What are the most popular strategic elements of KM?

What do companies around the world identify as their primary KM strategic approaches?  This was another area we wanted to explore in our two global surveys of Knowledge Management.

One of the questions in our surveys therefore covered the topic of strategic focus areas for KM, and we asked the participants to prioritise, from a list of 11 potential approaches, those most important to them.

The pie chart below shows the frequency of each of these approaches as “first choice.”  The approaches are of course not exclusive, and most respondents applied many of these. However

  • 19% of respondents said their highest priority within their Knowledge Management strategy was to connect people through communities of practice or networks;
  • 17% chose “better access to documents”as their highest strategy. This is the average of the two surveys, and if you look at the 2017 survey alone, this was the most popular choice. However the 2017 had a much higher percentage of contributors from the legal sector, where this is their default approach;
  • 13% saw Knowledge Retention as their highest priority approach;
  • For 12%, Learning from experience was the most important;
  • 10% chose “Creating and providing access to best practices”
  • For another 6%, Innovation was the most important;
  • Provision of knowledge to customer facing staff was also the primary strategy for 6%
The remaining options all received small percentages of the votes.
Some of our respondents pointed out that there were maybe 3 or 4 strategic options on the list with more or less equal priority – Communities of Practice plus Learning from Experience was the most common combination.
The choice of primary strategy varied to some extent with the industry – 
  • “Connecting people” was most popular in Aid & development, Construction,and Oil and Gas
  • “Learning from Experience” was most common in the military and emergency services
  • “Development of best practice” was the preferred focus for the military
  • “Better access to documents” was the area prioritised by the legal firms, the public sector and the financial sector.

What does this mean?

I think we can take the results of this question and assert that it shows what the world of KM practitioners tends to choose as primary KM strategies.

On the whole, Knowledge Management seems to be recognised as a combination of Connecting People, Learning from Experience, provision of access to documents, retention of knowledge, creation of best practices, and innovation.  Individual industries favour one of these six over the others, but in combination they seem to pretty much map out the mainstream field of KM as it is currently understood.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Knowledge of product, knowledge of process, knowledge of customer

Some companies make things, some do things, some maintain relationships. Process companies, Product companies, Client companies – different focus, different business, different approach to KM. 

OK, so that is an oversimplification – most companies are a mix of Doing, Making and Relationship Management; they have product departments where they Make things, and marketing departments where they Do things, and sales/service . However there are still three types of KM approaches; focusing primarily on Product, Process and Client.

The Ternary attached here (from our global KM surveys) shows how the balance between these approaches varies by industry sector.

For those of you for whom ternary plots are unfamiliar, the closeness of a datapoint to each of the three corners represents the degree of importance of that element.

Process-based KM.

A typical process-based organisation would be the oil sector, near the bottom right of the plot. They don’t make things, they do things, and their KM approach is all about the development and improvement of Practice. The focus is on Practice Improvement. Communities of Practice, Best Practices (or whatever you prefer to call them), Practice Owners – the entire focus is on knowledge of Practice, Practice Improvement, and Doing Things Better.

Utilities and some of the non-profits are similar, as are the military.

Product based KM

A typical product-based organisation would be an aircraft manufacturer or a car manufacturer. They exist to make things, and their KM approach is all about the development and improvement of Product. They develop product guidelines.

In DaimlerChrysler, their Electronic Book of Knowledge was about motorcar components, and their tech Clubs were more Communities of Product than Communities of Practice. The experts are more likely to be experts on a product, than experts on a practice area. With the more complex products, were design knowledge is critical, KM can become Knowledge Based Engineering, with design rationale embedded into CAD files and other design products.

The KM focus in Legal firms is also Knowledge of Product; the product here being legal advice.

The figure above shows that none of the sectors surveyed is purely focused on Product – there is always a mix of Product and Practice, but the closest points to the top corner are Legal Services and Manufacturing

Customer based KM

A typical customer-based organisation would be a government department. They exist to  serve a customer base. They are not making anything (other than policy) and the KM focus is on the customer.

Customer focused Knowledge Management consists of developing and documenting a knowledge of the customer (through Customer-focused communities and through research), and may also involve the provision of knowledge to customers, and the involvement of Customers in discussion through communities and social media.

The plot above does not show any sectors to be dominated by customer knowledge, but the points closest to the bottom left are Government Admin, and Aid and Development.

