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February 2003    Feature
a free monthly briefing on the knowledge agenda
No. 70

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Managing editor:
David J. Skyrme


A Reader Replies

Paul Hearn Reflects on Trust

"I am happy you are dedicating time and analysis to 'trust' in this latest newsletter (I3 UPDATE No. 69). I've been thinking a lot about this recently.

Here are some of my reflections on this issue:
- Knowledge work and knowledge sharing thrive on trust and openness
- In a competitive society/economy, hidden (and not so hidden) agendas also exist in business and also in research!
- In politics too, we have a whole spectrum of agendas
- In personal life, we like to promote the best agenda of all - our own egos!

Then, in a knowledge economy/society:
- Who should be looking after the bigger pictures?
- What does the "trust landscape" look like now and how might it need to look in the future?
- Which are the "trust institutions" for the 21st century?
- Who are the "honest brokers" that citizens, businesses and organisations can depend upon to look after e.g. the sustainable development agenda, the environment/planet, development of open futures, corporate social responsibility, governance issues, data privacy etc.
- How might these institutions be governed to ensure openness?

Coming from this from the KM world, I have been building some of my own intellectual Lego bricks as follows:
- KM is about sharing
- It shows us that if we share, we can win - sharing knowledge is power
- If for me to win, it means you need to lose, then... perhaps I didn't win
- Some of today's issues, e.g. sustainable development, sound to me like a win-win-win challenge too

Trust is a thread which holds us together as individuals, collectives and communities in a knowledge economy/society.

The concept seems to have been thrusted ahead as a/the critical factor for economies and societies going forward.

How do we ensure "Trust" gets the place it deserves among the true enablers of the knowledge economy/society?

Which steps do we need to take to ensure that Trust flourishes?

With best regards
Paul Hearn"

(Paul works on knowledge management programmes at the European Commission)

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