We were visiting friends from The Netherlands camping in the Jura. Son and father are ingenious sports fishers. When I asked the 10 years old why he loved fishing I was astonished and fascinated. “It makes me quiet,” that’s what he said. From here on I wanted to know more about the art of fishing. What I got was a short introduction into their shared passion. I learned what matters most for successful fishing and what fishers care about. The story made me listen and the story made me think a lot about knowledge management. There are quite some aspects that make sense in “catching learning”.

What matters in fishing:

  • You need time, catching a fish means you have the time it takes.
  • You know what you are looking for; you don’t go after any fish, you want a trout, or even a salmon. You watch out for it. You observe the fish against the reflecting water, you know his habits, you attract his attention by hanging blinking glittering fishing lures on your fishing rod. You want his attention, his bite.
  • And if he bites you pull him on land. You free him carefully from the hook. You hold the fish proudly, admire his beauty and you give him back to the water and his life.

What does this have to do with knowledge management?

  • We have to take the time; break out from our daily tasks. We lean back and enter into a different kind of reflection, a different rhythm of conversation.
  • We know what we are looking for, we know there is something emerging that is not yet fully visible at the surface but that is precious. With the right approach and the good questions we might get closer to valuable learning, insights and lessons learned.
  • If we catch it, we have to be careful not to loose it. We can hold it for a moment, be proud and contemplative. And then we have to let it go. It’s not ours. By sharing our insights and discoveries other colleagues might make an other valuable catch.

And as my friend, the father’s son, said: “It’s for the great feeling of catching a trout I am fishing. It’s for the beauty of nature and the art of fishing.”