Balancing the types of knowledge 

The danger in KM comes when you try to impose a solution where it does’t apply.

KM should be pragmatic, and consist of “horses for courses”, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This is also true for divisions within large companies.

While the projects division may need Communities of Practice, perhaps the division that makes the products needs Communities of Product, so that Knowledge of Product can be transferred across company boundaries. Perhaps the traditional tools of Learning Before, During and After need to look at Product knowledge as well as Practice knowledge, and look for improvements in Product as well as improvements in Practice.

Then the Marketing division or sales division might need Communities of Customer, so that knowledge of different customer groups can be developed, shared and re-used.

Know the type of knowledge that’s important, and set up a KM framework that suits. 

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

A twin-strategy approach to implementing KM

Implementing Knowledge Management requires two parallel strategies, like the two prongs of a fork.

There was a very interesting article by Ron Bascue in the 2011 Fall edition of the US Army KM newsletter (now no longer available online), about a twin-strategy approach to delivering a Knowledge Management strategy.

Ron makes the point that Knowledge Management needs to be a strategic long term program of change, based on thorough assessment and analysis,  while at the same time people need to be able to see short term progress, see KM in action, and understand the value it brings. As Ron says;

“Getting to a fully developed KM strategy takes significant time. And while the assessment and strategy development process is going on, the parent organization is moving forward while the clock is ticking on the KM organisation to show its value.”

So Ron recommends a two-pronged strategy to address this issue.

“Our approach incorporates two lines of effort; one a strategic development effort and the other focused on providing immediate tangible results – a series of quick wins”.

Ron recommends Kaizen events as a way to deliver the quick wins, each of which should solve a business problem or improve an internal process. However a number of Knowledge Management processes could be used, depending on the nature of the problem to be solved;

Ron’s two-pronged approach is also what Knoco recommends.

We refer to the Quick Wins as “Proof of concept” events; small interventions with a Knowledge Management tool or process during the Strategy Creation phase, just so that people can see KM in action, and realise that “Yes, it can work here. No, it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Now I understand”.

However even after the strategy is complete, the KM team needs to continue to solve business problems. However rather than small proof of concept exercises, you move on to larger scale Pilot Projects as part of the Implementation program.

By solving business problems, the KM team continue to show the value, and engage people in the process without requiring them to buy in at strategic level.

Follow Ron’s advice (and ours) – make pilots and “proofs of concept” part of your twin-strategy Knowledge Management implementation.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Analysis of a strategic KM role description

This post is an analysis of a KM role description, taken from a recent job vacancy, identifying the core elements of a strategic KM leadership role.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

The job vacancy appeared last week on LinkedIn, and is for a Knowledge Management Manager at Shell, in the Hague.

The full vacancy note appears at the end of this blog post, and I would like this as an example of a high level KM leadership role, driving KM in full  support of business priorities. I point out a number of elements in this role description which combine to make this an excellent example of a strategic role KM. I have marked these elements *1* etc, and discuss them below.

Key elements (my analysis)

  1. The first point is that this role starts from a clear Vision for KM; to become a learning organisation where ideas insights, lessons and best practices are shared and applied for business benefit (“leveraged”). This is good – clarity of vision leads to clarity of role. 
  2. This role builds on a solid foundation – Shell have been a leader in the KM field for decades; winners of the global MAKE awards from 2009 through 2016, and have all of the basics of KM in place. This role is not about introduction or implementation of KM, it is about application.
  3. For Shell, the focus of KM is on delivering value, measured in monetary savings through efficiency improvements. The Vision mentioned above translates into profit.  There is absolute clarity on this. 
  4. This role is part of a strategic plan, with defined strategic priorities. The strategic priorities are to strengthen and extend what already exists (with a main focus on communities of practice), to bring in new areas of technology where these may extend KM capability, and to strengthen existing internal linkages.
  5. Number one accountability is value delivery. The job holder will be measured against the value delivered, with a $1 billion target. This is not a support role where the role-holder can work in the shadows; this role is about serious enabling of the business through KM, with a big-money target at stake in the very short term.
  6. But there is a longer term aspect to the role – to shape KM for the future
  7. And to continue to evolve Shell’s KM Framework.
  8. The last three requirements really speak to the nature of this role in using KM to deliver value to the business. First the holder must be able to translate business needs into KM solutions. They need to be versed in Applied KM.
  9. Secondly they need change management experience. This is one of the main competencies of a KM leader
  10. Thirdly they need excellent diplomacy, negotiation, communication and stakeholder management skills. This person will not deliver $1 billion in value on their own – they will do it in partnership with the business. 

