I first saw this phrase on someone’s email signature, but sadly I can’t find the original email so I don’t know who said it. I Googled the phrase and found this guy. His origin story is pretty good, so I’ll go with it. At the end of his post he sums up the problem nicely:
Delay delivery of all outgoing emails by 5 minutes.
A five minute delay is long enough to be a nuisance when email is inappropriate, but not so long as to make a difference when email is the best choice.
Of course, a simple email delay alone will not solve the “Knowledge Death” problem. Alternative communication tools, like I’ve described above, would have to be made available. Information shared using all communication tools would still have to be captured, stored, and made accessible for future use and reuse. This is a huge undertaking, but getting people to use the right tool for the job is the first step to getting a handle on the problem.