The model does not imply that one era stops before another begins, rather organizations need processes in place for all types of knowledge, explicit, implicit and tacit, and collective knowledge. Happily, over time the processes for each era continue to advance. For example, there is still a need for information management, but the initial idea of just building a repository and “they will come” has been superseded by tagging, co-creation and wikis. Similarly for the second era where there has been a great deal of research about one of the mainstays of the second era, how to make CoPs effective.  Read the “Three Eras of Knowledge Management” in the Tips and Guidelines for a detailed description of each era.

Where is your organization?  
Is it ready for the Third Era?  
Now successfully have you implemented the practices of the Second Era?

How Common Knowledge can be helpful:

  • “The Three Eras: Where knowledge Management has been and Where It is Going” is the presentation I am most frequently asked to give, both at conferences and in-house. 

  • Provide your organization a day long workshop, bringing together members of organizational departments to determine where they are with KM and where they want to go.  

  • Common Knowledge Associates provides guidance to tools and techniques for each of the Three Eras of KM 

"Whether you work for a public or private organization, for profit or not, Nancy Dixon is spot on the mark again with her overview of the three phases of effective knowledge management. Once again, Nancy's insights and choice of language make me think she has been on my shoulder watching me struggle and is handing me a piece of advice straight from nirvana."

- Lyn Niemeyer, Knowledge Manager at Northrup Grumman

"Working with Nancy, I've seen first-hand the power of collective sensemaking. Bringing analytic tools to bear provided new insights into interdependent activities, overall system functioning, and leverage points. Collective sensemaking helps teams work smarter."

- Mike Silver, "Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations" HealthInsight 

Tips and Guidelines 

Feel free to email me or give me a call if you’re interested in a presentation or designing a workshop about the Three Eras.     

The Three Eras of Knowledge Management
As Knowledge Management has evolved over the last two decades, the ideas about what knowledge is important and what processes are most effective to manage it has changed significantly. Those changes are reflected in Three Eras of Knowledge Management, a widely cited model developed by Dr. Nancy Dixon of Common Knowledge Associates.