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July/Sept 2003    Main Feature
a free monthly briefing on the knowledge agenda
No. 75

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Managing editor:
David J. Skyrme


Knowledge For What? ... What Next?
A Personal Odyssey

David J. Skyrme

This is the final edition of I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION International News. It signals the end of an era - a decade of informing our readers through articles and conference reports of how organisations and governments are facing up to the challenges of the knowledge agenda. Finishing on No. 75 (though if you are astute you will realise that with our special editions there have been more I3 UPDATEs in total), was a decision made by Debra and myself earlier in the year. As you will read in the next article ENTOVATION is at a time of transformation and considering how to engage more effectively with the members of its network. For myself, the timing of No. 75 coincides closely with that of my 60th birthday and therefore semi-retirement. Time for a change, but to what?

Firstly, once you've got involved with a subject, its difficult to let go. So I plan to continue my involvement with knowledge management, but at a reduced level. I will still run workshops and undertake consultancy (albeit not on projects so demanding that involve intensive commuting or bursts of activity that shove everything else onto the back burner). I want to spend more time on developing and experimenting with our website to make it more useful to KM practitioners.

Secondly, I want to achieve a better work-life balance, spending more time pursuing my interests in rambling, photography, reading, travel, drawing, visiting buildings/heritage sites, cooking, cycling, wine making etc. according to my whims. For example I combined the last two yesterday. Our beautiful English summer (for a change!) beckoned me away from my computer onto my bike from which I explored ancients tracks over the rolling Hampshire Downs where I picked blackberries which are now fermenting into wine!

But thirdly, I keep asking myself knowledge for what? As a specialist in a generic management discipline like KM, you are one step removed from the external customer interface where added value is more tangible. That's partly why I left nuclear physics, since although intellectually demanding I could not see the end-value to society. I therefore went into systems analysis and computer programming and then onto marketing and management. Finding my 'what' for the next few years will be my voyage of discovery over the next few months. It will be in a field where my knowledge of science and business can link with my experience of knowledge management to contribute to solving a societal problem such as maintaining a sustainable environment or diminishing the gaps between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. That's where my knowledge directions are heading. I hope that I will meet some of you there - wherever 'there' happens to be!

When I3 UPDATE started, there was a gap for a knowledge agenda newsletter, and I believe it was one of the first, if not the first online e-zine with a knowledge focus. As we leave the scene, this gap is admirably filled by many other knowledge newsletters - you probably already have your favourites. I commend to you any of the following if you are uncertain of what can replace us:

Also, check out the following websites and newsletters of ENTOVATION Colleagues:

However, don't be surprised if an occasional article or thought piece comes to you through this channel, especially when we add significant new contents and papers to our websites (Knowledge Connections - and ENTOVATION In the meantime, I thank you for the interest and support you have given I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION International News over the past decade.


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