For comparison, here's the version he worked from in my prior post "PKM - Are We There Yet?":
I like the way he has redrawn the "Collecting" area to visualize it as a funneling process. I'm also looking forward to seeing what kind of feedback he gets, since he describes some of the terminology in my model as "hardly to be translated" and writes that he would "really appreciate opinions and suggestions for improvement by German-speaking readers." As I mentioned when I posted the model, it's a work in progress and I'm as eager as Florian is to gain knowledge from the insights of others.
That brings us to the meat of his post. After explaining that he agrees with my premise that knowledge work begins with individual knowledge workers and knowledge management must focus there, he argues:
I also think that it is impossible to generate knowledge cooperatively. Sure, you can share information, you can discuss - but in the end it is all about the individual knowledge worker that extracts what kind of knowledge is in all of this information he gets for him individually. Knowledge is always connected to an individual.
Contrast this against Denham Grey's attack on PKM as some sort of subversive "movement" in his post "(Re)visiting PKM":
Happens in community, it is driven through making fine distinctions, participation in creative abrasion and deep dialog, surfacing and verification of patterns and feeding on group awareness.
None of this can happen in isolation - the power comes from social construction, exposure to idea diversity and immersion in group inquiry. Arranging personal thoughts, building rolodexes, networking for social capital, refinement of personal intellectual capital just does not deliver.
My sense is that both of these statements miss the mark by aiming at the edges, taking true statements to their extremes. I've commented on Denham's position before, but want to emphasize again that I fully agree with him that collaboration, "creative abrasion, deep dialog," etc. are key, sometimes even essential, to generating knowledge efficiently.
Nevertheless, I also contend that the resulting knowledge occurs in the minds of individuals. Indeed, as I understand the term knowledge, it does not - cannot - even exist outside the mind of an individual. Thus, while knowledge creation may "happen" best in the setting of a community and through "exposure to idea diversity" in the end, it happens within the minds of individuals.
Accepting this does not discount the importance of collaboration, communities, or teamwork. Quite the opposite, starting from the individual helps us understand why social interaction is so important and get on with building effective patterns and technology support for individuals to engage in collaboration to support their knowledge work. I've tried to represent the need for collaboration and the gain in knowledge from social interaction in the learning and re-using process arrows in my model.
On the other hand, skipping over the knowledge work problems of individuals (e.g., the same diversity Denham celebrates as part of collaboration creates some of the issues that concern PKM), I believe is what has caused KM to focus on enterprise level solutions and community structures that have failed to support the knowledge work processes of many of the people involved. The result has been to exclude individuals and reduce effective collaboration, rather than achieve the kind of "social construction" and "group inquiry" that Denham seeks.
Denham's dismissal of "arranging personal thoughts, building rolodexes," etc., is answered, I think, by Florian's distinction between knowledge management and information management. In the post quoted above, Florian promised to present "a model in which I tried to separate between knowledge worker and information worker" when he returns from his trekking holiday next week. I'm looking forward to it.
(Aside: I found it a bit troubling that what seems to me an ad hominem argument - labeling PKM as a "movement" - was repeated this past week by Bill Ives at Portals and KM in his review of Denham's blog. I'm an enthusiastic and respectful reader of both and hope the deep dialog and creative abrasion on this subject can stay above such labels. Continuing to explore how humans and their organizations generate new knowledge and build on old is too vitally important to slip even slightly toward the name-calling and personal attacks that have killed other KM discussions in recent memory.)