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Knowledge Management History: Part One


This week and next we’ll cover a very brief history of Knowledge Management. The modernly accepted concept of capturing and storing knowledge for workplace development can be traced back to the 1970s, and has been refined over the last few decades. In order for knowledge to be powerful, it must first be captured, implemented and integrated throughout an organization.

However, if we look deeper, the roots of knowledge management have been around even longer than the last 40 years. Apprenticeships are the epitome of knowledge management. A Trade Master would take on an Apprentice to impart his years of accumulated knowledge, after which the Apprentice would implement and integrate that knowledge. As Confucius said, “I hear, I forget, I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

Isn’t it interesting that the old fashioned method of retaining, managing and integrating knowledge is being applied to entire organizations, rather than just the one-on-one relationship between a Master and Apprentice?