A friend asked me the other day why he should look into knowledge management for his company.
This is the answer I distilled :
All knowledge management initiatives should focus on any or all to these issues :
– reinventing the wheel
A group is trying to solve a problem which has already been solved by another team.
Makes you lose money and time.
In a company this can be the innovation and corporate support groups, solving solved problems.
-> It is like buying a CD you already own … costs money but does not add to your musical experience
– knowledge walking out of the door
Every employee who retires takes his personal knowledge and experience home.
Everything not shared, documented or handed over; actually leaves the company on his last working day.
But not only the retiring work force, also the young people, being more flexible than ever before, not looking for lifelong employment in the same company.
-> Imagine your friends taking home one of your CD’s every time they pay you a visit
– the great unknown
This is the “if we only knew what we know” – complaint.
A lot of knowledge is isolated, forgotten, not used; because it is not documented, not shared, not available
Often, a lot of the corporate experts are disconnected from the business, both in time and in subject. But also personally we forget a lot of things … ever tried to recover an e-mail from more than a year ago ??
-> These are all the CD’s you never listen to, because you actually forgot you once bought them, and now they sit in your collection, … silently.
On each of these areas, specific actions can be taken to overcome the issues. What and how is influenced by your priorities, culture, focus, strategy, people.