Role description follows; my notes above are indicated by the asterisk-bracketed numbers.

Knowledge Management Manager

The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition – Peter Senge. *1 * We want to make Shell a learning organization. Where people can leverage all the lessons and best practices learned in one asset or project and leverage those in another asset or project. Where we have vibrant communities that share ideas and insights across the world. 

We have taken the first steps 

*2*Over the past 6 years, we have built a comprehensive set of structures, processes and applications supported by Working Out Loud behaviors, and implemented this Solution across Shell’s Technical Functions and C&P. This program has touched approximately 43,000 Shell staff in Technical Functions. *3*A total value of over US$480 mln has been delivered through application of key practices in Shell’s business activities. Our ambition is to achieve US$ 1 bln by the end of 2020. 

We need your help to take the next steps.  

In Shell’s Projects & Technology (P&T) business, we are looking for a Knowledge Management manager to help us achieve our ambition, building on the foundations and taking the next step in the journey (4)which consists of 5 key priorities for 2019-2020 

  • Sustain KM in Technical Functions, Strengthen and continuously improve the completed KM implementations in the Technical Functions and C&P 
  • Leverage the communities to improve asset & project performance in close co-operation with the project excellence organization and the production excellence organization
  • Support new and emerging communities including in digital, new energies, etc.
  • Further develop KM solution accelerated application of new digital technologies that, by building on the established infrastructure, will make access to Shell’s knowledge even easier. This includes more focus on mobile technology, further integration and leveraging of data sources, and using advanced analytics and visualisation methods to support the creation of insights from knowledge, with the goal of pro-actively making critical knowledge available to those who need it at the time they need it
  • Strengthen the KM foundation for RDS further integration of KM into Shell’s Organization Development & Learning (OD&L) portfolio, ensuring that a wide range of possible interventions is being considered when addressing business challenges.

The main purpose of this role is to lead Shell’s KM journey to deliver the priorities summarized above and to define and deliver what the journey should look like after 2020. 

Accountabilities 

  • *5*Deliver the KM plan for 2019-2020, with an aim of delivering US$ 1bln of success stories by the end of 2020. 
  • *6*Shape and drive Shell’s KM journey beyond 2020. 
  • Lead and coach a team of professionals. 
  • Manage several key cross-functional and cross-business communities in order to deliver the overall KM plan. 
  • Drive stronger collaboration with the OD& Learning Managers/Advisors to build integrated solutions leveraging the best of what OD&L has to offer (Knowledge Management, Learning, Change Management, Continuous Improvement, etc.). 
  • *7*Accountable for further defining and delivering the development of Shell’s broader KM solution (in terms of processes, behaviours, tools, ways of working, etc.). 
  • Deliver key metrics, champion success stories and use cases where KM has created and enhanced value for the company. 

Requirements

  • Drive an RDS wide agenda experience in delivering a cross-functional / cross-business KM Agenda
  • Team leadership Leading a virtual team experience of working within a global team in a virtual and high-ambiguity work environment.
  • Business acumen and understanding of all Shell’s businesses, organizational issues, challenges and needs would be beneficial.
  • *8*Performance consulting experience in diagnosing the root causes of business and functional challenges and translating those into possible relevant KM Solutions
  • *9*Change management experience experience in driving change journeys.
  • *10*Stakeholder management ability to build confidence and manage stakeholders across the organization and at all levels and build effective working relationships/networks.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

But what knowledge do you need to manage?

When beginning with KM, don’t start with the How; start with the What.

We frequently find that when people start thinking about Knowledge Management implementation, they start thinking about the solution first. They may research technology, they may seek out some excellent processes, they may (if they are smart) think about the roles and accountabilities the company will need, and they may contemplate the use of communities of practice, global task forces, virtual teams, blogs, wikis, and any other of the trendy solutions that are popular in the market place.

This is all great thinking, and if they have done well, they may come up with a holistic solution, of Processes, Accountabilities and Technologies, which provides an excellent framework through which Knowledge will flow around the organisation. They have sorted out the How question.
However the question that is often not asked, is the What question.

“What knowledge do we need to manage?” 

