A Swiss Army Knife for the Network Era

PKM: A Swiss Army knife for the Network Era
PKM: A Swiss Army knife for the Network Era

I am amazed at how personal knowledge mastery [PKM] is adapted to so many different situations, which attests to the usefulness of a simple framework to deal with complex problems. It’s beginning to look like the Swiss Army knife of the network era.

When it comes to workplace transformation, the key is getting people to accept change and more importantly change behaviours, especially those day-to-day routines that reflect the organization’s culture. Part of PKM is critical thinking, or questioning assumptions, which is why it may be threatening to certain management systems. But I am seeing a sea change, or perhaps at least a small tide of change.

Here is what Domino’s Pizza, a company operating in over 50 countries, learned about implementing PKM practices, after their pilot project:

Finally, as learning practitioners, we’re awash in information about social tools and technology-enabled learning. It can be easy to overlook how unfamiliar busy professionals are with some of these technologies—especially in a work context. We need to take the time to help familiarize them with new tools, using practical, realistic examples. Eric Kammerer

Eric later said at a conference that a goal of promoting PKM was not only to avoid silos in Domino’s but to ensure that Domino’s didn’t silo themselves from other organizations. PKM helps to avoid silo-thinking. In the Domino’s case I provided enough support to get them going on their own. I was not selling fish, and I was not teaching people how to fish. I helped people learn for themselves how to fish.

Last year the Bangor University School of Psychology adopted the PKM framework and used it as an anchor for its undergraduate students. The objective is to support self-directed learners who upon graduation have developed a professional learning network as well as the skills of seeking, sense-making, and sharing. This year, PKM is being adopted on an even broader scale in the UK. According to the National Health Services, “A model of curation for the digital era that is being used in health and care is Harold Jarche’s ‘Personal Knowledge Mastery’ (PKM).”

PKM is an adaptable framework suitable for most organizations.

Most recently, I was pleased to see the PKM framework extended into mental health. Brent MacKinnon is working on developing high school students into positive mental health change agents in Ontario, Canada.

… the pilot project is designed to address student achievement by introducing a well-researched Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) framework as a guide for planning and conducting their research mapping activities. As students personalize and practice their PKM skills, they will recognize the benefits of applying the PKM framework into their everyday school curriculum goals and post-secondary employment interests. —Brent MacKinnon

PKM works in education and business. Increasing connections, developing meaning, and improving autonomy, are the necessary skills in the network era. PKM ties these into an easy to understand framework, that helps keep people and organizations focused through a common terminology. Seek, Sense and Share are simple words, easily understood by all. Getting started on a new path is often the most difficult. If you, or your organization are on a journey of transformation to a more networked way of life, then PKM may be the right tool.

2 thoughts on “A Swiss Army Knife for the Network Era”

  1. Massive and continuous flows of information meet an individual’s cognitive skills, attention levels, digital literacy and effectiveness at social interaction and learning.

    As a discipline, applicable for any and all individuals in almost all information-and-knowledge-dependent workplace contexts.


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