Jim McGee on Reinvention

Following on my closing thoughts on re-invention yesterday, I’d like to point you to some thoughts on the subject from Jim McGee earlier this year. Back in February, Jim wrote Get Better at Reinventing the Wheel, which carried the subtitle To succeed with knowledge management, organizations should focus on getting better at reinventing the wheel instead of avoiding it.

Jim contrasts two approaches to reinvention – the lazy way and the intelligent way – as hinted at in this introductory paragraph.

Taking the notion of reinvention superficially, the result is more likely to be a plagiarism support system that atrophies and fades away. Succeeding with knowledge management depends on thinking deeply about reinvention and how it contributes to meeting the demand for more organizational innovation. Done right, reinvention should be a key driver of innovation and doing reinvention right requires a different approach to knowledge management.

Contrary to the common mantra for many knowledge management initiatives (“we don’t want to reinvent the wheel”), Jim believes – as do I – that “instead of something to be avoided, reinvention becomes a skill to be developed and a process to master” to help foster true innovation.

Jim also posted an update of his thoughts on reinvention to his blog McGee’s Musings over the summer that provides a little more insight into why he wrote the piece in the first place.