This is one of the fundamental questions to get right in your Knowledge Management strategy (this blog post is not about the Why question, which of course is the other fundamental question, and even more important). 
As consultants, one of the greatest Knowledge Management insights we bring to client organisations is that you don’t have to manage it all; just manage the 20% that makes 80% of the difference.

Find out;

  • Exactly what knowledge do we need to flow around the organisation? 
  • What’s the high value stuff? 
  • What’s the knowledge that will give us a competitive edge? 
  • What is the knowledge that will give us “first learner advantage?
  • What knowledge do our people need, to help them make teh decisions that will drive growth, prosperity and customer satisfaction?

If you focus your effort proactively on the knowledge of highest business value – the business-critical knowledge areas –  then your KM efforts will not only be easier, they will deliver far higher benefit.

Focused KM systems add maximum value. By focusing on the 20% of the knowledge that delivers the 80% of the value, it maximises the rate of return on your KM investment. People are busy, time is precious, and so it makes sense to focus your precious time on the highest-value knowledge.

So before you get too far with your KM implementation, ask yourself two questions –

  • Why do we need to manage knowledge better?
  • What knowledge do we actually need to manage?”

The ISO KM standard (ISO 30401:2018) requires you to ask these two questions, plus a third one about stakeholders (the Who question) before you get anywhere near the question of How.

If you want to know how to determine what this critical knowledge is, read this newsletter and see this blog post for advice, also this one. Start with the strategy of the organisation, ask what do we need to do to deliver that strategy, then ask what do we need to know, to be able to do these things. And once you understand the critical knowledge, find out where it lies and who currently holds it, and then determine what tools, processes and roles you need to make it more widely available to the people who need it.

Generally you find the What by starting from the Why. That leads you to the How. Don’t start from the How – that is the wrong end of the chain.


View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Is your KM progam reactive, or proactive?

Is your Knowledge Management framework reactive, or proactive? And what’s the difference?

Let’s look at two ways in which you can develop a KM approach of KM Framework. Let’s call them reactive, and proactive.

Reactive KM

A reactive KM framework reacts to events.

  • You may react to the threat of knowledge loss, for example putting in place retention interviewing when a key person is about to retire from the organisation. 
  • You may react to knowledge gain, by capturing and documenting lessons from a project, ensuring that knowledge captured from success or failure is documented for future use.
  • You may collecting best practices from people when they have delivered a great piece of work. 
  • You may react in communities of practice, where people ask for help in solving the problems they have just encountered. 

Proactive KM

A proactive KM framework anticipates events.

  • You may ask, “what is the strategic knowledge the company will need going forward? How will we create it; where will it come from”?  Then you put in place activities and accountabilities to develop that knowledge.
  • You may ask “what is our core knowledge we need to retain and deepen? Where is it, and how do we protect and improve it”. You identify where the knowledge is held by only one person, for example, and make sure that knowledge becomes spread among the community, and documented where possible. You protect the knowledge well before there is any risk of loss. 
  • You may take a proactive view of knowledge in a project, developing a Knowledge Management plan to ensure the project has the knowledge it needs at the start, and identifies the knowledge it should create for others.
  • You may take a proactive view in a community of practice, and ask “What are our key community topics? Lets get our heads together and see if we can combien our knowledge of these topics, and find better ways to work”.
  • Or questions in communities of practice may be more like “How do I avoid problems in my upcoming project”.

A proactive KM approach identifies the key knowledge or knowledge gaps in advance, and puts in place strategies to manage this, whereas in a reactive approach, knowledge management is always “after the event”. As one person described a lesson management system – a typical reactive approach when used in isolation  – as “a thousand locked stable doors after a thousand bolted horses“.

You need both reactive and proactive of course; Knowledge Management is always more “both/and” than “either/or”, and reactive knowledge capture from a “bolted horse” can lead to all the other stables proactively locking their doors (if I may be allowed to extend a metaphor). 

You need both, and if you omit the proactive side, your KM will always be playing catch-up.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Winning by eliminating mistakes

In some settings, winning by eliminating mistakes is the best strategy

Image from wikimedia commons

Wimbledon fortnight has started in the UK – the two weeks of the year when the TV schedules are taken over by professional tennis. This reminded me of a post from the excellent Farnham Street blog, entitled “Avoiding Stupidity is Easier than Seeking Brilliance”.

