Knowledge Management: When will we learn?

Patrick Keogh highlights a devastating Knowledge Management failure in a galaxy far, far away…

©iStock.com/Bubbers13

©iStock.com/Bubbers13


Only a year ago we watched with disbelief and sadness as the Empire let another high-priced investment go to waste in the documentary The Force Awakens.

Sure enough, the Star Killer Base went the way of the Death Star before it – into oblivion – again at the hands of a stroppy crew of misfits. And a Wookie!

As a Knowledge Management practitioner I have to ask, “When will we learn?”

Look, we all have our own personal political preferences and beliefs. I get that.

Maybe you personally support the #leatherandplastic, #crueltobekind First Order. Maybe the Republican aesthetic of impractical skyscrapers and flowing fabrics, the sheer stability of the never-ending talkfest is what suits you. Perhaps the organic dyes and ramshackle planning of the Resistance takes you back to Woodstock after the thunderstorm. 

In any event you can hardly be proud of the Knowledge Management achievements of your chosen clique.

How can an organisation with the muscle and resources to build a star-size base get it so wrong? Not once, not twice… but three times!

To repeat a design with such obvious flaws is as big a collapse in KM as you can imagine.
Wisdom hasn’t been harvested or applied, costing the galactic economy trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

To repeat a design with such obvious flaws (weak point on the surface, a long trench to make it possible for outnumbered tie-fighters to approach, not locking the door to the room where the shields are controlled) is as big a collapse in KM as you can imagine.

Wisdom hasn’t been harvested or applied, costing the galactic economy trillions of dollars and millions of lives. For Rey’s sake! The keys were even left in parked spaceships.

The Emperor has a lot to answer for.

Lest you think that the Resistance is any better, let's look at their KM accomplishments

Leave critical knowledge (the whereabouts of Luke) stored for years in a powered-down droid, covered in a dust cloth.

No backup, no indexing, no nothing!

The Resistance Knowledge Manager should be taken out and fed to a Rathtar.

And did that Solo character offer any helpful advice to Rey while taking on a battle that felt familiar? Nope. It was all evasive quips and wry grins.

Lastly, the Republic. Great meetings, pissy results.

The entire point of KM is to take action based on knowledge.

The entire point of KM is to take action based on knowledge.

Hundreds of librarians and archivists in flowing robes? Tick!

Understanding of the innate evil of the Empire/First Order? Tick!

Doing something with that knowledge? Not so much…

I just hope that some of the Republic survived to learn from this terrible event.

Let we Earthlings take heed. When the upcoming historical retrospective Rogue One reveals how the rebels stole the plans for the Death Star, let’s pay attention. Luckily for most of us, the consequences of poor KM are not as calamitous as what befell Hosnian Prime. 

But let’s not let the Rebellion be for nothing.

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About the Author


Patrick Keogh is a Principal Consultant with CSC Consulting, based in Canberra. His Star Wars history is long enough to have seen the original movie at first release at a drive-in. His Knowledge Management and ITSM experience is similarly distinguished. A highly qualified and experienced consultant and educator, much of his long career has been spent dealing with the ‘people’ issues of improving IT organisations: cultural change, ITSM, IT Governance, IT Strategy and a host of related subjects.




Patrick Keogh

Patrick Keogh is a Principal Consultant with CSC Consulting, based in Canberra.

A highly qualified and experienced consultant and educator, much of his long career has been spent dealing with the ‘people’ issues of improving IT organisations – cultural change, ITSM, IT Governance, IT Strategy and a host of related subjects, with the goal of making it more rewarding to be a client of (or worker for) an IT organisation.