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Knowledge Management and Resilience

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Knowledge Management and Resilience

Feb 26, 2023   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Stephanie Barnes

Resilience isn't something we normally talk about with knowledge management. We talk about document repositories, collaboration, artificial intelligence (AI), help desks and knowledge centered support, communities of practice, lessons learned and continuous learning, all kinds of things, really. But we don't often talk about resilience when it comes to knowledge management.

And yet, resilience is very important to knowledge workers and thus knowledge management. It helps us get up when we fall. It helps us to keep going, keep asking questions, iterating, and coming up with new solutions, problem solving. It drives us forward and if knowledge management is about (continuous) learning and about helping people to have the knowledge they need to do their jobs, then resilience is probably something we should be talking about.

Knowledge workers are human, after-all. We are not robots; we need to find ways to bounce back when things don’t go as expected. If we as knowledge managers are trying to make the lives of our colleagues, fellow knowledge workers better, then resilience should figure into that.

So as Knowledge Managers where does resilience come in?

Resilience comes in, in trying to help people to have the courage to ask the questions, to find different ways of looking at things, especially when they have failed, or things have not gone the way that they expected them to.

Historically, a lot of knowledge management and knowledge work has focused on the analytical processes of writing things down, of capturing knowledge and putting it in a technology platform to find and reuse later. However, as we enter the mid 2020’s, the question of what knowledge management practitioners need to do to enable knowledge workers in the age of AI, constantly changing technology, relentlessly evolving knowledge, rears its head and is increasingly up for debate.

Do we give them another technology to help them find and summarize documented knowledge? Do we help them communicate and share information, opening-up spaces for conversations? Do we help them tap into their inner artists and learn resilience, curiosity, the courage to iterate, share, and to trust?


Knowledge is human, trust is human. My vote is on the human side, tapping into our inner artists and reactivating the creativity that has been educated out of us.

Conversation is certainly part of that. The art of conversation, the art of dialogue, the art of sharing information and knowledge so that people can understand it, that's human. The art of critical thinking so that people know what's real and what's not. What's to be trusted and what's not. That’s what Knowledge Managers need to support in their programs. The tools and the processes are only part of the answer. Helping the humans be better humans, to be resilient, that's the real solution to knowledge management.


Stephanie Barnes is a knowledge management consultant and artist with over 30 years of experience. In her consulting practice (Entelechy) she focuses on aligning people, process, and technology to not only help organisations be more efficient and effective with what they know, but to be more innovative and creative, too. Stephanie has been bringing knowledge management success to organisations for more than 24 years. 

Stephanie has published two books, and several chapters and articles on various KM-related themes and she has spoken at conferences around the world.

Stephanie can be found on the web at, and at LinkedIn.

Did you Know? 
Next Creative KM Certification class (taught by Stephanie Barnes) is Oct 16, 18, 23, and 25, 2023 (meets half days, 9am-1pm ET).  Click here for details...


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