This post is based on a book called Extraordinary Tennis Ordinary Players, by Simon Ramo, a scientist and statistician, who argues that professionals win points whereas amateurs lose them. In professional tennis each player plays a nearly perfect game until one player hits an un-returnable ball. In amateur tennis, sooner or later someone makes a mistake and the point is lost. 

In professional tennis, therefore, about 80 per cent of the points are won; in amateur tennis, about 80 per cent of the points are lost.  The strategy to be a winner in amateur tennis is therefore to make no mistakes – to play a conservative game until the other person errs.

The lesson from the book is – if you are in an amatuer game, don’t play to win, play not to lose. Eliminate your mistakes, and victory will follow. You see the same in rugby, where the team that makes the fewest unforced errors often wins,

The Farnham street blog extrapolates from tennis to business and quotes billionaire Charlie Munger as follows;

It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent”.

One focus of Knowledge Management could easily be the avoidance of repeat mistakes, particularly in a competitive environment, and even more particularly if your organization is prone to unforced errors.

If Knowledge Management can aim at avoiding organisational stupidity, rather than aiming at organisational brilliance, then there may be considerable long term advantage to be gained. It may in some contexts be easier and more profitable to gain long term advantage, like Charlie Munger did, by eliminating stupidity rather than innovating your way to brilliance.

Avoid repeat mistakes – that is a simple vision for KM, and in all but the highest professional games, may be enough to make you a winner.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How collecting knowledge supports connecting people

The two Knowledge Management strategies of Socialisation and Codification (sometimes called Connecting and Collecting) are often seen as polar opposites. They aren’t. 

Image from wikimedia commons

Connecting and collecting are often cited as alternative KM strategies – as if they were distinct and separate. They are more like Yin and Yang. They are intertwined – each feeds the other. They are like left foot and right foot – each allows the other to progress, and both are needed within your KM Framework. Connecting people often leads to the creation of new documented knowledge. Documented knowledge often acts as a catalyst to connect people.

Here’s a story that shows how.

The Colombia business unit  of a big multinational was going through a major re-organisation. We helped them to “learn before” this exercise (which turned out to run very smoothly) and afterwards we captured their knowledge, and the knowledge from others that we had captured on their behalf,  in a “knowledge asset“; a classic Codification step. As always, the knowledge asset was careful to “keep the name with the knowledge“, so the knowledge was not anonymous, but was credited to individuals.
About a year later, the Venezuela business unit needed to go through a similar restructuring, and began to do their own “learning before”. 

Venezuela first began to access knowledge by working their personal networks, and calling people in Colombia that they just “happened to know”. But before long, one of the Colombians told them about the knowledge asset and sent them the web address.
Now Venezuela had full access to the knowledge of the whole company. 

Initially the 15 top-level guidelines were the most useful part of the knowledge asset, as it gave Venezuela and overview of the things they needed to consider. The “links to people” allowed Venezuela to target the correct people to call for further details; many of them in Colombia, but other people around the company as well. 

 As Venezuela went further into their exercise, they went further into the detail of the knowledge asset, and started to use the check-lists and artifacts. Venezuela were able to complete their restructuring in seven weeks, where it had taken Colombia three months.

The codified knowledge within the asset had facilitated socialisation, and the combination of the two reduced the time of the exercise by over 40%.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Pendulum swings in KM, and how to avoid them

The problem with Dualism in KM is that it leads to pendulum swings in terms of focus. Here is how to avoid this.

Image form wikimedia commons

There can be quite a lot of Dualism in KM – seeing KM in terms of two mutually exclusive opposites which require a choice. Examples might be

  • A strategy of Connecting (connecting people) vs a Strategy of Collecting (collecting content)
  • KM introduction from the Top-down, or Bottom up
  • KM all about People, or KM is all about Technology
  • A focus on Conversation, or a focus on Content
  • Optimisation for for search or optimisation for browse?

Of course this Dualism is wrong, its always a case of “both/and” rather than “either/or”, and the trouble with Dualism is that when you choose one alternative you neglect the other. Over time, you realise you are missing something and switch your attention to the “opposite pole”.

As a result, KM can suffer from pendulum swings.

To give you an example, one company for many years had a KM approach focused almost entirely on Communities of Practice. After a series of project overruns, they  introduced a framework for project KM, which had a fantastic impact on results.

Over the subsequent years this approach became taken for granted – seen as “embedded”. The high level champion left, and was replaced by a lower level champion, who was replaced again by someone even lower, and gradually attention and governance slipped. The framework began to be ignored, new management came in, and said “project KM doesn’t work – lets put our attention on Communities of Practice instead”.

