The personal knowledge mastery framework is a combination of seeking knowledge, making sense of it, and sharing it with others. It can become a long-term discipline of individually constructed enabling processes to help each of us make sense of our world, work more effectively, and contribute to society. Two key variables are how we make sense of knowledge and how we share it, in order to: seek > sense > share.
Patrick Lambe looked at PKM 14 years ago and saw multiple roles that can be done by individuals in organizations. “Most people treat PKM as if it’s a full suite of skills that everybody now needs to have … But in fact, like most things, different people have different personality types, and different personality profiles in relation to their personal knowledge affinities and capabilities.” This is why I emphasize the ‘Personal’ aspect of PKM. Lambe identified six roles: Consumers, Communicators, Collectors, Connectors, Critics, and Creators. I have taken these and placed them on the same sharing & sense-making quadrant I used above.
In addition, there is another ‘C’ role I have identified: the Catalyst. Knowledge catalysts have diverse knowledge networks from which to seek knowledge. These networks are part of their filters. Catalysts also share, adding value through processes such as curation. In addition, and most importantly, they are catalysts in bringing others together. Catalysts ensure that environmental scans are done, connect and converse with other members, commit to ongoing questioning, make suggestions, and help to develop new information tools (e.g. checklists). Knowledge catalysts can also help to organize peer-to-peer events that are important to maintain any community.
Catalysts can change the dynamics of a network. They can help experts (Creators) become better sharers of their knowledge. Catalysts help to bring Communicators and Creators together. They also connect with Critics, an essential role in any network in order to avoid group-think or online orthodoxy.
In the PKM Workshop we work at finding communicators, creators, and critics. Some of us may find, or become, knowledge catalysts. None of this happens quickly but over time we can create resilient knowledge networks, one role at a time.