Real knowledge management

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 12, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

A few years ago I attended KM Australia in Sydney. It was the early days of KM in Australia and I remember one of the keynote speakers spent a large portion of this presentation typing knowledge management into Google and everyone marvelling at vast quantity of hits returned. KM was really popular on the net.

The following speaker was Dale Chatwin from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Dale opened his talk by opening his browser, surfing to Google and typing in the following:


The number of hits was reduced dramatically and Dale simple said: “And that is knowledge management.”

I was reminded of this incident this week because Daryl and I were in a meeting of 12 people and when we mentioned that you needed to surround a phrase with quotes to find exact phrase matches half of them were totally unaware. And everyone in the room were frequent users of Google.

Sometimes we try too hard with sophisticated KM initiatives. What would happen if we could just get the simple things right?

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About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Andrew Woolfson says:

    Being sad and also using similar techniques as I believe KM literacy or information literacy is an essential skill. [

    I typed in knowledge management into on the 14 July ca 5.45 gmt = Results 1 – 10 of about 412,000,000 for knowledge management. (0.09 seconds) [

    And then the same with the quotes as a well trained person..Results 1 – 10 of about 69,200,000 for “knowledge management”. (0.08 seconds) [

    So we have just explained it in one minute: good job; wonder what to do next?

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