Knowledge suppliers and users
We often get hung up on treating knowledge as if it were impersonal pieces of content; instead let’s look at it as an interaction between supplier and user.
|Image from wikimedia commons|
All knowledge, if we think in terms of “Know-how” originates from people, and is re-used by people. Sometimes it passes from person to person through conversation, and sometimes the interaction is more remote – through written or recorded words and diagrams.
Knowledge Management, therefore, is a systematic and structured approach to transferring strategic and operational knowledge from suppliers to users through whatever interactions are most effective and efficient. And in many cases co-developing the knowledge as well as transferring it.
In a recent blog post, I explained about Collect and Connect as being two routes for knowledge transfer between the supplier and user, but now let’s look at the supplier and user themselves.
Knowledge is created through experience, and through the reflection on experience in order to derive guidelines, rules, theories, heuristics and doctrines. Knowledge may be created by individuals, through reflecting on their own experience, or it may be created by teams reflecting on team experience, or communities of practice engaged in collective sense-making. These are knowledge suppliers.
Knowledge is applied by individuals and teams, who can apply their own personal knowledge and experience, or they can look elsewhere for knowledge – to learn before they start, and benefit from shared experience. These are knowledge users. One of the challenges for knowledge transfer, is that often the user is unknown and the supplier has limited ways to interact with this user.