What would have happened if we had known and used knowledge management at the times of Leonardo da Vinci?
Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance artist and a classical genius of his times. His works of art have survived to this day and he also had many pupils.
On the other hand his technical and medical discoveries sank into oblivion and at his times there was nobody who could breathe life into them. What was the reason? Why the following generations had to rediscover the already discovered?
The story of Leonardo da Vinci is the typical example of absent or non-functional knowledge management!
One of the reasons why Leonardo did not pass on his knowledge and discoveries to his followers could be the fact that the knowledge gap between him and the people around was too wide and therefore nobody could understand him no matter how much he tried.
It is the same situation as if a professor of mathematical analysis tries to explain his equation to primary-school pupils. They could copy the letters and numbers from a blackboard but they would never be able to apply them. They would miss basic knowledge set which one can acquire over a period of time only during proper studies.
However if it had really been his intention and his patrons had recognised the future implications and possible gains from his discoveries, surely it would have been possible to find several smart and capable students and disciples in Europe who could have been able to continue his work and pass on the knowledge. And this brings us to the second issue…
... which is the intentional concealment of connections and processes. This could be due to two reasons: first an attempt to prevent knowledge reaching the enemy or secondly to put them to use for personal benefit, maintaining exclusiveness and ego. In fact he taught all of his known pupils only the artistic skill not the technical skills.
Is it a question of his egoism and uniqueness or he just did not have an opportunity to pass down his works to future generations?
Who knows? If knowledge management had existed and been applied then, would our forefathers have flown in airplanes three hundred years ago?