A culture that supports knowledge management
This is the first post in our series on knowledge management (KM) blogs. We’ll give a high-level overview of KM and look at some of the elements that contribute towards an organisation that supports it.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge management is the structured curation, management and delivery of knowledge at the correct time to support the organisation or individual in achieving their objectives.
As the discipline of KM has developed several practices, it has evolved to best support the effective use of explicit and implicit knowledge within organisations.
Improvements in technology have supported the development of systems and methods that are effective in capturing large volumes of knowledge.
More than information storage
“Knowledge itself, sitting in card catalogues or book stacks, is of absolutely no value.” Dr Bob Bauer
Dr Bauer highlights one of the critical issues that many organisations face when they begin the journey; they capture vast volumes of information and are unable to utilise it fully.
For effective KM, the organisation must have more than just information retention. It should have:
- An understanding of the organisation's objectives, to help build a structure for the categorisation of information
- A scoring mechanism so that information can be weighted, to help filter by relevance
- An organisational culture that encourages people to add to the knowledge and some degree of curation
Understanding the organisation's objectives
The organisational objectives, such as revenue growth, through a specific product should be used to shape the structure of information storage. In this case, the information needs to be attached to the product, the stage of the process, the client and the industry.
This ensures that the relevant information is available and prioritised when the sales team are looking into possible opportunities.
The same process can be applied to maintenance information, which could be limited to a specific machine, and possibly location.
Scoring mechanism for information
We recommend introducing a scoring process that includes relevance of the data and the timeliness of the information. Updated technical information should automatically be given a higher priority than historical information.
The other key scoring factors should be confidence, which is built based on the creator's credibility and the feedback/rating of information from users.
Organisational culture to encourage interaction
This is the most difficult element to incorporate and should encompass an understanding of gamification, staff on-boarding and skill transfer.