And so the pendulum swang, with a frequency of a decade.

Maybe in 5 more years there will be a series of project overspends, the spotlight will turn again onto project KM, and the pendulum will begin it’s back-stroke.

How do you guard against this? How do you ensure that KM is given an even-handed and consistent treatment?

A clue comes from a comment from John Donahue on one of my blog posts. John says

I’ve been working with US Army KM programs for some time and even with this structure (of strategic teams) there’s a tendency for KM to slip into IT/Portal management. Fortunately this strategic level guidance allows units to self-assess, and “adjust fire” as they’d say. I don’t believe Army KM would have been so successful without this formalized structure to keep the program on track.

The formalised  strategic guidance – KM Governance – stops the KM pendulum swinging towards IT and Portals. And certainly the company I mentioned above doesn’t have the strategic level guidance.

If you want to avoid the pendulum of fashion when it comes to KM, then you need to set up, and maintain, the strategic level governance that can keep it on the straight and narrow.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

"Just in time" knowledge, or "just in case" knowledge? Which works best?

There are two approaches you can use to KM – a supply-driven and a demand-driven approach, Which works best?

JIT clock from pixabay

“Just in time” knowledge transfer is transfer driven by Demand, and by Pull. Knowledge is transferred only when people need it, in response to an immediate demand (see this blog post for more exploration of this idea).

The advantages of Just-in-time knowledge are as follows:

  • People are only really receptive to knowledge,when they actually need it
  • Knowledge transfer works far more effectively through Pull (where people seek for knowledge when they need it) than Push (where people send out knowledge in the hope that someone might need it)
  • Knowledge transferred in response to a demand will be used immediately
  • Just in time knowledge cuts waste out of the system, and removes knowledge that is transferred in the absence of any demand

The disadvantages of Just-in-time knowledge are as follows:

  • When we are most in need of a decision, we are least discerning about the quality of the knowledge we receive
  • Just-in-time knowledge tends to draw on the tacit knowledge of communities of practice, which is biased by the unreliability of long term memory, and the “availability” bias (which gives undue weight to the recent and the memorable events)
  • You may therefore pick up on what is new and what is different and what is current, and miss out on what is old and what is established
  • Knowledge of infrequent activity becomes lost

As the post quoted above says, “The worst time to look for information is when we need it to make a decision. When we do that we’re more likely to see what’s unique and miss the historical context. We’re also more likely to be biased by what is available”.

Once we lose the long term written memory, and start relying on short term memory, we enter the world of Repeat Mistakes, where changes made to fix things, are unmade in future as the long term memory fades, as old staff move on, and as new people come in with bright ideas and no historical context.  So people change things, only to find that old problems re-emerge.

Therefore Just-in-time knowledge needs also to be accompanied by just-in-case knowledge. This is knowledge that is captured and shared as lessons at the end of a piece of work, “just in case” someone should want to use them again. This is classic “knowledge push”.

The advantages of Just-in-case knowledge are as follows:

  • Just-in-case documented knowledge has shelf-life way beyond the limits of human memory, and well- captured knowledge can last for a very long time
  • Documented knowledge in a knowledge store, if findable and well crafted, can be re-used by very many people
  • Knowledge can grow and improve over time as new experiences and details are added. It can create a balanced record of organisation learning
  • Just-in-case knowledge can reach people who did not even know they needed it
  • Knowledge of infrequent activity can be stored for when it is needed in future

The disadvantages of Just-in-case knowledge are as follows:

  • If Just-in-case knowledge is broadcast and shared at the time it is identified and documented, it adds noise into the system. This is knowledge which is being shared just in case someone needs it, and for everyone else, it is unnecessary noise
  • Just-in-case knowledge, unless well crafted, does not necessarily answer the questions of the user
  • Just-in-case knowledge can go out of date as circumstances change

Both of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and both have their place in a KM Framework. Organisations and Communities of Practice need to focus on answering the immediate problems of the knowledge workers, and satisfying their knowledge needs and demands, at the same time as building up the long-term organisational memory.

It means that Communities of Practice can hold knowledge not just in their collective brains and consciousness, but in their collective history and collective Experience Base.

It means that we need to address both Connect and Collect – Connecting People and Collecting Knowledge – in order to give secure decision support to the Just In Time requests.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.