KM and complexity

I have been discussing KM with members of another network – the original set of editors for KnowledgeBoard’s Human side of KM special interest group.

It was mentioned that the new trend in KM is complexity and by a strange coincidence, about half an hour later, the term came up in the book I am reading at present. Discussing ‘complexity’ the authors say:

” the rules are ‘local’, stated on the level of the entities. In contrast, the interesting features of the system itself are global, stated on the level of the entire system. Even if we know the local rules for entities, it may not be possible – either in practice, or in principle – to deduce the dynamical rules of the system as a whole. The problem here is that the calculations involved may be intractable, either in the weak sense that they would take far too long to do, or in the strong sense that you can’t actually do them at all.”

 It describes KM so well, I think it is a brilliant statement of the difficulties involved ! It explains, to my mind, that we can only tackle KM in discrete ‘chunks’, the thing which binds it all together and therefore is the core of the concept, is people. It is not ever going to be possible to ‘manage knowledge’ – but it is possible (and desirable for ease of information flows and work) to bring some order and logic into the system.

Now the question is – do I have the ability, time and inclination to even try to grasp a little of the science of Complexity? Or accept that I may have misunderstood the above?  I can thoroughly recommend the book (and the others in the series). They do not have anything in particular to do with Networking, SMEs, Free Agents etc., but they offer an excellent insight into science. The books are based on Terry Pratchett’s series of  books about Discworld, but  stand on their own if you are are not familiar with these. The book is The Science of Discworld II. The Globe. (Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Ebury Press, London, 2003

 The book is . (Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Ebury Press, London, 2003