Fun in the buff and knowledge management

May 20, 2007 at 3:00 am 2 comments

Kim photo taken in NamibiaNow, here’s a challenge for the very brave knowledge management practitioner. We all know that corporations (and society in general) is facing generational change. Heaps of Baby Boomers are teetering on the edge of retirement and a major KM challenge is to benefit from their rich experience before they bolt out the corporate doors. But seems there’s a generational change happening in another unexpected quarter.

Nudists in the US are finding it hard to attract a younger crowd and have embarked on a young ambassador programme encouraging college and graduate students with stories of “fun in the buff”. Apparently, the median age for a nudist in the US is 55 years and one nudist club estimates that 90% of its 50,000 members are older than 35 (well, 35 is getting into the gray haired set these days!).

Now, I’ve always suspected nudists of being left-over hippies or strangely suspect people. I for one prefer to see people with their clothes on but as one nudist quipped: “Unlike any other place in life, people actually look at you when they talk to you“. No doubt!

But I did find this an interesting KM challenge: what special knowledge do graying nudists have that can be passed down to younger nudists, who don’t seem to want to embrace the fresh air? if you could do a knowledge audit on nudists: what to ask? so in the interests of KM, I did a spot of research and prepared some sample knowledge audit questions:

  • what does your job as a nudist entail? (mmm…or should that be naturalist?)
  • what knowledge and skills do you need to acquire to be a nudist?
  • what are the costs associated with being a nudist?
  • what are your key assets? (knowledge assets of course!)
  • what are the benefits of nudism? (guess you wouldn’t get nasty tan lines that’s for sure).

Apparently, the Federation of Canadian Nudists is ahead of me and has prepared a list of 15 reasons to be a nudist. I’m intrigued by Reason #11: Popularity and Confidentiality:

“You’ll be part of a group! Already, thousands of Canadians are nudists. But nudism is totally confidential, so nobody knows. Naturist parks are in discreet, strictly private areas, well back from roads. Those who go accept newcomers’ anonymity. All naturists respect confidentiality. The only people who know you enjoy nudism are those you tell”.

From a KM perspective, I could immediately sense prospects for a community of practice! And Reason #15 is clearly a classic piece of wisdom we can’t ignore: “If people were meant to go naked, they would have been born that way“. Possibly there’s something in that Canadian Rocky Mountains air :)-


Entry filed under: Bizarre, Fun stuff, Knowledge Management, Society.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brad  |  May 22, 2007 at 12:01 am


    Perhaps the first question your survey should ask is: “Why are you a nudist?”. I would also reframe your third question into asking: “What are the benefits of being a nudist” to give it a positive slant (if you’re in the nudist recruitment space).

    More seriously, KM does have an important part to play in the generational changes affecting workplaces. Yet, at the same time, is the world changing so quickly now that over-55 organisational knowledge is out-of-date and possibly redundant?

  • 2. thinkingshift  |  May 22, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Hi there Brad
    Great to see you on ThinkingShift:)- I’ve received a number of emails from (I presume) nudists, so am considering a career change into nudist recruitment!

    But I’ve come across a number of articles recently that give us hope that 55 years+ experienced workers are being re-evaluated as valuable and age-friendly corporate environments are on the rise. Check out: and of course there’s David DeLong’s book, Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce.


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