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Knowledge Management

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Knowledge Management

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Knowledge Management

  1. 1. Knowledge Management A practitioner’s perspective
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What is knowledge management (KM) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition(s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key concepts </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. First, what is knowledge <ul><li>In simplest terms, knowledge is the ability of an actor to respond to a body of facts and principles accumulated over a period of time </li></ul><ul><li>One way to look at knowledge is as the apogee of the following continuum – data  information  knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data=1 unit of fact; information=aggregation of data; knowledge=potential for action on information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data and information have intrinsic properties, the quality of knowledge depends on the properties of the agent </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is knowledge management <ul><li>There is no universal definition for knowledge management </li></ul><ul><li>At its broadest, KM is the ‘process through which organizations generate value from intellectual and knowledge based assets’ </li></ul>
  5. 5. Knowledge assets <ul><li>There are two types of knowledge assets – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explicit or formal assets like copyrights, patents, templates, publications, reports, archives, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tacit or informal assets that are rooted in human experience and include personal belief, perspective, and values </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The value of knowledge assets <ul><li>Knowledge assets are often described as the the intellectual capital of an organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The value of intellectual capital is often intangible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A popular measure is the difference between the cost of capital assets and the cost of replacing them </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The value of KM <ul><li>It is important to manage knowledge assets because – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizations compete increasingly on the base of knowledge (the only sustainable competitive advantage, according to some) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most of our work is information based (and often immersed in a computing environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our products, services, and environment are more complex than ever before </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workforces are increasingly unstable leading to escalating demands for knowledge replacement/acquisition </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The development of KM <ul><li>Knowledge began to be viewed as a competitive asset in the 80s, around the same time that information explosion started becoming an issue </li></ul><ul><li>The trend was fueled by the development of IT systems which made it simple to store, display, and archive classified, indexed information </li></ul><ul><li>The process received a fillip after Drucker (and others) stressed the role of knowledge as an organization resource, and Senge popularized ‘learning organizations’ </li></ul><ul><li>Seeds of KM may also be found in business practices like TQM and BPR to which KM is often compared </li></ul>
  9. 9. The sources of KM <ul><li>Today, KM draws from a wide range of disciplines/practices – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Groupware, AI, KBMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library and information science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision support systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizational science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many more </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. KM today (catch-all?) <ul><li>There is a great risk today of KM over-reaching itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything from organizational learning to business and competitive intelligence has become fair game for KM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are KM components to each of these but these spaces are however best left to specialized practitioners </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The scope of KM <ul><li>Today, most companies define the scope of KM as – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>KM mechanics (tools for information management) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>KM culture (knowledge as a social activity) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>KM systems (knowledge sharing as part of an organization’s DNA) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. KM mechanics <ul><li>Information management may well be considered the first wave of KM (and is still often considered synonymous with KM) </li></ul><ul><li>Information management tries to make the right information available to the right person at the right time though a variety of database driven information applications </li></ul><ul><li>Information management tools try to capture the human experience of knowledge through the collecting, classifying, disseminating, searching, indexing, and archival power of technology </li></ul>
  13. 13. Limitations of mechanical KM <ul><li>Reliance on technology produces consensual knowledge (over-reliance on best practices for instance) and may stifle innovation </li></ul><ul><li>The notion that ‘right information’ is predictable and flows from historical data may be flawed </li></ul><ul><li>Making information available in not enough; getting people to use it is more critical </li></ul>
  14. 14. KM culture <ul><li>All knowledge has a social and evolutionary facet </li></ul><ul><li>There is a crying need to continuously subject knowledge to re-examination and modification </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to keep the human and social elements of organization involved in all stored knowledge </li></ul>
  15. 15. KM culture through CoP <ul><li>Communities of practice (or thematic groups) are a popular way of injecting KM culture in an organization </li></ul><ul><li>CoPs are fora where members share information and experiences, develop new insights, assimilate and transform knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>CoPs emphasize shared interests and work across locations and time zones (often using technology developed during KM’s first wave) </li></ul>
  16. 16. KM systems <ul><li>KM succeeds fully when it is woven into the fabric of an organization and becomes intrinsic to an organization’s processes </li></ul><ul><li>Common practices include – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal KM leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal rewards and recognition for KM oriented work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools and mechanisms that encourage knowledge sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of knowledge bases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual asset management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metrics to evaluate KM initiatives </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. KM systems today <ul><li>In many ways, the systemic approach is the logical culmination of KM mechanics and KM culture </li></ul><ul><li>Many KM systems are however not yet robust enough – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>KM metrics (surveys, benchmarking, cost/benefit studies, service evaluation) are still an inexact science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge workers are often KM resistant (KM is frequently considered an oxymoron) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. KM – the report card <ul><li>Clearly, the jury is still out on KM though there is increased acceptance that KM can be central to organizational success </li></ul><ul><li>The key achievements of KM have been in emphasizing that – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a tacit dimension of knowledge creation which must be recognized and valued </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge is subjective and interpretative and distinct from raw data or information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning is central to knowledge creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge is social and interactive in nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology is an inalienable aspect of KM </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. KM readings/references <ul><li>Good sources on the internet include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The KM forum ( http://www.km-forum.org/ ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The CIO magazine’s knowledge management research center ( http://www.cio.com/research/knowledge/ ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The KMNetwork ( http://www.brint.com/km/ ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The KM resource center ( http://www.kmresource.com/exp. htm ) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. KM readings/references – contd. <ul><li>The KM literature is vast, but good starting points include – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonaka, Ikujiro, and Hirotaka Takeuchi. The Knowledge-Creating Company. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senge, Peter M. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wiig, Karl, M. Knowledge Management Foundations: Thinking About Thinking - How People and Organizations Represent, Create and Use Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Menou, Michel J. (Ed.). Measuring the Impact of Information on Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harris, Michael H. History of Libraries in the Western World </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Feedback/Questions

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