The 8 Building Blocks Of Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

1. Knowledge Goals

Normative knowledge goals deal with the creation of a “knowledge-sensitive” corporate culture, in which sharing and development of know-how create the preconditions for effective knowledge management.
Strategic knowledge goals define organizational core capabilities and describe the future knowledge needs of the company. They determine the desirable competence portfolio for the future and are therefore an extension of the company’s traditional planning processes.
Operational knowledge goals make sure that normative and strategic knowledge goals will be translated into action. For example, a typical operational knowledge goal might be the accessibility of all internal documents in the company via a suitable intranet, or the definition of a level of English language skills that must be met by certain employees.

2. Knowledge Identification (Audit)

Before investing heavily in the development of new capabilities, companies should know what knowledge and expertise exist both inside and outside their own walls. Most big companies lose track of their internal and external data, information, and capabilities. This lack of transparency leads to inefficiency, uninformed decisions, and redundant activities. Restructuring, downsizing, and reengineering activities have increased this organizational opacity in many cases by destroying effective informal networks. Effective knowledge management creates sufficient internal and external transparency and supports employees in their knowledge-seeking activities.

3. Knowledge Acquisition

  • Knowledge held by other firms
    • Acquisition
    • Joint Venture
  • Stakeholder knowledge
    • Customer feedback
  • Experts
  • Knowledge Products
    • Software
    • Patents
    • Books
    • Podcasts

4. Knowledge Development

Individual knowledge development

The process of individual knowledge developmentrelies on creativity and on systematic problem solving. Creativity may be called the chaotic component of the knowledge development process and the capability of problem solving the systematic component. The knowledge management system must support both components, for example through traditional tools such as corporate proposal systems that may be revitalized or reused.

Collective knowledge development

Collective knowledge development involves the learning dynamics of teams. Management must ensure that team members have complementary skills and that each group as a whole has defined realistic goals. Moreover, there must be an atmosphere of openness and trust to allow the intensity of communication that makes collective learning results superior to individual ones. The establishment of internal think tanks, learning arenas, internal centers of competence, or product clinics may support these processes. In a process of self-reflection, every team should identify critical “lessons learned” at the conclusion of each project and pass the information on to future teams in the form of a short, clear report that allows others to learn from that experience.

5. Knowledge Distribution

In making knowledge available and usable across the whole organization, the critical questions are: - Who should know what? - To what level of detail - How can the organization support these processes of knowledge distribution? Not everyone needs to know everything.

6. Knowledge Use

Knowledge use—meaning the productive deployment of organizational knowledge in the production process—in fact is the purpose of knowledge management. The successful identification and distribution of critical knowledge does not ensure its daily use. And without consistent use, there is a high probability that new knowledge systems will decay in quality, and the investment will be wasted. The potential user of knowledge has to see a real advantage in order to change his or her behavior and “adopt” the knowledge.

7. Knowledge Preservation

After knowledge has been acquired or developed, it must be carefully preserved. Many companies complain that in the process of reorganization they have lost part of their corporate memory. This collective amnesia is often the result of the unthinking destruction of informal networks, which steer important but little-observed processes. To avoid the loss of valuable expertise, companies must shape the processes of selecting valuable knowledge for preservation, ensuring its suitable storage, and regularly incorporating it into the knowledge base.

8. Knowledge Measurement

The evaluation and measurement of organizational knowledge presents the biggest challenge in the field of knowledge management. In contrast to finance managers, knowledge managers have no tested tool box of accepted indicators and measurement processes. They are pioneers. And the subject they need to measure is particularly elusive. Knowledge and capabilities can rarely be tracked to a single influencing variable. Furthermore, the cost of measuring knowledge is often seen as too high or socially unacceptable. Nevertheless, knowledge measurement holds considerable potential value, as has been demonstrated in a related field by human resources managers, who have had to prove the impact of training investments.