Why bother with Knowledge Management?

Why bother with Knowledge Management?

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish Author & Playwright

If you check Wikipedia, you’ll see Knowledge Management has been around as an established discipline since 1991, the concept of sharing knowledge and ideas is much older though as you can see from the quote above and there are endless examples the predate it. Yet many companies and individuals are still not sure if KM is good for their business and how much they should invest in it!
I believe companies and individuals have different motivational reasons for pursuing the implementation of KM but that doesn’t mean there is a conflict – it just means that this different points of view should be taken into account from the beginning and effect the way you present the business justification to the company management and later to the employees.
The value from the organization point of view
There are several common goals shared by most organizations that KM can contribute too, for example:
  • Reduce costs – avoid repeating past mistakes based on lessons learned and making accumulated knowledge easily accessible can reduce the time spent on a particular task and improve the chances it will be done right the first time around.
  • Improve effectiveness – using best practices such as team collaboration, following up on centrally managed KPIs and action items can greatly contribute to the quality of the work which can only increase over time as the knowledge base covers more and more ground.
  • Generate growth and profit – with improved quality and quicker response time profit will naturally increase. Providing tools for research and discovery can contribute to synergy, build infrastructure for innovation and improve the intellectual capital of the company that lead to growth and increase profit.
With detailed professional requirements analysis, we can plan and design diverse KM solutions to fit the unique business goals of any organization.
The Value from the individual point of view
Even if you don’t accept the concept that what’s good for the company is often good for the employees, going along and adopting KM practices can work for the individual’s benefit just as much:
  • Be heard and recognized – contributing insights and ideas, sharing experience, exposing personal knowledge and expertise help getting noticed… The better the quality of the shared material, the more relevant it is – the more it will be reused and more credit will be given.
  • Solve problems and feel effective – avoiding problem and overcoming challenges quickly contribute to the personal satisfaction and self-sense of worth.
  • Personal growth – going back to the quote by Bernard Shaw, learning from your peers, being introduced to new concepts, ideas, best practices and professional knowledge make us grow, help the individual become better at what he does and improve the chances he can move forward and advance in his career.
With KM, one of the ground rules is you gain at least as much as you give and share… so the deeper the implementation of knowledge management is in the company the more it stands to gain from it just as the more the employee contribute the more he can gain from the personal point of view.

 

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