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What is your favourite Knowledge Metaphor?

A collection of short video interviews on "What is your favourite Knowledge Metaphor?"




Knowledge Management; Metaphor
Daniel Andriessen At the 8th European Conference on Knowledge Management in Barcelona, Spain on 6-7 September 2007., Daan Andriessen gave a keynote talk entitled Knowledge As Love; How Metaphors Direct Our Efforts to Manage Knowledge in organizations.

In this talk, he made the point that we use metaphors to make sense of the world and the terms "knowledge management" and "intellectual capital" were such metaphors. When we speak of "knowledge management" we use a "resource" metaphor to help describe knowledge and when we use the term "intellectual "capital" we use a "capital" metaphor.

Other metaphors for knowledge are "knowledge as thoughts and feelings"; "knowledge as organism"; "knowledge as form"; "knowledge as stuff" but the one that Daan liked was "knowledge as love".

Daan explained that metaphors are indispensable for conceptualization and understanding. However, we need to be aware that metaphors highlight certain things and conceal others. For example, the "knowledge as a resource" metaphor ignores the fact that knowledge is subjective and difficult to elicit.

A study of his showed that almost all 22 metaphors for knowledge used by authors like Nonake & Takeuchi, Davenport & Prusak, and Stewart are ‘industrial’ metaphors. Daan has also published a paper (pdf format) on the subject.

I found this concept fascinating and decided to conduct a few of my mini-interviews with some of the conference participants including Daan and asked them "What was their favourite knowledge metaphor". Whatsmore we went on to run a Knowledge Cafe on the theme. You can see photos from the cafe below - we actually crossed the road from the conference and held it in an actual cafe and Gabriela Avram set up a wiki for further discussion.
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