having a shared ownership, then there is no issue of stealing.  Will reread during the weekend

    Here’s a link that article – KM Review have made it available for free!   :O)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s