Knowledge Management (KM)
The KM related technologies that are available look like useful - even
exciting - tools but they can only work if a favourable organisational culture
prevails. Technology alone cannot overcome the sharing stumbling-blocks which
may exist, like "not invented here", "envy",
"jealousy" and "those who always 'take' but never 'give'".
As in most aspects of life, the human dimension is more important than the
dimension. March 2001 edition of FINANCIAL WORLD carried a special
report about KM in the financial industry. Here are some excerpts from the lead
key to innovation lies in creative thinking and the generation of value creating
opportunities. It is leveraging these opportunities that leads to improved
shareholder value (the mantra of many companies in the 1990ís). Most
importantly, however, it requires recognising and rewarding those people who
come up with the ideas in the first place. It is these people who have the
know-how and foresight to interpret, analyse and share information - to turn it
into knowledge - who really make the difference."
concept of knowledge management (KM) was borne not only out of this desire to
manage knowledge, but out of the need to recognise the importance of
intellectual capital. If organisations choose to ignore this valuable asset
they run the risk of letting a great deal of talent walk out the door,
especially as labour is becoming more mobile and demand for talented individuals
is not about technology, which is only an enabler, but about the imperative
to value and nurture people and their ideas."
a successful knowledge sharing culture is the need for a strong buy-in from
senior management and a wish to create an environment where collaboration
is positively reinforced. Building a knowledge organisation is not a matter
of digitising what exists, it's a question of values and how organisations and
the communities within them collaborate and learn. It's neither a front-line or
board-level activity. Everyone is a knowledge worker now."
individual carries valuable pieces of information, which their experience,
knowledge and associations make even more valuable. For this reason there
needs to be more emphasis on building communities of interest (or communities
of practice), both within and outside organisations - groups of
like-minded individuals who share ideas. It is often when people have the
opportunity to "think beyond the box" in less formal surroundings that
some real breakthroughs occur."
the right environment for sharing knowledge underpins successful knowledge
management and is at the heart of the knowledge economy. That's what this
report is about: the knowledge economy and how to succeed in it, recognising
that people matter, that it is people who have knowledge and we can all benefit
if that knowledge is shared."
In the Executive Summary the author of the above article (Lucia Dore)
notes that one key finding of the survey is:
"The basis of a successful KM programme is cultural rather than
technological change. A different organisational mindset is required. Dabbling
in KM does not mean that organisations will be equipped for the future.
Organisations hoping to excel in the knowledge economy must mirror the internet
in its egalitarian and non-hierarchical nature."
In the final chapter Dore remarks:
" At the heart of a successful knowledge organisation is a
willingness to share knowledge .... understanding that there is power in
sharing knowledge, not in retaining it."
The technology is available but can we create the necessary culture to
make Knowledge Management a success?