It is with great sadness that I have to report the sudden passing in an accident of Dr David Vaine, partner in consulting firm Apparently KM PLC, and founder of the Institute for Minimal Impact KM™. Dr Vaine was a member of our advisory board, and while we had substantial differences of opinion on many matters, and never actually took any of his advice, he had served as a valuable sounding board and a true compass of where not to go in our consulting practice.
The circumstances of his passing are still emerging, but there are some clues in a speech he delivered at his last public appearance, at the actKM conference in Canberra, in October 2009. At that event Dr Vaine announced that his firm had been working for some time on what he called a Knowledge Amplification Programme (KAMP) using a device he called a Temporary Spatio Temporal Multi Projection System, and that he had been using this device to enable KM guru Dennis Snowden to appear simultaneously at multiple KM conferences.
In private remarks to friends, Dr Vaine had also expressed some despondency about the moribund state of KM in general and the lack of vitality and interest in KM conferences in particular. It is well known that Dr Vaine considered that the only original thinker in the KM space apart from himself was Dennis Snowden.
It now appears that Dr Vaine had conceived a plan to remedy this moribundity and inject new intellectual vigour into the theory and practice of KM by using his device to convene a KM conference comprised solely of Dennis Snowdens, thereby amplifying his intellect across the KM domain. Dr Vaine’s notes suggest that up to 120 versions of Dennis Snowden were convened for this experiment.
A postmortem on Dr Vaine’s remains has reportedly discovered that his skull had internal scorch marks but was otherwise completely empty. Investigators are working on the theory that the wisdom acceleration effect of hyper-competition among the multiple Dennis Snowdens striving among themselves for intellectual supremacy reached in a matter of moments a Point of Cognitive Singularity and that the resulting cognitive blast wave flash evaporated Dr Vaine’s brain.
Fortunately Dr Vaine was conducting his work in complete secrecy in a remote location and nobody else was harmed, including Dennis Snowden, who was successfully resolved back to his original state when the projection system was shut down in the blast. Snowden reportedly has no recollection of the event, though he was briefly in a deleuzian delirium immediately afterwards.
Dr Vaine was educated at institutions proximate to Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh, and his interest in KM started early. His PhD dissertation on Information Processing Viscosity and Impermeability Factors Affecting the Enacted Hierarchy of Needs in Rattus Norvegicus Commercial Colonies won high praise from one of its readers.
Dr Vaine worked as a top level administrator and thought leader in a number of commercial settings, including several posts in management, before his latest role as a leading consulting guru. He was highly sought after as an inspirational speaker and podcaster, and his highly successful KM exercise video series entitled Low Impact? No Impact! has topped the video rental charts among KM practitioners at least twice in the past five years.
In years to come Dr David Vaine will be remembered as Knowledge Management’s first martyr to progress. He will be sorely missed.
Note: I would like to express my appreciation to Edgar Tan and Arthur Shelley, who were with me when I received the tragic news, and were very supportive.
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