There has been an explosion of interest in Knowledge Management (KM) theory and practice. However, it is argued here that much of this work fails to consider the purpose for which knowledge is ‘being managed’. In this paper, purpose is considered in terms of encouraging innovation .It is proposed that different approaches to KM are likely to facilitate the management of knowledge during different episodes of the innovation process. Three approaches are outlined and illustrated using empirical material from a case study. The analysis of the case highlights potential tensions and contradictions among KM practices for different innovation episodes. The paper concludes that careful consideration needs to be given to ‘fitness for purpose’ when introducing KM practices.