The Future of….Knowledge Management
– by Andrew Woolfson, Director of Knowledge Management and Capability at RPC

Future isn’t predictable? Well it is as I “virtually” sit on the black sand volcanic beach on the small Caribbean island of Dominica.

The sea is before me, the island of my youth with me and palm trees are behind me.

I have no need for predictions about the future.

I know the same will happen tomorrow.

I stay sitting on the beach waiting for the “Green flash” at sunset. It’s a brilliant phenomenon occurring nano-seconds after sunset which you can see when there is an uninterrupted horizon.  I used to see it as a child, but now as an adult I miss it more times than I should. It signifies for me the undiscovered and mysterious space in-between today and tomorrow. It’s the space more of us should inhabit, especially those effected by and driving digital transformation (for want of a better phrase).

Back in “the office”; whole series of todays and tomorrows displaying themselves to me in Outlook horizontal blocks. Time has been blocked out and it’s gone. No green flashes to be seen for days, weeks and months ahead. Let’s stop wasting time and open diaries to new experiences.

I hope there are more people like the hero in the Guinness Surfer ad : He waits… That’s what he does… And I’ll tell you what; tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick’ and the one surfer the hero returns triumphant. He’s ridden the wave, creating a brilliant new experience and skill to inspire others. More green flashes and big waves are needed to embrace unpredictability, create new heroes and make new things happen.

I have been speaking at a number of events recently: the British Legal Technology Forum’s #BLTF2015 (NetLawMedia) and Practical Law’s #KMForum15 (Thomson Reuter).  I’ve been mainly talking about the intersections between today and tomorrow in my change role as Knowledge Director in a Professional Services firm.

In summary, my message to the audiences has been let’s create new frameworks enabling today’s people with the skills, presence and voice to take on new experiences.

Let’s not continue using old models when looking at our future challenges.  Stop digging ourselves into holes from which no green flashes or surfing can ever take place.

I want us to think that the future is gloriously unpredictable and we can through our experience be a part of it. I don’t like only futurologists owning the future. Practitioners should be there as well.

We wait for events and then worry about catching up; let’s catch up before not after.

– with thanks to the author, Andrew Woolfson, Director of Knowledge Management and Capability at RPC

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